For all those who know me, they will know I am a big Doctor Who fan. Ever since my mother raved to myself and my siblings about how amazing it was back in her day, telling us the tale of how she used to hide behind the sofa from the terrifying Daleks on the TV, we were forced to sit down and watch the new and revamped version of the show in 2009. The marvelous Christopher Eccleston, with his strong northern accent and catch phrase of ‘fantastic‘ hit our screens, and I fell in love with the Doctor and his time travels immediately!
When Eccleston regenerated in Parting of the Ways I was in shock and anger that anyone could ever take over this role, I did not imagine that anyone could ever replace the man we had known as ‘The Doctor,’ but once David Tennant’s appeared with his cheeky smile, crazy hair, and converse shoes, I will admit that I was very willing to give him a chance, and as the series continued, I grew to love his take on the Doctor even more than Eccleston’s. The same came for Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi who were both very different but equally as good, but for some reason, I cannot quite get my head around the fact that the Doctor is now a woman.
The Doctor did not turn ginger, with the many references to ‘why am I, not ginger?’ I think we half expected him to as well. I wanted to see the Doctor’s excitement at finally getting his wish of being ginger! Instead, he regenerated into a female! As much as I am a massive supporter of strong female leads and also love Jodie Whittaker, I cannot say I am not surprised by the BBC’s brave choice here. It feels almost as if the BBC is trying to satisfy activists.
Jodie was absolutely fantastic in Broadchurch, and I have seen her in multiple television roles including her recent one portraying a doctor in Trust Me. I will not deny that she will probably make a superb Doctor Who, but I cannot get over my prejudices that the Doctor should be a male. I fully understand the argument that the Doctor is an alien, so technically why could he not be a female, or an animal or anything else for that matter? The recent regeneration of the Master turning into ‘Missy’ should have really made us expect this, but this is probably the biggest transformation the Doctor could go through, as well as most shocking. In my opinion, it would be like turning Harry Potter into a dog or changing James Bond into a woman, it just should not happen!!! It feels almost as if tradition and the originality of the show have been broken. A female in what has always been a male role.
Ultimately I would not say I am angry or that I am being sexist for that matter! I am just shocked! I fell in love with the Doctor as being this mysterious, funny alien who is so brave and tries to always do the right thing avoiding all violence, and although a female lead could technically be all of this, why change something we are so used to? I just think a female doctor is absurd, and the worry is that for many young boys who have seen the Doctor as their male hero will be disheartened. It will, however, be interesting to see Jodie’s version of the character and I for one just hope that the Doctor’s’ personality is not lost in the process and that the attention of the show is not solely focused on the fact that he is now a woman. If we get a pink tardis, a sonic lipstick instead of a sonic screwdriver or now only male assistants, I believe I will stop watching altogether!!!
On the subject of the Doctor’s assistants, this presents one of my main fears with a female doctor. The reason one of my favourite assistants was Donna (with David Tennant’s Doctor) was they were purely platonic friends, especially after the intensity of his relationship with Rose and the typical girl chasing the boy cliche with Martha… I hope they don’t have the new female doctor chasing a love interest seen as this is what most women in the show tend to end up doing.
So Jodie has a massive task on her hands. She has told us to not be ‘fearful’ and so as sad as I am about the BBCs decision, I am interested to see how a female Doctor will change Doctor Who. I love this show so much and therefore, I do hope I am pleasantly surprised. Ironically time will tell!