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Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan

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Next week, the eyes of every Whovian across the galaxy will be on Cardiff as the new Doctor Who is shown to the world. It's just a shame the most popular Gallifreyan is a fella, argues Kirstie McCrum


IMAGINE the next regeneration of Doctor Who.

Oh, I'm not wishing Peter Capaldi away before he's even started, don't worry.

I can't wait to see how Malcolm Tucker negotiates the Tardis' temperamental nature, for one thing - the BBC's bleeper will go off the scale if his antics in The Thick of It are anything to go by.

No, I mean after the Scottish actor's served his intergalactic time, when there's a new guard coming in.

In my mind, there's a panning shot round the Tardis - even fancier than every previous incarnation, as lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat finally blows the budget on his precious time machine - which comes to rest on a quirkily-dressed, fabulously-off-the-wall... Dame Helen Mirren. Or Olivia www.Colman...No disrespect to either of these fabulous female actors, but I'd actually be fairly delighted if it was any woman.

Not that any would do, but that I'm certain there is an extensive array of actresses of all ages who would be able to make the most of the role.

Mirren herself said it was "well over time to have a female Doctor" last year.

It's the last bastion of maleness which still exists beyond that old glass ceiling - well that and the President of the United States.

The Gallifreyan has always been a man - since 1963, from the first incarnation of William Hartnell to his most recent as Capaldi.

But with more than 50% of the population women, wouldn't a female doctor make sense? Some say the character is male, and that's that.

Former Doctor Peter Davison said: "To me it would be a rather odd thing. To have a female Time Lord would be like having a female James Bond."

But, considering the fact that age and nationality have not been a barrier to Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith or Capaldi, why should gender? Are they afraid that a female doctor will crush the Tardis in some PMT-induced rage? The question of a black doctor has of course come up, and it does seem a bit odd that it remains a uniquely white role also.

But, despite Moffat's protestations that "it's not a political decision, it's an aesthetic decision and will always be", there are rumblings aplenty about the gender imbalance of the show at large, and in its super-successful rebirth Doctor Who does reflect into the way global culture treats women.

In 1985, American cartoonist Alison Bechdel did a test to measure equality in works of fiction.

Simply put, the Bechdel test asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

In April this year, students at Brigham Young University in Idaho broke down the Bechdel statistics for Doctor Who.

The study found that the last three series featuring female sidekick Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan) scored just 53%.

In plain terms, only 17 out of 32 episodes had the female character speaking to another woman about something other than a man.

Moffat succeeded Russell T Davies as the BBC show's lead writer and executive producer in 2009, but the before and after statistics make similarly grime reading.

At a question and answer session at Hay Festival, Moffat said an actress could be cast only if the perfect candidate popped into his head.

"When that person is a woman, that's the day it will happen.

"Do you know how it will happen? It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman. That is not how you cast the Doctor.

"A person will pop into the showrunner's head and they'll think. 'Oh, my God, what if it was that person?' And when that person is a woman, that's the day it will happen."

Moffat was also asked if he would consider making the Doctor's companion something other than a "20th century female" and disclosed: "I would consider that. I very nearly did it last time." so we might even see the last representation of femininity bite the dust altogether.

As someone who grew up in the era of McCoy, I often wished I could be Ace - his sidekick ably played by Sophie Aldred - but never would have dreamed of being the lead character, the Doctor. How sad is that? One could argue that a programme aimed at youngsters should present an equal footing between male and female characters to enable upcoming generations to not only fully grasp equality, but also embrace it.

And what would be the ultimate equality - a woman in the driving seat of the Tardis.

Well, technically, we're looking at 12 women to level it out now - but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

the Doctor Who: World Tour starts in Cardiff ¦on August 7, where Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat will be attending a red carpet event. The new Doctor will make his series 8 debut at St David's Hall when fans will get to see him in Deep Breath before the series premiere on BBC One on August 23 Thanks for the memories...

What has happened to Pond, Tyler, Smith and Jones since they left the Doctor's side? We take a look at the post-Doctor careers of the former sidekicks.

David Tennant went on to play a certain detective inspector in a quiet seaside town while Christopher Eccleston became John Lennon and Matt Smith earned himself a role in Terminator.

But what happened to the others who lived in (or wrote about) the Tardis? Kathryn Williams finds out Who's been up to what since they last caught glimpse of the sonic screwdriver.

KAREN GILLAN (AMY POND) After bowing out in the spectacular The Angels Take Manhattan episode of Doctor Who, Gillan hasn't looked back.

In her final appearance in 2012 as Amy Pond, she was transported to a parallel universe created by evil statues the Weeping Angels in order to be with her beloved husband Rory.

The New York theme continued after her departure as she played 1960s supermodel Jean Shrimpton in We'll Take Manhattan with Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard.

Gillan's currently on US television as the vacuous lead Eliza in Selfie and will soon be seen in Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy, a role for which she completely shaved her head.

She is also in cinemas at the moment in the spooky mirror film Oculus.

ARTHUR DARVILL (RORY WILLIAMS) Right up until the end of their on-screen relationship in Doctor Who, Darvill's Rory played second fiddle to Matt Smith's "Raggedy Man" - but finally in The Angels Take Manhattan, Gillan's Amy Pond makes the ultimate sacrifice for her husband.

Since disappearing into an alternative New York, Darvill has been most famously been seen on-screen in ITV's successful murder-mystery Broadchurch. He also appeared in BBC's The White Queen as Henry Stafford.

