This has been bothering me. We didn't want the new Dr Who to be a woman.

(49 Posts)
LynetteScavo Mon 05-Aug-13 21:43:19

The DC and I decided we wanted the new Dr Who to be a man (DH didn't seem to care).

Then DS2 said "I hope it's not a woman. I hope it's a man and white." At which DS1 and I were shock DS1 was jumping up and down, saying "You are so racist!" I said "Oh, yes, lets just hope it's another middle class, white male." None of us were jumping up and down saying "Oh, you are so sexist!"

I personally felt it would be easier for the Doctor to slip from one ethnicity to another, than one gender to another.....

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:47:39

I think the change between male/female would be a far greater 'leap' for the imagination than that of race (possibly because people do 'change colour' when they get a tan)

Mind you I find those films where people dress up as other races revolting & I am less upset about cross dressing

Not sure where I'm, going with this

omaoma Mon 05-Aug-13 21:50:40

I wanted him to be a fecking woman. But a change of skin colour or even body shape/haircut would have been nice (i think we just about get what Steven Moffat's type is now thanks...). Luckily DC and I were too busy having a sword fight and shouting 'girls are as good as boys!!' to notice the strange jumping-the-sharkathon that was the announcement programme.

Rufus43 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:55:40

Was convinced he wouldn't be white, hated the idea of changing sex.

I'm not sure river would be too chuffed!

MorrisZapp Mon 05-Aug-13 21:59:38

I can't be fagged with sci fi etc, and don't care really. But I think a female Dr Who would be a bit odd.

There was a thing in the Guardian about time travellers in popular culture always being male. There's one actress who's played a time travellers female non-time travelling partner in three films. And yes, one of them was The Time Travellers Wife, which I haven't seen but blow me, the book was shit.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 05-Aug-13 22:03:30

I think it shows how, for many people, sex is the central issue of personal identity. Probably even more so for white middle-class people.

Aside from nutty white supremacists, being white is very rarely central to someone's identity in a way of which they are conscious (it probably more accurate to say that not being of a UK ethnic minority is central). Likewise being middle class. So it is easy to see those things changing. It is unconscious privilege.

It might be interesting to see if a black character who changed actor could suddenly be white. I can't think of any franchises that aren't white men.

Sex also, at an objective level, changes a lot of things we see as central to who we are. River and the Doctor become a same sex couple. The Doctor becomes a mother, not a father. Etc.

Madratlady Mon 05-Aug-13 22:05:07

I assumed that gender for the Doctor, and for all time lords, was fixed but appearance changed when regenerating.

oohaveabanana Mon 05-Aug-13 22:05:55

I wanted it to be anything that wasn't a white middle class bloke. Would have loved a woman, but knew it wouldn't happen.

oohaveabanana Mon 05-Aug-13 22:07:11

That said, if it had to be a white bloke, it's the right one smile

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 05-Aug-13 22:07:27

Madrat - But race is more than appearance. Isn't it?

omaoma Mon 05-Aug-13 22:08:15

apparently there was some mention about a time lord who changed gender once so it is possible...
why couldn't River and DW be a couple? they've already had Captain Jack ffs

Madratlady Mon 05-Aug-13 22:11:14

Yes but the Doctor is a Time Lord. That is his race. Skin colour is his appearance.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 05-Aug-13 22:13:57

Omaoma - I didn't mean that we couldn't. I more meant that maybe we see moving from a straight relationship to a gay one is a more fundamental change in someone than regeneration allows. Some sort of 'core' of who we are that should stay the same in a given character.

Madrat- that's a good point. That it's just a timelord shell effectively. Were there male and female time lords?

There was mention of a Timelord who changed sex a few times, and of course Melody changed ethnicity, so there's no reason the Doctor couldn't (except that Moffat had already decided 12 would be a white man, for a change). In her first episode River makes a comment about fancying all but one of her mix-sexed team, so that shouldn't be an issue.

omaoma Mon 05-Aug-13 22:22:58

Amanda - sure, but it is sci fi! can't think of any better arena to challenge established mores. Which Moffat has happily done a hundred times already for different topics. There aren't even any advertisers to offend, don't know what his excuse is

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 05-Aug-13 22:27:54

Yes, I agree. I'd have liked to see a woman. I was just trying to explore why it felt so 'big' to think about having one.

