Jodie Whittaker has an important message for fans who are social distancing amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic: Be kind, and listen to science. She should know, after all, she’s the Doctor.
Doctor Who star Whittaker sent an “emergency transmission” to fans through the Doctor Who Twitter account, self-isolating herself to help curb the spread of coronavirus, or as she calls it, “hiding from an army of Sontarans.” It’s a sweet and funny video message that will be sure to brighten your day — as any episode of Doctor Who will do.
Don’t worry, she’s The Doctor. Okay, Jodie Whittaker isn’t a medical professional per se, but she knows a thing or two about inspiring hope in humanity during the darkest of times. Whittaker’s time-traveling protagonist of the long-running BBC sci-fi series has long made a habit of turning up when the world needs her most. And now she’s showing up again, clad in her rainbow shirt and long coat with an important message to Doctor Who fans.
“Oh, hi, this is an emergency transmission,” says Whittaker, dressed as the Doctor, in the clip. “If you’re seeing this, the TARDIS must have detected an upsurge in psychological signals from somewhere in space and time. Basically, I think somebody somewhere might be a little bit worried. I’m actually just self-isolating, or as I like to call it, ‘hiding from an army of Sontarans’ — but keep that to yourself.
Now, here’s what I do in any worrying situation. One, remember, you’ll get through this and things will be alright, even if they look uncertain, even if you’re worried, darkness never prevails. Two, tell jokes, even bad ones, especially bad ones, I’m brilliant at bad ones. Three, be kind, even kinder than you were yesterday, and I know you were super kind yesterday. Look out for each other, you won’t be the other one worried. Talking will help. Sharing will help. Look out for your friends, your neighbors, people you hardly know, and family, because in the end, we’re all family. Four, listen to science, and listen to doctors, right? They’ve got your back. Five, stay strong, stay positive, you’ve got this, and I will see you very soon.”
Her “emergency transmission” made its way to the Doctor Who Twitter page, which posted it below.
— Doctor Who Official @bbcdoctorwho March 25, 2020
Kindness is a common theme through Doctor Who‘s run, as is the strength of science, despite the show’s reputation for technobabble. Whittaker’s message represents those themes perfectly, and her giving the message dressed as the Doctor is perfect, given the show’s main demographic of children who worship the time-traveling alien. It’s, in a word, brilliant.
By its nature, Doctor Who is a show filled with gaps and holes — the series was off the air for 16 years between the time it was canceled in 1989 and revived for a modern audience in 2005 by Russell T. Davies. Even when it’s on the air, our favorite time-traveling alien is having countless off-screen adventures that we’ll never be privy to.
The mystery of Doctor Who has allowed fans to fill those gaps with their own imaginations, or with the hundreds of audio book stories released by Big Finish. But imagination can only take us so far, especially when that’s the only thing we’re stuck with in quarantine. So former showrunner Russell T. Davies and current showrunner Chris Chibnall are stepping in to fill in those gaps with never-before-seen prequels to their respective runs on Doctor Who.
“Rose,” the inaugural episode of the modern Doctor Who revival that launched a whole new era for the sci-fi series, celebrated its 15th anniversary yesterday. In honor of the episode’s 15th anniversary, for which Davies lead a live-watch of “Rose” on Twitter, Davies wrote and published “Doctor Who and the Time War,” a short story covering the Time War and the Eighth Doctor’s Paul McGann regeneration into the Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, on the BBC website.
“This was never meant to exist,” Davies explained in an introduction of the short story. “Way back, maybe early 2013, Tom Spilsbury, the editor of Doctor Who Magazine, asked me if I wanted to contribute to DWM’s great 50th special. Maybe addressing that huge gap in Doctor Who lore, how did the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the Ninth?”
Davies was hesitant, as that would take the mystery out of the whole thing. But he ended up writing a short story, which would be rendered non-canonical by Steven Moffat‘s 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor,” which introduced John Hurt as the War Doctor. So the story never ended up being published — until now. You can read it here, and giggle over the very appropriate first word that comes out of the Ninth Doctor’s mouth.
Davies’ story comes after Moffat wrote special introduction for Strax the Sontaran ahead of a live-tweet of “The Day of the Doctor” earlier this week, and after current showrunner Chibnall published his own prequel to the first episode of his run, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” on the BBC website. Chibnall’s story is equally brief, and mostly documents the chaotic thought process that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor went through as she fell to Earth from her exploding TARDIS. You can read the story here.
While these aren’t new episodes, or even short mini-sodes of Doctor Who by the way, I miss those, BBC, it will be...