Earlier this year, BBC made a groundbreaking announcement when it revealed “Broadchurch” actress Jodie Whitaker would be the new lead on “Doctor Who,” making her the first female doctor since the series first began over 50 years ago. The news was a cause for celebration, but of course a certain section of the fandom was not too pleased the show was making a gender switch. Within hours of the announcement, the hashtags #NotMyDoctor and #NurseWho became the official slogans of the opposition. The months since have seen the BBC and previous Doctors defend Whitaker, and you can count fellow BBC favorite Benedict Cumberbatch among her most vocal supporters.
“It’s an alien. Why can’t it be a woman? Why can’t it be any gender? It doesn’t matter to me,” Cumberbatch said to Variety. The actor is currently promoting his upcoming BBC film “The Child in Time,” based on the 1987 novel by “Atonement” author Ian McEwan. Cumberbatch stars opposite Kelly Macdonald as the grieving parents of a missing child.
The actor continued to defend Whitaker and all gender-neutral casting, adding, “I don’t speak as someone who has the right as a fan to have an incredibly strong opinion. I just speak as someone who wants to see Jodie Whittaker’s performance as the doctor. I think she’s an extraordinary actress and we’re lucky, culturally, to have got her to agree to do it, let alone any debate ensuing about whether it’s right or wrong.”
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As to whether or not he’d be comfortable with a female actor taking over his iconic role as “Sherlock,” Cumberbatch only had this to say: “Why not? I don’t care. ‘Sherlockina’ is coming to you soon!”
Cumberbatch recently premiered his new film, “The Current War,” and the Toronto International Film Festival. The drama, in which the actor plays Thomas Edison opposite Michael Shannon’s George Westinghouse, opens in select theaters November 24 via The Weinstein Company. He’ll be reprising his role as Doctor Strange in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” in May 2018.