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Online Trends

Published July 17th 2017

Doctor Who 13: How the World Reacted to the New, Female, Doctor

Doctor Who? The React team wade through almost one million mentions online to find out the real reaction to the new Time Lord.

Full disclosure: I’m not a Doctor Who fan. In fact, I just had to Google whether it’s styled as ‘Dr. Who’ or ‘Doctor Who’.

That isn’t to say that I dislike it, I just haven’t made a habit of watching it. What has grabbed my attention, however, was watching people on social last night and today totally losing their heads because the newest doctor is a woman.

Like, dude. You’re crying over the fact that a show, where the main character is ‘an extraterrestrial being from the planet of Gallifrey’, now has a female lead. After 53 years of male leads. I Googled that too. Anyway, come on. Let us have a go.

And so! What better reason to log on to Brandwatch Analytics than to pull the data on what social’s saying about the appointment of (the excellent) Jodie Whittaker?

I’ve had a venti iced americano and an egg on toast, I’m ready.

I used the Dashboard Wizard in the platform (which is dead easy to use, by the way) and searched for all mentions of #Doctor13, #13thDoctor, #DoctorWho, #TimeLord, and #JodieWhittaker.

Doctor Who 13: The story in social data stats

The news was mentioned on social over half a million times yesterday alone (with the hashtags I mentioned above).


If you’ve somehow missed the announcement video, which has now been liked over 110,000 times, you can see below what all the fuss is about.

Of all mentions, 55% are based in the US, and 22% in the UK, but as you can see from the geotagged map, the whole world has been abuzz.

Shout out to Doctor Who fans tweeting from the Pacific Islands!

Slightly more women than men have posted about the news, at 53% versus 47%.

It should definitely be noted that the sentiment-categorised mentions have been overwhelmingly positive, at 80% compared to 20% negative.

Despite this, a lot of focus in the media has been firmly on the reaction of some who feel that allowing a woman to play the Time Lord is heresy, and have cracked out some lukewarm all-caps tweets letting the BBC know that they’ve LOST A VIEWER. Bet they’re devastated, pal.


I asked Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates, how she feels about it.

The fact that this is even an issue in 2017 is fairly ridiculous, but more shocking are the number of people who seem genuinely angry at the fact that after 12 white men have played the doctor, one woman is finally going to get a turn. It shows that even today progress towards equality is still met with resistance, anger and vitriol.

Doctor Who 13: The most popular takes

It’s worth looking at the biggest tweets on the subject. What’s been shared the most? What’s resonating?

Of the ten most shared tweets, eight are BBC owned. Unsurprisingly at the time of writing the BBC’s announcement is the most shared at 59,272. The third most popular tweet around the Doctor Who news, though, is perhaps my favourite.

Writer Jenny Trout posted a video of her daughter watching the announcement video, and it’s wonderful.

If you don’t understand why Jodie Whittaker’s appointment is a good thing, then hopefully this goes part of the way to explain it.

As of time of writing, it’s been retweeted almost 18,000 times, and liked 61,914 times.


All hail Jodie Whittaker

According to the internet, it’s pretty easy to let the sex of the actor overshadow the actor herself.

Whittaker earned rave reviews for her role in Broadchurch, and according to social, everyone’s jazzed that she’s the new Doctor. We found a lot of blue tick support.

So what’s the takeaway here? That the likes of Dave, Martin and John in the Daily Mail section are the voice of the few, not the many.


Hey, guess what? Women can, in fact, be doctors. Women can even be Ghostbusters.

This is one more positive step in the right direction, and I’m here for it. You never know, I might even start watching.

If you’re a journalist looking to cover our data email us at [email protected] for more information.

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