Monday, 17 July 2017

The 13th Doctor

So they've done it. They've actually done it. The next Dr Who is going to be a woman. Now this has been one of those slow burners that has been coming for years. They have been softening us up for this moment for several series and even since a couple of doctors ago. There were those early hints that Time Lords can change sex when they change bodies. Then there was Missy. I must admit that Missy removed any doubts that I may once have had. Then this last series there have been so many oblique references and jokes to sex and gender that all doubt was removed. This was clearly a done deal.

And so yesterday the BBC revealed that Jodie Whittaker is to be the 13th Tardis traveller. I didn't see that coming admittedly, but I knew it would be a woman for all of the reasons stated above.

And it's obvious with the benefit of hindsight. Chris Chibnall, the new show runner, has worked with Jodie before in Broadchurch in which she was terrific. She is a great actor, great looking and still young and fit enough to do the more physical side of the role. She is also good at light comedy, something essential if Doctor Who is to return to its best.

Yes, inevitably, there has been a mixed reaction. Some are pleased at this leap. Others furious.

I am open minded. I do understand some people's irritation even if I don't understand naked anger and hostility. You could see it as yet more political correctness. But this is a sci-fi show. So why not? And surely we should at least give it a chance. The next series won't be on until next year and nothing has even been shot so far other than the initial scenes as number 12 transforms into number 13.

If I have major reservations it is about Chris Chibnall and not the new Doctor. He is clearly a great and talented writer but can he pull off series after series of Doctor Who? Will he be able to reinvent it, bring in other top writing talent to supplement him and take it back to its glory days of high audiences and better stories?

Looking at it that way a new female doctor may help mightn't she. She will change the aesthetic and the feel of the show. She is younger and will change the dynamics of the role and the way she interacts with others. There will also be opportunity for lots of new jokes. Either way haters of the internet shut up and stop being so vile. A fictional television character with two hearts who time travels in a blue box and is 1000 years old has now become a woman. Are we really saying that this is implausible?

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