Monday, July 17, 2017

Meet the Thirteenth Doctor



In case you've been off-planet and missed the news, the 13th Doctor Who has been cast, and it's Jodie Whittaker. There's been a fanplosion online, both pro and con. Personally I just don't see the problem with the Doctor regenerating into a woman, and I've been a fan of the show since 1963! A female actor brings diversity to the part and gives the show a fresh new direction.

Ever since William Hartnell left the role in 1966 I've been a bit apprehensive about every new Doctor, but my fears were soon proved groundless and they all won me over. I'm sure any fears people have over this casting will soon be calmed. I'm excited to see what Jodie Whittaker brings to the part. She's a cracking actress and I hope she gets some great scripts! Interesting times lie ahead, and we'll see Jodie's first series sometime in 2018. Congratulations and good luck to her!

This also means big changes for the Doctor Who comics of course, and the 13th Doctor will be appearing in strip form next year. Rachael Stott, one of the artists on Titan's 12th Doctor comics, swiftly posted a sketch of the 13th Doctor on Twitter and it's spot on...

UPDATE: Someone posted this on Facebook, proving that the notion of a female Doctor has been around since 1981 at least!

...and then there's this...


What's your opinion on this huge change for the show? For or against? Post a comment below!

29 comments:

The Captain said...

I too think it's great news.

Lew Stringer said...

I'm open to other views as I honestly can't see a problem with this casting. The Doctor is an alien who can change form. The 9th Doctor said he might even regenerate with two heads. Anything's possible!

2D Spex said...

I'm all for it. Makes zero sense, especially as the character has evolved over the last 54 years, for casting to be restricted by gender or race. And I think Jodie Whittaker is an excellent choice for the Doctor. Can't wait to see what her incarnation is like.

Unknown said...

There's no canonical reason why the Doctor can't be a woman, and from what I've seen and heard Jodie Whittaker's a fine actor so there's no reason why she can't pull off the role. Apart from the slight heartache I get whenever they cast someone younger than me, I think it's great casting.

A little aside: my eldest daughter is 5, and although she's heard of Doctor Who and knows what a TARDIS is (partly through the Lego Dimensions videogame), she's too young to watch the show and frankly doesn't show much interest anyway. But when I told her that the Doctor was now a woman, she was over the moon and broke into a huge grin. I can see it being a hook that draws her into the show over the next few years, and for me that's a huge bonus.

SID said...

I must admit I did originally want Kris Marshall to win the part as I liked him in Death In Paradise. However, now that I have had a chance to think about it, I am looking forward to seeing how Jodie's Doctor will turn out.

Talking of regenerating with two heads; in Mawdryn Undead, I seem to remember the alien Mawdryn was initially mistaken for a newly regenerated Doctor which gave me the impression that his appearance doesn't have to be strictly human. This seemed to be backed up by a Big Finish story where a Timelord regenerates into a form that has wings.

So who knows, the 14th Doctor could look like a Vulcan or even a Tribble??? ;)

The Captain said...

Not sure there's any two headed actors available at the moment.

Lew Stringer said...

I think the reason they've never made the Doctor look more alien is just so viewers can identify with him/her. Also, BBC budget being what it was... remember the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy? Gawd.

That's a good point about your daughter being excited about it, 'Unknown'. (Why have you come up as unknown when anonymous comments are blocked? Anyway...) I've seen similar anecdotes online since yesterday. A new audience awaits! Also, I think a strong woman lead can be just as inspiring to boys too. After all, the most inspiring woman most of us knew was our mothers, so if boys now perceive Doctor Who as a big sister / aunt / mum figure, that's a positive thing.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure why I'm unknown either! I'm signed in with my Google account but it won't display my name! I'm David Heslop, we've spoken on Twitter :-)

Ryan Frost said...

Most male role models in fantasy fiction are usually butch, macho types (think He-Man, Kirk, Batman, Bond), so on the one hand I'm sad to see the end of the Doctor as an 'alternative' male role model, a rare male hero driven by love and intelligence rather than fists and testosterone.

But equally, I've felt that the show's been in a bit of a rut recently - many episodes haven't quite hit the mark for me, viewing figures are dropping and the show isn't part of the national zeitgeist like it was during the Tennant years.

Is the casting of a woman an attempt by the BBC to court publicity for a show that's slowly declining in popularity? Maybe. But as long as she plays the part well and the scripts are good and the episodes are well-made, I'll be happy.

I think SOMETHING had to happen to inject a bit of new life into the show - if casting a woman is the answer, then, hey, I'm all for it.

Lew Stringer said...

Very good point, Ryan. There aren't really any other roles like the Doctor for male actors. Then again, there weren't any like that for women either, so I'm very intrigued to see how Jodie Whittaker plays it.

