Doctor Who has become more than a TV show it’s part of British culture. If you ask anyone from the UK if they have heard of the show and they are bound to say yes.
We all know by now the blue police box which forewarns his arrival; the signature Sonic Screwdriver; the over-the-top wacky outfits; and, of course, The Doctor’s arch enemies the terrifying Daleks.
I grew up with Doctor Who so I’ve been a lifelong fan and one thing that has always been constant in the ever regenerating show is that The Doctor is always a man. When it was announced that the first woman was taking up the role of The Doctor, I was shocked. It felt odd to me, it felt like the show would be different, it felt like this wasn’t Doctor Who as we knew it anymore. But the question is, is it really a big deal? There were a lot of people complaining and shouting about it on social media but in spite of the commotion would this actually be a good thing for the show?
The Doctor has always been played traditionally by a man, and Jodie Whittaker will be the first female to take up the role as the Time Lady. The Doctor’s regeneration ability allows her to change into a new body after she dies and it is known that this can also mean a change in gender too, so it was only a matter of time until we saw a female doctor. Series 11 is set to air in October of this year consisting of 10 episodes with a new trio of companions, Graham being one of them, played by Bradley Walsh a long time fan of the show. The series will also now be led by Chris Chibnall, as Steven Moffat has stepped down. This marks a new era of the show and fans are eager to see what will happen with a new showrunner, a new doctor and a whole new cast of companions in this brand new start. This new series is expected to stick out from the rest, and having a woman as the main role will provide interesting dynamics between characters.
This isn’t the first time the show has done something like this however. At the end of series 8, we discover that this mysterious woman called Missy was actually The Doctor’s best frienemy, The Master, regenerated into a woman. Played by Michelle Gomez, her character was greatly received by the fans and she went onto become one of my favourites in the whole show. Despite this however, fan reception for a female doctor has been mixed. Some say having a woman play the role feels out of place and that it is breaking tradition or that it is a political statement. Whilst others and I argue a female playing the main lead will give young girls a role model to look up to and that it was bound to happen anyway, since it is a fact of the show that regeneration isn’t limited to only 1 gender.
Jodie stated in a BBC News Interview in August 2017: “I hope my gender isn’t a fearful thing for the fans, because in this world particularly, there are no rules.”
Until October, we will just have to wait and see how Jodie takes on the role, after all, there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders playing the most iconic British TV character, especially if you are the first woman to do so. This is looking like a good step in the right direction for Doctor Who, and a new beginning could be just what the show needs.
By OLIVER CARGILL