And this week he appeared in Radio 4's play Burning At Both Ends opposite Sean Pertwee, son of the third Doctor Who actor John Pertwee of course. Darvill played wayward The Who drummer Keith Moon and Pertwee played Oliver Reed, with the audio drama exploring the influence of the former on the latter.

BILLIE PIPER (ROSE TYLER) Companion to David Tennant's Doctor, Piper has been a constant television presence since her Doctor Who debut in 2005.

Since "definitely leaving" after two series, Piper's character returned in series four and for several special episodes including last year's 50th anniversary specials.

The 32-year-old actress, who is married to Lewis actor Laurence Fox, has appeared in one-off dramas Ruby In The Smoke and A Passionate Woman.

But her most notable television role was as Hannah Baxter in ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl in which she played a high-class prostitute.

She was most recently seen in Sky Atlantic's horror-thriller Penny Dreadful.

RUSSELL T DAVIES (WRITER AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) Swansea-born Davies is credited with returning Doctor Who to our screens and stayed with the show from its revival in 2005 until he passed it into the capable hands of Steven Moffat.

He is also responsible for spin-offs the Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood.

Since his departure, Davies has written The Writer's Tale, a collection of emails between Davies and Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine journalist Benjamin Cook.

Dubbed the "Great Correspondence" by Davies and Cook, The Writer's Tale covers a period between February 2007 and March 2008 and explores his writing processes and the development of his scripts for the fourth series of Doctor Who.

Davies was also made an offer from Lucasfilm to work on a proposed Star Wars live-action television series, but he refused the commission.

He has also co-created CBBC's Wizards & Aliens and currently has three connected projects in production including Cucumber, a tale of a group of friends and former gay-rights activists in Manchester and a sister show, Banana, will air on E4 with a connected website.

NOEL CLARKE (MICKEY SMITH) Mickey Smith was introduced as Rose Tyler's hapless boyfriend at first but soon he was fighting alongside the Doctor.

Since leaving, Clarke's star has continued to soar. He appeared in and wrote the screenplay for Kidulthood and then wrote, directed and starred in the sequel Adulthood, which gained £1,209,319 from the opening weekend of its release. This was after winning the Orange Rising Star Award in 2009. He has also directed the 2010 crime thriller 4,3,2,1 which starred Emma Roberts. Clarke was last seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness as Thomas Harewood.

FREEMA AGYEMAN [#x2c6]MARTHA JONES[#x17d] Agyeman first appeared as David Tennant's companion Martha in 2007 and continued until midway through series five in 2008, before returning for Tennant's final episodes the End of Time in 2009.

Since her Doctor Who days she's been a regular on Law&Order: UK as crown prosecutor Alesha Phillips and, up until its recent cancellation, Agyeman played Larrisa Loughlin in the Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries.

Agyeman recently joined the cast of the new Netflix original series Sense8. The show, from the makers of The Matrix, is about eight people around the world linked through telepathy. The 10-part series is expected in 2015.

If you always take a banana to a party and never blink when you see a statue, you're on your way to being a proper, take-no-nonsense Whovian superfan, says David Prince 1. You find yourself saying random Doctor Who catchphrases such as Fantastic, Allons-y, Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey and Bow Ties/Fezes are cool, in any situation that you find yourself in. 2. You own more than one version of a Sonic Screwdriver. 3. You always take a banana to a party.

4. You always count the shadows.

You take an instant dislike to anyone that writes out Doctor

5. You take an instant dislike to anyone that writes out Doctor Who as Dr Who.

6. You smile at the thought of slipping a Doctor Who quote into conversations such as someone talking about how much they felt like they were living in a book they read, and you reply "We're all stories, in the end."

7. You offer Jelly Babies to people you hardly know. The same goes for trying to save the world with a Jammie Dodger (which are made in Cwmbran).

You cry a little inside when you realise that you're still not ginger.

8. You cry a little inside when you realise that you're still not ginger.

9. The Regeneration cycle hits you like this: New Doctor announced - "I hate this guy." New Doctor's first episode - "He's OK, I guess, but the last guy was still better." End of New Doctor's first season - "Best. Doctor. Ever." Doctor announces his departure - "No! There's no way you can replace him!"

10. You see any big blue box in the street and can't help but take a selfie.

11. In South Wales during filming you find yourself looking for the crew signs to watch them film the show and hopefully meet the cast.

12. You don't blink when you see a statue.

13. Shop window dummies give you a chill.

14. Any time someone talks scientific - you mention something about reversing the neutron flow.

15. When introducing yourself you get the urge to say: "There's something you'd better understand about me 'cause it's important, and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

16. When consoling someone at a funeral you say: "Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It's not the time that matters, it's the person. "Or this: "The good things don't always soften the bad, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."

17." When searching for clues you look exactly where you don't want to look. Where you never want to look. The corner of your eye.

18. When thinking of your love life you believe in the saying: "One may suffer a world of demons for the sake of an angel."

GRAPHIC: Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor <Band Sophie Aldred as Ace in 1988

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  • APA 6th ed.: McCrum, Kirstie (2014-08-02). Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan. The Western Mail .
  • MLA 7th ed.: McCrum, Kirstie. "Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan." The Western Mail [add city] 2014-08-02. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: McCrum, Kirstie. "Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan." The Western Mail, edition, sec., 2014-08-02
  • Turabian: McCrum, Kirstie. "Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan." The Western Mail, 2014-08-02, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's that girl? 18 ways to tell if you're a genuine Doctor Who superfan | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who%27s_that_girl%3F_18_ways_to_tell_if_you%27re_a_genuine_Doctor_Who_superfan | work=The Western Mail | pages= | date=2014-08-02 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 October 2019 }}</ref>
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