Millie Gibson, who plays companion Ruby Sunday, has teased that there will be “many controversial elements” in the upcoming series of Doctor Who, but has reassured fans that it’s “the good sort of controversy”.
The actress acknowledged:
“There’s so many controversial elements to this season – the good sort of controversy – and it’s what we need to see on our tellies.
“Some people might think, ‘This isn’t the Doctor Who I know.’ But I’m really excited to see it… It’s really cool that they’re doing concepts like these and changing it up.”
Okay, so what does this mean? The answer probably lies in another quote, in which she explains the season will “go with the times and represent a lot of faces and themes that are really important to see on television”. It could be that Doctor Who is stressing the need for “diversity”.
The problem, of course, comes if “This isn’t the Doctor Who I know” becomes “This isn’t the Doctor Who I like”, but we’ll have to wait and see. Personally, I’m a little tired of controversy. We’ve had the Timeless Child (which I utterly detest), the Doctor using the Master’s race against him, and most recently the bi-generation, in which the Fourteenth Doctor sort of regenerated but also sort of didn’t, instead splitting into two.
Controversy is a curious beast. It certainly attracts viewers when used effectively, but it doesn’t seem to hold them. Spooks, one of my favourite shows ever, started off being controversial by killing off one of its main characters in only the second episode, in a really grisly way; that got plenty of column inches, but what kept viewers, in my opinion, was its strong storytelling. And that’s all Doctor Who needs, really.
I can’t imagine The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Robots of Death, The Curse of Fenric, or The Eleventh Hour were especially controversial, yet they’re all brilliant.
So Doctor Who Series 14 should be an interesting run for the show. We’ll just have to wait and see how fandom, and most importantly casual viewers, take to any “controversy”.