Millions of eyes world-wide watched the 2017 Wimbledon Championship on July 16th. While many nervously awaited the match’s results, thousands of others watched in anticipation of the post-match reveal of the future “Doctor Who” lead. When the moment arrived and the cameras panned onto the new Doctor’s face, it was these fans who witnessed history being made as the controversial casting of actress Jodie Whittaker was announced and the uproar between two radical groups of Whovians (Doctor Who fans) began.
The first of these groups supports Whittaker’s casting to a violent degree, not even allowing comments against Whittaker’s acting style before shouting “Misogynist.” The second group loudly proclaims that the decision to cast a female was an example of rash political correctness gone wild, that Whittaker’s casting is the show’s downfall and verbally abusing all who disagree. All other Whovians just think both of these groups need to calm down. “Doctor Who” has always been about acceptance and peace. After all, the basis of the show is an alien who travels through time and space trying to end conflict, armed with a screwdriver rather than a gun, phaser or lightsaber. By screaming insults at one another and passing hasty judgements, no one in either of these groups is acting like the “true” Whovian they claim to be. A real Whovian would listen to the others’ reasoning and gather all of the information before even thinking of passing judgement or causing any harm. Since Jodie Whittaker has not filmed her first scene yet, neither of these groups can do that.
On that note: finally. It took “Doctor Who” 54 years and thirteen Doctors to cast a female in the role, but now every girl who dreams of being the Doctor just as much as they dream of traveling with the Time Lord knows that it is possible. It’s beautiful, inspiring and about time the British Broadcasting Company took this step in such a historically loaded television show, especially since women in science fiction are so often relegated to being either a secondary character or a plot device. Now a brilliant woman will be seen calculating and answering any number of complex mathematical equations and saving the world. Possibly while blind, one-handed or keeping a jeopardy friendly companion or two alive. It may have taken half a century, but “Doctor Who” is finally challenging all too common stereotypes and it’s absolutely fantastic to watch.
What is nice is that there has been hope that this decision would be made since the late 70s when Tom Baker’s Doctor rotated between using he and she pronouns when talking about Time Lord “The Corsair” regenerations. So even though The Doctor could not go through this transformation until now due to the film industry’s fear of losing money, numerous Whovians have anticipated this day’s coming with each new hint that it would actually occur. These hints have only increased since “New Who” began with David Tennant checking that he had an Adam’s Apple, Matt Smith mentioning “The Corsair,” John Simm’s “The Master” regenerating into Michelle Gomez’s “The Mistress,” the Season 9 finale where *spoilers* Capaldi finally reaches Gallifrey and fans witnessed a Time Lord completing an inter-gender regeneration.
“BBC you just have to be politically correct, don’t you. Sorry you just LOST ANOTHER FAN!!!!!!,” Facebook user Betty Fawcett posted only hours after the announcement. Sadly, this is one of the more common statements the second group has been making, but it is not fact-based and, if the BBC made this decision for any reason other than to break some stereotypes, it was to make a profit from a rapidly growing demographic rather than to be politically correct. When the first Doctor was cast during the 1960s, science fiction shows all aimed to attract the male demographic so the creators made the lead a male so the intended audience could relate to him. 50 years into the future, there are a lot more women involved in or becoming involved in the science fiction communities, so it is profitable for science fiction shows to appeal to what is becoming a larger demographic — and so came Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. A similar situation occurred several years ago due to the rise in popularity of children’s science fiction shows. To attract a younger demographic to the show, the BBC cast Matt Smith. A doctor who was known for giving powerful, serious monologues and saving the world while snacking on Jammie Dodgers and celebrating by breaking into his signature dance move: the “drunk giraffe.”
Whether the BBC cast Whittaker to inspire young girls or in the hopes of increased profits, the decision has been made and as the ninth Doctor once said, “This is who I am, right here, right now, all right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me!” So hold off on any judgements and remind those Whovians verbally attacking each other that those kinds of comments are not what being a Whovian is about. Then, do what we Whovians are only second to Sherlockians at. Don’t blink. Take a deep breath. And wait for Whittaker’s first few episodes to air before swearing off “Doctor Who” forever. After all, every Doctor starts off being hated and a Whovians’ constant reassurance is that, if whoever is cast does not fit the role, they’ll just be killed off at the end of the season.