‘Doctor Who’ Makes History With First Black Actor To Play The Doctor

Doctor Who has made history again. This making history started with casting Jodie Whittaker to play the Thirteenth Doctor, the first woman to be cast in the iconic role. Now the sci-fi show has done it again, casting the first black actor to play an unknown incarnation of the Doctor. Find out who this actor is, how the new incarnation was revealed, and how fans are reacting, ahead.

Who is the first black Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’?

Tosin Cole, Jodie Whittaker, and Mandip Gill of Doctor Who: first black Doctor has been cast in the show
Tosin Cole, Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill at a Doctor Who Screening & Panel | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Jo Martin plays the first black Doctor in Doctor Who. Martin is an English actress who is known for roles in Batman Begins, 4.3.2.1 and now Doctor Who as well. She also, according to IMDB, plays two roles in English hospital drama Holby City.

Also on her IMDB page is a role in Fleabag season 2 as Pam. She was, according to Radio Times, born in London. She started out with smaller parts in stories like Birds of a Feather and The Bill, but eventually became known for bigger roles such as Natalie Crouch in The Crouches, a sitcom that aired from 2003 to 2005. And now she’s making history as the first black Doctor in Doctor Who.

How is the new Doctor revealed?

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The Doctor

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The new, black incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who is revealed during season 12 episode 5, “Fugitive of the Judoon.” There is no official word yet on where she fits in the continuity of Doctor Who, yet showrunner Chris Chibnall has said: “she is definitively the Doctor.” According to Chibnall, “There will be answers to some of these mysteries this series. But as ever with Doctor Who, answers often reveal new questions.”

The first black Doctor in Doctor Who, however, is not initially introduced as the Doctor. She is pretending to be a human woman named Ruth Clayton. She has a husband named Lee, who ends up sacrificing himself to the Judoon to save her. Before he dies, he sends her a text message with clues on how to unlock her true self.

She eventually does and ends up confusing the Thirteenth Doctor when she introduces herself as the Doctor. Since neither one of them recognizes the other, she does not seem to be a past or future incarnation. Though it’s very possible that she could be one or the other. Anything is possible in Doctor Who.

How are fans reacting to Jo Martin’s Doctor?

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You’re going to love this ✨ #DoctorWho

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The first black Doctor in Doctor Who is definitely a historic move. It’s a bold one as well, and will likely make some fans happy. Of course, as with every bold move the show makes, there will probably be those fans who think it’s a step too far and is too much change for the beloved show. However, let’s see what fans have to say in their own words.

One fan on Twitter is excited to be represented in the long-running sci-fi show. This fan says “Thank you for finally giving a black nerd and other black nerdy adults and kids a Doctor who looks like us.” Another fan hasn’t watched the show in a little while but is enthused by the bold move. This fan says “weaving a black female Doctor into the mythology like this?”

The fan is “loving it so hard.” While another fan praises the performances of Jo Martin and Jodie Whittaker. This fan “loved everything about this twist and [is] so excited to see more.” Another fan mentions that “she’s the first black Doctor and in mere minutes she has owned the part!”

How are more critical ‘Doctor Who’ fans reacting?

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"Same brain" #DoctorWho

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Of course, you can’t please everyone. One more critical fan was “shaken with the sheer silliness of it.” They want those behind the show to “go back in the TARDIS and cancel this series until you can come up with something that does not embarrass the Dr. Who legacy!” Another critical fan wants the writers to “stop parachuting in new Doctors from out of nowhere.”

While another fan just hopes that she is “a future Doctor or an alternate universe Doctor. Don’t try and retcon the show’s history,” the fan warns. Another critical fan “found her irritating and annoying.” Someone else says that it “can’t possibly be true” that she’s the Doctor or “the writers haven’t a clue.”

Overall, fan reactions to the bold move to cast a black Doctor in Doctor Who are mixed. Some are loving it, while others are more critical. In the end, it’s definitely a somewhat risky move for the long-running sci-fi show, but showrunner Chris Chibnall told the Mirror he’s “very aware of the history and very aware of the continuity” so hopefully whatever move he makes he will keep all of that in mind. Therefore he might not “retcon the show’s history” as some are worried he will.