RustyBear Mon 05-Aug-13 22:32:12

I don't think Time Lord is the Doctor's race - it's his species, as opposed to being human. There have been females of the species, referred to as Time Ladies.

In 'The Doctor's Wife' the Doctor refers to another Time Lord, the Corsair who always had a particular tattoo "he didn't feel like himself without the tattoo. Or herself a couple of times". But it's not made clear whether that was a matter of choice, similar to a human male choosing to change sex, (though accomplished rather more quickly, if dramatically) or whether it was something over which the individual had no control.

The only other explicit reference that I remember was a somewhat throw-away remark as Eleven was reviewing his body after the regeneration - I forget the exact words, but he ran his hands through his hair and said something like "Hair - lots of hair. I'm a woman!" But I don't think that was intended to be a serious statement, it was Moffatt playing with the fans because of the speculation that the Doctor might regenerate as a woman, like the line in Blink about the TARDIS not being a real police box because the windows were wrong.

Rufus43 Mon 05-Aug-13 22:42:55

Captain Jack was openly bisexual, River would have to possibly change from a heterosexual woman to a bi or lesbian

It would give me a bit of a shock to go to sleep tonight next to my dh and wake up nex to my dw

Rufus43 Mon 05-Aug-13 22:45:43

And although river was very playful with her sexuality it may well have been a passing comment

So River basically stating she is bisexual doesn't count? confused If she can cope with regeneration in general male to female isn't that big a leap.

omaoma Mon 05-Aug-13 22:55:59

wink at 'River would have to possibly change from a heterosexual woman to a bi or lesbian'... because that's never happened in real life before!

RedToothBrush Mon 05-Aug-13 22:59:01


I don't think it would have been right for the Dr to have become a woman; this time round...


Because the script hasn't been set up enough to do that yet. It needs to be written in over a period of time to get the audience ready to be able to make the imagination take that leap. So far there have been a few comments that now make it a possibility, but I think there does need to be more work in this area to make it work.

Otherwise you'd end up with a situation where a woman plays the part, and effectively destroys it because the audience wasn't prepared and ready enough to accept it. Which would be no good for a feminist agenda.

Sci fo does tend to led in terms of equality, but it is able to do so because of the script and subject as a whole and the target audience being open enough to accept it at that moment in time.

I think you have to ask the right questions here. Is it really about Dr Who or roles that women play on tv in general?

Rufus43 Tue 06-Aug-13 10:32:12

Happened to my friend thanks omaoma. So I am well aware it happens!

ria I take your point but didn't feel that it was a definite statement, unlike captain jack I think (tho happy to be corrected) who kept chasing/making comments to both sexes.

And to put it in context if my sexy young dr changed to a 90 year old one I would probably have an issue if I was married to him.

And actually I have said all that but we still don't know which Dr river married and that dr may have been female! So I will shut up now

(Except I agree with red)

TheSmallClanger Tue 06-Aug-13 11:02:51

I always thought the Doctor only assumed a male appearance on Earth, and was actually neither male nor female.

SirChenjin Tue 06-Aug-13 11:06:04

I didn't want it to be female, for all the reasons RedToothBrush gave. If/when it happens then I want it to be because the script and character has evolved to require a female, rather than a knee jerk reaction to a feminist agenda.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 06-Aug-13 12:19:11

Er, SirChenjin, "If/when it happens then I want it to be because the script and character has evolved to require a female, rather than a knee jerk reaction to a feminist agenda."

But THAT is the issue with having so few female characters on TV/in film. The rule that I express as "Only a woman if someone straight wants to put his cock in her, or she needs to be someone's mother." I.e. the DEFAULT character is a man, and writers only write the character as a female if she "needs" to be, for the plot. No-one ever says "All the scientists in this programme are men, a blatant pandering to the Men's Rights Agenda". But if you're to have a woman character, there needs to be a "reason" rather than just, say, because humans divide fairly evenly into male and female.

