Last week, British actress Jodie Whittaker made history when it was announced that she would be the first female portraying the iconic leading role in the BBC’s Doctor Who — a decision which is exactly what the franchise needed after dozens of years of white, male leads running throughout space and time. Unsurprisingly, the news of Whittaker’s casting was met with a divisive response, with people either cheering or lamenting the break in Time Lord tradition. But perhaps more surprising, a former Doctor Who star is opening up about how he isn’t yet convinced that the role should go to a woman. Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor in the early 1980s, expressed these sentiments while at Comic-Con this weekend. “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys, who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for. So I feel a bit sad about that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up,” he said, per The Guardian. “As a viewer, I kind of like the idea of the Doctor as a boy but then maybe I’m an old-fashioned dinosaur — who knows?”
Though Davison continued on to say that Whittaker is a “terrific actress” who will likely do a “wonderful job,” his comments ended up angering another former Doctor: his successor, Colin Baker. (Who needs “The Day of the Doctor” reruns when you got this?!) “They’ve had 50 years of having a role model. So, sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there — absolute rubbish,” he said to The Guardian. “You don’t have to be of a gender of someone to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as people?”
Davison notwithstanding, many timey-wimey Who stars have expressed their delight over Whittaker’s casting. Tenth Doctor David Tennant said the show “lucked out” by casting an actress of her caliber, while many others have taken to social media to let their excitement be known.