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Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS

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  • Publication: Empire
  • Date: Nov. 2022
  • Author: Boyd Hilton
  • Page: 16
  • Language: English

The 13th star of DOCTOR WHO reflects on her impending exit

JODIE WHITTAKER IS not one to play it cool. "I cannot talk about it without crying," she says, looking away from Empire to take a necessary pause. "I've got to get better at this," she adds, with a tremble of the bottom lip, "because this is the next few weeks for me — talking about my regeneration."

It would take a gargantuan effort for any actor to bow out from one of the most life-changing roles in all of pop culture without getting emotional, but Whittaker, in particular, is all about embracing the moment, revelling in the wild ride. And she's clear her Doctor is getting the most spectacular of finales. Outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall has written a 90-minute special which not only brings back two much-loved Who companions, Janet Fielding as Tegan, and Sophie Aldred as Ace, but also reunites the Doctor's most enduring enemies — the Cybermen, the Daleks and the Master. Fan service? Absolutely. "Yeah, it's one for Whovians," beams Whittaker. "It's a huge treat if you're a proper fan. It's got all the iconic things that you associate with Doctor Who. It's massive."

As for her regeneration, the powerful moment when the current Doctor transforms into the next, it was impactful enough when Whittaker read the script. Then it turned out to be the final scene she would shoot as the Doctor. "I love the dialogue Chris wrote for my regeneration," she says. "It captures my Doctor beautifully. It's simple, epic and beautiful." It's also, Whittaker reveals, a "oner" — a sequence shot in one continual, uninterrupted take. "When I could see the crew was happy with that last shot, that's when my bottom lip started going. I was like, 'Well, they can't say they need another take now because I've fucking lost it!"

Like all previous actors who have played the Doctor, Whittaker is in the weird position of waiting to see what her successor does with the role. She found out about the casting of Ncuti Gatwa from returning showrunner Russell T Davies, who called her a couple of days before the official announcement. "Luckily, enough time had passed between finishing shooting and finding out about the new Doctor for me to just feel pure excitement about it. It's inspired casting. He's gonna smash it." And just as her predecessors had done with her, Whittaker has already given Gatwa the new-Doctor pep talk. "Unfortunately for Ncuti, he gave me his number. So he's getting eight-minute monologues from me on WhatsApp."

Whittaker is also still digesting the news of David Tennant's return for 60th-anniversary scenes airing next year. First, she's keen to make it very clear she's up for future similar guest appearances — "I would love to pop back up as the Doctor," she says loudly and clearly. Then it suddenly seems to occur to her that Tennant's surprise return sums up the magic of Who. "This is what I love about the show so much. It's so unpredictable and exciting. Now I can just watch it with the love and understanding that I never had before. I was brand-new to it. I didn't understand it. I hadn't grown up with it. But now I get to embrace it as a Whovian, just like everyone else." And with that, Jodie Whittaker's bottom lip starts to tremble again.


Caption: Clockwise from main: Jodie Whittaker bows out as the Doctor in a 90-minute special; Patrick O'Kane as Lone Cyberman Ashad; The Master (Sacha Dhawan) returns; Exterminate! Exterminate! (And so on)

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  • APA 6th ed.: Hilton, Boyd (Nov. 2022). Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS. Empire p. 16.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Hilton, Boyd. "Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS." Empire [add city] Nov. 2022, 16. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Hilton, Boyd. "Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS." Empire, edition, sec., Nov. 2022
  • Turabian: Hilton, Boyd. "Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS." Empire, Nov. 2022, section, 16 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS | url= | work=Empire | pages=16 | date=Nov. 2022 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Jodie Whittaker bids farewell to the TARDIS | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024}}</ref>