BBC Reportedly Rules Out a Female Doctor

Speculation has been rife on who will be handed the keys to the TARDIS once the Twelfth Doctor regenerates at Christmas (if not sooner…) and despite a flurry of punters staking their money on the likes of Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, Chewing Gum actress Michaela Coel, and, of course, Tilda Swinton, it looks as though it we won’t be ushering in our first female Doctor just yet.

Now, this is sketchy at best but the BBC have made something of an announcement after a father of a young Doctor Who fan wrote to the Beeb expressing his concern that the change of gender might confuse his kids.

Surprisingly, the Beeb wrote back.

Complaints Officer Joanne Coyne wrote in reply:

“We appreciate that you’re a big Doctor Who fan and you have concerns that the programme would change should there be a female doctor.

“Be assured there are currently no plans to have a female Doctor Who.”

They also said their worries would be passed onto senior managers and programme makers “including the Doctor Who team”.

So that’s it then? Well, not quite. The BBC publicity machine sprang into action and issued a rather more open ended statement:

“No casting decisions have yet been made on Series 11.”

Who knows what the truth is behind that missive to the Complaints department, considering the source of this news I wouldn’t be surprised if that father wasn’t a Mr R. Murdoch. Conversely, there’s no way to confirm that this is either a leak by the Beeb themselves or just an employee who has gone rogue and given a direct answer to a genuine query based on the information they currently have….which is the same information as the rest of us.

Either way, we’re still no closer to knowing who the next Doctor will be. Male or Female.

  • Lynda

    Good. With all apologies to the sisterhood, we HAVE to get over this more militant form of feminism which is less about equality and more about, “Let’s take over EVERYTHING. Let’s make EVERYTHING female.” As a woman – and I’d like to think a feminist – I’m bloody sick of it. I don’t need super heroes to change gender to like them. I don’t want the Doctor to be a women – I’d rather perv on a bloke. I don’t need movies that are made especially for my gender as if I can’t handle anything else. Good grief, I grew up adoring the original Star Wars films. Now the kids have got Rey and Jyn and, that’s great, but I could have equally adored Episode VII and Rogue One if they weren’t there, either. I feel this very keenly, especially as a pop culture geek for decades, because the whole community seems to be getting hijacked and everything has to be for women or women friendly. Again, it’s as if people think my gender can’t handle anything else. It’s a slap in the face. Looking forward to the backlash that will inevitably come. *Sigh*. And that’s me done. Time for a cup of sugary tea.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      That’s right, go and make your tea in the kitchen where you belong 😉

      Seriously though, I couldn’t agree more with every word of yours. Less taking over established strong male role models and more creating new and original females ones if they want them!

    • Ranger

      Thank you Lynda for expressing how I feel as well, especially about militant feminism. I just view that as reverse discrimination against men.

      Mind you, I do feel sorry for the BBC, they so want to promote feminism and equality and I do applaud them, but it is a mine-field for them, everything they do is greeted with howls of rage from one camp or the other. Actually this debate has made me re-evaluate some of my own reactions, assumptions and ignorance, not only about feminism but also LGBT and ethnicity. It’s all become rather difficult, hasn’t it? You do things with the best intentions and still get it wrong. Still, that is infinitely better than either outright prejudice or indifference.

    • Christian Cawley

      Always strikes me that it’s more about actresses wanting better roles. Somehow the answer has been less of “write better roles for women” and more “take all teh things”

      Feminism is developing a massive image problem right now. More akin to “The Worm That Turned” than anything argued by Germaine Greer, Camille Paglia etc.

      • Peter Rabytt

        Seems a little bit of an overstatement and generalisation to say “feminism is developing a massive image problem right now”. It may feel like that to some, but personally I would have thought such an analysis somewhat beyond the remit of a site that celebrates Doctor Who?

    • Dr. Moo (🐮)

      Without getting into a debate here, this does raise an interesting talking point: Do female Doctor Who fans want a woman as the Doctor?

      You clearly don’t, that’s hard not to see, but what about the wider fandom as a whole? I’ve discussed it with most of the female fans I know and I’ve found it’s roughly a three-way split between yes no and neutral. I’d be interested in seeing how accurate that is across the entire fandom though. I doubt we’ll ever get a definitive answer but it is an interesting thought that I’m going to be left thinking about.

      • FrancoPabloDiablo

        Of course we can only speak about our own experiences. My wife doesn’t want one. My daughter and ALL of her Who friends I’ve interacted with all say no too, regardless of whether they are boys or girls. And I’m not saying this just because of my own personal views but I’ve literally only personally spoken to ONE person that is pro-female Doctor. I understand that we all might have had different discussions and responses and of course all have our own opinions but to me it seems pretty clear where the majority if opinion is. The ONLY place I’ve seen or heard wishes for such (and even then relatively few) is on the internet forums and the shambolic tabloid media. I’m with my daughter and her mates on this one – kids know best after all:)

        • Dr. Moo (🐮)

          What do you reckon then? Will there be a woman cast as 13? If not then when will they?

