Doctor Who is one of the longest-running series ever. There has been a total of thirteen actors who played the titular Doctor over the course of the show (with this number including John Hurt’s War Doctor). There has never been a person of color nor a woman playing the Doctor in all of its years.
However, this was all reversed by the announcement of Jodie Whittaker stepping into the shoes left behind by Peter Capaldi as he moves on to the next project that will undoubtedly involve him waggling his eyebrows in a menacing fashion.
Based on the responses across the internet, fans are polarized by this development. Keep in mind, of course, the Doctor’s long-standing nemesis – the Master – returned to the series not long ago regenerated as Missy (played expertly by Michelle Gomez, who truly redefined the role and breathed new life into the recurring antagonist). Based on some views, the very fabric of reality would be undone by this casting decision.
A time-traveling space alien who can evade death by essentially becoming a new iteration of itself, all while zipping about all of time and space in a vehicle that’s “bigger on the inside” is entirely within the realm of possibility, but that alien most assuredly couldn’t be a woman. It’s difficult to pinpoint why, but there is some consensus (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) that suggests it has to do with women’s garments lacking the necessary pockets to stash the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.
Why is it so terrible that the Thirteenth Doctor is a woman?
The short answer is that it really isn’t. The Daleks aren’t going to be any less evil, nor will the Cybermen be any less inclined towards upgrading all lifeforms. Weeping Angels will still be nightmare fuel for viewers of all ages.
Most importantly, Jodie Whittaker is a very capable actor for the role. She most recently proved her talent during her time on Broadchurch and has a long list of credits to her name before that. It’s embarrassing, and a touch pathetic, to see so many people who are trying to tear down the show because a woman—a tremendously talented actress—is taking over the role of the Doctor. The fact that some publications went so far as to publish nude images of the actress from previous roles is even more troubling.
Again: the concept of a woman playing a lead role that had previously been played by a man shouldn’t be so difficult to wrap one’s head around given that the Doctor is a time-traveling space alien with two hearts, who has previously had a thing for cartoonish scarves, leather jackets, and once dipped fish fingers in custard.
Dry those salty, salty tears, give the show a chance, and stop acting like leading women in television are the biggest threat to enjoying a show The real threats are the mediocrity brought on by a lack of fresh material, and miserable, narrow-minded ‘fans’ who can’t accept change.
By Arran Byers