The ultra-secretive casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who didn’t just extend to the greater British public – but also to many people working on the show! That specifically includes outgoing visual effects team Milk FX – a company involved in one guise or another with the show since 2005 – who had no inkling of Whittaker landing the role until it was formally announced.
As visual effects producer Louise Hastings told the Radio Times, “we were kept in the dark when it came to the reveal of who the new Doctor was… we found out it would be Jodie at the same time as everybody else, watching the Wimbledon final”.
Milk FX was asked by the BBC to quote for doing the regeneration scene, “and the storyboards had been drawn with a man as the Doctor, so that was a bit of a surprise”, Hastings added. “They threw us off the scent!”
The actual regeneration wasn’t then shot with the main unit of Doctor Who, although the team at Milk had done the effect several times before for assorted regenerations. In particular, effects artists Nick Webber is credited as having designed the original work. The scene itself is now up to over 2 million views on YouTube alone…