The Cosplay, the Message and the Impact: a 13th Doctor story…

I posted the following story on Facebook and the lovely reaction to it made me think I should give it a wider audience. A year ago last week I dressed up as the newly announced 13th Doctor – Jodie Whittaker – at San Diego Comic Con. I had great help from two wonderful people – expert cosplayers both: Taylor Deatherage (costume) and Elly Glavich (make-up).

The fact that a man was cosplaying the first female Doctor even made the genre news site – Bleeding Cool. Somehow, they managed to totally miss my message which I had pummelled everyone with – that the vociferous backlash on social media against a woman in the part was at best a pathetic knee-jerk and at worst undiluted misogyny of the worst kind.

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I was trying to say: “It’s going to be OK. Jump on board!” and also to send a message to women in every corner of Whodom – including my daughter – that I was 100% behind the decision and the casting and was seriously excited about it.

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My move surprised a lot of people – including fellow Who scribe Paul Cornell (above) as I turned up to one of my Titan Comics signings in costume.

I should say that although I love fancy dress parties I have never cosplayed before and don’t foresee another instance of cosplay in the future. This was a one-off for a serious cause.

What, you are asking, is the point of this story?

Well, fast forward to this year’s San Diego Comic Con. I am doing a lot of work with Doctor Who and BBC America and even the 13th Doctor, so I was invited to the prestigious BBC America Doctor Who Party.

I met Jodie – who was amazing. She is such a kind, joyous, force of nature. Always smiling, always positive, always welcoming. She introduced herself and I told her how excited I was about her casting and how thrilled my Daughter, Emily, was about getting our first female Doctor.

She asked how old Emily was and I told her she was 13, but about to be 14 in the next few days. Jodie immediately demanded my phone and recored a lovey message for her; one that mirrored my own reasons for dressing as her the year before.

Wonderful, right?

I did not tell her about my cosplay outing the year before. However, while chatting to new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, someone told him about it and said there was a video of it.

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He asked to see so I showed him…

When I’d shown it to him he dragged me back over to Jodie to show her! As it was playing she said “Yeah. I’ve seen it. My husband showed it me and said ‘if this is how much the guys who *write* Doctor Who are behind you, you’ve got nothing to worry about!’.”

I told her that was thew whole reason I did it. And she looked at me and said “That was you??” Chris told her it was and she smiled and grabbed my phone (again!), pausing the video at the point where I take the hood off to reveal my face. “You even got my roots!!” she exclaimed, laughing. She then gave me back the phone and made me pose with the paused video and took a photo of me!

Yes, Jodie Whittaker took a photo of me at Comic Con!!

And, of course, I tool one with her, too.

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But I am so thrilled that by donning her costume to show support for women fans of the show, it had reached Jodie herself and had made her feel less anxious about the reaction to her casting.

Job totally done. 🙂