Doctor Who Series 11: Jodie Whittaker defends topical storylines

Speaking to the Evening Standard at the Regent Street Christmas lighting, Jodie Whittaker defended Chris Chibnall’s choice of subject matter for Doctor Who Series 11 stories.

“What’s the point of making a show if it doesn’t reflect society today? We have the opportunity with this show like no other to dip to future, to past, to present, to new worlds and time zones. There is never going to be a drought in the stories you can tell. It’s always topical. Chris is a very present-minded person who is very aware of the world he lives in and is passionate about storytelling. It would be wrong of him to not have used the past. He does it in a really beautiful way.”

Whittaker’s mention of the past refers to the episodes of Doctor Who which dealt with the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott in Rosa and Partition in Demons of the Punjab.

A future-set episode, The Tsuranga Conundrum featured a male Gifftan, a species where both genders share equally in childbearing. Another futuristic episode, Kerblam! covered the potential for technology to be used for exploitation.

So far this series, Doctor Who has covered topical social subjects such as blood sport, egotism, deadly competition, racism, autocracy, greed, environmentalism, gender equality, colonialism, religious conflict, the technology revolution, corporate exploitation and terrorism.

Jodie Whittaker’s interview was not entirely weighty, however. She also spoke of her competitiveness with Mandip Gill when it comes to performing stunt work. Whittaker famously performed her own stunt when she jumped from crane to crane in The Woman Who Fell to Earth.

“I’m very competitive — particularly with Mandip — so I thought I need to look cool and thought if Mandip can do it, then I can do it. There are certain moments where [execs] went ‘absolutely not’ because the insurance wouldn’t cover it, but episode one, I did it.”

If you want to see just how competitive the two actresses can be with each other, you need only watch them arm wrestle!