The Sun and Mail Online have been accused of being “reductive and irresponsible” after publishing nude photographs of Jodie Whittaker in articles covering the announcement that she is the new star of Doctor Who.
Reporting the BBC’s announcement on Sunday that Whittaker would be the first female Doctor, both publications ran articles about Whittaker appearing naked or topless in previous acting work, illustrating the stories with stills.
Equal Representation for Actresses (ERA), a campaign group, said it was surprised and disappointed by the publications’ coverage of Whittaker.
ERA said: “We are delighted by the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. However, we are surprised and disappointed by the Daily Mail [Mail Online is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust] and the Sun’s reductive and irresponsible decision to run a story featuring pictures of Jodie in various nude scenes.”
The Sun published the photographs under the headline “Dalektable” – a reference to the Daleks, an enemy of the Doctor. The article covered pages four and five of the newspaper and described Whittaker’s “saucy screen past”. Mail Online’s article was headlined “Doctor Nude!” and also featured naked and topless photos of previous male Doctors, including Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.
The Sun ran a separate news article welcoming Whittaker’s casting on its front page, while the Daily Mail did not publish the photos in Monday’s edition. The Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star also published photos.
Theresa May was among those who welcomed the announcement of the first female actor to play the Doctor. Responding to questions about the news, the prime minister’s spokesman said: “She was pleased.” Last year May told the Radio Times that she always tried to watch Doctor Who at Christmas “if possible”.
The coverage of the BBC’s announcement attracted criticism on Twitter. Ryan John Butcher, the deputy editor of Gay Times, tweeted:
The Sun's take on Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor is as repugnant as you might expect: "SHE STRIPPED! SHE'S GOT TITS AND SHE STRIPPED!" pic.twitter.com/69YhbnikRU— Ryan John Butcher (@ryanjohnbutcher) July 17, 2017
James O’Brien, the LBC radio host added:
The Sun today publishes pictures of the new Doctor Who's breasts. I'm not sure things have shifted on their axis all that much, after all.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) July 17, 2017
The Sun and Mail Online declined to comment.