Why we think casting Jodie Whittaker as the first ever female Doctor is a great choice.
As the Wimbledon men’s final (which gave Federer an amazing 8th win) drew to an end, we also waited with baited breath for the reveal of who would be our next great saviour. No, not a new Prime Minister. A doctor. THE doctor.
If you’re not a fan of Doctor Who you probably will not have clicked on the link to begin with, so we are going to assume that if you are reading this you love all things Doctor Who and are, as we are, majorly excited about the revelation.
And what a reveal it was! BBC certainly knows how to create drama and this was no exception. We saw a strange hooded figure walking slowly through a forest, suspense music eerily playing in the background and their hand holding the Tardis key. The goose-bumps were real.
And then the unexpected happened. The doctor takes his hood off and we are faced with what could be the reveal of the decade: a woman. Jodie Whittaker, to be exact.
Now, if you have followed the betting odds prior to the announcement then her name, along other lead actresses such as Tilda Swindon had been creeping up pretty steadily, making it a possibility.
But did we think the BBC would make the bold choice in the end? Frankly, we didn’t.
And as expected, the internet has gone into a frenzy following the announcement. Do we hope we lived in a world where this should not need to be a matter of debate? Of course! It would be amazing if the new doctor was a woman and no one bat an eyelid. But, this is a first. There are no precedents, and it could cost the BBC a lot in terms of rating (even though the novelty will likely increase the ratings for at least the first couple episodes) for what is maybe one of their most successful franchise. So, it’s only fair that people are opinionated about it because, quite frankly, it IS a big deal. And by big we mean GOOD!
Below are 3 reasons why we think this is maybe the best possible choice the BBC could make.
- It will radically change the franchise, and it is needed.
As much as we love previous incarnations of The Doctor the franchise has, for a while at least, rested on its formulaic concept. With the omission of Missy (the reincarnation of the Master in a female form), the now standard Male doctor and female companion has been applied pretty much to the letter. Having a woman as the lead role, will no doubt drastically change the dynamics of the franchise, and may install a new lease of life into something that, although revered by legions of fans, should not be exempt of shaking things up a little.
- It will show an incredible model of representation for children watching the show.
Outside of the nerdy adult fan base (and we mean no disrespect by that, we proudly consider ourselves part of that group!) the show has also been a big favourite with children. We think it’s not only refreshing but also a potential game-changer to have the main character of a TV show change gender. It’s a leap and bound further in social evolution than any strong female lead Disney could create for their movies. This is not about creating a strong female lead role, it’s about taking that role and flipping it around and showing that gender is not the important part here. The Doctor is The Doctor. We can’t wait to see the impact this could have on children growing up, especially the ones suffering from not feeling they can be themselves. This shows you can be whoever you want to be.
- Technically speaking, it’s completely relevant to the story and could bring a lot of interesting plot changes.
A lot of criticism of the choice was based on the fact that, according to nay-sayers, the BBC was being overly PC and catering for peer pressure of wanting to give the role to a woman for the sake of it. Whether this is what motivated their choice (and frankly, who cares if it did? It got us a woman as the doctor!) the truth is that, in terms of storytelling, it is completely justifiable.
Over the last few seasons we were already exposed to the possibility that time lords could regenerate into any gender (as per the incredible Missy/ex-master plot, played by the exquisitely bonkers Michelle Gomez).
There is also no reason to expect this change to be more meaningful for the doctor himself, than when he regenerated, say, into an older or younger or blonder version of himself. In that sense we would expect him to come to terms with this change for no longer than a couple episodes. What is interesting, however, is how the writers will show the changes it might have on how people SEE him (her, sorry… still getting used to it!) based on this change. Will this impact on her choice of companion? Will it make them easily recognisable by their adversaries? We think there is a plethora of possible clever plot twists the writers could create and we hope they really deal with this the right way.
Jodie Whittaker has already dazzled fans with her part in Broadchurch and we think she could bring the same goofiness and iconic aloof state previous incarnations have brought, but with something extra and definitely very, very new.
So, all we have to say is well done BBC, Welcome Jodie, and we cannot wait to see how this play!