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
She looks like the kind of person to play the doctor.
I haven’t watched enough of the revived Dr. Who series to state an opinion.
But… since the subject is the good Doctor, I watched the 1960s movies Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. which starred Peter Cushing last weekend. (Comet TV is awesome if you haven’t tuned in yet).
Are the movies considered canon? In the films, the characters call the Time Lord as “Dr. Who” directly. Which really stuck out to me. I believe that he is simply referred to as “The Doctor” in all other media.
The movies themselves were rather pulp. Peter Cushing was not a very good Doctor. Perhaps the worst, hence only two movies and a footnote. JR, I don’t think you even mention him in your list of “least favorite” incarnations.
Thank you for articulating this so very well.
No, the movies aren’t canon. Mainly because all of the characters in the films are meant to be characters from the Hartnell era (Dr. Who and The Daleks has Susan, Ian and Barbara as the companions) but they’re played by completely different actors. Plus Dalek- Invasion Earth: 2150 is just The Dalek Invasion Of Earth as a film. Oh and of course, in the films The Doctor is human in the latter of the two films, which would kinda screw with canon if it were part of it.
When I first heard that The Doctor will be portrayed by a woman I didn’t react well because I didn’t believe it is possible to find a suitable actress. But when I saw this photo from the post – my first and only words were “THIS IS THE DOCTOR”. Because I already see her destroying the evil plans of evil guys and being smart – The Doctor way of being smart. I already see her with a sonic screwdriver and operating the Tardis. Can’t wait to actually see her in action.
Those reading this may not remember, but years ago, I actually *made* a HeroMachine drawing of a hypothetical, female Doctor (which I now have to retrieve from my old computer). I even led some speculation on which actress would do well in the role. So, as you may imagine, I’ve been anticipating this for some time.
So have other people. JR correctly points out how they’ve been building to this, all through the revived series, with sex-change and race-change regenerations frequently shown, plus the Doctor’s notorious comment that he “might not even come back as the same species” after a regeneration. Hell, even the 40th-anniversary comedy special touched on it! All told, this has been a long time coming.
Yet some people are throwing the most incredibly immature, even unmanly tantrums. Some of it seems to be rooted in veiled hostility towards Steven Moffat (a sentiment that I don’t share), with the reasoning being that any idea of his is a bad one, especially if it’s a drastic change. But much of it is sexism so irrational, it’s as if they were somehow allergic to seeing women! And they can’t even confine it to the appropriate discussion groups, either, but need to whine about it in their Facebook pages in front of everyone. I have no sympathy.
Bring her on; it’s about time.
@Nick Hentschel- Few quick points, and I’m not having a go at you in any way shape or form here.
– They’ve shown 2 sex-changed Time Lords since the revived series, only one of which was shown on screen and that was also the second race change (the other being Mels into River Song, which I’m not sure counts because she isn’t technically a Time Lord, but a human conceived in a TARDIS which somehow gave her Time Lord DNA? Moffat logic). Both of those occured in the last 4 years. So, it isn’t exactly “frequently” shown.
– They didn’t actually do a 40th Anniversary special. I think you’re thinking of The Curse Of The Fatal Death, which was a Red Nose Day Charity episode from 1999 that is in no way canon and was played entirely for laughs, so isn’t exactly the best bit of evidence. It’s like quoting Elseworlds when talking about mainstream DC continuity. Yes, both were made by the same company, but that doesn’t mean Dracula or the Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles are suddenly going to appear in Batman.
– I like Moffat, I think he’s done some excellent work on the show, his first season in charge still is the best season the series has had since being brought back. But his grasp of continuity is loose at best. The dude decided that Daleks (a species mutated to survive a nuclear holocaust) could get radiation sickness, brought back both Davros and Skarro (which was destroyed during McCoy’s tenure) without explaination, decided that Mondasian Cybermen (from this universe) could evolve into Cybus Cybermen (from a parallel universe) in an contained environment and he retroactively inserted his characters into every important event in Doctor Who history from the Doctor’s childhood through him stealing the TARDIS and leaving Gallifrey right up to the Time War. This has led him to be described as a fan-fiction writer who just happens to have the authority over the show he’s writting fan-fiction for by some professional critics, the amount of continuity holes that have been created during his tenure was excessive to say the least. And he was the first one to bring in the idea of Time Lords being able to change gender during regeneration (he was the writer for Curse Of The Fatal Death bear in mind, so no other Who writer has brought the idea up) which was another retroactive change to continuity. As I said, if they’d had the idea in canon for longer than the last 5 years (not counting the 1999 Red Nose Day episode) it would probably be recieved more openly.
