Doctor Who has been a part of the BBC for decades, and in that time, 12 different doctors have stepped up to the plate and shown audiences their unique personalities. Of those twelve doctors, however, all have been white males, which has prompted some criticism from audiences looking for more females in the mix. Recently, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat spoke out about the potential for an eventual female Time Lady at a BAFTA celebration at the New York Institute of technology. Here’s what the prolific showrunner had to say:
There’s an aspect to it where you could say that if you made the Doctor female you’d lose a fairly unique rare role model, I’m not sure if I’m completely persuaded by that argument purely because I don’t think the Doctor is the role model of Doctor Who. He isn’t. Because you can’t really base yourself on the Doctor. He’s off the spectrum, barking mad, from space and has lots of mysterious abilities that we do not. How do you base yourself on that? The role model is actually the other character, his best friend, the person who deals with this out of control, overgrown schoolboy racing around the universe being rather too imperious and too interfering for his own good.
The other character that Moffat is referring to is Doctor Who’s companion, who is not always but is frequently played by a young lady. According to The Mary Sue, Moffat seems to be arguing that because the companions are often strong females, the race and sex of the alien doctor should not matter so much. Especially since Season 9 is already set in stone.
It’s a long and complicated argument and there’s no vacancy in Doctor Who and given the way Peter is talking about it I don’t think there will be for a very long while.
While many have seen Doctor Who’s lack of diversity as an annoyance, Moffat clearly seems to think it is a non-issue, at least, for now. Before Peter Capaldi stepped in as the 12th Time Lord, the show had the opportunity to go in a slightly different direction, prompting these debates, but the show chose Capaldi, who did a serviceable job during his first season on the air. We’ve known for months now that Capaldi will return to play the Doctor during Season 9, and it’s likely he won’t go anywhere for at least a few years. Maybe once Capaldi’s reign is done, the show will give a female Time Lady a shot, but for now, Clara and the Doctor are the team we have been given.
Season 9 is expected to hit the BBC (and BBC America in the States) later this year. In addition to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman is set to return as Clara, and a dead character is also set to show up in the new episodes. Not to mention a Game of Thrones star will show up in Doctor Who. While we wait for the show to return to the schedule, here’s what is coming up for TV this summer.