“I’m delighted,” Tennant, who played the 10th Doctor on the BBC series, told Stephen Colbert Wednesday of the newly minted female Doctor. “Well, you know, she’s been on Broadchurch for three seasons, so I know her very well. She’s a mate of mine. A couple of days before it was announced I get this phone call from her and she’s in sort of a tunnel of excitement and panic. But it’s brilliant. I can’t think of someone better to join the gang and be poised to take it to a whole new level.”
When Whittaker was announced as the first woman to play the Doctor, social media and message boards were filled with misogynistic comments. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary shut some of the dissenters down, and BBC issued a statement explaining it has been “established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.”
Tennant wasn’t surprised over some of the responses. “Whenever the Doctor changes there’s a backlash because that’s a character that people love, so people get very affectionate about the Doctor they knew,” he told Colbert. He recalled seeing certain messages for his casting, such as, “Who’s the weasely looking guy? Who’s this? I like the last guy. This is not gonna work for me. This show is dead to me. I resign from the Internet.”
When Whittaker makes her debut as the 13th Doctor, Tennant predicts all the noise “will be irrelevant almost immediately.”
“The Doctor can be whatever he needs to be,” he said. “It’s about finding the right performer at the right time and that’s Jodie without a doubt.”
Watch Tennant discuss Doctor Who with Colbert in the clip above.