As political correctness and gender equality continue to touch upon almost every aspect of our modern lives, there are still a few places where changes are harder to come by, and one of them is inside the TARDIS. For years, a section of the Doctor Who fanbase has been clamoring for a female Doctor to regenerate, switching up the approach to a character who’s been around for over 50 years in a male form. But not everyone wants that, and former Doctor Sylvester McCoy is one who sees no reason to modify anything.
McCoy was the seventh iteration of the Time Lord, taking on the role from 1987-1989 in the final years of the show’s initial run. Four male actors have followed him, and McCoy would be fine with that trend to continue. Here’s how he put things, according to The Daily Mirror.
I’m a feminist and recognize there are still glass ceilings in place for many women, but where would we draw the line? A Mr. Marple instead of Miss Marple? A Tarzanette? I’m sorry, but no – Doctor Who is a male character, just like James Bond. If they changed it to be politically correct then it would ruin the dynamics between the doctor and the assistant, which is a popular part of the show.
The “where is the line drawn?” argument is something that people use all the time while arguing against revisions, but the merit is almost always questionable. After all, comic books have been around longer than Doctor Who, and we’ve already seen many classic characters get gender-swapped over the years. If someone wants to make Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan a female, and they have an amazing story to go along with that switch, that wouldn’t take away everything that came before it.
That said, McCoy’s view gains some arguable ground when he brings up how the relationship between the Doctor and his companion would be altered a tad too much if the gender was changed. It’s basically the same argument that the fifth Doctor Peter Davison has given, most recently in an interview with ABC earlier this year.
It seems to me if you reverse that, if you have an uncertain, fallible female Doctor with a really strong male companion, you’ve got more of a stereotype than anything else.
Which isn’t to say that the companion couldn’t still be a woman if the Time Lord was female, but still. If current Doctor Peter Capaldi is to be believed, though, the Doctor isn’t a man or a woman, or even a real being as we understand it. It just exists.
Regardless of whether the next Doctor is a woman or something from a different species, we know that Capaldi has the gig now and won’t be leaving it for quite some time. Check out Season 9 when it premieres on September 19 on BBC America.