Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker on challenges of playing real doctor in new drama
The new Time Lord has spoken about how she learns on-set, and it could stand her in good stead for her new sci-fi role.
New Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker has said she responds well to “being taught something physically” when acting, while speaking about her role in a new medical drama.
Before Whittaker takes on her role as the 13th Doctor in the sci-fi series she will appear in BBC One’s psychological thriller Trust Me, in which she plays a nurse who steals her senior doctor friend’s identity after losing her own job as a whistleblower.
Under the guise of her friend Dr Ally Sutton, nurse Cath Hardacre takes a job at an Edinburgh hospital as a doctor and must attempt to live this dangerous double life without being discovered.
Whittaker, 35, said that taking on the role of a deceitful medical professional in the series came with various challenges.
She said: “I’m not very good with learning dialogue when there are lots of medical terms!
“I enjoy the adrenaline of being on set because I’m quite good at choreography, I respond well to being taught something physically.
“That’s why I was terrible at school, because they talk you through things rather than physically show you. I enjoyed doing the different types of surgery as it was fascinating, it’s nerve-wracking but you realise that you can do it.”
She said she “struggled” with the lengthy speeches with medical terms, adding: “I don’t have a brain for that!”
Broadchurch star Whittaker said that it was helpful that her character was “out of her depth”, adding that it helped to cover her own personal “fumbles”.
“I’m not someone who likes to over prepare for dialogue scenes, because I think that makes me not listen to what the other person is saying as I’ve already decided how I’m going to do it,” she added.
“It immediately makes it interesting and new and you can’t plan for that, which is great.”
She revealed that the show’s writer Dan Sefton helped her to learn medical procedures.
Whittaker said: “The writer, Dan, who is also medical consultant and a doctor outside of TV production, showed us a load of stuff that he used when he was training people.
“He brought in the CPR dummy and showed us how to do a cannula and he, very bravely, let me put a cannula in his vein. I did it right, thank God!”
Whittaker was recently confirmed to be taking over from Peter Capaldi as the Time Lord, the first female to take on the popular role.
Trust Me also stars Blake Harrison, Sharon Small and Emun Elliott, and airs on BBC One in August.