While casting Jodie Whittaker as the star of Doctor Who season 11 may seem controversial on the surface, commercially it’s anything but.
If you’ve seen some of the headlines across the internet since the casting news first surfaced, you’re aware that there are some people who are complaining and/or threatening to not watch. This is the same backlash that we’ve seen many times over, and it’s dumb. Even if Whittaker isn’t your favorite choice, why judge something before seeing it? This could be the best season ever of Doctor Who, and you’re bailing in advance because of some sort of prejudice or preconceived notion of what The Doctor should look like.
Far and away, though, we do think that there is far too much at present being made of Whittaker being a woman and not enough made about the vast commercial benefits of this news. Think about things this way: Season 10 of Doctor Who was one of the lowest-rating seasons in the UK since the show was revived with Christopher Eccleston. There are fewer people watching live, and as great as Peter Capaldi may be, his version of the show wasn’t moving the needle or bringing in new viewers anymore. Creatively, the franchise needed a shot in the arm and a way to bring in more attention. Whittaker’s casting has brought that.
for the first time since arguably the 50th anniversary special and Matt Smith’s regeneration into Capaldi, casual viewers are seeing headlines pertaining to Doctor Who. With that, new people are being exposed to what the show is, and that’s never a bad thing. If the show does lose 10% of its audience because of its prejudice but gains 20% thanks to new people being interested in seeing what a female Doctor looks like. This publicity may also bring in older fans who may have bailed on watching the show live over time for one reason or another. These are exciting times for the franchise, and there are potential ratings boosts that we should be on the lookout for whenever the new season premieres.
What’s the one thing to worry about?
It’s actually TWO things. First, it’s premiering the new season early enough so that Whittaker’s casting isn’t old news and nobody cares following the initial hype. Also, it’s new showrunner Chris Chibnall getting off to a great start. You’re going to need to win over some of the doubters quickly if you want to win them over — hopefully the show does, since the last thing we want to do is listen to some “I told you so” contingent who never gave the show the proper chance that it deserves with such a compelling lead.
If you missed our full take on the casting
You can read a little bit more of that right now just by heading over to the link here! We’re going to have even more news on Whittaker and the show’s future in the coming days, so be on the lookout for it. (Photo: BBC.)