A Woman Doctor?! My Reaction to Doctor Who
July 16, 2017… the day of the Men’s Wimbledon Final, the biggest tennis championship in the UK. But something far more important than that was about to happen once it finished. The new actor to play the Doctor would be revealed.
There were bets on several people, men and women included. Popular favourites were Ben Wishaw, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba, and Olivia Coleman. There was also a smaller name coming to the surface: Jodie Whittaker, mostly known for her role in Broadchurch (which, incidentally, is written by Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner for Doctor Who).
When it came to the reveal, it was the most anticipated event in so many households across the UK, and probably even the world. With a huge consensus that the next Doctor could very possibly be a woman for the first time ever, fans and non-fans alike waited to find out who the next star would be.
When Jodie Whittaker was officially announced, the world went crazy.
A lot of people loved it, and a lot of people hated it. I must admit, I was unsure. The Doctor has always been a man, for over fifty years, so to have such a dramatic change would feel weird. I worried it might not feel like Doctor Who anymore. But with my love for the show slowly declining since Steven Moffat took over as showrunner, I thought… surely it couldn’t get much worse?
Turns out my expectations were completely and utterly wrong.
I LOVED IT.
Tonight’s episode finished just over an hour ago, and I had to share my thoughts because I’m just so… pleased. And relieved. It felt, for the first time in ages, like a real episode of Doctor Who again.
I’ve read that Chibnall is a bit of a purist when it comes to Doctor Who, and he wanted to bring some of the elements of classic episodes back. He did this so well, and I truly felt like I was back in 2009, watching an episode that was so silly and so fun, without any complicated, twisting storylines that Moffat would so often bring to his scripts. (They’re great in Sherlock. Not so much in Doctor Who.)
OK, the story probably wasn’t the strongest. The creature was just OK, and it wrapped up very quickly. But the thing is – I didn’t really care too much, and I didn’t think this was very important for a series opener with so many new things to get our heads around. I loved this episode because it was a great introduction to the new Doctor, and we learned so much about her character and the new companions already. We also found out that this new Doctor is a complete badass, solving a mystery before she even remembered who she is, and then built her own sonic screwdriver!
(Edit, 8/10/18): I spoke to my mum about this today and she brought up a great point: she loved how they didn’t try to turn the first female Doctor into a masculine action figure, just because her predecessors have been male. She was still feminine, but nobody constantly brought it up (unlike Moffat’s episodes where lesbians were involved and it was all they’d talk about *cough& Vastra and Jenny *cough*). The transition from a male to a female Doctor has been flawless, and we both loved it.)
It’s made me excited to watch the rest of the series. And most importantly, it’s made me hopeful that I can fall in love with Doctor Who again. It’s made me feel the way I did when I was 12, watching the eccentric and madcap Time Lord (or Lady? Time Being?) running around, helping people and spouting endless but fun technobabble that we didn’t understand, but lapped up anyway.
If you’re not sure about giving it a go, all I can say is give it a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.