KRITIQ Tue 06-Aug-13 12:25:14

Stephen Moffat can't write convincing female characters to save his life so as long as he's got the job, I can only imagine how awful a "female Doctor" would have been. Someone I think on Twitter said that the best thing would be to have him write all the scripts for the next series, sack him and then cast a woman in the role.

I don't "get" why more recently they've moved toward making the Doctor more sexy/sexual and relationships with companions have sexual undertones (or overtones) sometimes. The way Amy Pond and some of the other female characters were stylised in such a sexualised way was also pretty stunning.

It wasn't thus in the earlier days. I always thought David Tennant was just to pretty for the role. Even Peter Davidson struggled to hit that essential (quirkiness with a sinister edge) because he was too conventionally handsome, in my view. At least Matt Smith had that eccentric look and presence, but the scripts were just so crap that he seemed to just spend most of his time flailing his arms around. Peter Capaldi fits this mould and is a good actor, and is that bit older, but I predict the scripts will still be crap.

It's Sci-Fi and heaven knows enough so-called "rules" have been broken in recent series to try and give some plausibility to badly written story lines. If it were a historical piece, yes, you could argue against casting a woman or a person of colour as say Churchill or Henry VIII (not to say that it's impossible,) but with Dr Who, I disagree that there are such restrictions.

I heard Gene Roddenberry speak about 30 years ago about what he was up against, trying to cast actors of colour and women actors in the original Star Trek series and how how the story lines challenged the bigoted social conventions of the time in a subversive way. Nearly 50 years on, it's sad that Sci-Fi writers seem not to have that kind of courage interest in using the platform they have for social good.

I can't help thinking how wonderful it would have been to have Dr Who played by Pauline Black, or Tilda Swinton or Sophie Okonedo (yes, I know she was already in Dr Who, but so was Capaldi!) - all of whom could have done that quirky thing so well.

Have you seen some of the guff Neil Gaiman is spouting on Tumblr about why it's "not yet" time for a woman or person of colour to be cast as the Doctor? Gah!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 06-Aug-13 13:28:43

Thanks KRITIQ - I just read it. I was disappointed by someone who writes good female characters (and such a big fan of Diana Wynne-Jones, who writes excellent ones) saying it's not the time. Based on....nothing. It's all very well saying it hasn't been set up, but whose fault is that?! He knows the other scriptwriters, they are writers FGS, they're making it up not transcribing something given down by the god of scifi.

I think Peter Capaldi will be great, but the thing is, we know what a sharp-talking, tall, thin, suited white guy being the doctor looks like. Wouldn't it be more interesting apart from anything else to have a woman playing it? Imagine Julie Walters as the Doctor, or Amelia Bullmore? Or Miriam Margolyes (a bit old for it now, sadly, but would be brilliant)? Or Honeysuckle Weeks?

Tbh I do agree that now is not the right time for a female Doctor, insofar as I'd stop watching rather than see Moffat butcher it. If we could get RTD a new main writer and relegate Moffat to a couple of episodes per series, however, there'd be no reason at all not to.

SirChenjin Tue 06-Aug-13 16:11:54

Elephant - that's your interpretation, not mine.

Bue Tue 06-Aug-13 18:14:13

There was a thing in the Guardian about time travellers in popular culture always being male. There's one actress who's played a time travellers female non-time travelling partner in three films. And yes, one of them was The Time Travellers Wife, which I haven't seen but blow me, the book was shit.

Well to be fair to the book, the character's daughter then becomes a time traveller, so presumably at some point in the future there may be a Time Traveller's Husband who gets abandoned a lot as well.

SirChenjin Tue 06-Aug-13 20:19:48

The Time Travellers Wife really was shit, wasn't it? So good to hear that someone else feels the same way about it - so many people rave about it hmm

FairPhyllis Wed 07-Aug-13 03:39:16

If they had cast a woman I would have rolled over and died. Because Steven Moffat is absolutely not the right person to write that Doctor. I was really annoyed with him basically trolling everyone beforehand saying the Doctor could be a woman - it's clear now he never had any intention of casting a woman. It doesn't sound like they auditioned any.

It's interesting how sci-fi is often thought of as a progressive genre, yet the only screen sci-fi I can think of that truly was socially radical is the original series of Star Trek.

