#DoctorWho: New Doctor Is A Woman, But Should This Matter? [VIDEO]

by Deanna Fisher on July 16, 2017

Fair warning: this is a nerd post. But it also covers a cultural issue. You have been warned.

For Whovians, the announcement of the identity of the to-be-introduced-during-the-Christmas-special Thirteenth Doctor today was a big deal.

The reveal was made after the men’s Wimbledon final. And it was definitely a surprise for longtime fans.

Yes, the Thirteenth Doctor is a woman. Actress Jodie Whittaker has been chosen to play the title role.

The Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker

Whittaker announced the news herself as well.


Judging by my newsfeed, reaction was… mixed. No one seems to doubt Whittaker’s acting ability (her best-known role up to this point was as Beth Latimer in Broadchurch, which notably starred David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor), or that she is being highly approved by other actors who have also played the role.


The biggest issue at hand is that the Doctor, who has been played for over 50 years as a male character, is now female. But is it happening because the social justice warriors wanted it, not because it was best for the show or the storylines? Ever since Peter Capaldi took over the role in 2013, there have been calls for a female Doctor – even from actresses who wanted the role, like Hayley Atwell (aka Marvel’s Agent Carter). She later changed her mind and backed a different actress for the role. Tilda Swinton (aka The White Witch or The Ancient One) was also widely rumored to be in the running. So, did the BBC really do this because they felt the Doctor being a woman would best serve the show, or did they do it because they knew it would be politically correct and make all the SJWs happy?

You make the call, given what the ones who made the decision are saying.

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s new head writer and executive producer, said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.

“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

And from the woman of the hour:

Whittaker said it felt “incredible” to take on the role, saying: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.”

And she told fans not to be “scared” by her gender.

“Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

I haven’t been a Whovian very long. But Doctor Who has become to my children what Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation was to me at that age. This is the science fiction TV show that they are actually growing up and watching. I want to keep an open mind about the casting, but there are two things I really want:

1) Good stories. This last season felt very forced, aside from a few episodes where it seemed like things were working right. The showrunner handover from Steven Moffat to Chris Chibnall now seems painfully overdue. I want good stories that fit the Doctor Who universe, not stories that fit “the Doctor is a woman now” plot device. Bad stories lose fans. Fans feeling like this is some big social experiment and not an effort to have a good show is bad.

2) Stop the “diversity for diversity’s sake.” This last season, the character of Bill Potts was introduced (and gone by the end of the season), and the first episode seemed to be all about checking off all the social justice boxes. She was black, relatively poor, a foster child, and a lesbian. Check, check, check, and check. The character development, compared to all the more recent companions, felt very non-organic. With the changeover between lead actors on the horizon, the character felt like a stand-in for what might come later. Fans had no issues with the character of Missy, played brilliantly by the amazing Michelle Gomez, but if the role being played feels like a caricature instead of a character, we won’t want to watch. Stop making characters stereotypes because you’re trying to prove how “woke” you are. We don’t need social justice rubbed in our faces when we come to be entertained.

So yes, I’ll be watching. But if the show is no longer well-written, entertaining, and insists on pushing social justice in every plot – well, I have a remote, a DVD player, and tons of older episodes to watch and rewatch.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Henry July 17, 2017 at 4:37 am

I’ve been a fan a little longer (since January, 1972, in fact, the third Jon Pertwee season) and have watched every episode (or listened to the audio of the missing episodes). There have been some terrible episodes among them, as well as some real gems (and the show even survived Colun Baker, but only just).

I have no doubt that Jodie Whittaker is a fine actress but if the writing continues with the SJW emphasis that has been ‘creeping’ in, as I suspect it will, we’re going to be disappointed. I’m not a big fan of ‘Missie’ standing in for The Master and find her characterization quite annoying and over acted. But I saw it as nothing more than a trial balloon for making The Doctor a female in the future.

Time, as they say, will tell.

Reply

Timmy July 17, 2017 at 4:58 am

The UK version of female Ghost busters.

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GWB July 17, 2017 at 7:06 am

tons of older episodes to watch and rewatch

Like 40+ years of shows. If that can’t hold you over for a while, then you’re spending too much time in front of the tube. 🙂

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Chris in N.Va July 18, 2017 at 12:06 pm

(Doctor) Who’s on First

…and frankly, I find myself at Shortstop:

I Don’t Give A Darn

These knickers-in-knots twits can’t leave well enough alone.

Reply

Lynn July 18, 2017 at 8:38 pm

But why does she refer to herself as “themselves”?

Reply

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