Former Kirklees College student Jodie Whittaker has landed one of the biggest roles available on British TV.
New Who: Jodie Whittaker
Jodie, who studied Performing Arts at Kirklees College, was yesterday revealed as the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who. She will take over from Peter Capaldi, who leaves the global hit show at Christmas.
New head writer and executive producer for BBC Studios Chris Chibnall, who takes over from Steven Moffat on the next series, made the decision to cast the first ever woman in the iconic role. The decision has been somewhat controversial.
Jodie said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”
Maureen Nowodny, who taught Jodie for her level 3 BTEC national diploma in performing arts at Kirklees College, recalls a “brilliant” and fearless student, who would “always be ready to learn, always ready to not hide behind anything”.
She said: “I was Jodie’s dance tutor, and I can’t say it was a favourite lesson – as in it wasn’t really her thing – but she never missed a lesson. She always used it as another string to her bow, or an experience to expand her performing arts.”
She added: “What I remember of Jodie was she was a lovely person to teach. She was very enthusiastic, focused, and wanted to do as much as she could to progress and to be what she wanted to be, and that was an actress, of course. She was really an excellent attender, a timekeeper, and full of enthusiasm for everything that we ever threw at her. She was just lovely, and you could see really from the early days that she would be someone to be reckoned with.”
Gloria Appleton, who taught Jodie acting, said she was quiet and grounded student and a “hard worker”.
“I’ve got clippings of her that I’ve kept, paper clippings from the TV Times,” she said.
“I’m always promoting her, saying: ‘Oh, you know, she came here, she came here,’ as well as Paula Lane who came here as well, who was in Coronation Street for a while.”
Kirklees College’s list of famous alumni boasts an Olympic gold medallist, a radio DJ, a soap actress, and now…The Doctor.
“We’re very, very proud and we’re so happy for her success and she deserves it because as I say she’s a hard worker,” said Gloria.
“I think she just wants to be good at what she does, and she’s an artist. She’s focussed on the arts. I don’t think she was expecting to be as successful as she has been and that’s just been through sheer hard work…I mean you can’t get much better than Doctor Who, can you?”
Jodie, from Skelmanthorpe, was a pupil at Shelley College. After Kirklees College, Jodie graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2005 with a gold medal in Acting.
Since then she has worked continually in film, television and theatre. Her TV credits include the critically acclaimed ITV drama Broadchurch (for which she was nominated for Best Actress for the RTS Television Awards), Emmy award-winning Black Mirror, Sky 1’s The Smoke, BBC’s Cranford, in which she starred opposite Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton, The Night Watch (BBC), The Accused (BBC), and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (BBC).
*quotes taken from TES article