BBC Exec Wants a Woman to Play Lead in Doctor Who

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BBC Exec Wants a Woman to Play Lead in Doctor Who

Doctor Who Peter Capaldi costume

BBC Television chief Danny Cohen spoke about having a woman play The Doctor at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

The Doctor could be a woman in later iterations of Doctor Who, according to Danny Cohen, BBC's Director of Television. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival today, Cohen was asked if he could envisage seeing the first female Time Lord, to which he replied, "I hope so." Cohen didn't say how soon the series might feature a female lead. Cohen also praised the BBC for its production budgets, saying, " "For the price of two [seasons] of House of Cards, we made 14 drama series for BBC One and BBC Two. What we do with our money is extraordinary." Doctor Who returns August 23rd with Peter Capaldi as the enigmatic Time Lord. The Season 8 trailer promises dinosaurs in London, the infamous Daleks, and the return of Madame Vastra.

Fans hoped that the twelfth incarnation of The Doctor would be a woman, suggesting Sherlock's Lara Pulver, Harry Potter's Emma Watson, and Snowpiercer's Tilda Swinton as possible actors. Before Capaldi's casting was announced, Dame Helen Mirren told the Daily Star, "I would like to play the new female Doctor Who. I don't want to just be his sidekick." When the series was struggling in the 1980s, Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman pitched the idea that The Doctor should regenerate into a woman to the BBC.

While you're waiting for the season premiere, come gush with us over our favorite things about the current run of Doctor Who. Or talk time travel paradoxes on The Escapist's Science and Tech Podcast.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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I hope a female Doctor is sooner rather than later myself, but what else is he supposed to say? "Nah, girls are gross."

If they really want to do it, they should just do it. Put your money where your mouth is BBC!

Yeah, let's go ahead and do this within the next couple regens. Only can flip a coin so many times before it comes up heads.

Well, seeing as a lot of people have wanted this for a long time, I hope it happens.
But it won't if Moffat is still doing the writing.

I look forward to see what happens- but I'm not holding my breath.

Nah, I just can't see this, sorry. I don't think I could buy into the Doctor we know as being a female. It would be interesting to see what the actual showrunners woulds make of this idea. It's something I could see Steven Moffat jumping at, if only for the chance to make the Doctor his/her own grandmother. Or something.

MarsProbe:
Nah, I just can't see this, sorry. I don't think I could buy into the Doctor we know as being a female. It would be interesting to see what the actual showrunners woulds make of this idea. It's something I could see Steven Moffat jumping at, if only for the chance to make the Doctor his/her own grandmother. Or something.

Okay, I'll bite. Why couldnt you buy into a female Doctor?

Bah! They are a corporation with an interest in good PR, not a honest interest in True Progress, therefore I would much rather have a male Doctor. In fact, I care so much about feminism, that I will write a rant about why this is a disastrous idea and this bodyless, eternally changing non-human character absolutely NEEDS to keep materialising as a dude.

First of all, I only have respect for brand new female characters. I feel that those could be doing a lot more for True Progress, than the political correctness brigade stealing the penises of our established iconic characters. You see, it might often happen that a character's appearance, backstory, or even name, or behavior, are reimagined in a reboot, or the whole role filled in by a legacy character, and those can be quite good. But female representation shouldn't be increased through that particular channel, because it's not just ANY re-writing, it's a matter of True Progress.

I have so much respect for the ladies, it is only a sign of my high expectations for them, that while the overwhelming majority of pop-cultural development happens through evolution of pre-existing IPs, I hold them to a higher standard, and only accepting their appearance in the smaller niche of new IPs specifically.

The Beeb love to talk about it - seeing as it's a surefire way to drum up some media interest - but I doubt they'll ever actually do it. If they ever do I hope to god it's not under Moffat, seeing as his handling of female characters is, at best, often problematic.

"For the price of two [seasons] of House of Cards, we made 14 drama series for BBC One and BBC Two. What we do with our money is extraordinary."

Hahaha and it shows. Production quality isn't even on the same level.

It's mostly a show aimed at young people, making it a woman might piss off some older "kids" but it's not like the target audience has elevated the Doctor to any kind of iconic figure ... they come to it new every generation.

If Helen Mirren is not simply being facetious I think decision makers at the BBC would be a fool not give it real considerations and get some scripts written (pulling it off is going to take some pretty good writing). Emma Watson though ... hell no, maybe in say 20 years.

I do think they have to reverse the gender of the sidekick at the same time though.

