Jenna Coleman: Casting a Female 'Doctor Who' is 'Genius'

“Doctor Who” alum Jenna Coleman praised the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th actor to play the series’ titular protagonist Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.

“Oh, I love it,” Coleman said of Whittaker’s casting. “I think it’s genius. I think she is brilliant and lovely, and I can’t wait to hear her speak. I want to hear the voice. I think it’s very exciting times.”

Coleman played Clara Oswald, companion to the Doctor, on three seasons of “Doctor Who.” She appeared via satellite Monday at TCA to promote the upcoming season of PBS’ Masterpiece drama “Victoria,” in which she plays Queen Victoria of England. Coleman was asked at the end of the press panel by Masterpiece chief Rebecca Eaton to chime in on Whitaker’s casting.

Whittaker will be the first woman to play the Doctor, taking the role over from outgoing star Peter Capaldi beginning next season.

Whittaker’s casting, announced two weeks ago, sparked a torrent of misogynist vitriol on social media, but has been defended by most connected to the show. Speaking at Comic-Con last week, outgoing “Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat unleashed an angry tirade at the media for promoting what he characterized as a false narrative about the backlash.

“There has been so many press articles about the backlash among the ‘Doctor Who’ fandom against the casting of a female Doctor,” Moffat said. “There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionally conservative ‘Doctor Who’ fandom has utterly embraced that change completely — 80 percent approval on social media, not that I check these things obsessively. And yet so many people wanted to pretend there’s a problem. There isn’t.”