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Doctor Who alum John Barrowman had some choice words for the critics of the new female Doctor: “Just sit down and give it a chance.”
Clad in a TARDIS dress, Barrowman performed what amounted to a one-man show on Thursday at Comic-Con, taking questions from the crowd, the first of which was how Barrowman — who played Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and spin-off Torchwood — feels about Jodie Whittaker being the new face of Doctor Who, taking over from Peter Capaldi and becoming the first woman to portray the titular Time Lord.
“What I love is it caused a bit of controversy,” Barrowman said. “When we did the first regeneration from Christopher [Eccleston] into David [Tennant], people weren’t happy about it. Seriously. There was a lot of upset, a lot of ‘This is ridiculous!’ because David at that time was younger. We all had to accept everybody loving it and everybody hating it. However, when I was asked about it, this is my same exact answer to this: If we buy into the world of Doctor Who — which we do, those of us who love it — we buy into it, we commit to it, we go where that TARDIS takes us. It doesn’t say that he will be a he all the time. We don’t know who he’ll regenerate into, so it could conceivably happen. If we forget the producers who are making the decision, if believe it as that world — I’m getting really geeky and nerdy right here — it could possibly happen, it could be a girl. Right? The other thing is, we all get on that TARDIS, as I did, or you get in the TARDIS with the Doctor, whoever that may be, and we go in that TARDIS for the journey, and the experience, and the stories.”
As fans of the series know, the Doctor hails from an extraterrestrial species whose members travel through time and space, have two hearts, and regenerate into a new physical form when mortally wounded or otherwise dying, which means more than a dozen different performers have portrayed the Time Lord since the show debuted in 1963.
“Now, I love Doctor Who, I have since I was 4 or 5 and can remember my first experience with Doctor Who,” Barrowman continued. “However, we have to wait and see what happens. So the people who are the critics at the moment, they have a right to be critical, but let’s all give it a chance. How about that? Just sit down and give it a chance. When she took that hood off, I thought, ‘Oh okay, Captain Jack might like you.'”
Barrowman was even open to the idea of the new Doctor’s companion being male. “Perfect,” he said in response to a fan question. “Give the Doctor a transgender companion, give him a boy, give him a girl, give him a little boy or little girl; we could have many different combinations. It can be open to a lot.”
Whittaker will take over the role in the Doctor Who Christmas special, which airs Dec. 25 on BBC America.