Of course, there are a lot of people out there who are going to complain in very childish ways for very childish (and sexist) reasons. Those people are idiots. But so are the people who just sweep away any and all concerns about the choice and say that anyone who complains is sexist (not in any way aimed at you Nick, there are some people I’ve seen responses to on social media who have had this exact mentality of “oh, people are complaining about a woman on TV, must be sexist”). There is definately room for more strong female characters in the show, that’s why I’ve always wanted to see them bring back a character like The Rani or Romana, and there were a lot of ways they could have brought in a strong female character. Whether or not they should do a female Doctor was always going to cause debate (and idiocy). It is kind of irrelevant now that they have done it, I will admit, but hey…
As Gene said on the HM Facebook, I just hope the writers serve her better than the old writers served Capaldi, because she’s inherited a ship that’s taking on water. And, as with any new Doctor, I hope she’s good in the role. It’s just, I was really excited when they announced Peter Capaldi, I’m not that excited about this. Still going to watch and I hope it’s awesome.
I showed the reveal trailer to my eight-year-old, who has been my companion, pun intended, in watching Doctor Who (though we’re super far behind). He watched, open-mouthed. I asked him what he thought of it and his response? “That’s great!”
I’m also on board, and I hope it’s awesome 🙂
Sorry, couldn’t just ignore that “Moffat logic” part. Not meaning to offend anyone, but…you here on the site have superheroes as one of its main feature. Many discussions of comics and comic book movies. So what’s there in the comics? Lots of people get superpowers from spider bites, from exposure to deadly radiation. The people with one odd gene in their bodies manipulate weather or shoot red-coloured kinetic energy from their eyes. And you seem to be fine with that. But then a character gets superpowers (regeneration) and some screwed-up DNA from being born in a TARDIS – and suddenly you refer to “Moffat Logic”. Once again, not meaning to offend, I just don’t understand why you seem to be bothered with it.
Now your examples. Most of them are true, but I can’t agree with some of them.
Skarro and Davros are fan service. Failing to bring them back someday would mean failing to be a good Doctor Who showrunner. They are parts of the Whoniverse and many fans want to see them again.
Mondasian Cybermen haven’t evolved into Cybus Cybermen. They just look like them. Because why not? Dozens of years have passed down there, naturally, their science and technology evolves. And when the plot concerns Cybermen, the species that prefer unification, it’s “Great minds think alike”. So naturally their evolved armor looks very Cybus.
And going back to your previous submission – The Doctor can’t be a Muslim (or an expressed Christian or Buddhist or Hinduist etc). He is atheist, or at least he is not a follower of any Earth religion.
@Malfar- There’s actually a very good discussion to be had there actually concerning the River Song point, something that the show-runner could clarify in the show (not as a plot point but a small throw away line seems about right). River Song was concieved in the TARDIS, but there’s never been any mention of any previous companions having children with Time Lord regenerative abilities, so we must assume that it was the fact that she was concieved in the TARDIS rather than both of her parents travelling in the TARDIS (I believe that it is explicitly stated as such in the show but I can’t clearly remember). So, a simple but logical question follows. If the offspring of two humans gains the ability to renegerate from being concieved during time travel, is that how Time Lords gained the ability? It would make sense, more sense than someone gaining a genetic trait of a completely different species just because their parents had it on in a time machine. It’d be interesting to run that one by one of the head-writers and see what they’d think of it.
Davros and Skarro coming back is fine, but I don’t like the fact that there wasn’t any explaination. Skarro just randomly turned up at the start of The Dalek Asylum for no real reason, it was just a place to put The Doctor so he could be kidnapped, and then both would return together during the season 9 opening episodes, which were great but offered now explaination as to how it happened when one was destroyed by the Hand Of Omega (which turned its sun into a black hole and wiped the planet out) and the other was erased from reality by the reality bomb (he could have been saved, yes, but it wasn’t explicitly stated. It would have only taken a line or two). Mind you, Dalek history is a mess, so no surprise that “the guy in charge of writing the show and making sure everything makes sense” can’t keep up.
