So Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who. I think that's a shame. I was greatly pleased when he was announced (so pleased in fact that I almost managed to scrub Rufus Hounds's pathetic pretence at being a 'superfan' from my memory) and I think he's been a good Doctor. He hasn't always had the strongest writing, but his acting and on screen presence has been excellent. His finest hour was 'Heaven Sent', undoubtedly one of the best ever Who stories.
Now it's time to think of a replacement. This is the sort of thing you can put bets on. (Question for scholars of Who and betting: Which new Doctor casting was the first to be covered by a high street or online bookmaker? How far back does this sort of thing go?)
I was greatly amused by this article from the Daily Mash
, which pleasingly takes the piss out of those Doctor Who fans (and politicians) who maintain that the next Doctor "has to be" a woman. Harriet Harman even "demanded" that the next Doctor should be female. This woman used to be Deputy Prime Minister for god's sake. It's a good job that there's nothing else going on in the world for feminists to worry about at the moment... Thankfully nobody ever listened to her when she was a member of the government, and now she's a backbench member of one of the least popular opposition parties in history, really nobody listens to her at all except to poke fun at her when she says something stupid like this. Our actual Prime Minister Theresa May was also asked about this (she's a Who fan apparently (allegedly)) but replied rather more sensibly that it was for the programme-makers to decide. Having a state television company is bad enough, it would be really absurd if the Prime Minister was consulted on casting decisions...
You know what though? Go onto the more annoying parts of social media and search for #nextdoctorwho or whatever the appropriate shortcut is, and what do you find? Plenty of sensible suggestions (including some interesting leftfield ones, plenty of joke suggestions, plenty of people saying that it should be them (!), and unfortunately plenty of people saying that it has to be a woman and that anyone who disagrees is clearly a "misogynist". I really hope this isn't going to go on for the next few months.
I'm going to say it. I think making the Doctor female would be absurd. It was bad enough that they did it with the Master and turned a brilliant archenemy into a comedy freakshow (mind you, they did this with the Sontarans too). Making the Doctor female would be jumping the shark. It would hammer the ratings. Those fans (and 'fans') demanding a female Doctor might be loud and obnoxious, but they just aren't that common. Those who are into science fiction probably watch already. So making the Doctor female would gain no new viewers. But it would lose millions.
(And another thing it would lose: a positive male role model for young boys. A male hero who always tries to do the right thing, who prefers to avoid violence, who solves problems by being clever, who is brave, self-sacrificing and noble. If you are concerned about making society better (that 'social justice' thing that people are always talking about) then think about what happens when you remove one of the more obvious positive male role models for young boys.)
I do appreciate that there are fans who want to see an actress in the lead role in Doctor Who.
So I have a compromise. And, if I say so myself, it's brilliant.( Read more... )