Friday 28 June 2013

Thoughts on a female Doctor Who

It was wishful thinking, I know, but since the Doctor Who Christmas Special was due to start filming this month I was hoping Doctor Who Magazine might lead with the traditional “... IS The Doctor” cover.

I am kind of hoping for a woman, truth be told. Not in an “it'll solve all the sexism problems of the series” sort of way (it won't) but in an “it might be fun” and “Helen Mirren is interested and I'm not insane” sort of way. The DWM news page offers a few interesting candidates: Billie Piper (utter fantasy, that one); Olivia Coleman (could be interesting); Sue Perkins (never seen her act but she's got good comic timing, plus baking skills); Jennifer Saunders (action Doctor!) and Miranda Hart (my mother, big Call The Midwife fan, approves); and, of course, Mirren.

And to all appearances the idea of a female Doctor is being seriously considered.

There are objections to a female Doctor, some good, some bad. The bad ones boil down to “The Doctor is a man, so there!” and, yes, he has always been played by a man. He's also been symbolically represented as a phoenix, an angel, Odin and a Northerner (less symbolic, that last one). Logic of the existing body is not a good argument here.

There are good arguments against feminizing the Doctor, though. The DWM editorial quotes Claire Budd of The Independent:

“As feminists we are always asking men to change, to be less aggressive, and to value equality. The idea of feminists arguing that we should take away the only male role model that appears to use his brains rather than weapons or fists seems rather alien to me.”

It's a complex question and I concede that the Doctor may (under the right writer) be a more positive feminist force as a man than he could ever be as a woman.

I just want a good actor who'll be able to follow Smith's, one of my favourite Doctors of the lot. Can anyone tell me Helen Mirren wouldn't kill in the role?

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