‘Doctor Who’: First Female Doctor Was Condition of New Showrunner Deal for Season 11

“If ever there was a character that was never defined by gender, it’s the Doctor,” executive producer Matt Strevens says

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BBC America

The decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the very first female Doctor in the history of “Doctor Who” was one that broke a fan base last year. But new showrunner Chris Chibnall wouldn’t have signed on for the upcoming eleventh season had the show not agreed it was high time a female time lord was in charge.

“That’s what Chris wanted, that was part of his conditions of doing the job,” executive producer Matt Strevens told Digital Spy in an interview published Tuesday.

Chibnall said the decision to make the 13th Doctor a woman felt “straightforward” and “not that controversial.” “It’s very hard to think of many examples in its 55-year history where the Doctor takes a decision based upon gender,” he added.

Peter Capaldi portrayed the 12th Time Lord on the long-running series, giving up his sonic screw driver and keys to the TARDIS during last year’s Christmas Special after making it known earlier in the year that he’d be exiting.

“Once Peter had decided he was leaving, the next Doctor was always going to be a female Doctor,” Strevens told Digital Spy, while filming was underway on this year’s Christmas special.

Strevens added that the minds behind Season 11 knew “in our gut it was about time and it felt like the right decision, and the character is not gender-specific, in any way really.”

“If ever there was a character that was never defined by gender, it’s the Doctor,” he added. “The Doctor is gender fluid in that sense.”

“Doctor Who” Season 11 premieres on BBC America on Sunday, Oct. 7.