Wednesday 13 December 2017

Next stop Bond? Why we're more than ready for a female Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker is the new Doctor Who
Jodie Whittaker is the new Doctor Who
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The BBC's big reveal of the next Doctor Who as Jodie Whittaker on Sunday night was met with collective applause, of a rather lower key than you might have expected.

The Broadchurch star will take over from Peter Capaldi to become the 13th Doctor Who - the first female incarnation of the Doctor in the series' 50 years.

She's making TV history and she realises the significance of her casting, "It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you're told you can and can't be. It feels incredible."

She also asked fans to "not be scared by my gender" and added, "Because this is a really exciting time, and 'Doctor Who' represents everything that's exciting about change.

"The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Cue an explosion of vitriol and contempt on Twitter as sexist fans decried the casting of a woman in a 'man's role'.

Except there was no explosion.

On Twitter, where negativity thrives and multiplies like a rampant case of syphilis, those who feel a little ill at ease with (or are downright outraged by) a female Doctor are certainly in the minority.

The outcry has been far more muted than you might expect.

Most of the objections appear to be of the old school Carry On sexist 'joke' variety, like this:

And this:

Most of the outcry was about the apparent outcry.  In fact, this Tweet pretty much sums it up:

Is it a sign of the times? Have we finally reached a point where gender is not an issue for the vast majority of people?  Or is it simply the case that Doctor Who fans are a predominantly progressive bunch?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the character has taken on many incarnations in the course of the series so this is not the giant leap it might appear to be to the uninitiated.

What is refreshing is that while most welcome the move, many feel it's about time.

If this newspaper clipping is to be believed a woman was considered for the role as far back as 1980.  If it's true it has taken the BBC only 37 years to work up the courage to roll with it.

The fact the move is being celebrated and applauded is irking others, who feel we should be past this point already...

Yes, we should be past this point already, but kudos to the BBC for making the move and paving the way for other franchises of the small and big screen to disregard gender and cast the right person - man, woman, or other - for the job.

We're looking at you Barbara Brocolli.

Everything you need to know about the new Doctor, Jodie Whittaker 

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