When news broke that after 55 years and 12 male iterations, Doctor Who’s new Time Lord is going to be a woman—specifically, Jodie Whittaker—many fans were elated. After all, the campaign for a female Doctor has spanned years. But predictably, another contingent has already vocally declared that the sci-fi series’s main character—a time-traveling alien who can appear as anything—simply cannot manifest mainly as a woman. Thankfully, it seems Whittaker expected this reaction—and has already offered the perfect response.
In her introductory interview with the BBC, which appears to have been conducted ahead of the network’s announcement Sunday, Whittaker said that being cast as the Doctor “feels incredible.”
“It feels completely overwhelming; as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be,” Whittaker continued.
Still, it seems she knew that misogyny was on the horizon; when asked what she’d like to tell fans, Whittaker was direct: “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”
The outcry from trolls on Twitter who insist that the Doctor can only be a man might be disheartening to some fans—but many simply reveled in trolling the trolls. (Perhaps the best example is author Aaron Gillies, known on Twitter as TechnicallyRon, who turned some angry Daily Mail comments into title cards.) Besides, those close to the franchise have already given their blessing. Peter Capaldi, whom Whittaker will be succeeding in the franchise, told the BBC, “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.” New head writer and E.P. Chris Chibnall added that Whittaker’s audition “simply blew us all away.”
The new season debuts in December. Hopefully by then, the furor will have died down. If not, frankly, some of these title cards are really fun. Who wouldn’t watch “Nobody Wants a TARDIS Full of Bras”?
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