Monday, 17 July 2017

First thoughts on the Thirteenth Doctor

I debated whether my compulsory comments on the new Doctor should be a Facebook post or a blog post but I wrote a blog post on Bill, so I figure it's only fair. (As a side note, I still haven't seen any of Bill's episodes but I think the DVDs for Series 10 Part II come out this week so I can order the series soon).

Firstly, to get the elephant out of the way, I will clarify that I don't like the idea of a female Doctor. (By which I mean, of course, having a female version of The Doctor. I don't have a problem with female doctors, as I hope to be one soon). But the Doctor is a person, not a position. And as a person I don't think his gender should be changed (more on that below for anyone that really wants to know).

Having said that, if we have to have a female Doctor, I am really glad with the choice of Jodie Whittaker. Here are my reasons:

1. She's not Tilda Swinton. (I was really worried earlier this year when I heard the bookies were putting good odds in favour of Tilda, especially because both Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie's castings were leaked to the bookies). I was kinda at a point where I would be happy with anyone that wasn't Tilda Swinton (who I like as an actress, but just can't see in the role of the Doctor).

2. I really liked her in Broadchurch. It was a very different role, but it was a tough part to play and she did a sterling job.

3. She's relatively unknown (outside of the UK). I like that Doctor Who takes little known actors and puts them in the spotlight.

4. Her surname is Whittaker. I grew up on Adventures in Odyssey audio dramas so anyone with the surname Whittaker is automatically awesome.

Finally, I kinda like the idea that if we have to have a female Doctor that it's Thirteen. There's something appropriate about that. (Yes, I know she's not really the thirteenth regeneration, but she'll still be known as "The Thirteenth Doctor").

Footnote on the elephant:

I like the idea of female leads and the idea of women breaking into positions traditionally reserved for men. I'm not displeased by the prospect of having our first female president in South Africa in two years time. (It's not a foregone conclusion, and I'm not sure how I feel about the leading woman candidate, but the possibility does make me cautiously optimistic). I'm often pleased when I hear that someone has become the first woman to achieve this or that, but with the Doctor it's different. It's not just a case of giving a woman the lead role in the story. It's changing the gender of an already existing character. And that I don't like. Not if you want continuity. If it was a parallel universe, I might be willing to accept it, but not this Doctor in this universe. I've always been uncomfortable with Time Lords changing gender in regenerations, but could let it pass when they were side characters and it could be considered an unusual characteristic. I wasn't happy when the Master shifted gender but could handle that because he/she has always been insane. Not so with the Doctor. With him, I find it a lot harder to swallow. He's been male for all of the however-many-thousand years he's lived now, and I feel like changing his gender changes something fundemental about his character, in a way that changing his hair colour and apparent age and dress sense does not. I realise not all people feel like that, but that's why I'm uncomfortable with a female Doctor.

Despite this, over the last few months, I have been slowly getting used to the idea that they might cast a woman in the role and by the time they get to filming and releasing (and I get to seeing) her first season, I'll probably be quite used to the idea and enjoy it none-the-less. And I have a whole season of Capaldi still to watch!!!