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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 21 April, 2019

The success of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who debut proves that onscreen representation works

Her casting divided fans initially.

SERIES THIRTEEN OF Doctor Who debuted over the weekend, with Jodie Whittaker taking the reins from Peter Capaldi.

16497582-low_res-doctor-who-series-11-4295986 Source: Ben Blackall/BBC

Upon the announcement of Jodie’s casting (she’s the first woman to play The Doctor in the show’s 55 year history) some fans were cranky, in the same way that they were about the all-female reboots of Ocean’s Eleven and Ghostbusters. Are you noticing a theme here?

Anyway, as it turns out, the show didn’t need those fans, with the opening episode securing 8.2m viewers – its highest ratings in 12 years since.

What’s also noteworthy is that more girls than boys tuned in to watch Jodie take charge, 378,000 versus 339,000 (last year’s series opener had 143,000 girls watching versus 390,000 boys.)

Numbers aside, was it any good? By all accounts, yes.

“Dr. Who was a triumph. A brilliant reinvention in so many ways and Jodie Whittaker is superb,” declared British comic Chris Addison, a director on Veep and star of both The Thick of It and In the Loop.

So, there you go. Sometimes – and this might be hard to grasp for some – casting goes beyond tokenism, and can be justified because of the talent behind it. As Jodie said herself in an interview with Irish News:

It’s 2018, women are not a genre, we are just the other half of the population, so to see us doing things shouldn’t be such a surprise.”

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