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Jodie Whittaker on ‘Nerve-Wracking’ First ‘Doctor Who’ Scenes, Show’s Legacy


New Doctor Jodie Whittaker made her Hall H debut on Thursday, surrounded by her companions and the sci-fi saga’s new showrunner and executive producer. They previewed the upcoming Doctor Who Series 11.

“We’re standing on the shoulders [of the 12 previous doctors],” Whittaker told the full capacity crowd. “Hopefully we do them all proud.”

A New Experience

Details on the upcoming 10-episode season were scarce. “It’s really so we can get it to you guys and everyone in the world at the same time all polished and all exciting,” showrunner Chris Chibnall said of the secrecy surrounding the show. “I really love television when it’s a communal experience. I want for all of you talking about it at the same time.”

Fans were treated to insights into Whittaker’s audition and first few scenes as the thirteenth Doctor.

Chibnall says he knew Whittaker was the one right from the start.

“She just walked in the room, and she was just The Doctor,” he recalled. “It was new. It was fresh. It was emotional. It’s exciting as a showrunner, and you want to write for her instantly.”

Whittaker revealed she helped seal the deal by bringing in her own hand-made prop: a shoebox filled with iPod wires. “I defused a bomb,” the actress said with pride.

A New Journey

When it came to shooting her first scene, the regeneration scene replacing Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, Whittaker was less confident.

“It was incredibly nervewracking since the reveal had happened,” she said. “For most jobs, you shoot it and you do press about it. For this show, it’s announced, and you have no idea what you took on board.”

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“It was two days,” she explained. “I was in somebody else’s costume. I was on their set, I was in their TARDIS. I was nervous to touch anything. I felt I was very much in someone else’s shoes which is a wonderful way to start this journey.”

Relive the regeneration scene in the new trailer below:

Shooting the explosion scene was traumatic for Whittaker, who is afraid of fire.

“I am scared of fire. I really have to have a word with myself,” she recalled. “There are some sparks and some things that go bang. Once you’re around it and the adrenaline is pumping you get braver.”

Shooting with special effects is one of the highlights for the entire cast, which includes new companions Tosin Cole (Ryan), Mandip Gill (Yasmin), and Bradley Walsh (Graham), who was unable to attend Comic-Con. “This is all new for us, the world of CGI. We just don’t know.”

A New Sonic Screwdriver

Despite the secrecy, they revealed a few tidbits.

The Doctor gets a new sonic screwdriver this series, which Whittaker pulled out to the audience’s delight.

“It’s made out of some interesting components,” Chibnall revealed. “There’s a story how the doctor comes by this sonic screwdriver,” teasing an fun origin story.

Numerous audience members asked about classic Doctor Who monsters appearing in the upcoming season, but the showrunners really wanted to focus on the new.

“There’s less old stuff returning and lots of new treats,” admitting that, with two weeks left of shooting, no Daleks will be making an appearance.

Doctor Who Series 11 returns this Fall.

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Lawrence Yee

Lawrence is Editor in Chief of FANDOM. He grew up loving X-Men, Transformers, and Japanese-style role playing games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. First-person shooters make him incredibly nauseous.

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