As happens in Doctor Who, the last Doctor died and regenerated into a new version. Actress Jodie Whittaker had her regeneration scene on a clifftop and, to the total surprise and delight of those watching, she regenerated into David Tennant. So the fourteenth Doctor is a re-regeneration of the tenth Doctor. Got that? Good!
It is no secret that Whittaker’s run in the TARDIS wasn’t well received. The usual suspects try and say it was because she was a woman so fandom must be toxic. This is not true. It is because the stories were limp and uninspiring while the showrunner of her era, Chris Chibnall, couldn’t resist delighting in inserting the “current thing” or his own personal culture viewpoints into the proceedings, usually in a clunky and eye-rolling manner.
Whittaker herself was fine in the role, and incredibly brave to take on the mantle of the first-ever female Doctor. She wasn’t the problem.
Chibnall is out too, and the man behind the rebirth of Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston in the role is back – Russell T. Davies. He was also showrunner during the incredibly popular David Tenant era, so when Tenant reappeared during that regeneration, many speculated this was Davies trying to really hit a major reset button and clear the decks before the Fifteenth Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, appeared. Tenant will star in a series of feature-length specials throughout November before Gatwa is revealed in the Christmas and New Year’s editions.
The Chibnall era made some highly unpopular choices, including the Timeless Child entry which pretty much reset the Doctor’s backstory. So is Davies doing a hard reset and erasing all this from canon with some wibbly-wobbly, time-wimey stuff via the returning Tennant?
Davies has addressed this in his own regular column for the Doctor Who magazine, as reported by Dark Horizons:
“Oh my God, the TARDIS, the Jodie exterior, she has NOT been erased, and yet by not erasing her, are we erasing the argument that she’s been erased and therefore this is an act of erasure, IS IT?”
In the same report, they mention a previous comment from Davies as to why Tenant regenerated into his own clothes and did not appear in the old Doctors’ clothes, as is traditional:
“I was very certain that I didn’t want David to appear in Jodie’s costume. I think the notion of men dressing in ‘women’s clothes’, the notion of drag, is very delicate. ’m a huge fan of that culture and the dignity of that, it’s truly a valuable thing, but it has to be done with immense thought and respect. With respect to Jodie and her Doctor, I think it can look like mockery when a straight man wears her clothes. To put a great big six-foot Scotsman into them looks like we’re taking the mickey.”
The series will air on the BBC in the UK and through Disney+ worldwide. Disney has injected some cash into the new seasons of Doctor Who.
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