How Former Doctor Who Star Christopher Eccleston Wants The Show’s ‘Boys’ Club’ To Change

Doctor Who

Doctor Who has amassed a huge following over the decades since it premiered in 1963. Fans of the show (or Whovians, as they’re known on the Internet) come in all sorts, from young to old, male to female. Despite its diverse audience, all but the most recent incarnation of the titular Doctor have been male. Jodie Whittaker made history as the first female Doctor when she took the reins from Peter Capaldi. Christopher Eccleston, who played the Ninth Doctor in the rebooted series, thinks this is a step in the right direction.

He told Radio Times:

You know, it’s great that we now have a female Doctor, and I think we should take that further in the way we look at history. Look at it through a female lens. Russell T Davies writes the Doctor as one Doctor; Steven Moffat writes him as another; Rob Shearman writes him, he’s another. Bit of a boys’ club, though. We need to address that. We need some more Cyberwomen, we need female writers. It needs to be addressed, particularly as the Doctor has such a pronounced, for want of a better phrase, feminine side, and such an enthusiastic engagement with the female...I think we really need to address that. The Doctor with a Cyberwoman… that dynamic, feminine element of himself, which he uses so well, his flirtatious nature, his admiration for Gaia and the female would be great with a Cyberwoman.

It’s interesting that Christopher Eccleston brings up the Doctor’s so-called "engagement with the female," since most of the Doctor’s traveling companions have been women, especially in the rebooted series. Characters like Rose Tyler, Donna Noble, and Amy Pond had extremely close relationships with their respective Doctors, and some even ended up saving the world when the Doctor fell short (Donna Noble is still the most important person in all of creation in my heart). He also mentions previous showrunners Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, as well as Who writer Rob Shearman.

It seems clear, whether intentionally or not, the Doctor tends to prefer traveling with women (maybe it’s the aforementioned feminine side). It would be fun to see more female villains, especially those such as the Cybermen that have been primarily male in the past.

It’s also worth pointing out that every actor to play the Doctor has been white. It was a huge deal when Black actress Jo Martin was featured as The Fugitive Doctor, a version of the Doctor that had not been seen on the show before. It’s still unclear where Jo Martin’s Doctor falls in the timeline, but showrunner Chris Chibnall confirmed that her version was a legitimate part of the show’s mythology (some fans had speculated that she was from a parallel universe). This could also be a step in the right direction when it comes to expanding the diversity of the characters portrayed on Doctor Who.

The 13th season of Doctor Who has begun filming. During the wait for the next season, you can catch up on the series on HBO Max.

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.