Jodie Whittaker's casting in Doctor Who was kept so hush-hush by new showrunner Chris Chibnall and the BBC that the show's writers didn't even find out until the rest of the world did.
Chibnall confesses in the latest issue of SFX Magazine that series 11 writers Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime, Pete McTighe, Vinay Patel and Joy Wilkinson turned in initial scripts with The Doctor written as a male in order to keep the secret of Whittaker's hiring under wraps as long as possible.
"A lot of drafts of scripts have got 'he' in," the Doctor Who showrunner remembered. "The writers didn't know ‒ nobody knew ‒ until that reveal video went out."
For some shows, it might cause some major re-thinking when your writers find out that their lead character has switched sexes, but Chibnall insists The Doctor has never been defined by being male or female.
"It's very hard for me to think of a decision that the Doctor has taken in 55 years that is a gender-based decision or action," he argued. "I'd really struggle to think of one."
Chibnall conceded that the only situation where gender politics could come into play in series 11 is if The Doctor and her completely platonic companions travelled to real-life historical periods.
"I think particularly in the historicals – if we're doing historicals, which I'm sure we are – obviously that then affects what happens to all these characters when you go to certain periods of history," he hinted.
Doctor Who will start on October 7 on BBC One in the UK, with the series airing on BBC America in the US.
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