Pandemic has ‘skyrocketed’ my anxiety, says Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker

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Jodie Whittaker, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Laura Parnaby, PA

Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker has revealed her anxiety has “skyrocketed” in recent months, fuelled by worries about coronavirus.

The first woman to play the Doctor told the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine that in disordered times she feels on the verge of an “apocalyptic panic attack”.

Filming for the BBC One show has been under way this November, as the cast prepare for the latest series including the Revolution Of The Daleks Christmas special.

While speaking about the latest series, which has been shot with coronavirus restrictions in place, the 13th Doctor, from West Yorkshire, told journalist Francesca Babb about how the pandemic has affected her personally.

She said: “I’m pretty anxious anyway, so it (the pandemic) has skyrocketed my paranoia.

Jodie Whittaker was the first woman to play the Doctor (PA)

“That worst-case scenario, that I cause someone ill health, I cause them long Covid… I’m a follower of a rule and I need things to be really clear, otherwise it sends me into an apocalyptic panic attack.”

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The actor went on to say that she would usually spend Christmas with her parents, who she is close with, or have a “massive” celebration with her husband’s family in America, but added “obviously, we can’t do that this year”.

Whittaker is not alone in feeling more anxious over the course of the pandemic, as it has affected mental health and stability across all age ranges, recent research has shown.

Half of British teenagers have been unable to stop worrying at times during the coronavirus pandemic, and most of them have felt alone, according to a study of 2,375 adolescents by the Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University, conducted from August to September.

Similarly, more than a third of older people have become more anxious or less motivated, according to an Age UK survey of 1,364 adults over 60 – particularly older women.

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