Doctor Who casting: Time Lords clash over 'loss of role model for boys'

Peter Davison says Jodie Whittaker removes ‘vitally important’ hero for boys – but Colin Baker says he is talking ‘absolute rubbish’

Peter Davison, a former star of Doctor Who, has lamented the loss of a role model for boys after the part of the Doctor was given to a female actor for the first time.

Jodie Whittaker was revealed on Sunday as the 13th Doctor, in a move largely praised but which left some infuriated.

Among those who have criticised the casting is Davison, who played the fifth Doctor. Speaking before an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego, Davison said Whittaker, 35, was a “terrific actress” who would do “wonderful job” and that he hoped those who found it hard to adjust would watch “with an open mind”.

But the 66-year-old told the Press Association: “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys, who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for. So I feel a bit sad about that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up.

“As a viewer, I kind of like the idea of the Doctor as a boy but then maybe I’m an old fashioned dinosaur – who knows?”

Davison’s daughter, Georgia Moffett, played a cloned version of the Doctor in the series in 2008, and is married to David Tennant, who played the 10th Doctor.

BBC reveals Jodie Whittaker as next star of Doctor Who

Colin Baker, 74, the sixth Doctor, accused Davison of talking “absolute rubbish”. Baker, 74, has long championed a woman taking over the role and has been celebrating since Whittaker’s selection.

Baker, who has four daughters, previously called the decision to select a woman after 12 men in the role “brave and game-changing casting”.

“They’ve had 50 years of having a role model. So, sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there – absolute rubbish,” he said. “You don’t have to be of a gender of someone to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as people?”

Baker also said he hoped to see a non-white Doctor in the future and that the series should look to America where he feels casting is less dependent on colour.

“They see a future world where that is irrelevant and it’s perhaps time Doctor Who and its fans did too,” he added.

The announcement on Sunday that Whittaker, who starred in the ITV drama Broadchurch, would take the role was also met with praise from the outgoing Doctor, Peter Capaldi.


Jamie Grierson

The GuardianTramp

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