Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill on making people feel seen and ‘phenomenal’ Ncuti Gatwa
As Jodie Whittaker’s time on Doctor Who comes to an end, she and co-star Mandip Gill have looked back on the diverse legacy of their run on the iconic BBC sci-fi show.
Fans from different races, sexualities and backgrounds have seen themselves represented through the characters and plot since the Thirteenth Doctor started her travels in the Tardis – in particular queer viewers, when it comes to the relationship between Thirteen and Yasmin (Gill).
Speaking on the impact of the diversity on fans, Whittaker told media: “We are lucky enough that we have had interactions with fans.
“I’m not on social media so these are human interactions, and what’s been wonderful is feeling that the connection we have to our characters has resonated.
She said that she wanted to make sure there was “something or someone relatable” in every moment of her episodes as the Doctor – even if that was an alien.
“I think that is the beauty of this role. It has been wonderful for us to know that it has felt received and that people have felt seen.”
GIll, who’s played the Thirteenth Doctor’s companion since the beginning of her run, has seen Yaz go through a journey of self-empowerment and discovery.
The Doctor and Yaz 💙💙 pic.twitter.com/TaBx4t1S1f
— Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor 🔥 (@bbcdoctorwho) October 11, 2022
During storylines such as “Eve of the Daleks” and “Legend of the Sea Devils”, we watch Yaz go on a journey of accepting herself and her love for the Doctor – and how she processes this hugely personal revelation.
Since the hints were first dropped, queer fans have fallen in love with Thasmin (the name given to the couple by viewers), created art, stories and shared huge amounts of love for the two.
“I wanted to be seen when I was growing up,” Gill explained.
“We can only thank [showrunner] Chris Chibnall for writing those characters. It feels amazing that people do resonate with it.
“I see a lot of fan art and loads of interactions with people where it has meant so much to them. I know what it feels like to see yourself so I can only imagine.”
Whittaker agreed, adding: “It brings people to tears to be seen. It’s just mad that it is 2022 and it has taken that long for a group of people to be seen.
“But I am so honoured to have been part of that.”
The past few seasons certainly have seen a diverse cast and crew, with stories such as “Demons of the Punjab” and “Rosa”, exploring Partition in the Indian subcontinent and 1950s America.
While Sunday’s “The Power of the Doctor” will bid farewell to Thirteen and Yaz, there is much to look forward to with Russell T Davies returning to the show, and Sex Education‘s Ncuti Gatwa stepping into the role of the Doctor.
Whittaker said she has “no advice” for Gatwa, adding: ‘It’s yours for the taking. I’m certainly not giving that phenomenal actor advice.
“He doesn’t need it for me. It’s yours to own, and you’ve earned it.”