I’m pleased with the choice of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. I’m pleased that all the seeding that has been done by Steven Moffat over the course of his tenure as showrunner has been taken it the logical narrative conclusion of casting a woman in the lead role. This was teased as far back as The Doctor’s Wife where the Doctor casually mentions that a fellow Time Lord called the Corsair had incarnations with different genders. There may be even earlier examples but that’s the first that springs to mind. This is not something that has come out of the blue.
Now, I know there are many of you out there, men and women alike, who aren’t happy at this decision. You are upset and I both understand and appreciate that. To you I would say this; Doctor Who as a TV programme has existed for over half a century as the programme that you have wanted it to be. Is it not someone else’s turn now? With a show that many boast can do anything isn’t it time that someone tried to really push that idea? If the show really is capable of doing anything in a way that other TV shows can’t then wasn’t this inevitable at some point? Why can’t it be good that someone would seek to make good on that promise that Doctor Who really can do anything?
I know that for some of you this change is extreme and so different that it renders the show so unrecognisable to the point that it may as well not be Doctor Who anymore. Many of you will loudly proclaim you will stop watching. Some of you might actually even mean it this time. That is obviously your right and privilege to do so. If Doctor Who is now dead to you then I’m sorry to hear that but you will have had 54 years of a show that you love and can revisit.
If you choose to get off here then I won’t begrudge you that choice but I want to make something clear. Doctor Who is not being taken from you for the simple reason that it never belonged to you in the first place, in the same way that it doesn’t belong to me or anyone else. The show has evolved in a direction that you don’t like and you feel left behind by it and that can make you feel angry. People do rash things when they are angry so I ask that you at least take a breath. If there are reasonable objections to this then make them reasonably.
Personally I am excited for what the future holds. Not just in terms of what Jodie Whittaker will bring to the role but the opportunity it may bring for companion casting. There are so many fascinating storytelling opportunities that are possible and I’m going to be looking forward to seeing which direction they ultimately go in. These are exciting times to be a fan of genre entertainment in general and Doctor Who in particular. We’re not there yet though. We have to say farewell to Peter Capaldi in order to say hello to Jodie Whittaker but I know for many Doctor Who fans Christmas has already come early.