Amid Pay Gap Criticism, BBC Says New Doctor Who Actress Will Be Paid Same as Current Star

The director general has confirmed that while the gender of the Time Lord may have changed, the salary will stay the same.

When the BBC on Wednesday revealed the wages of its top earners, the broadcaster came under instant fire for sexism, with the figures showing a major disparity between the wages of its male and female employees.

Many of Thursday’s front pages in the U.K. were dedicated to the fact that former Top Gear host and Radio Two DJ Chris Evan earned some $2.9 million in 2016, almost five times more than the highest paid female, Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman. 

Coming just three days the BBC announced its new Doctor Who, curious eyes then turned to the famed Time Lord’s renumeration. Would Jodie Whittaker receive the same financial rewards for taking control of the Tardis than outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi? 

As it turns out, she will. 

BBC director general Tony Hall said there would be “parity” between the two actors, speaking to the Evening Standard newspaper. 

While Whittaker’s pay-packet hasn’t been revealed, Hall’s comments indicate that she is likely to earn between $260,000 and $325,000, the amount received by Capaldi in 2016, according to Wednesday’s announcement. 

Hall also responded to some of the criticism the BBC had received over its first female Doctor Who, saying he thought “it was time” for the 13th incarnation to be a woman. “I watched my first Doctor Who in the Sixties, hiding behind the sofa. As a devoted Whovian, I’m incredibly excited,” he added. 

In a statement on the BBC website, the broadcaster also offered its rather polite response to the “unhappy” viewers who had contacted them over Whittaker’s casting. 

“The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender,” it pointed out, adding that Whittaker was “destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.”


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5 Things to Know About Incoming Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker

We are all, by now, aware that the next Time Lord is not a man. Here are some more interesting facts about the celebrated British actress.

After many months of speculation, where nearly every name from British TV was wheeled out by those ever-eager bookies, Jodie Whittaker was on Sunday revealed as the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who in the BBC’s long-running sci-fi, stepping into the time-travellng brogues of Peter Capaldi, who is bowing out of the Tardis in the holiday special.

Much debate has focused on the fact that Whittaker – known to most people as grieving mother Beth Latimer in the acclaimed U.K. series Broadchurch (created by incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall) – is female.

But away from that shock revelation, which appeared to shake some people to the very core, here are five other facts about Whittaker.

She starred in John Boyega’s breakout film…

Whittaker may expect to be battling the odd alien or two on her upcoming Tardis travels, but she’s already got a decent amount of experience under her belt. In Joe Cornish’ s acclaimed 2011 debut, the low-budget sci-fi thriller Attack the Block, she played a nurse mugged by a group of teens who then join forces to fight off a horde of jet black, dog-like creatures that emerge from a meteorite in inner-city London. And the lead star – in his film debut – was also someone testing out their intergalactic muscle for future use: Star Wars’ own John Boyega.

…and the episode of Black Mirror commissioned by Robert Downey Jr.

The first ever episode of Charlie Brooker’s dark anthology series Black Mirror may have seen the U.K. prime minister forced to have sex with a pig, but it was the third and final outing in the first season that arguably attracted the most acclaimed. In 2011’s The Entire History of You, set in a near-future where people have implants enabling them to record and replay everything they see and do, Whittaker starred as woman in a relationship that is torn apart by abilities offered by the technology. So popular was the episode that, following a bidding war, the story – or rather the concept behind it – was optioned by Robert Downey Jr. to make into a film. 

She stepped in for Carey Mulligan with just two hours notice

Having originally auditioned for the Carey Mulligan’s role on stage in The Seagull, Whittaker stepped up at the last minute when the Drive star was hit with appendicitis mid-way through the run in 2007. “I got a phone call at 5 p.m. Can you do this,” she told The Independent. “I’ve never been so scared in my life, it’s like your worst nightmare, walking on stage and not knowing your lines.”

Her code word for Doctor Who was “The Clooney”

Given the level of secrecy around the new Time Lord (even those working closely with the Doctor Who team at the BBC had no idea who it was going to be), Whittaker adopted a code word with her husband, U.S. actor Christian Contreras (who she starred with in last year’s indie comedy Adult Life Skills). “In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney,” she told the Blogtor Who fan site. “Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought: what’s a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.”

Her announcement as the next Doctor Who was immediately followed by predictable behavior in the U.K. press

Following Sunday’s revelation that Whittaker was going to be the 13th Doctor Who, British tabloid The Sun and The Daily Mail’s online edition chose to celebrate the news by digging up nude pictures of her from previous acting credits. Both were accused of being “reductive and irresponsible” by the Equal Representation for Actresses campaign group. One journalist on Twitter responded by saying: “I’m not sure things have shifted on their axis all that much, after all.”

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'Doctor Who' Fans Divided Over First Female Time Lord

Jodie Whittaker, who will be the 13th Doctor, gets some positive feedback, but critical viewers say that the character “is always a man” and that the BBC “just ruined the character for the sake of political correctness.”

The BBC’s Sunday announcement that Jodie Whittaker would take over the lead role in hit series Doctor Who has been met with a mix of praise for the actress and criticism of the decision to cast a female Time Lord.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman,” Chris Chibnall, the show’s new head writer and executive producer, said on Sunday. “We’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice.”

Whittaker herself had urged fans on Sunday “not to be scared by my gender.”

Colin Baker, who played the sixth Doctor, was among those who lauded the decision, tweeting that “the BBC really did do the right thing and let the Doctor be in touch with her feminine side.” He added: “As a father of daughters – result!” He later also wrote: “Change my dears and not a moment too soon – she IS the Doctor whether you like it or not!”

Tracy-Ann Oberman, who has appeared in Doctor Who in the past, wrote: “A generation of young Whovians who will now know that as a female in the Universe you don’t have to be the assistant.”

They joined other positive reviews for the casting decision, which included such tweets as “Jodie Whittaker is an awesome choice” and “The Dr. is the Dr., regardless of gender. #JodieWhittaker”

But others criticized the BBC for casting a female lead, suggesting the decision was made out of political correctness. “Nope, ta-ra Doctor Who. Just ruined the character for the sake of political correctness,” said one critical fan on Twitter.

“That can’t be right, it’s #DoctorWho not Nurse Who,” another user tweeted. “No offense to women but doctor who is always a man, just like James Bond,” said a third.

Sebastian J. Brook, editor of Doctor Who Online, tweeted on Monday: “Whether you agree/disagree with the BBC’s decision, there is no place in fandom for hate speech! #Respect”

In an online post about the casting news, he had written: “As I was watching the reveal on BBC One, I was genuinely shocked when Jodie Whittaker was revealed to be our first-ever female Doctor in Doctor Who. I’ve always been of the opinion that The Doctor is male, and, perhaps, always should be – it has clearly been his preference for 12 (ok 13) incarnations, but maybe now really is the time for a whole new take on the role?”

He added: “We live in a time of equality and representation, and TV is an important platform to portray this. The sad reality is that it has taken so long for these issues to start being reflected realistically, and even now there’s still a long way to go.”

He added: “I do not believe this is an ‘experiment’ or ‘stunt casting’ – or even an attempt to ‘boost ratings,’ which, by the way, are still excellent. I think this is the BBC, and Chris Chibnall saying ‘the time is right!’.”


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