Doctor Who's Female Twist Will Be 'Irrelevant,' Says David Tennant

Doctor Who alum David Tennant is almost positive that all the backlash surrounding Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the first female Doctor will prove to be all for nothing.

Tennant, who served as the Tenth Doctor from 2005-2010, paid a visit to The Late Show on Wednesday, where he was pressed by Stephen Colbert on the supposedly controversial hire. Having worked with Whittaker for three seasons on the acclaimed BBC crime drama Broadchurch, Tennant said he was “delighted” by the news, and that all the current backlash is cyclical.

“Whenever the Doctor changes, there’s a backlash because that’s a character people love,” Tennant explained. “People get very affectionate about the Doctor they knew.” Case in point? The reaction his own, “weaselly” casting received when he was chosen to succeed Christopher Eccleston’s Nine. (Tennant’s imitation of incensed Internetters is not to be missed!)

“You know, sure, Jodie is from a different gender than anyone who has gone before, but that will be irrelevant almost immediately once she takes the part,” he said. “It’s about finding the right performer at the right time, and that’s Jodie, without a doubt.”

Press PLAY on the video above to watch Tennant’s full sit-down with Colbert, then tell us if you agree with his sentiment regarding Whittaker’s casting.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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29 Comments
  1. Amelia says:

    He’s completely right. When Matt Smith was cast I read he was too young. When Peter Capaldi was cast, he was too old. Now Jodie is too female. She has big shoes to fill no doubt.

    • MondasianCyberman says:

      the 14th doctor will be “too unfemale…”, the 15th doctor will be “too middle aged…” , the 16th doctor… will be “too classic…”, the 17th doctor will be “too modern…” the 18th doctor will be “too perfect” and the 19th doctor will be “too unperfect” XD

      • Susieq79 says:

        MondasianCyberman – That’s exactly right. The thing that people complain about is the difference from the previous Doctor. As Amelia said, 11 was “too young” because that was the main difference between 10 & 11. They complained about 12 being “too old” because that was the main difference between 11 & 12. Now 13 is “too female” because she’s younger than 12, but no one is going to complain about that after 12. I’m sure some is sexism, but I think a lot of it’s because it’s the new Doctor and people have to complain about something.

        I am going to reserve my opinion of her based on the first season. I never watched Broadchurch (although I keep intending to) so I have no expectations on her acting. I can’t wait!

        • vincent merkel says:

          I have watched Broadchurch…she is a wonderful actor….she will do well as the doctor….now my doctor will always be tom baker….but loved tennant , smith , hated capaldi just was annoying….eccleston was ok ..and I mean that ..I hated him till I got to view his shows over again…I am excited all will be well in whoville

  2. MMD says:

    I have been saying for years that I want to wake up some morning talking like David Tennant (only in a female voice)

  3. Able says:

    I cannot wait for Jodie!

  4. Jeremy says:

    Jodie is a great actor based on everything I’ve seen her in. She’ll knock it out of the park as the Doctor.

  5. Zayne says:

    I king of just wish every site would stop posting articles every time someone high profile says anything in favor of Jodie Whitaker. At least Tennant has worked with her before and personally knows her but it just feels like all of these sites are trying to say “See, EVERYONE loves her and if for even a SECOND you were not pleased with the casting, you’re a sexist idiot!”

    I was irritated at first but I’m now looking forward to what a new showrunner and Doctor can do for a show I haven’t enjoyed all the much for the last season and a half. These articles are getting excessive though.

    • peterwdawson says:

      I’m just waiting for the day I see some article on FB about the upcoming series of Doctor Who and not seeing an angry reaction face as one of the prominent reactions.

  6. Winter says:

    David Tennant is maybe the most perfect human being on earth.

  7. Lady K says:

    The new Doctor is “still not a ginger!” Does anything else matter?

  8. Hawk says:

    Imagine how much more storytelling is open to this regeneration and isn’t that what Doctor Who is all about, amazing stories!!

  9. Shaun Brown says:

    Personally as a lifelong Dr who fan I’m excited for Jodie. And I’m hoping she keeps the look in the teaser trailer. The look is banging. Whovians who hate the gender swap. Consider missy she rocked as the missmaster. I’m not a newbie in the whoverse. I’m 43 and have been watching for a long long time.

  10. Celina says:

    Of course he said that! If he’d said something against it, it would be bad for him. A person has to be smart. Why enter a fight that is not his?
    Jodi can be great, but The Doctor is dead and gone.

  11. Jacki Williams says:

    I’m worried about the new Doctor. Not because the change is into a woman but because I absolutely don’t like Jodi Whitaker’s character on Broadchurch. If they are remotely the same I’m in for a big let down.

    • suzi says:

      Jodi Whitaker’s portrayal of Beth Latimer should not be viewed as a reflection of how she will become The Doctor—two rather different characters. I respect her abilities as an actor enough to give her a chance.

  12. Not a fan of Jodi Whitaker on Broadchurch so concerned about how she’s going to portray the Doctor.

  13. LynP. says:

    Broadchurch was actually produced for ITV in the UK, not BBC.

  14. David says:

    I despised Jodie’s character in Broadchurch. I will give her a chance as the doctor but I’m hoping my bias for her past performance doesn’t hinder me giving her a proper chance. As long as the new show runner focuses on good stories and not reminding the audience every 15 minutes she’s a woman, this could work.

    • Brian N says:

      Jodie was great in the first season of Broadchurch, but the writing has let her down badly in the second and current season. I think Beth is meant to be unlikable and Jodie really lifts the character above the patchy writing. Olivia Colman remains the bright spot across all three seasons. The other leads are very poor and struggle with the writing – David Tennant is shouty and one note and Andrew Buchan too whiny. Only Olivia and Jodie are any good.

  15. Brian N says:

    Jodie seens a great choice and from interviews is very enthusiastic and a “genuine” person, a quality that Chris Eccleston and Peter Capaldi have in spades and made them the two best modern Doctors.. My main concern is that it will be Chris Chibnall in charge. His work on both Doctor Who and Torchwood was subpar, showing a poor understanding of the genre and he also has a huge failure in Camelot behind him. Broadchurch was elevated by the great performances of Olivia Colman and Jodie Whittaker but honestly it’s very poorly written overall with the second and current seasons laughably bad in places. It worries me that he has been gifted the job of Doctor Who showrunner off the back of only one success among his large output as a writer, ie the first season of Broadchurch. I worry that Chris Chibnall’s likely failure to deliver quality writing and poor reception to Jodie’s first season based on this may end up meaning the casting of the first female actor in the lead will be blamed. Huge thumbs up for Jodie, but huge concerns about the new showrunner. What a pity we didn’t get to see Jodie working with Russell T Davies, or even better, Steven Moffat.