On Sunday, July 16th 2017, just after Wimbledon ended, the BBC made an announcement of epic proportions. One of their longest running shows was about to make a major change. Doctor Who was going to be played by a woman. Some people cheered, some people went into absolute conniption fits. I think a proper turn of phrase would be – the internet melted. Every Facebook group I was in was talking about it. Even the group I’m in where it’s nothing but Big Lebowski memes and discussions was talking about it. The Doctor, the two-thousand year old Time Lord who travels around in his, and soon to be her TARDIS was going to be played by Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker. Watch the reveal right here if you haven’t seen it yet…
What’s my opinion? I’m all for it! I really like her being chosen and I’m getting excited for this. For one, it opens so many more storytelling opportunities. And I’m not above wanting it to go a little sexy and use this as an excuse for Captain Jack to come back in what I’m sure would be a hilarious reunion scene.
Number Two, why the hell not? A woman Doctor is not as new a concept as you might think. You younger viewers might not remember Curse of the Fatal Death. In 1999 Steven Moffat (yes, him) wrote this satirical story for Red Nose Day, a telethon broadcast on the BBC that raises money for the Comic Relief charity. All sorts of short segments and features produced just for this event are shown, and Curse of the Fatal Death was one of them.
The Doctor was initially played by Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, Blackadder,) but he ended up stumbling through four regenerations and wound up as a tall, blond woman played by Joanna Lumley who is famous for the show ‘Absolutely Fabulous.’ See the picture below.
This is what some of you might not have known… A woman Doctor has already existed.
Even though Curse of the Fatal Death is not official canon, it was a comedy skit done for a charity, the point was still made. (And the joke about the sonic screwdriver having three settings was pretty damn funny.) The Doctor can easily regenerate into a woman, and no one has to blow a gasket over it.
But as the sun rose on the morning of June, 17 2017, as the light began to illuminate the Earth, the carnage and devastation to the landscape could be seen. Homes had been wrecked, lives had been destroyed. The Doctor really was going to be a woman, and some people lost their bloody minds over it. Many gaskets had been blown and the damage had been done. All over social media, people were outraged. Facebook and Twitter were filled with threads and discussions with many people venting outrage and hellfire over the decision. Some swore they would never watch the show again and others flew off into hysterics and I would not be surprised if somewhere actual property had been damaged.
Really? Yes, really. People are getting THAT upset over it and I can’t understand why. How hard is it for someone to accept changes like this? Did this affect them personally or offend some out-of-date sensibility that only allows men to be heroes? If that is the case, I can only suggest they get over it because they can’t do a thing to stop it. As soon as the Christmas special is finished, the Doctor will be a woman. At least give it a chance. Let’s see how they do with the first episode before people start shooting their televisions.
I think we are all going to be pleasantly surprised, and I have no doubt Chibnall and the gang knows just how good the first episode has got to be. I am excited to see what they do. Personally, I can’t wait for her to tell off a Dalek.
As far as companions go, might as well get a male companion. If you’re going to change pants, might as well change shirts too, right? Just think about it, the younger crowd would love the dynamic of the woman having to save the man over and over and not be named Clara. (Did I say that out loud?) And the older viewers are going to appreciate the maturity that I believe she will bring to the role.
What about tradition? Someone might say. What about it? The tradition of the show has always been about change. One actor replaces another as the Doctor, the wheel still keeps turning. Now the Doctor will be in Jodie Whittaker’s hands for a while. I want to see what she does with it. But all the hand wringing, wailing and gnashing of teeth over the decision is getting ridiculous and, as I write this, it hasn’t even been twenty-four hours since the reveal. And no, this is not “PC gone mad” or some kind of “affirmative action to keep the show on some something-or-other agenda.” Stop that, seriously, you look ridiculous. At least one woman has been suggested for the role every time the lead changes actors since Tom Baker decided to hang up his scarf. Now the BBC has actually gone and done it, people can’t handle it. They can handle the Master being played by a woman, but not the Doctor. It’s silly really. Take a breath. Step back from whatever mental ledge you’re standing on because of this and relax. Look up. The sun still rose, the birds still sang and the world is still going to hell in a bucket, but NOT because the Doctor is going to be played by a woman.
One thing I’m going to step away from is calling the naysayers ‘not-true-fans.’ I’m not going there, not getting into it. I’m not going to call anybody anything. You know my opinion already. If you think casting a woman is going to harm the show in any way, I say it’s going to have the exact opposite effect and give Doctor Who a well-needed revitalization along with a new regeneration. If you still don’t like it, fine, but at least give her the first episode.
Who knows? Some of you might even like her.