The revelation over the summer that Doctor Who would, in fact, star a female actor in the lead role was shocking, to say the least. BBC’s efforts to keep it a secret until the official announcement were so extreme that they lied to people that work on the show.
Radio Times noticed that last week at the VFX Festival in East London, Visual Effects Producer Louise Hastings admitted to crowds that she other other members of the visual effects team at Milk VFX were lead to believe the 12th Doctor would be a man. “The BBC actually had us quote her first scene before we knew it was gonna be Jodie, via storyboards,” Hastings said. “And the storyboards had been drawn with a man as the Doctor.”
Basically, BBC intentionally misled the VFX team, making it seem as if the 13th Doctor would be a man. Considering they’d already cast 13 men in the role, it didn’t seem all that far-fetched — even with plenty of fans and former Doctor Who actors clamoring for BBC to change it up with a female Doctor.
The team at Milk VFX were “kept in the dark” about the monumental casting and “found out it would be Jodie the same time as everybody else: watching the Wimbledon final.”
Keep in mind: The regeneration energy designed by this team is what actually transformed Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor into Jodie Whittaker’s 13th, which is pretty ironic. Even they didn’t know until after the public announcement, which just speaks to how secretive BBC had to be in order to keep this under wraps.
For the longest time, Kris Marshall was the frontrunner to become the next Doctor, but there were certain hints in Season 10 that the 13th Doctor might be played by a female. There were also rumors of Phoebe Waller-Bridge assuming the role, among other actors, both male and female.
But ultimately, it’s a new era for Doctor Who. We have Jodie Whittaker’s female 13th Doctor, a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall, and even a new visual effects team from Double Negative.
No air date has been announced for Doctor Who Season 11, but all signs point to it starting in late 2018.
Relive Peter Capaldi’s last scene on Doctor Who, which is also Jodie Whittaker’s first: