Even though the premise is about travelling through time, it took this long for the show to catch up with the rest of the 21st century.
Why is it so hard for some people to accept? It’s a show about aliens and monster and space, but when a man turns into a woman, they just cannot take it. I just don’t understand some people. Deal with it.
Personally, I find the strongest characters in the series have always been the female leads: River Song, Madame Vastra, Martha, Amy, and of course Rose. Let’s face it, they carried the show through to Capaldi.
In fact, I was shipping a Madame Vastra/River Song/Torchwood spin-off series – but I’ll save that one for the script ideas I continue to send good old Russel T.
Doctor Who has been building up to a female lead for some time now. Just last season we were introduced to Missy, the female incarnation of the Doctor’s age-old nemesis the Master. Why is a villain changing gender easier to stomach?
The Doctor’s companions have largely been women and let’s not forget the Tardis itself is often identified as female.
In the most recent series, the episode Empress of Mars featured a brief cameo from Alpha Centauri, one of the show’s iconic creatures from ‘back in the day’. It’s a one-eyed, multi-limbed non-binary being of a higher intelligence – although back in the 70s it was rather dismissive of human females, but so was everyone else I guess.
Really what the show has been gradually trying to tell us all along is that, much like Captain Jack’s sexual preferences, gender doesn’t matter anymore. Or at least it shouldn’t. It still seems to be an issue for the pathetic minority though, but the ratings Jodie Whittaker will no doubt draw in as she breathes new life into this, let’s face it, tired show, will make the haters dissolve into insignificance. Not only is it a powerful move, it is era-defining.
Besides, female leads used to be everywhere in sci-fi. Are we forgetting Captain Kathryn Janeway? Lara Croft? Wonder Woman? Princess Leia? Dana Scully? Bufffy? Xena the Warrior Princess?!!
However, I do think it is a crying shame that there are far too few original female leads being created out there on the telesphere. A female Doctor could be the beginning of something truly wonderful.
Why stop there? What about a female James Bond? I would love to see Gillian Anderson in the role of Jane Bond. She would be perfect. Composed and cool, sexy yet lethal.
Other actors who need to be on the TV/big screen wayyy more include:
Robin Wright, Lena Headey, Gemma Chan, Cherry Jones, Oona Chaplin, Uzo Aduba, Gwendoline Christie, Noma Dumezweni, Vicky McClure, Tracy Lysette and, of course, Laverne Cox.
Then there is the inimitable Tilda Swinton, who was originally tipped to be in the running for the next Doctor. Beautifully androgynous, it seemed more fans could get behind her not-quite female, boyish, ‘passing-male’ look.
Which segues nicely into a bit of further reading: Orlando by Virginia Woolf. It is the story of a young man who promises Queen Elizabeth I that he will never age. So he doesn’t and lives for centuries. Until one day, after a crisis of masculinity, he wakes up to find he has turned into a woman. He – now she – duly embraces her new body and carries on as a lady, but finds life isn’t quite as easy when society sees that you now have breasts. For a stunning film adaptation, watch Sally Potter’s Orlando starring Tilda Swinton. It is one of my favourite films of all time. Also starring queer icons Quentin Crisp and Jimmy Somerville.
I want to tell the fans not to be scared of my gender […] This is a really exciting time.
Forget the casting for a minute. I am more interested to see how they write this transformation into the narrative. Will there be an Orlando-esque ‘crisis’ of masculinity? Will it be a conscious decision? Obviously, there will be the standard-issue melodramatic death and regeneration, but how will the Doctor react to her new body? How will the universe react?
I can imagine there being a lot of plots involving various villains ‘underestimating’ the Doctor because she’s female. If so, that would be a predictable boring shame.
Jodie Whittaker now has the weight of a generation of fans on her shoulders. Here’s hoping she steps out from under the shadow of the 12 men who preceded her and makes this role her own. As we would expect from any actor who lands this gig.
Whittaker will make her debut as the Doctor during this year’s Christmas Day special.