Breanna Brink, Staff Writer
“Doctor Who” has been a staple of the BBC for several years now. With that comes several unique ideas; the entire series is built on the idea of going through time to different worlds to have adventures and build character. A constant theme throughout the series is that the Doctor constantly changes and grows as well, and with a hazardous life that this species lives, our beloved Gallifreyan will regenerate. With the Christmas special in 2017, we saw the fall of the actor Peter Capaldi as the twelfth doctor. In a much-earned twist of fate, the Doctor, our main character, finally regenerates as a female character. Enter Jodie Whittaker, our thirteenth Doctor.
Live Science summarized the history of “Doctor Who” quite strictly, just to give the non-fans a quick backstory. “Since the long-running program debuted in 1963, 12 actors have held the leading role of the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. As a regenerating extraterrestrial, the Doctor has returned from the point of death 11 times, each time with a different body and personality (and with a taste for uniquely eccentric wardrobe choices). But for over 50 years, every regenerated Doctor was steadfastly male.”
With this regeneration however, we see a break in the norm. Of course, this is not an impossibility or a far reach out of the norm for Doctor Who, as any Gallifreyan can regenerate into any sex. If you consider a time lord to just be a genetic Gallifreyan, then there are several examples scattered throughout the series of female characters, with a prime example being in Season 8, where the Doctor’s nemesis, The Master, had regenerated into a female, Missy (Michelle Gomez).
There has still been a bit of backlash against news outlets for covering this topic of a new female lead to a predominantly male show. Here is where things differ from the distress over remakes such as “Ghostbusters” or “Ocean’s Eleven.” Audiences did not ask for a remake of already popular movies that did very well and are considered classics. No one requested we remake a film and change of the sexes of the characters on screen. If it isn’t broken, no one asked you to fix it with a feminine touch. That being said, Doctor Who has long since had fans asking for a female regeneration, and it is not out of the norm to continue a series that deserves to be continued. This is not a remake, this is not unwanted. The backlash in the media isn’t because Whittaker is a female, it’s because they are claiming she is the first female time lord, which is not true. Even the show itself has shown in season nine that gender and sex are not fixed for this specific species, as a Gallifreyan general has regenerated on screen from male to female.
In all honesty, so many of “Doctor Who’s” fans are overjoyed with the new regeneration. The Guardian offered some insight with Whittaker as she talked briefly about how she came to be the new doctor and how it felt. “Some of the actors selected are pre-existing fans of Doctor Who (Capaldi); others have literally never watched it (Smith) – Whittaker appears to fall somewhere in the middle. After she was told she had won the part, “It was incredibly emotional because my entire life, as a child, all I ever wanted to be was be an actor, and I wanted to do it because I wanted to play pretend, and that is the ultimate,” she told BBC Radio 6 Music’s Shaun Keaveny in August. “I’m about to play an alien, a Time Lord. And that as a girl? Who knew? That’s incredible.”