Doctor Who stars of the past are often willing to talk about the current state of the franchise, which is a good thing because they're often asked about it. Such was the case when Seventh Doctor actor Sylvester McCoy recently spoke about the state of modern Doctor Who and the qualm he's had with it.
McCoy spoke to Radio Times about the franchise, and the actor shared the qualms he has with it. Surprisingly, it's not the thing many others have voiced about Jodie Whittaker, but rather how the show handles a particular gadget.
They use the sonic screwdriver too much. It’s a bit of a crutch. I never had one. The producer decided that I shouldn’t have one because he said it was too easy for the writers to get The Doctor out of trouble. I managed to save the universe every Saturday – and without a sonic screwdriver, [so] I’m slightly critical. I don’t think they should use it all the time if you can manage without, like me – and my umbrella!
I would argue that Jodie Whittaker's Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver much less than the more recent Doctors before her, but the point is taken all the same. The gadget is often used as a convenient plot device for The Doctor to fix whatever impossible situation he/she has gotten into. As mentioned, McCoy didn't have a sonic screwdriver when he played The Doctor, but rather an umbrella that, while more useful than the average umbrella, was not quite a technological achievement.
Sylvester McCoy admitted that beyond that, he did initially have his reservations about Jodie Whittaker becoming the first female Doctor. The actor added that despite those reservations, Whittaker's performance changed his mind.
I’ve seen bits of it. I watched the opening [episode] – because one has to, you know – and I was initially kind of uncertain about it. It was stupid sexism, really, because, after 10 minutes, she was the Doctor – it didn’t make any sense even to think that one could doubt it. I sent her a message. I said, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for womankind.
The actor may not be too keen on sonic screwdriver usage, but Sylvester McCoy does appear to be a fan of Jodie Whittaker from whenever he's checked the show out during her run. Unfortunately for Whittaker fans, however, that there are rumors Season 13 will be Whittaker's last season as The Doctor.