I know quite a few people have suggested that there should have been a Time Lady spin off instead, but a whole extra show would be an extra expense. (Plus there'd then be cries of "It's a Doctor Who rip off".)

I hope that, when the series does return, it gets a better time slot. Some recent seasons have been on too late and they lost younger viewers. (Probably one reason Doctor Who Adventures folded.)

_____________

Ah, hello David! Good to see you here.

Ryan Frost said...

Although it was ostensibly aimed at kids, and the lead role was a human rather than a Time Lady, I thought The Sarah Jane Adventures spin-off was a great show, with Elisabeth Sladen in a sort of Doctor-ish role.

And I know Sylvester McCoy causes a bit of ire in certain parts, but IMHO they're yet to cast a bad Doctor Who. Maybe a couple have been let down by the writing, but they're all great actors. Obviously the producers are always so careful when casting such an important role (the quantity and quality of actor who auditioned for the Eighth Doctor was unreal), that it would be really unlikely they'd choose the wrong person for the job.

Besides, I've learned to trust the BBC when it comes to this sort of stuff. I was a bit iffy on Catherine Tate's casting in the show (and also Billie Piper and Matt Lucas, truth be told), but they all won me over, and I'd probably rate Donna as my favourite companion since the revival.

Kevin Thomas said...

I think it's great news and so looking forward to this, like you Lew been a fan for many years and this change has genuinely excited me I was getting a bit bored of the standard white quirky male really think this will reinvigorate the show in a positive way. Going forward I'm looking forward to hopefully having the next few incarnations all women.

Big D said...

They established a few years back that Time Lords can swap gender so this isn't a total shock to me.

Just a thought: this does mean the usual Doctor-Companion dynamic will be changed too.

I await developments with interest and an open mind.

Lew Stringer said...

Me too, Big D. I'm treating it as I did the other regenerations; hoping they don't make the Doctor behave too silly and that the stories are solid.

No idea about the companions yet.

I thought McCoy was great in the role as time went on, Ryan. I wasn't keen on his first episodes though but he developed the character well later. Yes, I had massive reservations about Catherine Tate but she was fantastic.

Colin Jones said...

I had to google Jodie Whittaker as I didn't know who she was but I'm glad the BBC has finally gone for a woman Doctor. And, Lew, you said a female lead can inspire boys too - that's been proved by the success of the Wonder Woman film which I assume had plenty of male viewers.

geoff42 said...

Hi, Lew, I'm actually a little squeamish about all this gender swap. If I were to suddenly appear as a female after so many re-generations as a male, there would in reality be very personal problems. Even shying away from the obvious, there's still an awkwardness that would need a mammoth task with which to overcome. I'm on the negative: it just doesn't seem right. Will the next James Bond be female? Transforming Sergeant Nick Fury into a black guy was one thing but... why mess about?

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Geoff, I'm sure the show will address certain issues about the change of gender, both seriously and with humour. A change this big won't be ignored, although neither will it be the main focus hopefully. As for James Bond, well, if they cast a woman, the character's name would have to be changed to female, so therefore she'd be a totally different character (Jenny Bond?) and it wouldn't be an issue.

The Doctor is an alien, so if we can accept all the other fantastic and bizarre stuff that's happened in the show over the last 54 years, changing his gender for a season or three isn't so unusual is it?

Colin, Jodie Whittaker was one of the stars of ITV's Broadchurch, which was pretty depressing stuff actually. She's done other TV stuff too, including lighter, comedy roles. She's quite versatile. I'm curious as to whether she'll use her own Huddersfield accent, or adopt one like she did very convincingly in Broadchurch.

Kal said...

It's not Richard Ayoade so I obviously disapprove, but she is rather good at that there acting lark.

More interested in Chibnall being the new executive producer. Moffat wrote some of the best episodes of Who during RTD's reign, but his run in charge has seen the show go from being must see TV - the only show I'd watch live, actually - to being just another show that sits on my PVR waiting for me to get around to watching it. Am currently half hour into the last Christmas special and ten minutes into the first episode of the latest series.

If Chibnall and this casting manage to get me past that apathy, then I'll be happy.

paul Mcscotty said...

What has stunned me most about this issue is the way some people seem to have hi-jacked this subject to address their own sexist and homophobic views (working the latter into a conversation on what really is a “gender” topic). I'm not talking about people who simply don’t want a lady playing Dr Who and won’t ever watch it again because of that. I’m talking about some very distasteful comments on websites (not here and most on non- comic/ SF sites) that are not “tongue in cheek” or banter. Me I’m not a Dr Who fan, I rarely watch the show so have no real opinion and whilst I respect the fact some long term fans may not like it , maybe it’s a good thing.

Lew Stringer said...