The Doctor that River married was Matt Smith, surely...

specialsubject Thu 08-Aug-13 11:31:00

the doctor is a male character. He can be any colour but he is a he. It's just how it is.

(twirls long scarf and starts up toy Dalek)

it is FICTION!

Suelford Mon 12-Aug-13 12:26:25

I think a female Doctor could take the character in interesting directions, but the writers and audience aren't ready for it yet.

ITCouldBeWorse Mon 12-Aug-13 18:15:09

I don't think it is a big deal to change ethinicity, but it would be hard for the dr to be a father and then a mother - in my mind anyway.

How/when did melody change ethnicity? I must have missed that!

RustyBear Mon 12-Aug-13 19:54:53

Melody has changed ethnicity at least twice: she was born white, at some point became the black girl Mels who was at school with Amy and Rory, then became white again when she regenerated in Berlin.

FairPhyllis Mon 12-Aug-13 20:12:08

Melody became 'Mels', Rory and Amy's childhood friend in Leadworth, who was black. Dropped in from nowhere with no set-up in 'Let's Kill Hitler' and spent all of 5 minutes on screen, most of it being zany. She then regenerated into the River Song version of herself.

It's yet another example of how Moffat really shouldn't write anybody who isn't a white man - instead of treating the first speaking black Timelord as a proper character, he used her as a misdirection device.

ITCouldBeWorse Mon 12-Aug-13 21:34:09

Oh, I thought she was named after childhood friend!

RustyBear Mon 12-Aug-13 22:27:56

Yes, she was - Amy named her daughter after her childhood friend Mels - but Mels was actually her daughter Melody.

Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff....

ITCouldBeWorse Mon 12-Aug-13 22:48:09

Clearly wasted on me!

Treaguez Mon 12-Aug-13 22:57:42

I would just be happy if the "assistants" or "sidekicks" or whatever their job description is weren't so fucking badly written.

Suelford Mon 12-Aug-13 23:42:03

Has there actually been any difference at all in the female assistants other than some superficial trait (e.g. the chavvy one, the ginger one, the black one, etc). They're all young, intelligent women who maybe have a little crush on the doctor and yet can never open him up fully. Any one of them could swap scripts and nothing would sound out of place.

I am glad it's not a woman because the scripts would be terrible. They'd play around her being a woman, not around her being a time lord.

Should add, if they got a decent writer who could write female characters well, then it would be great.

SarabiDog Tue 13-Aug-13 00:44:23

There was a thing in the Guardian about time travellers in popular culture always being male.

Wow, that's a cherry picked piece isn't it?

Sarah Connor single-handedly saves the world from machines twice BUT SHE DOESN'T TIME TRAVEL. Kind of missed the point there?

She's also completely ignored River and Rose/Donna/Amy/Clara, all of whom are time travellers, and got to mess about with the time lines.

What's a real shame is that there is already an excellent time travel show with a strong female lead that absolutely no-one ever talks about. It is, of course, the fantastic Continuum (showing on SyFy) which has recently been renewed for a third season.

Suelford Tue 13-Aug-13 00:58:29

Well, every character ever is a time traveller really, they just usually only travel forward at 100% speed.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 13-Aug-13 01:08:36

I just find it bizarre the idea that he would change to a woman.

Firstly they have to decide if changing gender is a serious issue or not, to do with gender identity etc. If it's no big deal, then basically he turns into a woman and just carries on how he was before, no mention of the fact he was a man for centuries - which is pretty awful and offensive, IMO.

If it is a big deal, well, the doctor has always been male before and has never shown any kind of discomfort or feeling that he is in the wrong body. So then the doctor has to struggle with that which, firstly, takes away from the normal storylines etc (not that the other subplots haven't, but hey, this is pretty massive) and secondly, would probably be played out in an awful and offensive way.

I just can't see any way in which it could possibly be done well. There are too many issues with the portrayal of what is effectively a transgender person, one who doesn't get to make that decision for themselves.

I am all for more strong female leads but sometimes it's better to just stick to what is currently working in this particular show. A show can be feminist without the lead having to be female. Moffat isn't a very feminist writer anyway, so it's a moot point. The doctor being female would not make Moffat a less sexist writer.

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