Every Doctor has a different lifespan, which is to say that every actor who has played the iconic main character of Doctor Who has stayed for a varying length of time. In the Classic Who era, it was Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor who lived the longest (by one measure, at least), playing the Doctor for 41 stories or 172 episodes or seven seasons. In the NuWho era, Doctors tend to stay for three seasons, save for Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, who stayed for only one season.
How long will Jodie Whittaker stay on as the Thirteenth Doctor? While it may seem like a premature question to ask, given that her tenure hasn’t really properly started yet, Whittaker was asked the question during a recent interview with The Sunday Times Magazine. Her answer? “I am not allowed to answer that.”
Presumably, Whittaker will stay on past her first season. Three seasons does seem like the number to aim for at this point, at least if you want to avoid The Doctor’s Three Season Curse. But, really, let’s give the woman a chance to settle into the role before throwing these questions at her. She’s only just moved into the TARDIS. Thus far, she seems to like the gig, saying: “Doctor Who is very collaborative, it is a very exciting job.”
Other topics touched on in the interview include who her favorite Doctor is (“David [Tennant] of course, because I know him. I think he was amazing. But there is no right or wrong, there are no rules.” Whittaker and Tennant starred together in Broadchurch. Doctor Who stars Arthur Darvill and David Bradley also appeared in the program, which was written by new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall.
Speaking about what it’s like to play the first female Doctor, Whittaker said:
It feels completely overwhelming; as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender because this is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.
That being said, Whittaker said she doesn’t play the Doctor specifically “as a woman.”
“I am a woman,” said Whittaker. “I don’t ever play being a woman, I wouldn’t know how to play being a woman. Just like a man wouldn’t know how to play being a man. It’s me, but I am not bringing gender to my choices. I am bringing character to my choices. I don’t mind not knowing.”
Doctor Who Season 11 will premiere in October 2018. Find out more here.