“Doctor Who” on Sunday night revealed its first-ever Black incarnation of the title character, known as The Doctor, portrayed by actor Jo Martin.
And fans quickly took to social media to celebrate the moment.
Note: Spoilers ahead
Sunday night’s “Fugitive of the Judoon” episode involved the Judoon ― a band of rhino-like mercenary cops from space ― chasing down a fugitive on Earth.
The current Doctor, portrayed by Jodie Whittaker (the first female incarnation of the character) steps in to protect their target, a tour guide named Ruth Clayton.
However, Ruth isn’t a tour guide at all.
She’s The Doctor.
The Doctor can regenerate when mortally wounded, giving the character a new face and new life, via a new actor. Whittaker is officially the 13th after taking over from Peter Capaldi at the end of 2017.
In this case, Martin is not taking over the role but instead seems to be part of the season’s arc surrounding the destruction of The Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey.
It’s not yet clear where Martin’s incarnation sits in the timeline.
It’s implied she is an earlier Doctor ― perhaps prior to William Hartnell’s original ― but Whittaker’s incarnation clearly has no recollection of Martin’s form.
One thing is clear, given the nature of the show: Martin’s Doctor will almost certainly turn up again this season given the events of Sunday night.
A Doctor outside of the official numbered timeline is not without precedent.
In 2013, in celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary, acclaimed actor John Hurt portrayed an incarnation known as the War Doctor in a crossover episode that included both David Tennant’s 10th Doctor and Matt Smith’s 11th.
Given the tight-lipped nature of the show’s production, Martin had to keep a lid on her character… until last night, when she updated her Twitter pic in celebration:
— jo martin (@therealjomartin) January 26, 2020
Fans loved it:
Dear @bbcdoctorwho @DoctorWho_BBCA Thank you for finally giving a Black nerd and other black nerdy adults and kids a Doctor who looks like us. You really dont know how monumental this was and how much it made me cry. Please don't let her be the only one ever. #DoctorWho
— UzamakiJ (@UzamakiJ) January 27, 2020
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) January 26, 2020
WE HAVE A BLACK DR WHO.THIS IS NOT A DRILL. WE HAVE A BLACK, FEMALE DR WHO!!! https://t.co/hHsZMbrUWo
— Stephy (@StephanieYeboah) January 26, 2020
…..oh my GOD. Oh my GOD. IM A BLACK FEMALE. WHO WATCHES DOCTOR WHO. IM— SHES-
— himbothée chalamet (@spanishrat) January 27, 2020
A black female Doctor Who? I’m here for it
— sleekz (@jxnekk) January 27, 2020
i haven't really watched doctor who since clara left but like. weaving a black female doctor into the mythology like this???? LOVING IT SO HARD WOW……….. 😭💖😭💖😭💖
— juno 🦇🌻💖 (@zamothac) January 27, 2020
/! SPOILER DOCTOR WHO SEASON 12 /!i'm still not over the fact that the fugitive of the judoon gave us back jack harkness and gave us another doctor who's a black woman and i'm so emo it's awesome
— milly 📚 (@myosothys) January 27, 2020
— Introducing Jo Martin as The Doctor (@jane_anon) January 27, 2020
— Morgan Jeffery (@morganjeffery) January 26, 2020
— Jaleesa (@Jaleesa_Nicole) January 27, 2020
OKKKKKKK I haven’t watched Doctor Who since Matt Smith but YALL i am gonna have to come thru for a Black woman doctor??? I have to, and captain jack is back???
— incredibly underwhelming (@vegtaco) January 27, 2020
— Sir Thomas Wynn ⚫️ (@Sir_Thomas_Wynn) January 27, 2020 Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost