Thoughts On The Casting Of Jodie Whittaker As The Doctor (or “I’m Unsure; I Hope That’s Ok?”)

July 16, 2017

I’ll preface this by saying that no matter who took the part of the new Doctor, they wouldn’t inspire me. Peter Capaldi is the best actor ever to have the role in my opinion and I’m disappointed to see him leave. There were no outstanding/obvious replacements.

And I won’t lie either; I’ve spent my life associating the character of the Doctor as a man so I never had any burning desire to see that change. It seems to me that lots of people – including those who don’t watch the show and never will – are heralding this as the most amazing news not because of Jodie Whittaker’s acting prowess but because she’s a woman. That’s equally daft to people hating on her for the same reason.

But me; I’m just…unsure. Is that ok? Or is the blanket reply that it’s not ok and I must be a sexist, misogynist pig?

Why am I unsure? It’s not because I don’t think the part should be played by a woman – the outrage and sexist jokes we’ve seen so far have been very poor if not unexpected from certain quarters – but rather how a woman playing the part will affect the show itself.

The New Doctor

  • What will it mean for the casting of a companion? Are we going to get some strange dynamic of a young bloke desperately in love with an older woman? Or Bill Potts suddenly besotted with her? I think we’ve seen enough ‘Companion Loves The Doctor’ sub plots in recent years. The stuff with Martha and especially Rose was terrible.
  • What happens when she leaves the show? Going back to a male Doctor at the first time of asking might end up suggesting that she’s somehow been seen as a failed experiment, resulting in female Doctors being cast for a while with no men being considered for fear of backlash. ¬†And that is positive discrimination.
  • Does the casting of a female Doctor limit the setting/scope of stories set in the past? That might sound ridiculous but – even though most episodes would work regardless of the gender of the Doctor – there are definitely situations and stories that the character has found himself in that couldn’t have worked if he was a woman.
  • Will the writing focus on the fact she is a woman more than it does on actually writing good episodes of Doctor Who?

This all remains to be seen.

I’m always an optimist, so when the time comes for the new season to start next year I’ll be as excited as ever.

Change can be good and hopefully this will be a good change. Michelle Gomez was excellent as Missy but felt like a completely different character to the Master.

How will Jodie Whittaker do then? Who knows. I haven’t seen enough shows she’s been in to know how good an actress she is. I’ll certainly give her a chance; the sort of people who won’t are pathetic.

Ultimately it’s the quality of the writing that counts the most.

And it’s chiefly because of how the writing might change to take this into account that makes me unsure.

I hope that’s ok?