We take it you’ve heard the news about the Doctors Who?
Jodie Whittaker’s no longer the only active Doctor running around in the BBC’s series, and fans have understandably been scrambling to make sense of the revelation. In the fifth episode of Doctor Who’s current season, it’s revealed that Ruth Clayton (Jo Martin) is actually another incarnation of the Doctor who may or may not predate Whittaker’s Doctor.
In a recent interview with the Mirror, showrunner Chris Chibnall gave casting director Nida Mazoor credit for the casting idea, adding that Martin “was the best person for the job.” And as it turns out, the actress wasn’t told who she was auditioning for exactly.
“But she’s a massive fan of the show and I think she guessed,” Chibnall said. “I had to ring her up and tell her and she was overwhelmed and thrilled. A lot of her family are fans and she kept that secret brilliantly for so long—nobody knew. We filmed it in the middle of last year.”
Because it’s not every day that a new Doctor just pops onto the scene smugly screaming “plot twist!”, there’s been a fair amount of speculation as to how her origins will be explained. One of the theories that’s been gaining traction among fans is that Martin’s Doctor might actually be from a parallel universe, which would be a rather easy way of bringing her into the mix on a technical level while working around some narrative complications.
However, Chibnall explained that parallel dimensions aren’t at all the reason for the new Doctor’s existence. “The important thing to say is—she is definitively the Doctor. There’s not a sort of parallel universe going on, there’s no tricks,” he said. “Jo Martin is the Doctor, that’s why we gave her the credit at the end which all new Doctors have the first time you see them. John Hurt got that credit.”
It shouldn’t need to be clarified that Martin’s officially one of the Doctors Who, but her being a black woman was all but certain to inspire some within the fandom to come out of the woodwork proclaiming she wasn’t a “real” Time Lord. Those people are likely still going to be all kinds of salty about the fact that Doctor Who’s finally leaning into its fantastical potential and really, really pivoting away from the idea that white men are the only people who can be heroes.
But regardless of how that contingent of the fandom feels, Martin’s Doctor is here to stay for the time being, and every sign points to her being a harbinger for a whole slew of new things that are certain to make Doctor Who’s future that much more interesting.