I was at work today, which meant I was anxiously refreshing my twitter feed waiting for the announcement of who was going to play the thirteenth re-incarnation of my favourite TV character ever. I was expecting it to be a woman, how could it possibly not be? I was thrilled to see it was Jodie Whittaker, and I am excited, and curious to see what she will bring to the role, as I would have been delighted and curious for any other actor (gender neutral term usage) announced.
Fundamentally, the show is about an alien with the ability to change their face and entire personality. They are a polymorphic race and honestly, all those people exploding about
how “is nothing sacred?” and “the doctor has always been a man” really need to take a step back and assess what they are saying.
The Doctor (and all the other Gallifreyans) is an alien.
Their species have been canonically gender ambiguous. There have been several mentions of Time Lords regenerating between genders. ONE OF THEM WAS ON SCREEN, and ONE WAS A MAJOR ANTAGONIST.
The premise of the show does not revolve around the Doctor being a man. It revolves around the Doctor being brilliant.
You are absolutely ok with a time-travelling, space-travelling show with a time space ship and an alien and alien planets and historical figures. Nothing about this show is “typical”.
They’ve been paving the way for a female Doctor for ages now, and RTD and Moffat simply pulled out the jackhammers rather than simply chipping away. I mean, come on, Michelle Gomez being revealed as the Master three years ago was a huge neon sign testing the waters for a female who! And, as much as I loved Delgado, and I adored Simm, Gomez is my hands down favourite Master. Whimsically evil Mary Poppins with a skewed sense of morality and a tendency to use humans personal space issues to unsettle them? I love her. I also love Simm’s burning passion and destruction. I love both the Master, and Missy for different reasons, and its not because one is a man and one a woman.
Capaldi was a fantastic Doctor, and I am genuinely sorry to see him and Michelle Gomez leave their respective parts as they were the absolute best DoctorMaster duo. But whoever was announced as the next Doctor, fans were going to be split. I mean, it’s the same cycle every regeneration – you dislike the new person on principle until you get to know their doctor and then you adore them and want them to promise to never leave and then go back to the beginning.
When I was thirteen, I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be an actress so that one day, I could play the Doctor, and people told me I couldn’t because I wasn’t a man. But the Doctor isn’t about gender, it’s about using your intelligence to bounce around the galaxy solving problems. The Doctor is a fundamentally agendered role and it’s about time he became a she. I wish I could go back and tell thirteen year old me that it would happen, that one day I would see a female doctor and know that this generation of young women will watch their screens and think you know what, I can play my hero. I’m more of a writer now that an actor, but I still have that dream of writing for Doctor Who, and there are going to be so many young people know who see this as acceptance. We still need to work on the not-white Doctor, but for now, I am excited, and incredibly curious about what the new Doctor’s personality is going to be like, what kind of Doctor will she be? We’ve had grumpy cat, uncoordinated house cat, Tigger, solemn cat. What kind of cat with this Doctor be?
To be perfectly honest, the Doctor will always be the Doctor, regardless of what gender they are! I am sad to see Capaldi leave and I am excited to see Whittaker take over, because at the end of the day, it’s still Doctor Who. It’s still my favourite ongoing TV show. It’s still the show that I turn to regardless of how much the writing annoys me because it’s Doctor Who. It’s my show, and every Doctor is my Doctor. And Whittaker is my Doctor too.
So, welcome to the family Jodie Whittaker! I am excited to get to know your Doctor!
**Everything in this piece is my own opinion** The picture however, is from a Bing search*