Everyone who reads this probably won’t be aware of how Doctor Who works. The thing is, that over the last fifty years the Doctor has changed accents, heights, hair styles and faces. Some fans have been asking if this upcoming Doctor, to be announced this Sunday, might actually change genders or races.
There hasn’t been much opposition to the race thing without it sounding super racist at the offset. It is funny to see some of the same things that were said about us choosing a President that is black. I think the one that stands out the most is when someone said, “Who would honestly believe the BBC was choosing the best actor if after so many years they were to suddenly chose a black actor for the role?”
That’s a pretty blatantly racist thing to say and it’s one of those instances of trying to act as if no matter how good a black actor is, no one can believe they are good enough for the role.
When you talk about gender, which is probably the slightly more far fetched thing—but only because it wasn’t until recently that we ever saw any Time Lords that had switched between genders—people get even crazier. People threaten to quit watching the show, no matter how well the acting is done or how good the writing is. Their reason seems to be something along the lines that it’s a male role. Some of them seem to maintain that the Doctor becoming female would give the production team more time to write tasteless sexist jokes into the show. At least two women I have seen online complained that if the Doctor became a woman they couldn’t be attracted to him anymore, which isn’t only a stupid reason to dislike the idea, but it’s a stupid reason to watch a show. Other people are saying things about how it would only be done to appease whiney feminists. To my knowledge there hasn’t been any push to make the Doctor female for that reason.
There have been some pushes to make the role available to anyone regardless of color and gender. If the best actor is a woman of Indian decent, why not?
As one poster put it on Gallifrey Base, the popular Doctor Who fan forum: “I hope that this time they finally have the balls not to bother with the balls.” If they can put gender aside and choose based on the merits of the actor and what they’ll bring to the show then they can’t go wrong. And that’s what happened last time. People didn’t believe someone as young as Matt Smith could play the part. But he, in my opinion did a much better job than Tennant.
One of the excuses I hear against the gender change is “Why after all of these years would the Doctor change gender now?” That’s pretty easy. It’s been insinuated that Regeneration gives him what he needs to be to deal with challenges ahead. A personality type well suited for what’s coming up and the like. Well if the Doctor is making an attempt to hide from all his old enemies and remain small time—basically seem like a half heard of myth—what better way to do that then to become what he’s never been before?
If they were going to do this I think that now would be the time to run with it. The story behind it makes sense. The show is finishing it’s fiftieth year and it’s reaching overseas audiences with more ferocity than ever through mediums like Netflix and Blu-Ray and a lot of the fans never saw the old show, so they would probably take to the change better.
And if you’re prepared to leave a show because the gender or race of a character who is very capable of changing those things has changed, that says more about you than the show.