For all its whimsy and pleasure, Physician Who is actually only a story constructed on disappointment. The much-beloved British sci-fi sequence ensures its followers ache by biking out its solid sometimes and marking their departures with bittersweet (if not overtly unhappy) goodbyes.
So nobody needs to be shocked to study that one other farewell is on the horizon: BBC recently announced that Thirteenth Physician Jodie Whittaker can be stepping down from the titular position, after three seasons.
Three appears to be a magic quantity on this sequence: Whittaker isn’t the one Time Lord to show of their sonic screwdriver after simply three seasons. The lengthy checklist consists of William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi. Every departed for varied causes, in fact, some extra fraught than others — Hartnell cited well being causes and McCoy’s time within the TARDIS ended when the unique sequence was canceled in 1969. However the three-year pattern continues to be notable, and has even earned a title: the notorious “Three-Season Rule.”
Is the “Three-Yr Rule” Actual?
Again within the years of Traditional Who, Second Physician Patrick Troughton started his run by warning producer Peter Bryant that he deliberate to stay round for under three seasons. His motive? Concern of being typecast.
The second Physician was nicknamed the Cosmic Hobo for good motive: he was scruffy, heat, and a bit bumbling. Troughton nervous that portraying the Physician for a number of years would wreck his long-term profession prospects and pull him out of the working for dramatic and critical roles.
To be honest, Troughton’s concern was very a lot rooted in actuality. Physician Who is such a staple a part of British tradition (to not point out its rising recognition abroad), so it doesn’t take very lengthy for an actor to be related to the character’s defining traits. I, for one, nonetheless confer with Matt Smith as “my Physician,” and there’s no scarcity of followers who instantly assume again to his Who years upon seeing his identify in a headline. It’s fairly potential that Smith shared in Troughton’s concern, together with different Who performers who took up the mantle.
There have been exceptions, in fact: the Third Physician Jon Pertwee caught round for 5 seasons, whereas Tom Baker, arguably the most well-liked Physician, stayed on for a whopping seven seasons — the longest tenure of any Physician Who star. Nevertheless, even they may not escape being typecast.
Unofficial as it’s, the three-year rule continues to persist for good motive. The Physician is a demanding position — bodily talking, he does a whole lot of working away, what with all these alien assaults. However in all seriousness, seasons of Who used to span as much as 40 episodes within the traditional period, and whereas that was by no means the case for brand new Who, even the 13-episode runs had demanding filming schedules.
Taking part in the beloved character eats up an actor’s schedule and doesn’t go away room for a lot else. After three years, lots of the actors really feel prepared to maneuver on to one thing new.
Can Physician Who Actors Escape Being Typecast?
The Physician is distinct for his foolish, whimsical nature, which turns into a troublesome picture to flee. However it’s definitely not not possible.
To their credit score, Tenth Physician David Tennant and Eleventh Physician Matt Smith have managed to dodge the scourge of typecasting by going out for roles that showcase utterly completely different sides of themselves. In Tennant’s case, it helps that his profession was already on the rise.
Tennant has since gone on to play equally grand roles which might be simply as magnetic and simple to affiliate him with. To not point out how utterly completely different they’re from his run as Ten. We’ve seen Tennant as a tortured detective in Broadchurch, a literal demon on Good Omens, some of the reprehensible villains up to now on Jessica Jones, and within the a lot lighter territory, he even voices the grumpy Scrooge McDuck on DuckTales.
Matt Smith’s profession has gone in the same path. Whereas he sometimes dabbles on this planet of caprice (as with the comedic spotlight in Pleasure and Prejudice and Zombies), his most memorable position up to now has been as Prince Phillip in The Crown. Apart from his face, Smith’s Phillip bears zero resemblance to his cherry, bubbly physician and spends most of his time whining concerning the highlight. Not an excessive amount of has been revealed about his upcoming position within the Recreation of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, however I’m guessing he received’t be sporting any bowties.
Peter Capaldi, who was already a longtime character actor lengthy earlier than he stepped into the blue field in 2014, has had no scarcity of post-Who roles both, showing in movies like Paddington, The Private Historical past of David Copperfield, and most not too long ago, as a foul-mouthed villain in The Suicide Squad.
Conserving with the pattern, Jodie Whittaker now has the liberty to dive into darker roles! Simply speaking about it feels jarring — she simply spent the final three years in a rainbow-striped T-shirt and suspenders. The Thirteenth Physician is a pillar of heat and kindness, along with her defining attribute being generosity… However as Physician Who has taught us, individuals change! Now, it’s Whittaker’s flip to beat typecasting and launch headfirst into a brand new period of her profession.
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