Doctor Who:It's Time to Start Talking About a Female Doctor

Categories: Doctor Who

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Joanna Lumley as the Thirteenth Doctor in the comedy sketch "The Curse of Fatal Death"
Peter Capaldi lands as the new Doctor this Fall, and may his reign be long, fun, and full of running. I am as stoked as I could possibly be about seeing Capaldi take on the part. It's a welcome change for the new series, and I think that even the most vocal of fans hoping for a non-white or non-male Doctor are still happy with the choice. Some actors just are The Doctor, and Capaldi is clearly one of them.

That said... it's very likely that in three or four years we will once again be playing the guessing game as we wonder who will step into Capaldi's shoes once he too regenerates into a new form. With a brand new cycle of regenerations we're set for another twelve actors to be given a sonic screwdriver, but between now and then it's time for us to really sit down and be honest with ourselves.

It's not that the next Doctor should be a woman, it's that the next Doctor needs to be a woman.

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Arabella Weir as an alternative universe Doctor in "Exile"
First of all, let's get this out of the way. There is plenty of precedent for a Time Lord changing his sex upon regeneration. The Eleventh Doctor himself mentioned his friend The Corsair doing so in "The Doctor's Wife". In fact, there is a Big Finish audio story in which we do have a female Doctor played by Arabella Weir. Granted, it's from a set of stories set in alternative universes, but the fact remains that in both the television show proper and a major licensed media franchise the concept exists and is openly acknowledged. There is no in-universe reason why we can't have a female Doctor.

The major complaint you hear from people opposed to the idea is that The Doctor has always been male. That it's an established part of the character. Maybe, but I don't buy it personally. Sex is something that all 13 actors have had in common, true, but does it really define The Doctor in any meaningful way? All of the traditional TV Tropes associated with male characters (Strength, speed, wisdom, and a commanding presence) have all also been embodied in female companions who in many cases did it better any way.

The Second Doctor could never have outfought Zoe, Leela could leave the Fourth in the dust, River Song was always one step ahead of the Eleventh, and no Doctor could ever have told Donna Noble what to do. What tropes are left that require a male Doctor?

No, that's not the promise, is it? The promise is "Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up. Never give in." If that's your measure of a Doctor, then Rose Tyler was more of a Doctor than Nine ever was.

This story continues on the next page.


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13 comments
Rebecca Smith
Rebecca Smith

I certainly do not want a female doctor because, quite honestly, I do not think she would be well written. TV writers seem incapable of writing women characters that are separate from relationships and genitals, and I would HATE Doctor Who to turn into some trashy space opera.

TheVodkaYeti
TheVodkaYeti

The next Doctor does not "need" to be a woman. Whoever the show runner is at the end of the Capaldi era, he/she will decide who fits the bill, man or woman, The first female Doctor will have so much scrutiny and attention. it will certainly have to be someone with thick skin and tough shoulders! :)


Having said that I think we will have a female Doctor within the next ten years, there are some great British actresses around who just need time to add a bit more experience and gravitas, and I look forward to that day :)

michaellgrossman
michaellgrossman

Technically we've already had a female Doctor, lest we forget Doctor Donna!

Smedley
Smedley

 Except female Time Lords are different... Take Romana for example. She showed that female Time Lords could regenerate at will, choosing their appearance, even changing it multiple times before deciding upon a form.

crazyclown420
crazyclown420

So I agree the next doctor needs to be female also she needs to be ginger

KatelynnRose
KatelynnRose

My concern about having a female doctor would be one of three things:


The first concern would be that in going with the societal norms of Western Culture that she would become overly sexualized, we all know we have Captain Jack Harkness for that. 


The second concern would be a fear that she would end up being an extremely feminist character, and I personally don't believe those traits belong to the doctor -- Please note, You can be a strong, independent, intelligent woman without being a feminist. --


The third concern is exactly opposite from the second concern that a female doctor would be an overly emotional, overly passionate, classically stereotypical woman, and it would just turn into a giant mess of a chick-flick or soap opera kind of program.  

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

I would LOVE to see a female Doctor. 


That picture of John Barrowman and your family is quite nice. I am not jealous, no, really, I am not......

kmaher23
kmaher23

People have been talking about a female Doctor for some time now.  Where have you been?


JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@KatelynnRose Your first concern, I don't really see why that would happen any more than Matt and River constantly flirting.

Second, that's possible, I guess, but again, why would she?


Third, you're kind of just exploring tropes at this point. None of these are really anything more than extreme vagueries that have anything to do with gender.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@kmaher23 To clarify, I meant "It's time to start talking about the next regeneration now at the beginning" than in a general "Hey, we need a female Doctor" way. My apologies for any confusion

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

@JefWithOneF @Hanabi-chan That's awesome! Your little lady has excellent taste I must say! And good on Mr. Barrowman for being a sport. He looks like a nice fellow and entertaining to be around. :)

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