FREELANCE WRITER. JOURNALIST, AND SCRIPT READER – FAN OF SCI-FI AND CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES – YSTV'S BEST DRESSED MEMBER 2013

Monday, 17 July 2017

On 17.7.17 by KieronMoore in , ,    No comments

Jodie Whittaker has been announced as the Thirteenth Doctor. I personally reckon she'll do an excellent job, but not everyone is convinced. In light of the overblown controversy and awful, nasty comments all over social media, here are my reactions to all the arguments against casting a female Doctor Who:

"The Doctor has always been a man!" - He was always William Hartnell until he was Patrick Troughton. He was always over 45 until he was Tom Baker. He was always English until he was Sylvester McCoy.

"Time Lords can't change gender!" - Humans can. If anything, it should be easier for Time Lords.

"But it's ridiculous!" - Mate, the Doctor lives in a police box that's bigger on the inside and travels in time and space. If the gender change is where it becomes too difficult for you to believe, the problem isn't with the show.

"It's lazy, why don't they make an original show with a female lead?" - There should be more original sci-fi/fantasy with female leads, sure. Some international productions have managed that, such as Orphan Black and Buffy. But it's really difficult to get genre shows produced in Britain - writers I've spoken to who've pitched sci-fi to the BBC or ITV have always concluded that commissioners hate the genre. Doctor Who is kind of all we have; it has that existing platform to provide a role model to young girls, to show them that they can be heroes too, and good on it for using that. Plus, it's not only all we have, it's iconic - when they cast a Doctor, they're not just casting an actor to be in a TV show, but someone who'll represent the brand at conventions, whose face will be on lunchboxes and action figures, who'll be part of the show's mythology for as long as it runs - what other series has that platform to make such a statement?

"Boys need role models, too!" - They can still watch it. Lots of boys liked Rey in Star Wars. It's healthy for them to have female role models so they don't grow up to be like those men who've emerged on the internet since yesterday.

"Rubbish, when I were a lad I wouldn't be seen watching something with all girls in!" - Oh for fuck's sake, the companion will probably be a dude, alright?

"It should be all about the quality of the writing, not feminist politics!" - Well, yeah, obviously quality storytelling is important. No one's saying it isn't, or that Chibnall now has a free pass to write a whole series of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship-level cack. But representation matters too, and in things such as how they represent society through the diversity of their characters, all stories are political. The gender imbalance in TV can't be ignored, and is a separate issue to how good the scripts are.

"What next, Jane Bond?" - The reaction to that would be hilarious, but the gender flip might actually be a more awkward fit. Bond's always been stuck in that '60s macho spy mentality, whereas Who is about change and forward thinking. Or maybe that's why they should do Jane Bond.

"It's not the same show as in my childhood!" - Well, obviously not, that was 40 years ago, old buddy. Times change. But the old ones are available on DVD if all you want is to replay the past. Except the ones that got wiped.

"It's ruined my childhood!" - D'awww.

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