Editorial: Why I Don’t Want a Female Doctor

It’s been revealed that series 10 will be Peter Capaldi’s final series as the Twelfth Doctor. I’ll be sorry to see him go. We’re also getting Chris Chibnall as the new show-runner, with Moffatt stepping down. I’m sorry to see both of them go (yes, I said it. I still like what Moffatt did. I’m entitled to that opinion.). As with every time the actor exits, we get speculation about who will take the helm next. Some even think someone who had the role originally might come back. And then there’s talk that we may get our first female Doctor. Here’s why I don’t think that’s a good idea.

First of all, it’s not a new idea. It’s happened before, in a Comic Relief sketch called “The Curse of the Fatal Death” (which was actually the first Doctor Who-related thing Moffatt ever wrote). It was all done for parody, and I don’t think we should take a cue from that.

But wait, you say, what about Missy, the new version of the Master? Well, that’s one of the things about the Capaldi era I didn’t care for. When Missy was introduced, I remember thinking “Huh, maybe they’re bringing back the Rani with a new actress.” The Rani was a villainess introduced during the Colin Baker era, and she had two stories. The actress who portrayed her died, so they could’ve just said she regenerated off-screen, which was originally what happened with the transition between Paul McGann to Christopher Eccleston. But Moffatt decided to make a new Master instead. Now, I’m not saying Michelle Gomez is a bad actress. I think she did a good job, but I still don’t like this development. And I’d have the same problem with a female Doctor.

Just because something is “new and different” doesn’t mean it’ll be good. Many times something has been done just for the sake of doing something new, and it’s failed. We don’t need something “new and different” to fix Doctor Who. We just need good stories. (And to be honest, I liked series 8 and 9, even with Missy.)

And let’s not forget, we’ve had female Gallifreyans. At the start of the show, we had Susan. During Tom Baker’s era, we had the two Romanas, Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward. And in the expanded universe, we have Katy Manning as Iris Wildthyme. Why not have those characters in the new Era?

Also, women are written differently from men. If a female character is chosen, we have to write up a whole new dynamic that may be more trouble than it’s worth. Chibnall himself said that he hasn’t decided anything, but he doesn’t want the casting to be a “gimmick”. And at the end, no matter how good the actress is, it will still be seen as a gimmick.

I eagerly await the new Doctor. Even if it is female, I’ll watch just to see if I’m proved wrong. But I still think this is a bad idea.



2 comments on “Editorial: Why I Don’t Want a Female Doctor

  1. Wow, this is packed with stuff. First off, you know I agree the Doctor should remain male. He’s never been female. And while it HAS been canonically established, both in the Classic era and the current eras of the show, that Time Lords can regenerate across genders, we don’t have any evidence that the Doctor would want to. To me, it’s like a suit of clothing. Maybe the female form is just not something the Doctor prefers as a way of expressing himself? As far as ‘men and women are written differently’, I’ve got to say–not always. Let me just refer you to the fact that Ellen Ripley was supposed to be a man in “Alien”‘s original script, and when Sigourney Weaver was cast, the script was not changed AT ALL. Sometimes, gender affects the way a character is written–a male character is never going to get pregnant, or go through ‘that time of the month’–but beyond specific biological differences tied to the gender, you can pretty much write males and females alike in a lot of ways, and not doing so leads to stereotyping and bad characterization.

    Fundamentally, whenever there’s a model that allows for so much fluidity in the way a character’s portrayed–such as the device of regeneration on “Who”–there will be those who think EVERY dimension of that fluidity should be explored. I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s been established that Time Lords have control, to some extent, over the form a regeneration takes, and I would say there’s probably a reason the Doctor hasn’t chosen to be female in all of his over a thousand years of life.

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