Comic-Con fans go wild meeting first female ‘Doctor Who’

SAN DIEGO — Some 6,500 Comic-Con attendees cheered on the 13th “Doctor Who” Jodie Whittaker Thursday in San Diego in her first public appearance since getting the coveted role.

Whittaker is the first woman to play the role, which has also been occupied recently by Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith.

The English actress described the Comic-Con experiences as “loud” and “amazing” and says she has felt “lots of support.”

Whittaker said it was “incredibly emotional” when her casting was announced a year ago. A viral video of a little girl responding to the news reminded her that she didn’t have a TV role model who looked like her when she was young, she said.

She said she knew that being the first female Doctor would have extra responsibility thrown in, but that she and her co-stars are standing on the shoulders of the 12 previous Doctors.

“Hopefully we make them all proud,” Whitaker said.

New showrunner Chris Chibnall told The Associated Press that switching up the Doctor’s gender was the “easiest decision ever.

“The world was ready, the show was ready, the audience was ready, and the BBC were totally behind it from the start and then it was the question of finding the right person for the role and we had a great list of people and we got the best person for the part,” Chibnall said. “I think audiences are really going to fall in love with her this year.”

Many fans in the convention center’s Hall H waited in line overnight to get a spot in the panel. Some also wore their best Doctor Who costumes — men and women alike.

Little was revealed about the upcoming season of the highly secretive show, but the producers stressed that this new season will be accessible to all, fans and newcomers alike. In other words, don’t get scared off if you don’t know TARDIS from a Sonic Screwdriver.

“It’s a new volume in the story, it’s a new book of the tale of ‘Doctor Who’,” said executive producer Matt Strevens. “If you’ve never seen the show before it is the perfect time to start because you’ve got a brand new doctor. She’s figuring out who she is.”

The new season will debut on BBC America in the fall.Photo by KarenBorterPhotography