With the Cybermen thing, I see where you’re coming from with that. It is highly coincidental, especially considering the differing approaches of the two “species” (Mondasian’s replace parts, whilst Cybus remove the brain and put it in a metal shell), and more likely that they’d end up looking closer to Telosian Cybermen (the most advanced Cybermen from this reality until they crossed with the Cybus Cybermen during the Second Great And Bountiful Human Empire of the 40th-49th Century), but I will cede that there is some logic to it, if very stretched.
With your final point, ok bad phrasing on my part. What I meant to say and should have said was Middle Eastern, they could have casted someone of Middle Eastern descent to play The Doctor.
Another quick point to raise, and this is for everyone not just Malfar. Imagine what the reaction would be like if it had been the other way round and they’d cast a man in a role that had previously been played by a woman. I only raise the point because Jodie Whittaker will not be in the role forever and they’ve either got to cast another woman or cast a man. And that’s the same for each new Doctor now, there’s going to come a point when a female Doctor has to hand over to a man. (That is of course presuming that Jodie Whittaker isn’t the last Doctor, which I hope she isn’t).
Yes, I’ve thought about this version of Time Lords origin too. Although I almost positive that there is some audio novel that covers it. To my shame I haven’t listened to a lot of these, so the extended Whoniverse is beyond me. But usually when I start thinking about the origin of Time Lords and all their quirks (Tardises, time travel, dimensional mumbo-jumbo) my thoughts always end with dead end that is “Timey-Wimey” – that Time Lords have appeared when Time Lords from the future came to the past to teach their ancestors how to be Time Lords.
About Davros and Skarro – I may be paranoid, but I thought that it has something to do with Extended Whoniverse, too. For example, we didn’t get a lot of the Great Time War in the show, too – it was at least partially covered in books and (if I’m not mistaking) in the audio. So maybe the explanations are supposed to appear someday in Audio, books or comics. Anyway. if you count the classic series, then it should be noted that Daleks have time travel, too, and they aren’t as prudish with it as the Time Lords, so…they could have contacted the past and…erm…no, I give up. But you are absolutely right that their history is complicated.
About the Muslim part, yeah, I was going to add that it would be fine to have the Doctor with asian or arabic appearance, I just start ranting when people mistake nationality for religion or vice versa (For that I keep recalling a certain Gentlemen with Thistle-down hair from “Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell” who called all humans “Christians”). No agression here, just me being boring. Old habit.
About the reaction – we won’t have to imagine, we’ll just have to wait 🙂 Anyway, I think the reaction will be mostly the traditional:
1. Noooo this Doctor was so great don’t change him(her)/
2. Nooooo the New Doctor sucks!
3. Oh well the New Doctor isn’t that bad
4. Go to 1.
The moment of actor change is always a sh:)tstorm. There will always be people who don’t like young actors (because The Doctor is traditionally older), old actors (Because they only watched shows with Tennant and Smith), female actors (because the doctor is traditionally male), male actors (because he was male for too long), black actors (because the character was never black), white actors (for the same reasons). It’s a tradition. As long as Russian tradition of ridiculing Russian language and characters in American or English movies and shows. Da!
If I remember correctly, The Doctor said that River’s ability to regenerate was caused by her exposure to the time stream during conception and for part of her time in Amy’s womb and the affect it had on her evolution. Basically it was hinted that she evolved along humanity’s base evolutionary path which at some point along the way includes a similar evolution as the Gallifreyan Time Lords which would make her a Human Time Lord. Ace was up for consideration before they ended the original run of Doctor Who in the 80s. There are also instances in some of the Doctor Who expanded universe that other non-Gallifreyans became Time Lords. This hints at something other than simply being born on Gallifrey being the key to becoming a Time Lord. So it wasn’t really just Moffet logic that created the whole issue with River. I would also bet that given long enough, the original run would have worked in a gender swap or two for some of the Time Lords and Ladies.
I’m aware of the points you make, but you’ll forgive me if I choose not to debate them? They’re all secondary points, with my main one standing: they’ve been building up to this for some time, and it shouldn’t be a shock. In fact, the official DW site page recently posted an article including Tom Baker quip from the time of his departure, along with a lot of other early hints pre-dating the revived series:
So, while I’m not offended at all, I feel the need to stay “on message” here. (Forgive me for sounding high-handed, but I get trolled a lot, and thus I have learned not to diverge from the main point in order to debate details.)
P.S. I found my old “Doctor” drawing!