Doctor Who has always been about change. From the minute William Hartnell regenerated into Patrick Troughton the TV show set itself apart from anything that had come before. Change is as much a part of the very fabric of the show as the TARDIS, Daleks and Time Lords are.
It is with this in mind that I approached the latest regeneration with high hopes and sheer excitement. Never have I been more excited for a regeneration. Yes, every death and rebirth brings with it something new, something different. But this time things are totally different, flipped on it’s head. I for one think it’s great!
For as long as I can remember there have always been rumours of a female Doctor. Whether it be comments made by stars or show runners from the 80s through to the Comic Relief episode Curse of the Fatal Death. The concept of a woman playing the titular character has been there for some time.
You shouldn’t have to say it but, has the time never been more right? Has there never been a time in TV land before now when a woman was right for the role? I could rake over much that has already been said on the subject, but that would take some time. There has been a shift, certainly in recent years, where the concept of a lead character who is a woman is not such a random occurrence. The concept of a lead, heroic female character is not new however. Sci-fi and the comics genre have been doing this for years and for some Doctor Who has not been using it’s most obvious skill to make this easily happen.
You could argue that the BBC have been testing the water in Doctor Who with the introduction of Missy. If you were a betting person, the stars were certainly aligned to make it happen this time. You could kind of see it coming, especially with the somewhat random regeneration of the General in the episode Hell Bent from Series 9. Yet the reaction, from some quarters, was unfortunate to put it kindly. There are those that see the Doctor as a male alien. There are those waiting to pass judgement. Sadly, there are also those that have binned their DVD collection at the very notion of this kind of change. I must stress that everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
I am excited. Excited for the 13th Doctor. More excited for Jodie Whittaker. But I am more excited for a new show runner. Steven Moffat has carried the torch valiantly for the series of Doctor Who. When he is on form he is unstoppable but when he is not, things get messy. Series 6 anyone? Matt Smith’s first series was a revelation. Completely different from RTD and tightly written and structured. From then on it was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Many stories mired in complications and big reset button closures. Peter Capaldi was excellence let down by poor writing. He could done so much more.
Chris Chibnall comes in with a new 13th Doctor and a lot to prove from day one. The writing has to be good for Jodie to succeed. Without this, certain quarters will put the blame solely on her shoulders.
There is an a heavy amount of baggage for any one who accepts this role. But Jodie has to carry so much more, much of which has been stirred up by the media.
To understand the impact of this casting you just have to look at the reaction from the kids. Don’t forget folks, this is a show targeted primarily at children. It is heart warming too see such positive reactions to Jodie’s unveiling. We are fans too, but these are the target audience. These are the future of the show.
Change has been needed for some time. Change has come and we all wait with bated breath to see how it is accepted. Regeneration has arrived and it has been planned for. Roll on 13, she is going to be great.