It’s now official – BBC announced that fan favourite Jodie Whittaker is the first female incarnation of the renegade Time Lord (now Lady) known as The Doctor.
— BBC (@BBC) July 16, 2017
This marks a turning point in the long-running show. But some people are already saying a female lead could ruin the franchise. Well boyos, you’re about as right as a celebrating Dalek – dead wrong.
Time Lords and Ladies
For starters, the canon is firmly against sexism – Gallifreyans can be both male and female throughout their very long lives. Regeneration occurs when near-death or once every life-cycle (roughly every thousand years). During the process, every cell in the body releases a massive burst of energy and changes into a completely new form. Of course, sex is a coin-toss. We’ve flipped tails twelve times in a row and no Gallifreyan has truly lived until they’ve experienced both sides of the species.
With the Master – now Missy – just another in the long history of Time Lords and Ladies to change sex, a female Doctor is unlikely to need much explaining to most fans. Truthfully, there is no canonical reason why either character has not previously been a woman. Although both at once might be slightly jarring, Missy is off the board (for now) after she and the Master killed one another in “The Doctor Falls“.
Of course, a sudden Missy reappearance could be very interesting for a later season. Twelve was startled to recognise an old friend in a new body – Thirteen could really turn the tables.
A Seasoned Actress
As a veteran of both small and silver screens, Jodie Whittaker is a superb choice to take the TARDIS console into the great unknown. Whittaker’s first major role was the British comedy-drama Venus in which she played Jessie/Venus.
Whittaker really made a name for herself fighting alien nasties in the cult film Attack the Block playing a trainee nurse who fought an invading alien menace.
During Peter Capaldi’s time as The Doctor, Head Writer and Executive Producer, Steven Moffat made a big show of diving into the past for their enemies. Ice Warriors came back in a big way, Poirot actor David Suchet made an appearance, and the series ended with the birth of the Mondasian Cybermen. Past revisited and reins changing hands, now is the perfect time for a completely fresh start.
Ever since “The Wedding of River Song“, Doctor Who has become… well, let’s just say it could have been better. A couple of good episodes have made it through but far too many were utterly awful. Who can forget how ‘cubed actually means The Power Three‘ or the poorly written “Nightmare in Silver“? One was cringy and the other had a super-speed Cyberman who only went full-speed once. Seriously big plot hole there.
Maybe we could have a season without any old enemies and only new ones. Thirteen could be set against an entirely new and unknown force that even her allies know nothing about.
Companion genders are also irrelevant. The various incarnations of The Doctor have travelled with men, women, and even the odd robot. Given a good storyline and decent ongoing mystery/enemy, there is no reason why Whittaker can’t take the role and leave the other portrayals in the dust.
Without having seen a new script, it's too early to tell how the Thirteenth Doctor will fare, but the outlook is positive. Even former Doctor Who companion, Karen Gillan is onboard for a female Doctor. The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 actress told FANDOM that she feels that Julie Whittaker will "rejuvenate" the show.
On top of getting a new Doctor, Chris Chibnall is taking over the show's Head Writer role. As Chibnall and Whittaker have already worked together on Broadchurch, their established connection should make the transition much smoother. We can't wait to see what the future holds for The Doctor.
Doctor Who will conclude Capaldi’s incarnation of the Doctor in a multi-Doctor story featuring the First Doctor on Christmas Day.