A Woman Doctor Who – Whoop-de-doo!

Silly people, complaining about the latest reiteration of Dr Who being a woman, writes PAT PILCHER.

 

Looking at last week’s media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a horrific act of terrorism had killed thousands, or that a world leader had quit or something similarly shocking had happened given the frenzied hype around the next Dr Who being a sheila. You know, a woman.

Yep, it’s all because of the startling news that acclaimed UK Actress Jodie Whittaker (who played Beth Latimer in the crime drama, Broadchurch) has picked up the role of the good Doctor, the famous timelord.

This supposedly ‘ground-breaking’ casting decision is the reason for all the mountains of media hype and countless social media ructions rippling out across the interweb.

The move may be controversial, but it is also public relations gold and dare I say it, marketing genius. This is the first time in the 54-year history of the show that the role of the Doctor will be played a woman.

Countless fans wrote into the BBC to complained bitterly. These idiots need to get out and get a life.

Appointing Whittaker into the role is an incredibly smart move. Doctor Who may be the BBC’s flagship sci-fi show, but it airs in a market awash with countless sci-fi TV shows, and the competition for viewer attention is getting more intense with every season. Doctor Who must stay relevant if it is to survive. After 54 years of the Doctor being played by crusty old farts, switching to a woman could help it stand out from a crowded me-too pack.

The BBC, as logical as ever, took the complaints in their stride. They responded that female timelords are part of the show’s lore. In non-sci-fi geek-speak, this is because of the episode The Doctor’s Wife, which aired in in 2011, in which it was confirmed that time lords can change gender when they regenerate. This saw the Doctor’s nemesis, the Master (traditionally a male character) regenerate into a woman (Missy). Since then the role has been played by Michelle Gomez with huge success. Gomez has made the role her own, delivering a psychotic menace as only the Master should.

The BBC quite rightly reason that If you can handle the fact that the Master is a woman, why not the Doctor? I can’t fault their logic.

Show history aside, the move makes a tonne of sense from a purely demographic perspective. Half the viewing audience are female, and yet many simply don’t care about Doctor Who. That’s a big chunk of audience that the show is missing. Making Doctor Who’s main character a woman could help bring a sizeable chunk of that key audience across to the show.

Seemingly normally sane adults wrote into the BBC or posted on social media saying they’ll stop watching Doctor Who, because the main character is a woman.

That’s their loss, not ours.

This is a TV show aimed at kids (most of whom don’t care if the main character has a beard or boobies). It’s disappointing to see how much outright misogyny come from adults because of the BBCs casting choice. Maybe the so-called adults could learn a thing or two from the kids?

Even the most ardent misogynist must admit that Whittaker playing the doctor has the potential to bring a whole new dimension to the show. Issues such as sexual discrimination throughout different time periods will add a pile of twists, turns (and humour) to make what was turning into a cliché interesting again.

Then there’s Jodie Whittaker. She’s an amazing actress. A quick scab on her IMDD résumé reveals years of experience. Anyone who has watched Broadchurch will attest to her having done a stunning job playing Beth Latimer. Considering the almost one-dimensional shouty angry Scotsman portrayed by Peter Capaldi, having the role reprised by a more complex accomplished actress can only be a good thing. [And isn’t it a hoot that now we can look at Broadchurch and go ‘wow, there’s Doctor Who, and another Doctor Who!]

Lucky Brits will get their first glimpse of Whittaker as the new Doctor at the end this year’s Christmas special. Series 10 which will feature her fulltime isn’t set to screen until the northern Autumn of 2018.

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