          For the record, I’m predicting it’ll happen with #14.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Really can’t say what I reckon, given the BBC’s past record for f***ing up it’s top brands like Top Gear and the last series of Doctor Who – woefully late and random time slots and lack of publicity. You may be right, or not, regarding a woman Doctor. And as for “will when they” – hopefully never. As I said though I was just going by my own personal experiences, conversations and interactions (not purely my own personal opinions) that it seems pretty clear that the appetite for a female Doctor doesn’t truly exist outside of the internet and the Tabloids. I’d like to think that the Complaints Officer who replied reassuring that there wasn’t any plans for a female Doctor is just as accurate as the press release just after Rose that Eccleston wouldn’t be returning for a second series.

      • Lynda

        I’ve met some women who genuinely want it, but around half of them are VERY into 2017s version of feminism which, as someone said earlier, is becoming a bit, “take all teh things”. I liked that description, I must say. So it’s definitely not all women. I certainly don’t feel I’m in a minority for wanting a male Doctor at all. But things like social media, especially Twitter which skews VERY left, can be very noisy about topics like this and make it seem like a majority. I also don’t listen to Verity. So there 🙂

      • Philip

        Good question, Moo. All my female friends want a male Doctor, or at least the ones I’ve asked/have expressed an opinion anyway.

    • bar canbeverysillysometimes

      I’ll join you for the cuppa, but no sugar thanks. Totally agree – but what’s Karn got to do with it?

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    Thank God! that is all I can say. Common sense seems to have prevailed for the time being. Shame the same good judgement wasn’t made regarding The Master, or even The General.

  • Dr. Moo (🐮)

    I’m looking at this skeptically. The way this news has broken – why is this coming from someone relatively low down the heriarchy at the BBC, why is this being announced in this form and not an official statement, etc – lead me to view this with a pinch of salt.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this it is true that they don’t want to take that risk just yet, but I don’t think this particular instance is anything to go by.

  • bar canbeverysillysometimes

    I’m really enjoying a new role model for women, a great strong character who’s fun and intelligent and brave. She happens also to be female. bame, and gay. not that that’s made a big issue. She’s called Bill and I love her already.

    Yes, a female lead is a big thing, but we don’t need a hand-me-down hero: almost all the shows where a woman has taken over have been following men – eg Janeway. Which is why Buffy stood out, why Orphan Black is so good, – they are shows where the female lead came first. Female leads in formerly male genres – The Killing, Unforgotten etc can be great, but don’t break the mold.

    I don’t want to break a great role-model who boys as well as girls can emulate while still looking cool. Him being male never stopped young me wearing The Scarf or wanting adventure. Or, for that matter, breaking into a male role myself as one of the early women ordained in the CofE – so what do I know?

    • Dr. Moo (🐮)

      (Janeway is wonderful and I won’t hear a bad word about her.)

      • FrancoPabloDiablo

        Janeway WAS wonderful. A good example right there of creating original strong female characters – even within an already established franchise. Yeah, she followed Kirk, Picard and Sisko but she DIDN’T replace them – she was an original creation and was one of the best things about Voyager.

        • Dr. Moo (🐮)

          Honestly, I think I like her more than those other three.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Ooh, it will always be Picard and TNG for me! Think maybe Janeway 2nd, Kirk 3rd and Sisko 4th (if only the first few series of DS9 weren’t so abysmal I might rate him higher. As for Archer, well… it’s like Kill The Moon and Fight Club – we don’t talk about it!

          • bar canbeverysillysometimes

            Can I have Picard and DS9 or is that not allowed? I always prefered Odo to Sisko.
            Jean – Luc / Locutus’ recovery from Borg violation was exceptional acting.

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            Can we get Patrick Stewart in Doctor Who at some point? (How is he allowed to be a British actor and yet not show up in it?)
            And if Star Trek can get him…

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            It’s a shame that the only officially sanctioned Trek/Who crossover (yes, there is one of those) was so rubbish. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/77/Star_Trek_The_Next_Generation_Doctor_Who_Assimilation2.jpg

          • Christian Cawley

            Except the Fourth Doctor issue…

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I’ll give you that.
            It’s telling of the overall quality (or lack thereof) that the flashback segment was the only bit that worked!

          • bar canbeverysillysometimes

            Make it so! Come on, someone had to 🙂

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            Dammit bar, you made me remember Earth Aid happened.

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            For the unaware: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Aid
            (Don’t waste your time, it’s garbage.)

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Lets get the petition started! If he’s up for American Dad then surely he’d be up for Who! 🙂

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Well, technically you can as Picard was in the first episode (Emissary) of DS9. Odo was awesome too. Always thought Garak should have been a regular, not recurring, character.

