Anyone who has been watching the long-running BBC series over the past few years should not find a female Time Lord surprising.
Whittaker's Doctor is compelling and charismatic - you can already tell how much love and respect for the role she has. This message transmitted from my viewing of the first ten minutes of the latest Doctor Who.
But her first full episode as the 13th Doctor aired on Sunday in the UK.More news: Pompeo: 'Progress on agreements' after meeting Kim in N. Korea
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She delivered the requisite post-regeneration comedy easily, and expertly portrayed a Doctor who knows everything and knows nothing at the same time. When her grandson appears to be in danger during the finale, she's the one who comes up with a plan and saves him. Even with the premiere's extended runtime, the chase to prevent Tim from hunting down an unsuspecting human for his bounty takes a backseat to developing the Doctor and her three co-leads. When you compare those numbers to previous Doctor Who seasons, and other shows on BBC, it's easy to see that this new installment is on pace for an unstoppable performance. So much so, that fans are questioning why she had to die... why she's not one of the season 11 companions... and why the ok-but-much-less-interesting Graham gets to go along for the ride.
"Half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman!" she adds. "I was just going, 'Oh, this is fun, this is exciting!'"
Best of all, the show ended on a massive cliffhanger, the likes of which we have not seen since the classic era. Plus, their roles could have easily been reversed if a death was absolutely necessary for the episode to work. Some have suggested that Grace could be back later in the season based on the fact that Clarke's role was reported as "recurring".
We caught up with Whittaker to chat about what Whovians can expect from the new season, what it was like shooting part of the series in South Africa, and the challenges of doing her own stunts.