Awesome, something new for people to complain about instead of Zoe Quinn.

sneakypenguin:
"For the price of two [seasons] of House of Cards, we made 14 drama series for BBC One and BBC Two. What we do with our money is extraordinary."

Hahaha and it shows. Production quality isn't even on the same level.

Maybe but the BBC makes a hell of a lot more profit, they have the mugs back at home funding the creation of the show with the TV licencing and then sell the programs globally.

They have to pay for all those staff "expenses" and 500 office plants somehow right?

Entitled:
Bah! They are a corporation with an interest in good PR, not a honest interest in True Progress, therefore I would much rather have a male Doctor. In fact, I care so much about feminism, that I will write a rant about why this is a disastrous idea and this bodyless, eternally changing non-human character absolutely NEEDS to keep materialising as a dude.

First of all, I only have respect for brand new female characters. I feel that those could be doing a lot more for True Progress, than the political correctness brigade stealing the penises of our established iconic characters. You see, it might often happen that a character's appearance, backstory, or even name, or behavior, are reimagined in a reboot, or the whole role filled in by a legacy character, and those can be quite good. But female representation shouldn't be increased through that particular channel, because it's not just ANY re-writing, it's a matter of True Progress.

I have so much respect for the ladies, it is only a sign of my high expectations for them, that while the overwhelming majority of pop-cultural development happens through evolution of pre-existing IPs, I hold them to a higher standard, and only accepting their appearance in the smaller niche of new IPs specifically.

The sarcasm is thick in this one, methinks.

Unfortunately, Moffatt is actually a pretty steep entry barrier. He's codified the modern concept of the Companion and can't design female time travellers-slash-Time Lords without making them part of some extremely byzantine situation that ultimately has no real need for their involvement.

I've been thinking that he's past his prime as a Who screenwriter and showrunner for a few seasons, actually. We do need a fresher take on the series - but I'm not keen on rejecting Peter Capaldi's tenure, either.

Let's give the man the time he needs, and then we might worry (or hope, as the case may be) that someone will come along to tip the scales.

thaluikhain:
Awesome, something new for people to complain about instead of Zoe Quinn.

Touche!

But unlike that whole mess, I will freely admit that it is merely my personal take on the doctor, that I would rather not see reincarnated as a woman. I don't think it's necessary, and would rather see a female Galifreyan in a spin-off series.

I won't go on about how it would lose fans, because I don't think it would at all. From a feminist point of view where media is concerned, I think it would be a fine move. But I won't watch it.

Mcoffey:

MarsProbe:
Nah, I just can't see this, sorry. I don't think I could buy into the Doctor we know as being a female. It would be interesting to see what the actual showrunners woulds make of this idea. It's something I could see Steven Moffat jumping at, if only for the chance to make the Doctor his/her own grandmother. Or something.

Okay, I'll bite. Why couldnt you buy into a female Doctor?

I guess I just see the Doctor as a male - as it's how he's been in both "old" and "new" Who. I'd have no issue with a smart, eccentric female Time Lord showing up at some point, but I would just prefer it wasn't the Doctor. That, and if it did happen, it would probably end up just smacking of a token gesture to "diversity", which would serve as a reminder of Russel T. Davies more ham-fisted "look - homosexuality!" moments.

So basically, I see the Doctor as being a male of his race/species, therefore he should stay that way. The same way I fell about Thor's recent sex change. By all means, come up with a good strong female character, but surely you can manage that without having to resort to gender-swapping an existing male character.

i think it would be better to try a spin off with the doctors daughter.
she can have young atractive male companions that are bright but naive and they can get into scrapes becasue she is young but curious.
this would allow the people that want a show about young (shaggable) time traveling people a show without actualy changing the main dynamic of dr who

not only would she have a whole new set of rules, and a new feel, they could tackle more modern ideas (like feminism and sexism and so forth)and not be bound by the standard 'but its dr who, for kids!' rules and doctrines.

course the current series is going to loose a fair amount of watchers again this time around.
first we loose the 'omg hes OLD!' tantrum kids...yeah, we know, he's not young enough looking for you to bed him. so what.
nest we loose the 6-8pm folks that have the telly on while getting ready to go out on the pull/drink who are now left with stuff like tumble and the voice....they used to flip on dr who and boost the ratings but oh no, we have to put reality tv inthat spot. we'll tell the masses its casue we want to try to introduce more 'mature' themes to dr who.

its not. its just so that cheap reality tv can take the place of decent programming.

thats why we wont get new scifi shows. thats why new shows start, but get canned all over tv-land. (im looking at you, almost human. you were good but reality tv is cheaper *sigh* so bye-bye)
befor long, your tv vewings goign to be nothing but reality shows, reality dramas and reality documentaries....well at least we guys have the internet and streaming stuff to watch the decent shows on..till those get taken out to fill the sercers with moar reality....

i need a cynicisum removal operation XD

The idea's been tossed about a lot since they brought the show back, and I think it has merit... but when the idea is coming from an executive it gives me pause. Just ask Colin Baker and Slyvester McCoy what they think of "executive meddling" in Doctor Who.

