“Change, my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.”
The new Doctor Who has been announced (yes I will use that title and you can’t stop me), and it’s Jodie Whittaker. Or as I know her, That Woman From That One Black Mirror Episode I Watched, because I still haven’t seen Broadchurch out of my own sheer laziness. For simplicity, we’ll use her real name. Someone must remind me to watch Broadchurch though.
Since I haven’t watched her in anything more than a single TV episode, I’m not really qualified to comment on her ability as an actress (I’ll let her multiple film and TV award nominations speak for that). Anyone that follows me on social media will know that I was majorly wanting Riz Ahmed for the next Doctor, and I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. But at least I wasn’t one of those idiots betting their actual real life money on the literal worst character in Love Actually taking the part.
Seriously. People actually bet their real life money on this man being the next Doctor. And worse, some of them actually wanted him to play it, without the incentive of free money.
I was a big fan of the idea of a more diverse choice for the Doctor, but I didn’t expect the BBC to choose an actress for the role. I was always in favour of it, just not expecting them to actually go through with it. A person of colour playing the role first seemed like a safer option, so I just assumed they would probably go for that first. The hints over the last few years do seem a bit obvious now though.
My general thoughts on the casting are that it’s pretty good to get a female Doctor. I think it will be a refreshing change and I’m eagerly waiting to see how she plays the role. Debating on what she will be like is a bit silly in my opinion because really we don’t know what any Doctor will be like until we actually see them in the role and to be honest it’s such a variable and ever-changing role that debating on any new casting is in itself pointless.
Some of the arguments some people give against it are just plain idiotic, to say the least. Many complain that this must be a double standard and demand male versions of characters like Lara Croft, Miss Marple, Wonder Woman, Xena, or even an all-male Sex And The City remake.
So you mean like the four Indiana Jones films? The hundreds of adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes mythos? The various Wonder Men who have appeared in DC since 1963? Hercules, the show Xena was literally spun off from? The entire eight seasons plus movie of Entourage? Or was everyone asleep for those and it only matters when “little boys are losing a role model”?
If you’re arguing against the show “getting political” then clearly you’ve been asleep for the past 50+ years of science fiction and haven’t yet picked up on the metaphors of diversity and equality in Star Trek, economics and capitalism in Dune, and fascism and political corruption in Star Wars.
Or even more, you’ve not been paying attention to the last series tackling LGBT relationships, animal conservation, and the effects of capitalism, among others.
Star Trek put two female characters (one of them a woman of colour), a Russian, and a Japanese man at the centre of a show during the height of the particularly uncivil 1960s Cold War America. Science fiction has always been a grand valley for addressing political issues, and shouldn’t be expected to limit itself based on your own personal views about women.
Personally, I’m very happy with this casting. One of the things I’m passionate about in entertainment is diverse casting, and I’m always enthusiastic to see more lead roles for women, especially in big franchises like this. I’ll be happy with another eleven female Doctors as long as I can say they’re the right person for the role. Hopefully, some of the more bigoted among us can eventually come to that conclusion too.