I know I’m a bit late to the party here, but as a dedicated Whovian I want to talk about Doctor Who – specifically, of course, the newly-cast Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. Before I start, let me draw your attention to some words uttered by the good Time Lord in one of his earlier incarnations, almost exactly three decades ago:
“Every great decision creates ripples, like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge, rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.” – the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988.
There is no question that the decision to cast the first female Doctor in 54 years was definitely great, in terms of both magnitude and brilliance. It was a pioneering move by a pioneering show that has never been quite like anything else on television, and I for one see it as something that heralds a bright new era for Doctor Who. Jodie is a fantastic actress, and from the moment she pulled back her hood and showed her face to the world I was immensely excited to see what she could bring to the role of the Doctor. We have new leadership in the form of incoming head writer Chris Chibnall, too, and I have no doubt that he will prove to be another mighty weapon in the show’s arsenal as its approaches its 55th year and eleventh revived series. Of course, there are those who – for reasons I simply cannot understand – are unable to accept the oft-repeated fact that Doctor Who thrives on change, and seem to be sure that a female Doctor will drive the programme to a swift end. Their ignorance and misogyny saddened me when I saw it on social media, and it proved to be a startling reminder of the darker side of the Internet, but let’s not focus on such people. They assume, without even giving Jodie a chance, that the consequential ripples from her appointment will be bad ones, whilst for me they can only be good.
The news reminded me why I fell in love with Doctor Who in the first place, and it once again encouraged me to embrace my inner geek. I don’t know what to expect in Jodie’s first series, and it’s that sense of unpredictability that I believe captivates Whovians all over the world. It’s often been said that you should never apply logic to the show, because nothing is ever truly impossible. The format is more open than that of any other programme I can think of, and so are the people around it, both in its production and its audience. An overwhelming majority of fans – 80%, to be precise – are looking forward to the Thirteenth Doctor’s debut, because they’re optimists and the show’s truest enthusiasts. They do not fear change, and certainly not the lead actor’s gender. I have always said that we have been blessed as viewers with twelve (thirteen, if you count the late Sir John Hurt) fantastic Doctors, and I am certain that Jodie will prove herself as yet another perfect choice for this iconic part. I wish her the very best of luck, and I know that throughout her tenure she will be able to count on the support of millions. As Noel Clarke said on Twitter after the news broke, I do not see a man or a woman. I only see the Doctor.
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