Jo Martin Speaks About The Importance Of A Black Doctor Who
It has been some time since we last saw Doctor Who grace our television screens. But who can forget the surprising twists and turns of last season? One of the most pivotal moments of season 12 of Doctor Who was the surprise introduction of an unknown Doctor. Played delightfully by actress Jo Martin, the twist threw everything that we knew about Whovian lore into question. This week Jo Martin spoke up once again about what it meant to her to be the first black woman Doctor in the show’s history.
A Groundbreaking Moment In Doctor Who History
Ruth Clayton (JO MARTIN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: James Pardon
In an interview with Radio Times, Martin said that stepping into the Doctor’s shoes was a “groundbreaking” moment. She spoke about how important it was for her to play a role almost exclusively dominated by white men. She talks about how imperative it is for black genre fans to see people who look like them on-screen.
“A lot of Black geeks who love sci-fi have sent me pictures of them doing cosplay. They thank me and tell me it’s great that they now have someone to dress up as,” Martin said. “I was a fan of Doctor Who back in the day and not seeing myself on screen as a child was tough. It’s an awful thing to grow up thinking it’s wrong to be Black. So it’s fabulous that there are now characters like this who young kids can look up to.”
Martin’s character of Ruth Clayton was established as a previous and unknown incarnation of the Doctor in the episode Fugitive of the Judoon. This plot twist was an added layer to showrunner Chris Chibnall’s overall subversion of the show’s lore. It also tied into the ongoing mystery surrounding ‘The Timeless Child’ and the origins of the Doctor herself.
Image via BBC
Martin also went onto say that “No one would expect a Black, middle-aged woman to be Doctor Who, but there we have it.” Times change along with the face of the Doctor all the time. It remains to be seen exactly what impact Jo Martin’s Doctor will have on the series moving forward. It is highly likely that we will see her again in the next season of Doctor Who. And although we may have gotten some answers about The Timeless Child at the end of last season, much of the mystery surrounding Ruth still persists. We definitely look forward to seeing more of Jo Martin as the Doctor in the future.
In the meantime, we can next expect to see Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor on-screen in December. The BBC is bringing back their annual Doctor Who holiday special this year. Although it remains to be seen if it will be a Christmas Day episode, as is traditional or a New Year’s Day episode as the series has done in recent years. The episode will be titled “Revolution of the Daleks” and reportedly has the companions stuck on Earth trying to resolve an alien invasion while the Doctor herself is still grappling with the fallout of the series 12 finale.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.