Sunday night's episode of Doctor Who, titled Fugitive of the Judoon, saw the body-shifting time traveler morph for the first time in more than 60 years, into a Black woman.
Actress Jo Martin, who entered the series as Ruth Clayton, a tour guide in Gloucester, who finds the Doctor's Tardis buried under her childhood home.
“We called her in and she read for it – 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. '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.”
Doctor Who writer-producer Chris Chibnall told The Sun, “I’ve been a fan of Jo Martin since her days on The Crouches and a fan of Doctor Who for decades,” Omi Parisa told Acumen Magazine. “How wonderful to have these two powerful entertainment icons pulled together.”
Prisa, like loads of fans who took to social media to express their excitement, also noted how ecstatic they were to see The Doctor presented as a Black female with noticeable African traits.
“In its more recent manifestations, Black actors have made noticeable appearances on both Doctor Who and its spin-off, Torchwood. They have been companions, high-ranking officials, academics, scientists, and everyday people, so there has been that variety,” Mark Hetmyer told Acumen Magazine. “But the jump from Mickey – or even the lovely Martha Jones to Ruth Clayton becoming The Doctor, is simply brilliant!”
The morphing across racial lines worked in the past with characters like River Song, who entered the lives of her parents as a Black playmate before morphing into their middle-aged daughter in the episode, Let’s Kill Hitler.
Martin is known for her role as Max McGerry in Holby City, as well as stints on The Crouches, Silent Witness, Casualty, Fleabag, and Still Open All Hours.
(Photo courtesy of BBC America)