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David Tennant's Definition of Doctor Who Will Split Fans

Oh dear. Here we go again.
How exactly do you define Doctor Who? Some would no doubt say it’s a quintessentially British science fiction series. Others will say it’s a fantasy series. Ask casual viewers and they might say it’s a TV show, innit? (Do people still say “innit”?) For dedicated fans, it’s a British icon.
When asked to give his own definition of the series, however, David Tennant, best known as the Tenth Doctor, said:

“It’s about a girl in a box, who travels around the universe.”

Well, that’s sure to split fandom. He is, of course, alluding to Jodie Whittaker being announced as the first female incarnation of the Time Lord. Or Lady. Or something.
I’m sure many will say he’s a troll. Others that he’s merely winding people up (after all, he knows how such a statement will cause a stir). And there’s a valid point in the idea that he’s preparing audiences for the change: there’s no point explaining to new viewers that he’s a mad man in a box if when they tune in, say, next year, he’ll be a woman.

As the Radio Times points out, though, his description of DuckTales (in which he plays Scrooge McDuck) sort of works for Doctor Who too:

“When you break this down this a completely bonkers idea. This is ducks who steal treasure, who go back in time, who go to Atlantis; it’s quite out there. This is a duck in a top hat. None of this makes actual sense.”

The original DuckTales ran from 1987 to 1990, and this reboot debuted with Woo-oo! in America on 12th August – and Season 2 has already been confirmed!
So, if we leave the Jodie Whittaker debate to one side, how would you define Doctor Who? Has David got it spot on? Or does that simplified viewpoint understate the complexities and ingenuity of the show too much?

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

David Tennant's Definition of Doctor Who Will Split Fans

by Philip Bates time to read: 1 min
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