Last year it was announced that after almost sixty years, Doctor Who would cast a woman as the lead character in the show. Since it’s rebirth in 2005, the show has been fairly progressive about race, sexuality and gender – so this is a clear step in the right direction.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it
The casting of Jodie Whittaker to play one of the most coveted roles on British T.V. has needless to say been controversial. Up until now, the Doctor has always been played by a man. Having a woman play the role is completely new territory for the show. She might turn the Tardis into a big wardrobe or stop adventuring to talk about her feelings. Right? Wrong. Of course that won’t happen. Doctor Who as a show will remain what it’s always been – a fun, sci-fi adventure series.
Does the gender of the character even matter?
It’s also worth saying that it’s very rare that the Doctor’s male gender was even a factor in the show’s major storylines. He never brought down the Daleks with his genitals. The most it was ever even mentioned was when a supporting character had a little flirt with the Doctor. But in an interview with the Radio Times, Jodie has made it clear that there will be no romance in the upcoming series. So I guess we’re safe.
Times change, and the media should reflect that
The way I see it, times change and so does the media and pop culture we enjoy. Over the years, beloved characters such as the Doctor have been altered and updated in ways that help the show reflect the changing culture of the world. It’s not just Doctor Who. The show “Elementary,” which was based on the Sherlock Holmes series, had Lucy Liu play Watson and renamed Joan.
Doctor Who is unique in it’s setup – the show lends itself to change, allowing the main character to shift dramatically to reflect the times. Perhaps next we’ll have a black man, or an Indian woman. Britain is a vibrant, diverse culture – and I think it’s time one of our most beloved shows reflects that.