You are here

DW13

I woke to the news on Monday July 17 and I have to say I was shocked. Not in a bad way, simply that the BBC had chosen a woman. I honestly thought they wouldn't have the nerve.

There has been a lot of build up to this announcement and I thought they did well to keep the casting a secret. Yes, Jodie Whitaker was one of the front-runners, but I get the sense nobody really knew for sure. The BBC launched a great teaser in the lead up to teh announcement. They went for a prime-time launch with an ad immediately after the men's Wimbledon final and, not surprisingly, the interwebs went into meltdown.

There's been more to the build up than this though. We've been introduced to the idea over a long period of time. Technically you could argue that Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) kicked it off by wishing the next Doctor "whoever he or she may be" the best of luck. More realistically, the idea has been kicking around in the new series for some time. The Corsair gets a mention in The Doctor's Wife as having been both genders over time. We saw a regeneration from male to female (and white to black) in Hell Bent and then, of course, there's the Master and Missy. The 12th Doctor and Bill had an exchange about gender in World Enough And Time. Bill asked if the Time Lords were "a bit flexible about the man-woman thing". The Doctor's reply finished with "We're billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.” I feel confident that this was all part of a long-term plan to open up the possibility of a female Doctor.

On the whole I think the reception has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly from previous and current cast members (Doctors, companions, etc.) with one notable exception. That's not to say there hasn't been a vocal resistance too. Many have said this will ruin the show. The "Doctor has always been a man" seems to be a common argument. This doesn't stand up to any scrutiny - there any many things women do now that were once the purview of men only. Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor) opposed the casting on the basis that young men need role models. While the sentiment is true, I think this a poor argument to make. As for those who claim they will no longer watch the show; that seems an overreaction.

I've left some time between the announcement and writing about it to let my thoughts settle on the matter. And frankly, after a month, I couldn't care less whether the Doctor is a man or a woman. The role was alway above that. I think what settled it for me was going to see Wonder Woman. This was a great movie, Gal Gadot was superb and I left the movie wondering, why did it take so long for a female super-hero to have her own movie? Seriously, how many Spiderman, Superman, Batman reboots have there been?

Anyway, the Christmas special looks intriguing (based on the trailer) and I can't wait to see the 13th Doctor in action.