Fans have welcomed the BBC’s first-ever female Doctor Who to their screens.
The first episode, The Woman Who Fell To Earth, starring Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor aired in the UK on Sunday night, local time, and in Australia on Monday night.
It saw the Doctor literally fall from the sky, and meeting new companions Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Graham O’Brien (The Chase UK host Bradley Walsh).
At first, the character has no idea she has been ‘regenerated’ as a woman.
‘Regeneration’ is the show’s way of explaining a change in the actor who plays Doctor Who – an immortal alien ‘Time Lord’ who transforms into new bodies to heal.
“Why are you calling me madam?” Doctor Who asks Yasmin in the new episode.
When a puzzled Yasmin says it is because she is a woman, the Doctor replies: “Does it suit me? Half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman!”
This was technically Whittaker’s second outing as The Doctor, after a very brief appearance in the sci-fi series in last year’s Christmas special when Peter Capaldi’s version of the character regenerated.
Doctor Who has aired on the BBC since 1963.
Whittaker told Variety it should “not be such a surprise” that the show cast a woman in the lead.
“It’s 2018. Women are not a genre. We are just the other half of the population.”
Love love love the new #DoctorWho . It's fun, funny & thoughtful, there's beautiful scenery, & the cast! #JodieWhittaker is perfect, there's a load of multicultural faces, & a middle aged white man to even it all out! So many role models in there. Bravo @bbcdoctorwho 💯 pic.twitter.com/OD9HxHfmU9
— Kumi Taguchi | 田口久実 (@kumitaguchi) October 8, 2018
Whittaker also insisted there would be no revelations of a gender pay gap at the show. “I absolutely know I am not being paid less than any other Doctor,” she told Variety.
“This show is not the show that’s going to do that and have that revelation be the sidebar.”
Fans of the show were quickly impressed with the Broadchurch star’s take on the beloved character.
“Jodie Whittaker is killing it as the Doctor,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Another said: “I love her. I mean, genuinely. I love her. Not because she’s a woman. Because she’s THE DOCTOR.”
“Jodie is already my favourite Doctor,” said another. “This production value and writing is everything I’ve always wanted this show to be. It’s taking itself seriously but still so much fun. I’m in love.”
“Listen. I’ve never been able to pick a favourite doctor – until now,” tweeted another. “Thirteen is my fave. I already love everything about her so much. Jodie is the Doctor.”
Many said Whittaker was “perfect” for the part. One said they had “fully forgotten that the Doctor was ever a man”.
Viewers also enjoyed Whittaker’s Huddersfield accent.
Whittaker told the ABC she approached playing the character as “fizzing-with-energy, this childlike wonder, this hopefulness”.
She said she based her character on Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
“When I started to think about the character, I did think about how much as a kid I loved Doc Brown … What I loved about him was [he has] this extraordinary brain, and this enthusiasm and this love of learning and [sense of] chaos.
“Even though the character was quite old, but you never felt that age – you only felt the youthful energy coming from him.”
Whittaker assured readers she was having fun with the role.
“Am I enjoying myself? Oh my god, yes. It’s absolutely brilliant. And I think, you know, I didn’t deserve the job if I wasn’t gonna have fun.”
The Woman Who Fell To Earth is available on ABC iview.