Mark Gatiss: “There Should Have Been A Female Doctor Who A Long Time Ago”

Mark Gatiss has slammed the ‘inherently sexist’ TV industry, saying that there should have been a female Doctor along time ago.

The Doctor Who writer and star of this year’s Christmas Special, Twice Upon A Time, which will of course see Jodie Whittaker make her first appearance as the Doctor, told the Financial Times (via Digital Spy) that a female Doctor was not written before now because it would have felt “like a novelty”.

While Gatiss is pleased that progress has been made, he does admit that there should have been a female Doctor “a long time ago”, also implicating himself – a former Doctor Who writer – as part of the problem.

Gatiss said:

“The industry is, as we know, inherently sexist.

“There is a cut-off point for actresses, which appears to be now 23 when they’re deemed too old and they have to wait until they’re playing Lady Bracknell.

“I think there should have been a female Doctor Who a long time ago…[but] up to a certain point in its history, it would have felt a bit like a novelty.”

So does this mean that Gatiss plans on being part of the solution?

He added:

“I would love to write more for women

“The problem is you might feel slightly hidebound by what people demand that you do.

“I don’t want to think, ‘It should probably be a woman.’”  

Which is neither here nor there…

Gatiss will appear in this year’s Christmas Special, the final episode for Peter Capaldi and current showrunner Steven Moffat, Twice Upon A Time which will air on Christmas Day on BBC One.

  • Christian Cawley

    I’m afraid it feels like a novelty now. And it’s being presented as one, in an episode with the Twelfth Doctor meeting a poor replacement for his first incarnation, opposite poor replacements for his companions. On Christmas Day.

    How could any of this feel anything less than a novelty?

    And as for

    “There is a cut-off point for actresses, which appears to be now 23 when they’re deemed too old and they have to wait until they’re playing Lady Bracknell.”

    Anyone can flick through the pages of any TV guide right now and prove this utterly wrong. Casualty and Holby, Sherlock, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, Downton Abbey… and then there are the soaps, — all with women leads or prominent secondary characters comfortably in their 30s and 40s. These are all major shows on UK TV over the past few years.

    • kwijino

      Yeah, in a world where Charlize Theron, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and even Sigourney Weaver can work any time they want, his posturing rings hollow. Even Emma Watson at the apparently pensioners age of 27 and the creaky old Gal Godot (32) were in the top films of this year.

    • BarryP

      Women are a novelty now?

      • Christian Cawley

        Go on then, I’ll bite. Explain how you got “women are a novelty” from my comment.

        Can’t wait; I’ve got the popcorn ready.

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    No, there shouldn’t. And sorry Mark, but even now a novelty and stunt casting is all it is. And how many actresses did you and your League Of Gentlemen cronies put out of work by wearing the dresses yourself! Hypocrite 🙂

  • Jack Ashcraft

    There should be a cut-off point for Mark Gatiss. Like here and now.

  • reTARDISed

    It feels to me as if Chibnall has cast a female David Tennant: someone young and personable. His “groundbreaking” casting did not extend, for example, to someone maturer and with a stronger grasp of light and shade, such as Celia Imrie…

  • Robert Carnegie

    “Time Riders” had Haydn Gwynne looking like a female Doctor Who in 1991… 90 minutes total time in four parts on ITV and I think when I looked last online there was no record of it – it seems to have been added to Wikipedia starting in 2014. … the time machine is a motorcycle. And the programme was made in Wales! At the time I thought that if BBC didn’t want to make Doctor Who then this would do if ITV just kept making it for a decade or two. But they didn’t.

  • ColeBox

    In essence, I agree with Mark as at least we would have got this woman Doctor Who out of our systems by now, which I’ve said before. What has caused the problem, for me at any rate, is that this decision has been made during a time of highly divisive identity politics. The storm would not have been anywhere near as fierce if it were ten years ago IMHO.

    • kwijino

      And the defensive way they keep saying any naysaying is an attack on all women. They are going full Paul Feig man…. you NEVER go full Paul Feig!

    • BarryP

      A time of Highly divisive identity politics? Not sure what you are talking about. Are you referring to Brexit? Or increasing acceptance of trans people? I don’t know. I’m confused by much of what I am reading on this site.

      • ColeBox

        Identity politics: where a person is judged on the basis of the group they belong to, rather than as an individual. This video pretty much explains identity politics on more detail (from around 2.20 onwards):

  • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

    When Chibnall cast Whittaker not because she was the best person for the role but because she had a vagina and was an old crony, that’s when it became a novelty unmotivated by the idea of equal opportunity.