When you trade being one doctor for another, there’s bound to be some jokes, but Trust Me — the medical thriller that previously starred Jodie Whittaker before a big blue box came calling — is actually going to drop some playful nods to her Who-based exit, and also, weirdly, make Doctor Who part of its story.
The first season of the BBC thriller aired back in 2017, just weeks after Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who’s titular Time Lord. It starred Whittaker as a nurse named Cath Hardacre, who steals a doctor’s identity and moves to Scotland in search of a new life after being suspended for trying to uncover neglect allegations at her hospital.
But when the show was renewed for a second season, there was a tiny problem: Its fake doctor had to go off and be, well... a different kind of fake doctor.
Although writer Dan Sefton tried to make his initial plans for Cath’s story to continue work, filming Doctor Who made Whittaker’s involvement impossible — and so the series has been entirely rebooted with a new cast and premise ahead of its return to the BBC in a few weeks on April 16.
Instead of following Whittaker’s character, the second season follows wounded Army Corporal Jamie McCain (played by Harry Potter’s Dean Thomas himself, Alfred Enoch!) who, after being hospitalised, strikes up a friendship with a quirky fellow patient... who just so happens to be a reference-dropping Doctor Who superfan.
Speaking to Radio Times about how Doctor Who whisked away his star, Sefton spoke about how patient/Who fan boy Danny Adams (played by Elliot Cooper) was written in to basically be a walking nod to Whittaker’s exit from Trust Me... and that at some point in the second season, it’ll actually make Danny’s Doctor Who expertise directly part of the narrative:
We knew when we were creating it that obviously Jodie had moved on to that role and to do something different. So it sort of just came to me in a flash, and I thought, well, it’s kind of fun – it fit with the character [of Danny] – so we have a bit of a nod and a wink to the history of Trust Me.
It was kind of deliberate. I was kind of like, this is going to wind a couple of people up. But the little Doctor Who nods do continue a little bit longer, so it becomes part of the plot… it’s how [Jamie] unlocks the iPad and stuff like that. It’s more than just a nod.
It’s a weird way to address that your star’s suddenly off elsewhere having adventures in time and space, but a cute one. And it is the closest thing to new Doctor Who on the BBC we’ll get for the rest of this year.