The new Doctor Who has been announced- and it is going to be a woman. Jodie Whittaker will be the thirteenth Doctor and the first woman taking on this role.
The announcement (via a promo broadcast straight after the men's singles final at Wimbledon) polarised the nation. Some people are delighted that those in charge have done this. At the same time, some are outraged that the new Doctor is a woman, as if this is the most outlandish aspect of a programme where the lead character is a time-travelling, shapeshifting alien who regenerates every few years and regularly fights a bunch of dusty bins otherwise known as Daleks. They see it as a risk- tell me, what is 'risky' about hiring an excellent actress in an iconic role?
Let me be the first to admit- I'm not a fan of Doctor Who. I'm not a Whovian, I'm not someone who knows assorted trivia about the show. But I am surprised and pleased about the direction the show has decided to take. If a woman is good enough to be the Doctor's assistant (and all the assistants have been women…so far), then a woman is good enough to take on the big job in the Tardis. Why should she always be there bridesmaid but never the bride? And for once, maybe women can have an assistant we can ogle over, or is that too much to ask?
To those that say, 'A woman as Doctor Who? What next- a man as Wonder Woman??' Sit down, it's completely different. Wonder Woman is clearly defined as being a woman so has to be played by (yes, you've guessed it) a woman. While Doctor Who is assumed by most to be a man (or to be precise, a white man) and has been cast as such, it is not gender-specific. Like in real life, doctors can be a man or a woman.
As for all the people shouting to anyone that'll listen that they are not going to watch Doctor Who for the next few years…
You will be watching to see how Jodie Whittaker does on her debut- you won't be able to help it, so stop deluding yourselves. Seeing people lose their minds on social media over this is amazing- the level of petulance over something fictional astounds me. So long as the best person is cast for the role, what does their gender matter? Most of the negative reaction is from men who feel their privilege has been threatened by a woman taking on a role that should be played by a white man. It's the same situation as James Bond- apparently, only white men can play him as he is such a legendary character- hence why Idris Elba has not been hired yet.
But the die is cast and the decision has been made. Some seem to think that if hey kick up enough of a fuss, those in charge will change their mind. It's not gonna happen. Here's hoping Jodie Whittaker does a great job and wows them all.
© 16th July 2017