MarsProbe:

Mcoffey:

MarsProbe:
Nah, I just can't see this, sorry. I don't think I could buy into the Doctor we know as being a female. It would be interesting to see what the actual showrunners woulds make of this idea. It's something I could see Steven Moffat jumping at, if only for the chance to make the Doctor his/her own grandmother. Or something.

Okay, I'll bite. Why couldnt you buy into a female Doctor?

I guess I just see the Doctor as a male - as it's how he's been in both "old" and "new" Who. I'd have no issue with a smart, eccentric female Time Lord showing up at some point, but I would just prefer it wasn't the Doctor. That, and if it did happen, it would probably end up just smacking of a token gesture to "diversity", which would serve as a reminder of Russel T. Davies more ham-fisted "look - homosexuality!" moments.

So basically, I see the Doctor as being a male of his race/species, therefore he should stay that way. The same way I fell about Thor's recent sex change. By all means, come up with a good strong female character, but surely you can manage that without having to resort to gender-swapping an existing male character.

But when it's been established that the character can be both sexes (He's mentioned the possibility before), and if the character turns out to be as fun and funny and engaging as the Doctor always has been, what does it matter why a change is made? If the end result is positive, the reason behind it becomes irrelevant.

The concept is fine, if implemented properly.
If they want to do it simply to appease PR and a PC community, then they shouldn't.
Pretty much meaning, as long as it isn't forced and for the wrong reasons, I don't see why it would be a problem (But the chances of that are minimal)

Mcoffey:
I hope a female Doctor is sooner rather than later myself, but what else is he supposed to say? "Nah, girls are gross."

If they really want to do it, they should just do it. Put your money where your mouth is BBC!

RIVER SONG! is essentially the female Doctor Who. She probably did it better than David Tennant and Matt Smith. Make an Episode 0 next season of her tripping the Doctor as he leaves the TARDIS, she steals it and the name (her sonic screwdriver was already more advanced as mentioned in that episode with that huge library and shadow creature) and it's Doctor Who.

ZeroAxis:

Mcoffey:
I hope a female Doctor is sooner rather than later myself, but what else is he supposed to say? "Nah, girls are gross."

If they really want to do it, they should just do it. Put your money where your mouth is BBC!

RIVER SONG! is essentially the female Doctor Who. She probably did it better than David Tennant and Matt Smith. Make an Episode 0 next season of her tripping the Doctor as he leaves the TARDIS, she steals it and the name (her sonic screwdriver was already more advanced as mentioned in that episode with that huge library and shadow creature) and it's Doctor Who.

Personally I think she's closer to a female Captain Jack.

Man, the adventures those two would've had! If they ever do a fifth season of Torchwood, they should really bring her along.

As long as it isn't forced, I don't care.

But as long as Moffat is there, we all KNOW how it's going to go down.

It's going to be like 'O, I'm The Doctor...and I'll be making every other comment about my new genitals...'

Because, well, Moffat can't write females characters with a damn.

The same guy who cancelled 5 of my favourite BBC shows so they could focus on a fresh new line up and instead they shoved out boring shows and more Dr. Who?

Sounds like a great idea pall! Just make sure you have nothing to do with it. You burner of bridges and good television.

Next on the agenda a Pakistan doctor who is also a 7 year old militant Islamic girl. Political correctness AHOY!

And what about the companions?

I don't think that a female doctor and male companion relationship would work that well.
And only using a female companion will probably mean losing a lot of male viewers.
The best solution would be a companion duo, a bit like Amy and Rory.

Also the Doctor is a bit of a big kid with ADHD (David and Matt any way), i don't see that working with a female doctor.
All Doctors have a distinct personalities but have a lot of common ground with the previous versions.

And finely.
Some of my reservations about a female doctor may comes from the recent trend of shoehorning diversity in everything.
I'm all for a diverse world in Doctor Who(or any serie).
If done well, it will enrich the world and make it feel more real, but it mustn't feel forced.
If you clearly have token female, black, gay, ect.. they often stick to stereotypes.
This is a sigh of bad writing at least.

