Nude photos of the new Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker have been published by UK tabloid newspapers The Sun and Mail Online, as the Broadchurch actress faces a torrent of sexist abuse after assuming the previously male-dominated role of The Doctor.
Whittaker, who was announced as the new Doctor last week and promptly raised the ire of certain sections of the internet in the process, was featured in separate stories featured in both The Sun and Mail Online which included several nude images of her. The images were taken from the 2014 drama The Smoke, with the Mail Online writing that the show “included full-frontal nude scenes featuring Jodie, which have reemerged.”
The Sun’s column on the photos reads: “NEW Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker has a saucy screen past, a trip back in time reveals. The show’s 13th Time Lord has stripped off more than once for roles. At 24, she flashed her boobs at film legend Peter O’Toole in the 2006 movie Venus.” The headline of the piece was ‘Dalektable’, a reference to Doctor Who’s antagonists the Daleks.
The Mail Online, which ran with the headline “Doctor Nude!”, wrote that her role in The Smoke had featured “the actress in a variety of compromising nude situations.” The Mail Online story also published nude photos of former male Doctors Matt Smith and Christopher Eccleston, writing: “First ever female Time Lord Jodie Whittaker joins her male predecessors in stripping off on camera.”
The Equal Representation for Actresses (ERA) condemned the tabloids’ decision to print the images. A statement from the organisation reads: “We are delighted by the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. However, we are surprised and disappointed by the Daily Mail [Mail Online is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust] and the Sun’s reductive and irresponsible decision to run a story featuring pictures of Jodie in various nude scenes.”
Despite there being no reason why the Doctor wouldn’t regenerate into a woman — even Steven Moffat agreed that there should be a female Doctor in the future — some have inevitably expressed their disapproval of the choice, on the basis that they believe that the Time Lord should remain a man. The criticisms even promoted a response from Merriam-Webster, who tweeted: “‘Doctor’ has no gender in English.”