The Doctor in Doctor Who has always been a male. However, that’s all set to change when Peter Capaldi leaves the show during this year’s Christmas special, as it’s been announced that his successor will be Jodie Whittaker. The fact that the 13th Doctor will be played by a woman has delighted some but caused concern amongst others. Was the BBC right to cast a female as the next Doctor in Doctor Who? Here are some arguments for and against a female Doctor.
Yes – the show’s all about change
The show at its heart is all about change. Over its history of more than 50 years, we’ve had over a dozen actors play The Doctor and several dozen different companions come and go. One of the show’s winning formulas is the fact that it has a rotating cast, so every year or so, there’s a new cast member to make the show feel fresh. Many people think that The Doctor changing gender isn’t that big of a deal at all, simply because the show is all about change. One of the show’s key concepts is regeneration, the ability Time Lords have to ‘renew themselves’, if you will. The Doctor himself has regenerated numerous times throughout the show’s history, so does it really matter if this time he happens to be regenerating into a woman? The show’s made it clear that Time Lords are capable of regenerating into women, so why not? It’s still the same character with the same history, so does it really matter it this incarnation is female?
No – the Doctor has always been a man
On the other hand, you can argue that there’s simply no need for The Doctor to become female. Yes, the show has established that Time Lords can change gender during regeneration, but that was only established in the ‘modern’ series. In the ‘classic’ series, which covered a total of eight Doctors, there was no hint of gender change. While the Doctor has been played by many actors and has had many different personalities, ultimately he is one Time Lord, not a Time Lady – he’s a man. There seem to be some who aren’t happy with the fact that a long-running show has always had a male lead; they think it’s about time a female landed the role. The same sort of thing is happening with the James Bond franchise: it’s a long-running franchise that’s always had a male lead, but some aren’t happy with it. In fact, if you look at the odds for who’s going to play James Bond after Daniel Craig, there are actresses listed, as well as actors. Yes, Doctor Who is fundamentally about change, but there’s no reason to change such an established facet of the show as its lead being male.
What do you think?
Are you pleased that a woman’s going to be the next Doctor, or is it a role that’s just for men? Are the BBC straying too far from the show’s original concept in an attempt to please a few vocal people? Is political correctness behind the casting or is it just an experiment to see what a female Doctor would be like?