This weekend the BBC gave us the name and look of the 13th Doctor- and for some reason this seems to have caused a stir all over the internet, and not simply the positive one I was expecting. So with that being said lets look at what all this controversy is about and whether its really needed.
The BBC revealed that Jodie Whittaker was going to be the 13th Doctor later this year when we see the regeneration of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, and this is monumental for the fact that this is the first incarnation of the Doctor that is female- and in my opinion this is long over due!
The BBC had announced that after the Wimbledon final we got the Doctor Who trailer and the reveal and almost immediately when the trailer hit- it was evident from the walk of the doctor and the slow camera pan that followed along and transitioned upwards that the BBC had set this up to be a real change that had an effect. And then we got the pull back of the hood and the reveal of a female face. At this moment I was excited to see the new Doctor, and also excited at the prospect of a female lead.
However what I thought was a cool moment, and to be honest a very well overdue change wasn’t shared by everyone it appears. Many people, including some of my friends, immediately took to social media and started to hate on the whole process.
The 13th Doctor being female isn’t a huge deal- I know it is from a casting point- but from a story-line point the Doctor can regenerate at the end of one life into a new form, so the real question should be what are the actual chances that in 12 regeneration’s the Doctor would only become a white male? Purely from a mathematical standpoint based on the worlds population there is a very slim chance that he would always be a white male- so to move with the times and change up the appearance is something that has been needed for a long time. So hearing people say they wont watch as the Doctor “needs to be male” or “Why does a women need to lead” is utter nonsense.
The other big argument is that Science Fiction is for men! I cant believe that we still get this in this day and age- there is no way this show is simply aimed at men, it’s a family show aimed at all ages and genders, just like Science Fiction itself. The doctor has had so many female campaigns over the years that have all needed saving or have fallen in love with the doctor- that it would be a massive change to see a strong female lead on the show that makes the calls and saves the universe! This could give a whole new generation of children, both male and female a role model to look up-to and a new show to enjoy. Just look at characters like Buffy, Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley and Wonder Woman to see how strong female leads can hold a franchise together- there is no argument that Female leads cant draw an audience in this day and age.
On the flip side of the negativity we also have the argument that “One female Doctor wont change the patriarchal nature of the world.” Well No it wont, but nor should it be able to and I’m convinced that wasn’t the point! While the male led world of acting does need to change and casting in terms of gender- particularly age, wages and looks- needs to change massively this show cant do that on its own, but surely the fact a stable of the BBC’s television schedule for the last 54years has taken a huge step forwards should be celebrated for those merits alone. This is a hugely overdue step that is worthy or merit simply for being the first, and hopefully not the last. This shouldn’t be overshadowed by the fact in a wider sense it changes nothing, as nothing can change without small alterations to the ‘regular programming’ so lets consider this a win. We saw a female ‘Master’ in ‘Missy’ recently and that worked a total treat- so why not give this a chance.
I’m going to be totally honest here- all the fuss is nonsense! There are no character reasons to hate on the Doctor being female, we haven’t even seen a single episode yet or heard the Doctor speak or seen her do anything! This is a case of people hating change to the norm, and being unwilling to give a chance and allowing themselves to embrace it- are we really that unwilling to adapt as a race? I’m looking forward to the prospects of this- it should be good to see how they handle the companions- will they even have one? How will the Daleks react to the female faced Doctor? Or for that matter how will anyone react to this- hopefully more positively that real people!
Regardless of what happens on social media this is a positive step for the show- and I for one am looking forward to the opportunities for new storytelling and character interactions that this provides. And isn’t this what we all watch the show for, to see the character tested against the universe greatest threats and see if the Doctor can overcome them? To watch as the Doctor introduces us to and befriends new species? To see the Doctor inevitably save the world at the last minute and to see the great stories that unfold along the way? Well none of this is going to change with a female lead, so why the controversy?! Roll on December and good luck to Jodie Whittaker.