So, the BBC have announced who the new lead in the acclaimed, long running sci-fi show Doctor Who is going to be. Of course, they did it in the worst way possible, only announcing they would make the announcement two days ago and then tying it to the mens Wimbledon final which finished much faster than expected and then only showed a minute long trailer rather than a full blown announcement, so thanks BBC. But anyway, the new Doctor has been announced and I'm going to do the whole below the jump thing in case people don't want spoilers.
So, yeah. Everyone, meet the 13th Doctor:
Yep, they actually did it.
Anyway, Jodie Whittaker becomes the first woman to play the Time Lord in the shows over 50 year history. She is most famous for her appearance in Broadchurch, alongside David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. She has also been in a number of British Films, such as the St. Trinian's movies and Attack The Block.
So, the obvious talking point here is the fact that they are actually doing a female Doctor. I mean, there's been calls to do it ever since they brought the show back and since introducing Michelle Gomez as a female Master it has looked more and more likely, especially after seeing The General change sex during regeneration in Hell Bent. And then with the whole Vestal Virgins conversation in The Eaters Of Light from the last series, which lightly implied that the Doctor had been female before (regardless of how much continuity that undermined). I'm just wondering where the ginger representation is at?
Of course, there will be backlash to the descision. And, obviously, some of it is going to be sexist drivel. But, there are some very legitimate complaints to be had here. Firstly, the whole "Time Lords can change sex during regeneration" thing is brand new continuity brought in by Moffat (and we know how good he was at handling continuity). Not even in Russell T. Davies time was this mentioned as a possibility and it certainly wasn't in the original series (probably because they never saw the need), and how many Time Lords did we see regenerate there? If it hadn't been retroactively planted into canon within the last 5 years, then there may not have been any backlash on this point, but the previous show runners planted those seeds when, arguably, they didn't need to and now the new show runners have run with it and they're going to have to deal with the consequences should there be any. Secondly, did it need to happen? It's not like the revived series of Doctor Who hasn't had a strong line-up of female leads. Rose, Donna, Amy, Clara and Bill (not Martha) were all strong characters in their own rights. And then we have River Song, who was basically the female Doctor just without the name. If you want a female Time Lord, I dunno, introduce one? Maybe? I mean, we've had Romana and The Rani in the original series and Gallifrey is back now... it just feels like we've got a female Doctor for the sake of having a female Doctor. Not because we wanted to have a strong female character, but because we wanted to have a female character called "The Doctor", and I'm aiming this at the people who were begging for this to happen by the way. Does it count as a victory for women if it feels like it was done just for the sake of it? I'm a staunch supporter of equality, I'd have been over the moon if they'd had come out and gone "the next Doctor is a black guy" or "hey, he's a muslim" or, you know, "he's got red hair". Those are things that they've never had before and most people wouldn't have batted an eyelid over. And I do support womens rights and sex equality, that's why I enjoy having strong female characters like River, like Donna, like The Rani. Women who could stand on their own feet as characters because of who they were, not because of what name they have. Because now, we have a female character who has authority because of what a load of guys did previously, rather than a female character who has authority because she's a great character in her own right. I can't wait for them to prove me wrong on this one, but for now, that is a concern, if they lean too much on who the Doctor was, rather than make the new Doctor strong on their own.
But putting all that aside, I am excited to see where they'll go with the series. I can imagine a lot of terse exchanges between The Doctor and male characters in historical episodes (and that's not me being facetious, I guarantee that will happen, more than a couple of times, probably even in every historical episode). I'll also be interested to see if they decide to put a male companion with this Doctor, considering that the main companion to each male Doctor has always been female (tbh, I want to see a return to the 2+ companion system e.g. Susan/ Ian/ Barbara, Sarah-Jane/ Harry, Adric/ Tegan/ Nyssa, Rose/ Jack or Rose/ Mickey and Amy/ Rory. It's a system that makes for some nice storytelling opportunities when done right). And I'll be interested to see how Whittaker does in the role. She has a lot riding on her shoulders. Viewership is at the lowest it's been since 1989 (when the show was originally cancelled) and has a viewship that is only slightly better than 1988, so the BBC are taking a risk here, gambling on gaining more viewers than they lose over a controversial casting choice, so Whittaker has to prove them right (especially as there is a fair amount of talk about the series being on its last legs and the BBC has considered cancelling the show before, in 2009, when the average viewship was at 10.70 million, or 5.25 million more than they have now). I haven't seen anything Whittaker has been in before, so I can't comment of how she will be in the role, but I hope she is good, because I don't want to see the series fail. So all I can say is: Good Luck.
And with that