Why I'm Excited About the Thirteenth Doctor
Start writing a post

Why I'm Excited About the Thirteenth Doctor

With Jodie Whittaker, the BBC enters the present

Why I'm Excited About the Thirteenth Doctor
The Independent

The Master: “Is the future going to be all girl?”

The Doctor: “We can only hope.”

--Doctor Who, “The Doctor Falls”

If, after a line like that in the finale, the new Doctor had been another man, I would have been furious. For the past couple of seasons, Steven Moffat has been dropping breadcrumbs about the possibility of a female Doctor, showing two instances of Time Lords changing gender (and in one of those cases, race). But I’ve been burned by this show before, especially in its writing of women, so when I watched the video announcing the new Doctor, I was anxiously examining every shot for a hint of the actor’s gender: the flowers at the beginning, the ambiguous profile, the feminine-looking hand. When Jodie Whittaker pulled back her hood, my main emotion was relief. They did it. They actually did it. Throughout the day, whenever a gif of that moment popped up on my Facebook feed, I felt a surge of joy. I proudly donned my “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” shirt. I walked a little taller on my way to the grocery store.

Of course, plenty of people weren’t as excited. Men—and even some women—flooded comments sections with cries of the “PC brigade taking over” and vows that even though they were “loyal fans” they would “never watch the show again.” (So not really that loyal, then.) Part of me was hurt by this sexism, but mostly, I was amused. It was ridiculous how outraged these people were by one woman playing a character that’s been played by a man thirteen times. I loved reading the witty replies to these comments and feeling cheered when so many of the people defending Whittaker’s casting were men. I chuckled every time I saw yet another person proclaim, “What’s next? Shelly Holmes?! JAMIE BOND?!”

Sure. Why not?

These would be interesting takes on those stories, just like a female Thirteenth Doctor is to the fifty-year-old Doctor Who. I’m excited about Jodie Whittaker because I’m eager to see myself reflected in this iconic, heroic role, but I’m also excited by all the new storytelling possibilities this casting brings.

Back in the 80s, amidst a ratings slump, Doctor Who co-creator Sydney Newman suggested the show could be saved by casting a woman in the titular role. Instead, the BBC chose Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor; ratings continued to decline, and two years later the show was cancelled, not to return until 2005. The show is in a similar slump now. The past two seasons have brought the lowest ratings of the reboot. An April article in the Guardian said, “When Chris Chibnall, the incoming showrunner, casts the next Doctor, he needs to shake things up.” (And let’s be clear: Steven Moffat does not get credit for the first female Doctor. That goes to Chibnall.)

I think this shake-up will work. I know a number of people who have stopped watching in recent years, many of them frustrated by Steven Moffat’s poorly-written female characters. Those people are now saying Jodie Whittaker will bring them back.

After the casting announcement, a number of questions about what the next season would look like came into my head. Male or female companion? If the Doctor meets a recurring character, will they recognize/accept her as the Doctor? In each case, both answers offered fascinating possibilities. A female companion would mean two women together in the Tardis; a male companion would mean a man deferring to a female Doctor’s expertise the same way female companions have long had to defer to a man. Recurring characters will either easily accept the Doctor’s sex change—“oh, of course, that makes sense”—or not, in which case a woman will passionately defend her ability to be a hero. One online commenter said that the Doctor has to be a white man so he can easily travel through history. But why does this travel have to be easy? How interesting would it be to watch the normally-cocky Doctor navigate a world in which her authority is questioned? Or in which she proves to a bunch of Victorian men that a woman can save the day? Or in which her male companion has to pretend to be in charge in front of others, but as soon as it’s just the two of them, he lets the Doctor take over? After five decades, it can seem like Doctor Who is out of fresh ideas. This casting will provide a whole host of new adventures.

And of course, the representation it brings is important. Women are just as present in geekdom as men. The audience for superhero TV shows is roughly even in terms of gender. The audience for the opening weekend of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was 42% female. Just as many women attend conventions as men. And yet the most recent season of Doctor Who had just one female writer and one female director. Women love science fiction, too, and we want to see ourselves not just in the audience but on the screen. The Force Awakens showed us a woman can be a Jedi or a general, Wonder Woman showed us a woman can headline a blockbuster superhero movie, and now, a woman can be the Doctor, too.

Two things stick out in my mind when I think about Whittaker’s casting. One is a viral tweet in which a woman recorded her young daughter’s reaction to the announcement video. For most of the clip the girl is looking at the screen, bemused—until Whittaker’s face is revealed. The girl turns to the camera, jaw dropped, and happily shouts, “The new Doctor is a GIRL!”

The second is the final shot of the most recent season finale. Bill (an openly gay black woman, in another great stride the show has made with representation) has been reunited with Heather, her crush from the season premiere. Heather and Bill are setting off to see the universe together. They stand, hands clasped, in the doorway of the Tardis, staring out at the stars. This, I thought, this is what I want.

And now it can come true.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection


Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less

50 Iconic Quotes From 'The Golden Girls' That Will Always Make You Laugh

"People waste their time pondering whether a glass is half empty or half full. Me, I just drink whatever's in the glass."


"The Golden Girls" created history when it first premiered in 1985 setting the stage of strong-willed female characters who are aging gracefully with dignity. It is a treasure trove filled with humorous scenes and situations that will always be relevant to watch. I still rejoice in watching these spectacular women embrace life with full stride and the way they always strive to focus on the brighter side of life.

These 4 dynamic and awe-inspiring women taught us that age is indeed nothing more than a number and that we can set out to accomplish anything our heart desires at any time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments