Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

A female Doctor Who?

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2017-04-25 Regina Leader-Post.jpg


It could help revive the series, Sadaf Ahsan writes.

As diehard fans of Doctor Who are well aware, the hunt for the 13th doctor has been underway for some time. The search began when Peter Capaldi, the most recent actor to fill the iconic shoes, announced he was exiting the British series in January, making the 10th season his last.

Speculation has centred on countless names, with the most notable including Olivia Colman, Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Natalie Dormer and even Tilda Swinton. If you happened to notice a particular pattern among the names being bandied about you wouldn't be alone.

The rumoured shortlist prompted a "concerned parent" to write to the BBC to complain that switching the doctor's gender would confuse his children.

In response, Joanne Coyne, the BBC complaints officer, responded to the "fan" that there are "currently no plans" for a female Doctor Who.

Phew. The Western world really dodged a bullet there.

Coyne wrote, "We appreciate that you're a big Doctor Who fan and you have concerns that the programme would change should there be a female doctor ... Be assured there are currently no plans to have a female Doctor Who."

In fact, according to a BBC spokeswoman, "No casting decisions have yet been made on Series 11." Before you panic, yes, some male names have also been rumoured to have entered the ring, including Kris Marshall, David Harewood and Tom Rosenthal.

For the record, Doctor Who is a series that has been around since 1963, and if we include its original run of 26 seasons, it has seen nearly 40 years of programming, with 12 doctors — all of whom have been men, of somewhat varying ages.

Sure, this is a series that has become more of a national treasure than a mere hour's worth of family entertainment, but it has also seen a significant ratings decrease in recent years, and one could argue a facelift would give it the recharge it so sorely needs. We're not living in the '60s anymore, banishing the women to companion status feels a little archaic, especially for a show that should have grown with time since it travels through it.

In fact, the reason the doctor is even able to go from actor to actor is because the character is a time-travelling shape-shifter of sorts, though his range seems inexplicably limited by gender and race, as he has gone from one older white man to another, time and time again.

Even beyond arguments that the show should at least make an effort to stay current with social progress, a female Doctor Who might have made more sense as a means to more viewers.

In addition to the notoriety that would have come from the first Doctor Who to be a woman, the female stars rumoured to be in consideration for the role were significantly bigger names than their male counterparts.

The question isn't whether a woman can do it, it's whether fan-boys (and fanmen) can accept it.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Ahsan, Sadaf (2017-04-25). A female Doctor Who?. Regina Leader-Post p. B3.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Ahsan, Sadaf. "A female Doctor Who?." Regina Leader-Post [add city] 2017-04-25, B3. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Ahsan, Sadaf. "A female Doctor Who?." Regina Leader-Post, edition, sec., 2017-04-25
  • Turabian: Ahsan, Sadaf. "A female Doctor Who?." Regina Leader-Post, 2017-04-25, section, B3 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A female Doctor Who? | url= | work=Regina Leader-Post | pages=B3 | date=2017-04-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A female Doctor Who? | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024}}</ref>
  • Title: Why can't a woman be Doctor Who?
  • Publication: Ottawa Citizen
  • Date: 2017-04-25