‘Doctor Who’ star Jodie Whittaker reveals inspiration behind gender-neutral costume

Jodie Whittaker, the first female actor to play the popular Doctor Who character in its namesake BBC series, has revealed the inspiration behind her character’s new costume.

With every reincarnation, Doctor Who changes its trademark outfit. The character has donned scarfs, blazers and bow ties—but, mostly, these were a revisitation of a male three-piece suit. Whittaker wanted her reincarnation‘s style to be truly timeless and genderless, she told the audience at San Diego’s Comic-Con this weekend, reported in Digital Spy.

She did what we all do when looking for inspiration—turned to Google. One of the images that popped up in her search caught her attention. It was a black-and-white image of a woman “walking with purpose, deep in thought” wearing short trousers, boots, braces and t-shirt.

“It felt like such a wonderful expression, in one image, of timelessness, purpose and inclusiveness. All in one simple look,” she said, adding: “”It didn’t feel you needed to be a certain shape, or age, or gender, to wear it. And that’s mainly where it came from.”

Several Doctor Who fans were already cosplaying the look at Comic-Con, where the outfit was also showcased in a life-size Lego statue of the 13th Doctor. Whittaker showed how proud she was about the costume during a surprise appearance at San Diego’s Her Universe Fashion Show, in which she modelled the soon-to-be iconic light-grey hooded long jacket and highlighted its gender-neutral quality.

“Any age, any gender—anyone can wear it! You’re not dressing as a girl and you’re not dressing as a boy… you’re dressing as The Doctor,” she said, quoted in DigitalSpy.

Whittaker also discussed her thoughts with regards to gender-neutral casting at a panel organised at Variety Studio as part of Comic-Con. Asked about which other character traditionally played by a man should be played by a woman, Whittaker said that a starting point would be to cast anyone who’s right for the job.

“If we just cast who we think is right for the job, just start there. And then every door is open to everyone and we don’t have to be defined by all the other things, the box-tick bits,” she said, quoted in Variety.


Jodie Whittaker walks onstage during the Doctor Who: BBC America’s Official panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 19, 2018 (Kevin Winter/Getty)

“Obviously some are gender-specific, that’s not something to shy away from, but just audition an actor and say, ‘Who’s the right person for the role?’ It should be that simple. It kind of blows our minds that sometimes it isn’t that simple,” she added.

The reactions that followed the announcement of Whittaker being casted as the 13th Doctor showed that it isn’t indeed so simple but, luckily for the star, her absence from social media channels shielded her from witnessing the backlash, allowing her to focus on the exciting role.


A release date for the next “Doctor Who” series has yet to be set, but it’s expected to screen on BBC One in autumn 2018.