On her way out of the series, Doctor Who's Jodie Whittaker is a lot more popular than you might think.
Jodie Whittaker’s time as the hero of Doctor Who has not been marked with an abundance of love either from fans or critics. Along with what proved to be a controversial choice of casting a woman in the role of The Doctor, other elements of Whittaker’s time on the show have proven divisive. So it may be a surprise to learn that according to a recent study, Whittaker’s version of the Timelord is a lot more well-regarded than you might think.
Scottish newspaper The National reported today that the study to determine the best Doctor comes from William Hill — one of the more well-known bookmakers in the UK who have taken bets on who will replace Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who‘s lead after the current 13th season. Hill reportedly used a combination of headlines, average IMDb ratings for Doctor Who episodes, social media posts, and web search volume in his study. According to Hill, the best Doctor is the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Meanwhile Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor comes in fourth place, right behind her immediate predecessor, Peter Capaldi.
While fourth place may not be a stellar position, considering how rocky Jodie Whittaker’s time on Doctor Who has proven to be, it’s surprising she would reach that high in such a study — particularly considering she has 12 competitors. As Cinema Blend discussed last July, while Whittaker’s gender has proven to be a huge sticking point for some fans, there are other issues as well. In particular, certain events from the show’s long history have either been overlooked, ignored, or rewritten, leading many to see the time of the Thirteenth Doctor as a soft reboot.
In September Russell T. Davies — Doctor Who‘s showrunner from the beginning of Christopher Eccleston’s time as the Doctor to the end of Tennant’s tenure — announced he would be returning to the series he helped revive. The news led to speculation that Davies was coming back to save the flagging series. Along with noise from fans, Jodie Whittaker’s time on the show hasn’t proven a critical darling. For example, the 12th season has a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the Revolution of the Daleks special rated at 69%. Those are hardly the worst scores in the world, and in fact a 78% score earns Doctor Who season 12 a “certified fresh” rating on the site. But it’s worth nothing that the season and special represent the only times a Doctor Who season or special has dipped below 80% since the series was revived.
Jodie Whittaker’s score in the bookmaker’s study wasn’t the only surprise. Christopher Eccleston comes in at second place, in spite of having a relatively short time on the series. Out of all the 21st century Doctors, Matt Smith comes in dead last in fifth place.
As for who will be replacing Jodie Whittaker after the current season of Doctor Who, there’s no firm word yet. The National says two of the frontrunners — according to William Hill and bookmakers like him — are Omari Douglas and Lydia West, both of whom worked with Russell T. Davies on his acclaimed miniseries It’s a Sin. Other candidates include Michael Sheen (Good Omens) and T’Nia Miller (The Haunting of Bly Manor).