Just like with the female Thor, i don't think that will last either (remember, Thor didn't become female, Mjolnir got a new owner)

Mirrorknight:
Yeah, let's go ahead and do this within the next couple regens. Only can flip a coin so many times before it comes up heads.

Tell that to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Does this headline really amount to anything more than "Person with no creative input in Doctor Who offers creative input for Doctor Who". Because I can do that too, don't you know?

Funny this obsession with making the Dr a woman yet my friend who's a massive fan has said she'd hate to see that happen, to her the doctor is a guy and it'd be too big of a change. Eh I don't watch the show so it doesn't bother me, from my experience with Battlestar Galactica the remake switched Starbuck into a woman and pulled it off quite well but I'd say it's not an easy thing to pull off without coming across as just pandering.

While I don't care much about who plays the Doctor as long as their good, I wish they had gone both a blakc doctor and a female doctor a while ago simply so I could have seen them. After the last season, I lost interest in the series. I don't think it's badly written, or boring...I just moved on to other things and even though I did try and get back into it, it didn't seem to have that 'spark' that always grabbed my attention.

Like other people have pointed out, it reeks of political correctness and "smacking of a token gesture to diversity" Its true. Its annoying and really half assed way of ticking the boxes. Make somthing NEW instead of fucking with shit to suit others. A spin off with a new female doc, yes, his female kid, yes. But aint it goin to come of a abit stupid that all these decades he's been a man. Now all of a sudden he's a women coz of reasons.

They have a female timelord currently running around somewhere in the universe so it would be rather easy to create another spinoff a la Torchwood.

Jeroenr:
And what about the companions?

I don't think that a female doctor and male companion relationship would work that well.
And only using a female companion will probably mean losing a lot of male viewers.
The best solution would be a companion duo, a bit like Amy and Rory.

Also the Doctor is a bit of a big kid with ADHD (David and Matt any way), i don't see that working with a female doctor.
All Doctors have a distinct personalities but have a lot of common ground with the previous versions.

And finely.
Some of my reservations about a female doctor may comes from the recent trend of shoehorning diversity in everything.
I'm all for a diverse world in Doctor Who(or any serie).
If done well, it will enrich the world and make it feel more real, but it mustn't feel forced.
If you clearly have token female, black, gay, ect.. they often stick to stereotypes.
This is a sigh of bad writing at least.

Just like with the female Thor, i don't think that will last either (remember, Thor didn't become female, Mjolnir got a new owner)

Ok, so, I agree with your premise (that the Doctor really shouldn't be a woman), but I vehemently disagree with nearly every single one of your arguments, barring the whole "shouldn't feel like shoehorning" thing. There's no reason a woman can't act like an excited child out to explore the universe. There's no reason a female doctor and male companion relationship couldn't work, so long as it was well-written. And I can't see why having both characters be female would turn off male viewers. We're talking a difference of genitals, and good writing should hopefully have far more of an impact on the quality of the show than what sits between the legs of the main characters.

Frankly, the reason I feel making the Doctor female is a bad idea is, well, it just feels desperate. It's not that I don't think Helen Mirren wouldn't make a fantastic Doctor, I'm pretty sure she'd be able to blow any one of her predecessors out of the water. It's more that it feels like giving up. That in our desire to get greater and better representation for women in popular media, we have officially given up hope that a female-led show could ever rise to the heights of popularity. Instead we have to wait for the good ol' white males to get something running, and then slide a woman in there and hope the branding holds. I mean seriously, what kind of message is that?

On a narrative level I have no problem with the concept. I could name a dozen female actors who I think would blitz the role. It's meant to be possible in-universe. There's nothing inherently male about the Doctor. With good writing, they can literally pull off anything in that series. I just don't think a female Doctor would be a win for feminism, and I know that the sight of other feminists celebrating such a choice would just make me depressed.

The Master flipped genders once so I cant see why the Doctor couldn't.

They could just bring back Jenny. Not that I'm against a female Doctor but I'm still kind of ticked on how they gave the doctor more transformations.

Still, I would like to see what would happen if Moffoat had to write a female doctor, even if I end up screaming at my tv screen.

Uuuhg but she'll be such a Minerva. Props if there are any Community fans out there ;)

Well it's already been established that Time Lords can change gender in a regeneration, so really it is just pot luck. No reason they can't besides insecure losers who feel a sense of entitlement to something they have no hand in creating.

Here is the sum total of my reaction to this:

Umm... okay?

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