Jodie Whittaker’s Debut as “Doctor Who” Makes History, 8.2 Million U.K. Viewers, 40.1% Share

Jodie Whittaker will play the latest incarnation of the Doctor on DOCTOR WHO.
Jodie Whittaker {image via BBC}

My pastor says today is World Communion Sunday. Millions of Whovians around the Earth will achieved their own form of communion yesterday at 6:45 BST (British Summer Time) as the new season of Doctor Who begins and the new Doctor makes HER debut. After fifty years of regenerations, the Doctor’s current incarnation is not “a bloke with a beard” but “a bird with a bob cut,” rather like the Vicar of Dibney.

“I’m the Doctor.  When people need help, I never refuse.”

Yesterday at 1:45 Eastern, 12:50 Central, 10:45 am Pacific, Jodie Whittaker followed in the footsteps of Willism Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee,Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennent, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi.

Actually, she was rather more out in front leading. With an average of 8.2 million viewers and a peak of 9 million watching in the U.K. alone, she attracted more audience share (40.1%), and that’s not even counting the numbers from the BBC’s iPlayer, which will probably push the total even higher. To put this in perspective for you, last Christmas Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth III drew 6.8 million viewers for her annual Christmas message.

This also makes her more popular than the previous three Doctors before her. David Tennant, while still wildly popular, only managed 8 million. Matt Smith got 7.7 million, and Peter Capaldi drew 6.8 million. Her debut is the strongest opening episode in the last 10 years.

With these numbers, the rather noisy outcry from purists who didn’t believe the Doctor should or could be a woman is almost immediately forgotten. Can the Doctor be a woman and the actor accepted in the role? The answer is a resounding, thundering “YES”.

Since 1963, Doctor Who has been the longest running science fiction show on television.  It’s gone from being a British icon to a worldwide favorite.  The Doctor is a meddling busybody or an interplanetary hero, depending on one’s point of view, the former president of the planet Gallifrey, and has devoted his (now her) long life to protecting the inhabitants of Earth and other planets with sentient lifeforms. 

“We all want answers.  Stick with me, you might get some.”

Whenever the Doctor has a new regeneration, he acquires new Companions.  The 13th Doctor has Mandip Gil as P. C. Yasmin Khan, and Tosin Cole as Khan’s old schoolfriend Ryan Sinclair.  Bradley Walsh plays Graham. In the image above, the fourth character on the right is 
Sharon D. Clarke, who has been described as a “recurring role”, which is odd considering what happens in the first episode. Watch the show, you’ll see what I mean.

Did you join in the international watch party to see the new Doctor?  How do you think Yas and Graham compare to previous Companions like Jamie McCrimmon or Sarah Jane Smith or Dr. Martha Jones?

-30-

Facebook Comments

About Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children's book R is for Renaissance Faire, as well as short stories in Alternative Truths,  Swords and Sorceress #30, Supernatural Colorado, Barbarian Crowns, and Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid. Her articles have appeared on Krypton Radio's website, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

What do you think?