In the 54-year history of popular British sci-fi show “Doctor Who,” 13 actors (including John Hurt’s War Doctor) have played the iconic character of the Time Lord from a planet called Gallifrey, an ancient extraterrestrial with two hearts who travels through time and space in TARDIS – a police phone booth that is just a little bigger on the inside.
The show has captivated generations of sci-fi fans. The series ran for 27 years from 1963 to 1989, before BBC decided to reboot it in 2005, bestowing the fans with ten seasons in the past 12 years. It has been a joyous ride (with some bumps along the way), but it was about time things changed up a little bit.
Ever since the show confirmed that Time Lords can change their sex (Season 6, Episode 4, “The Doctor’s Wife”), fans have been clamoring to see a female Doctor gracing their TV screen. Steven Moffat, the previous show-runner, appeared to oppose the idea from the very beginning and did not believe fans would like to see a woman playing the legendary role.
However, now that the series has a new show-runner at its helm, fans are getting exactly what many of them had been hoping for years – because if the Master can turn into Missy, why can’t the Doctor regenerate into a woman?
Chris Chibnall of “Broadchruch” fame will take over the show next year, and with the impending departure of the current (12th) Doctor, played by the phenomenal Peter Capaldi, the BBC released a short teaser to get the Whovians across the world acquainted with their new Doctor.
The clip, posted above, shows a hooded figure walking through the woods. The person opens their hand to reveal a glowing key to the TARDIS appearing on their palm. They then reach up to pull back their hood, revealing their face – and guess what, it was "Broadchurch" star Jodie Whittaker.
Talk about breaking the glass ceiling… um, glass galaxy?
Anyways, we (and the franchise) did not only need a female Doctor because of “political correctness” as some would say, but because the series needed a shakeup exactly like this to stay relevant in the age of “Wonder Woman” and several other iconic fictional women ruling the cinema and the television.
Besides, younger generations of Whovians need to learn that women can be more than just companions, assistant and villains on the show – that they could actually be the Doctor.
“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” said Whittaker. “Because this is a really exciting time, and 'Doctor Who' represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”
It would be interesting to see how the Doctor copes up with the reality of being a woman. Cultural nuisances aside, the show would have to tackle a lot historically as well. After all, how would a 15th century king react if a woman marched into his court demanding answers or mocking his male advisers? If they do it right, the show-runners can make the next season (and hopefully many more to come) about tackling gender discrimination that is so deeply ingrained in the society that most people don’t even see notice it anymore.
Apart from women empowerment and female representation on TV, which are two of the most praiseworthy things about this decision, it would be also important to showcase how difficult things are going to get for the Doctor who is so used to having his way as a man. It's also important to mention that Whittaker is an extremely talented actress with an impressive resume.
Some people were obviously upset with the news, after all change is hard for some people. However, the reaction to Whittaker’s casting was hugely positive.
About time we got a female doctor! And, from what I've seen, Jodie Whittaker seems like a wonderful choice.— Sammy Paul (@ICOEPR) July 16, 2017
A female Doctor Who? What is next, nations and societies which do not systematically reduce women to second-class citizens across the world?— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) July 16, 2017
what doctor who will be: the exact same— savannah brown (@savannxhb) July 16, 2017
what angry people think it will be: come along companion, we must travel to the LIPSTICK DIMENSION
This is what Doctor Who has always been there to do. This is what Doctor Who is *for*.— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) July 16, 2017
WE HAVE TAKEN YOUR GHOSTBUSTERS AND STAR WARS AND SUPERHEROES AND DOCTOR WHO NOTHING IS SACRED WE WILL DEFILE IT ALL WITH OUR WOMANLY HANDS— grace ? GOT spoilers (@andlivefromny) July 16, 2017
What's the betting #DoctorWho is still addressed as Mrs Who when checking into hotels...— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) July 16, 2017
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Fred Prouser