Jodie Whittaker’s New Year message as Doctor Who returns: “Don’t lose hope”

Jodie Whittaker takes inspiration from young climate change protestors and asks us to open our ears and hearts as Doctor Who kicks off the new decade on BBC One

Doctor Who returns to our screens on the first day of the 2020s and Jodie Whittaker has spoken exclusively to The Big Issue about her hopes and dreams for the new year and new decade.

“What we should do going forward, and what I feel I need reminding to do, is take huge inspiration from the groups of young people who are putting their voices out there and articulating what we grown-ups can’t,” she says in our New Year edition of the magazine.

“We have Greta [Thunberg] putting herself at risk of criticism to say what needs to be said to move us forward – and we as grown-ups can take inspiration from a united massing of non-violent protest and voice. It’s inspiring.”

As someone who time-travels on television for a living – and does it better than ever judging by the electrifying New Year’s Day episode, Spyfall (Part I) – Whittaker offers a unique perspective on the new year.

She says: “However deflated we feel, throughout history, people have come together and got over massive hurdles. But the one we potentially can’t get over is climate change. So how can our generation think we shouldn’t be listening to the next one? I mean, they’re the ones that have to deal with all this.

“You are never too old or too young to give advice. So you need to be able to receive it from any age group. The new year needs to be open ears and open hearts. Don’t lose hope.”

Whittaker also explains how she takes inspiration from her television alter-ego, and how she feels fully at home in the Tardis as her second full series begins.

“What’s so incredible about playing the Doctor is that fearlessness,” she says. “Knowing the outcome could be devastating but doing it anyway, swimming out and not saving anything for the swim back. That is really extraordinary…

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“I feel like I’ve been accepted as the Doctor,” Whittaker continues. “There was a pressure. If I’d have been a guy in this role I’d have only been representing my own casting as an individual. But it felt like I could hold people back if nobody liked what I brought to the Doctor.

“The gender question is now going away. Hopefully it won’t make the news next time.”

In a wide-ranging interview, the 37-year-old star reveals that there may be dark times ahead for The Doctor as she experiences more horrors and further heartbreaks…

“Some of those things take a particular toll,” says Whittaker.

“The new series is a huge learning curve… but I can’t tell you how. And this isn’t my last season so there’s no point cramming every single side of the entire character into every episode. We’re not in a rush because we hand these shoes on. For me it’s a transition through this universe. And it’s an epic journey.”

Read the full interview in The Big Issue magazine, on sale from 27 December across the UK

Doctor Who returns on New Year’s Day then continues on Sunday evenings from 5 January on BBC One