I have a lot of feelings about Doctor Who – some good, some bad. This show was incredibly important to me for a couple years and I even spent a significant amount of time knitting the iconic scarf that the fourth Doctor wore. I watched and talked about the show with friends and I’d often marathon it on the weekends. This show was a big part of my life.
I did start to lose interest in the show after a few years of Steven Moffat’s reign as showrunner. There are a few reasons to this (him recently gaslighting some fans doesn’t help) but the biggest is definitely because it just became a different show. It wasn’t the quirky, weird show with sentimental moments that I had grown to love. It became more about the shock factor and complicated storylines with plot holes. Death started to mean nothing because characters would die and then come back a few episodes later.
Despite all of that and despite the fact that this news isn’t too new, I am so excited that the 13th doctor is going to be a woman! Jodie Whittaker will take up the role when the Doctor regenerates this upcoming Christmas Special and while I haven’t seen any of her work, I’m curious to see what she does with the role and where Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner, takes the show.
As the internet is, there was a bit of a divided reaction to the casting of Whittaker. Some are just as excited as I am but there are others who are upset that a fictional alien who is more than a thousand years old and can travel through space and time is soon going to be a woman. And because the internet is also home to misogynist assholes, articles have already been published with nude photos of Whittaker.
- How some women’s reactions to a female doctor on Doctor Who reveal Internalized Misogyny – Teresa Jusino, The Mary Sue
Those who’ve been involved in the show during its 50+ years have also weighed in on the news. For example, two of the actors who have played the Doctor in the past have clashed over the casting. John Barrowman, Billie Piper, and Freema Agyeman all seem excited for a female Doctor – Barrowman went out on a Comic Con stage recently in a Tardis dress and talked about his support for Whittaker’s casting.
There’s so much more that really goes into this conversation because while Whittaker’s casting was a win for white women, there’s still a lot of work to be done with representation with other marginalized folks. In a tweet thread (see above embedded tweet for more), Amy Dieg rightly points out that as white women, we have to insist that women of color be included in our progress but we’ve dropped the ball on that responsibility countless times. I think it’s important that we celebrate groundbreaking casting like Whittaker as the new Doctor while also realizing that this isn’t the end of the fight for inclusive casting.
Ultimately, I’m so excited about this casting decision and I’m still looking forward to more progress and representative casting in shows like Doctor Who.