Doctor Who – New Dawn

Essays on the Jodie Whittaker era

This book explores a new cultural moment in the history of the BBC TV series, Doctor Who: the casting of a female lead. Following the reveal that Jodie Whittaker would be the thirteenth Doctor, the series has been caught up in media and fan controversies – has it become ‘too political’? Has showrunner Chris Chibnall tampered disastrously with long-running continuity? And has the regendered thirteenth Doctor been represented differently from her predecessors? Analysing Whittaker’s era – up to and including Doctor Who’s responses to 2020’s first lockdown – this edited collection addresses how the show has been repositioned as a self-consciously inclusive brand. Featuring brand-new interview material with those working on-screen (series regular Mandip Gill and guest star Julie Hesmondhalgh) and those operating behind the scenes in crucial roles (Segun Akinola, composer of the current theme and incidental music), Doctor Who – New Dawn focuses on how the thirteenth Doctor’s era of spectacular TV has been created, and how it has diversified representations of queerness, race, and family. Moving beyond the television show itself, chapters also address fan responses to the thirteenth Doctor via memes, cosplay, and non-Anglophone translation. Finally, this collection looks at how the new ‘moment’ of Doctor Who has moved into gendered realms of merchandising, the commercial ‘experience economy’, and a paratextual neo-gift economy of Covid-19 lockdown reactions that were created by previous showrunners alongside Chris Chibnall. A vigorous new dawn for Doctor Who calls for rigorous new analysis – and the thirteen chapters gathered together here all respond adventurously to the call.

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