The usual suspects come to mind, Paul, and I'm not surprised. I've read claims that casting a woman in the role is somehow part of a "gay agenda" to destroy traditions. I'd have thought that if there was some secret BBC cabal of gay plotters they'd have cast an openly homosexual Doctor instead. :)

Some people have a psychological aversion to change and it sometimes manifests itself in some nasty ways. They're mainly keyboard warriors though so it's an impotent rage that is never going to affect the show or its stars.

Kal, this recent series of Doctor Who has been Peter Capaldi's best I think. More straightforward plots, great chemistry with the three leads, and the return of some classic monsters.

Stuart said...

Well I completely disagree with the casting of a woman. Just because it has been decided recently that Time Lords/Ladies can change doesn't alter the fact that for the best part of fifty years this was never the case. However as I gave up watching 2 years ago because I disliked what it had become so much I can't now stop watching in disgust at the decision! I've never seen Jodie in anything but sure she will be a very good choice for those who want a female Doctor. Best of luck to her but it's not for me anymore.
Still got my dvds of the old stuff so I'm happy.

Lew Stringer said...

That's fair enough, Stuart. Like you say, you can still watch the old shows (and perhaps buy new audio adventures - David Tennant and Billie Piper are coming back in those).

Personally I welcome this equal opportunities initiative. A heroic, funny, independently-minded, attractive woman on Saturday evening TV? Sounds like a must-watch to me. :)

John Pitt said...

Well, I wanted it to be David Bradley and I was just disappointed that it was SOMEONE else, male or female. But the fact that it wasn't my personal choice doesn't affect me. People can watch or not watch, that's their choice. I believe, in the interests of fairness, Jodie should be given a fair chance, before they decide. People should also be able to say that they are disappointed or happy though, without getting barages of abuse from pro or con extremists. The responses from some of these, particularly on Facebook, has been nothing short of shameful. As a cartoonist yourself, I am sure that you can think of some light-hearted humourous scenarios from having the new Doctor being female ( without meaning any disrespect )? If so, whatever you do, don't post them on any Facebook Doctor Who groups, or they will call you the AntiChrist!

Lew Stringer said...

At least we have a hour of David Bradley as the first Doctor on Christmas Day. It was never likely he'd get a full series. The decision to cast a woman is partly commercial of course because it guarantees them publicity, but Jodie Whittaker's flexibility as an actress makes her a good choice.

I've seen comments pro and con. Some are completely barmy. There's some nice positive ones from parents and their girls, pleased that Doctor Who can now be a role model for boys AND girls. Frankly, I think some girls always played at being Doctor Who when they were kids, but this ensures that they can relate to her even more. One said that now her girl can have the ambition that one day she might be Doctor Who.

I think the news is brilliant, personally. What other role on TV gives men *and* women the opportunity to play the same character? It makes the show even more unique than it already was.

ChanneZeroX said...

"Some people have a psychological aversion to change and it sometimes manifests itself in some nasty ways. They're mainly keyboard warriors though so it's an impotent rage that is never going to affect the show or its stars." I thought everything was done through keyboards these days ... unless we're talking the local Town Hall, where the real power to affect the casting of children's TV shows lies!


I for one am excited about the new Doctor, the show has yet to let us down in this regard. I don't know Jodie Whittaker's acting, her teaser intro makes her look pretty bland and I fell asleep listening to her talk about Broadchurch on BBC Breakfast, but I hear she's a very versatile performer and I'm confident the showrunners know what they're doing.

Lew Stringer said...

I meant they're more likely to rant online than go and shout in the actor's face. They have no real power.

ChanneZeroX said...

I don't think there's any mileage to be had telling trolls they have no real power, or to even point out they are trolls... impotent, pathetic etc. The best way to deal with them is to not acknowledge them at all, as it's (anonymous) attention that sustains them. They can't get enough of it Lew - it's like sweet golden nectar of ambrosia to them. Deprive them of response and they'll shrivel up like a week-old balloon, weakly puttering its last dying breath around the cold drab walls of an under-attended birthday party.

Robert Carnegie said...

If David-Bradley-as-Hartnell was the next regeneration then they could just start showing the old episodes from 1963 onwards instead of making any new ones. I'd rather the Doctor didn't pull off that trick.

Matt Smith's Doctor nearly disappeared up his own timeline twice - through the crack in the universe and inside his tomb on Trenzalore.

Lew Stringer said...

Speaking from personal experience of such people I'm afraid that's not always the case, CZX. Like anyone, they react individually. Some go away if ignored, some persist and vent elsewhere about you. Besides, no one had mentioned the word troll until you brought it up. I wasn't talking about trolls. It's not trolling to vent about a TV show (unless the critic posts abuse about or to the actors/creators themselves, which I certainly haven't seen happen regarding this casting decision.)

Yes, Robert, Matt Smith had some complex stories but I'd rather have thought-provoking stuff like that occasionally than a straightforward monster invasion every week. It's good to have a balance. I'm very intrigued to see what type of stories we get next year.

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