Chris Chibnall shuts down fan theory on Doctor Who twist
James R | On 30, Jan 2020
Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall has spoken to The Mirror about the surprise twist in last week’s episode, confirming that Jo Martin is definitely the real deal.
Spoilers below for Episode 5 of Season 12. Not seen it? Read our review here.
Martin, who is the first black actor to take on the role of the iconic Time Lord, appeared from nowhere last week to join Jodie Whittaker, leading to much speculation from fans as to which of the Doctors came first.
Martin is “definitively the Doctor”, Chibnall has confirmed. “There’s not a sort of parallel universe going on, there’s no tricks. Jo Martin is the Doctor, that’s why we gave her the credit at the end which all new Doctors have the first time you see them. John Hurt got that credit.”
The current theory is that Martin’s Doctor fits between Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, the second and third Doctors, because her TARDIS looked like a blue police box, which became stuck in that form after William Hartnell’s first Doctor stole it.
Chibnall has reassured sceptical fans that he is “very aware of the history and very aware of the continuity”.
“We’re telling an ongoing story and there are plenty of things in Doctor Who that change all the time,” he added. “But stories are ongoing pieces of fiction. They develop and evolve. My job is to be bold with the storytelling and have fun.”
As for when we get the answers about what’s going on, well, that might take some time. Chibnall has said that there will be answers to “some of these mysteries” this season, but noted that “answers often reveal new questions” and it was “all very deliberate”.
Director Nida Mazoor was the one behind the idea of Martin getting her own TARDIS, he added: “She was the best person for the job, it was a great suggestion, she’s got a brilliant combination of humour and warmth and wit and softness and steel. She’s a really exciting Doctor.”
Martin, meanwhile, was just as surprised as fans were, having been asked to audition with “secret pages that didn’t mention that it was the Doctor”.
“But she’s a massive fan of the show and I think she guessed,” he explained. “I had to ring her up and tell her and she was overwhelmed and thrilled. A lot of her family are fans and she kept that secret brilliantly for so long – nobody knew. We filmed it in the middle of last year.”
The episode’s other big surprise was the return of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) for a brief scene in which he warned The Doctor of a “lone Cyberman”.
In a blow to fans, Chibnall has confirmed that “you won’t see him again this [season]”.
“I can categorically tell you that,” he said. “But who knows when he might pop up again? We love Captain Jack, we love John Barrowman. I hope that won’t be his last appearance and that at some point he gets to meet the 13th Doctor.”
“Part of the fun of doing Doctor Who is trying to get these treats into the show for people, without anyone knowing, so it feels like a huge present for people for their loyalty,” he continued.
“We planned it for a long time. We shot those scenes at Clifton cathedral in a special secret day of filming so it was all very cloak and dagger. He had his own code name, we pulled out all the tricks to get it done.”