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I’m still amazed that that show somehow managed to have that random hologram singer become a recurring character, complete with an episode focussed primarily on him, right in the middle of a big galactic war story arc.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Did you know the production team originally approached Frank Sinatra Jr. for the part?

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I… I… I’m … really not sure whether that’s a dodged bullet or not!

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            A dodged bullet for Sinatra Jr. at least. Never liked the character or the scenes with Vic Fontaine. They seemed forced and unnecessary.

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I think those scenes are hilarious, but only because it’s so baffling that they exist! I can imagine the pitch for creating that character…

            EXEC 1: You know how we’re right in the middle of a big arc focussing on a war that threatens the security of the universe?
            EXEC 2: Yes, it’s exciting and a fascinating deconstruction of the franchise.
            EXEC 1: I think it’s good too, but we’re missing something.
            EXEC 2: What?
            EXEC 1: What we really need is a break mid-episode to have Vic Fontaine show up and sing.
            EXEC 2: . . .
            EXEC 1: . . .
            EXEC 2: . . .
            EXEC 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vic_Fontaine

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            One of the execs must have put his foot down and just said he was going to do it “My Way”!

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I wonder if that’s true. I smell a rat(-pack).

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            I’d like to think you were being subtle but it appears you are just being FRANK!

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I’d reply with another pun but I’m struggling to think of one, so I must face the final curtain.

          • bar canbeverysillysometimes

            ‘Ooh, Banter – it’s good this! Your turn again.’

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Sorry. I do regret making my previous comment. Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            I’m weird in that respect.

            Janeway, Picard, Sisko, Kirk, Archer
            TNG, TOS, VOY, DS9, ENT

            The hype for Discovery is high, if only they’d hurry up and release it already.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Don’t they keep delaying it? Wasn’t it originally meant to start next month?

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            As long as the delays mean it can be eventually good!
            I think it was set for January at one point.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Oh, so it’s not even starting this year now? Well, like you said, as long as that gives the production team time to make sure it is properly great and worth the wait. Interesting too that the principal character isn’t going to be the captain but rather “number one” (nice nod to the past there too).

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            As for DS9, we don’t speak of it until after Worf shows up.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            Agreed!!!

          • The Lazy Womble

            DS9? Doctor Season 9? I try to avoid talking about it at all.

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            Easily Pertwee’s weakest year. 🙂

          • The Lazy Womble

            with Curse of Peladon in it?

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            That one’s okay, but that’s all it is.

          • The Lazy Womble

            It is brilliant. My second favourite Pertwee story.

          • The Lazy Womble

            There is also the Sea Devils. I admit it drags a little but I like it.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            The Sea Devils???

          • Dr. Moo (🐮)

            That and Day of the Daleks are good, the rest a big heap of meh.

          • Ranger

            Yep, she and Voyager are my favourite Trek

      • bar canbeverysillysometimes

        I didn’t mean to imply anything bad about her; only that she could have helmed anything without the franchise behind her. And well done for keeping the debate open – we need a pro-female Doctor voice here too Moo. 🙂

        • Dr. Moo (🐮)

          I would describe myself as more “Not Anti-Female Doctor” than anything else. It’s a possibility I’m open to, I think could work well if (and that’s a big IF) it were done properly, and it’s a way for Chibs to do something different from the start.
          Whatever Chibnall chooses to do I look forward to it. Old or young, black or white, male or female, whatever combo he goes with I’m sure they’ll be a fantastic Doctor just as all thirteen so far have been in their own ways.

        • FrancoPabloDiablo

          Debate is good. I like it. Long live debate and different opinions! I hope I’m not coming across as hostile or negative in any way in my comments. Like I’ve said previously I respect all my fellow commenters and their views and thoughts. One of the reasons I continually come to this site.

    • Lynda

      Hand-me-down-hero… perfect! I love that. That is precisely part of the thinking when I was saying I don’t need super heroes made into women in order to like them. Just make great female super heroes to sit alongside the fellas. It’s perfectly doable. Cut this, “Here, we cut off Thor’s nuts just for you ladies. He’s a girl now!” That’s just insulting to me. Unfortunately, today’s feminist will say, “Oh wow! Amazing! Thor’s a woman! Score one for us!” Meanwhile, I just reach for the sick bag and vomit. It’s ghastly.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    On the subject of the reply, I’d be amazed if the person who replied knows anything about the casting, and if she did would reveal so much in a letter to an individual.

    I’m sure Chibs is aware of how pressurised this choice will be. It’s not like creating a brand new show like Broadchurch, and choosing the actors and characters you want, this will be headline news whoever he picks, and many people will be unhappy, indeed furious at the choice, judging by comments I’ve seen on DW message boards, passionately pro and against a female Doctor.

    Good luck mate 🙂