Something in common with many of the blog posts, comments and even behind the scenes chat of this new blog is the reference to, you know. Her. The idea that we might at some point get a female Doctor, and how much feminist Doctor Who fans are looking forward to that as an exciting development.
A year and a half ago, at the Australian Worldcon, my favourite panel that I was put on was the discussion about the possibility of a female Doctor, with Paul Cornell, Catherynne Valente and others. The really wonderful thing about that panel was that there was absolutely no debate about whether it was a good idea or not – we all took that as read, and got down to the fascinating nitty gritty of WHO it could be.
Would it be an older or a younger actress? What would the best gender combination be with companions? More importantly, who, who, who? Names that were raised included Helen Mirren (one of our panellists doubted that an “older” actress would be cast for commercial reasons but pointed out if she wanted the role, she would probably be handed it on a plate because, Helen Mirren), Emma Thompson, Keeley Hawes, Miranda Richardson… and that was just the Brits. British vs. American actress was even more controversial than the panel’s definition of what consituted an “older” actress! (as with the age of the Doctor, “older” is usually defined as “older than me”) And of course you can’t raise the topic without chatting about the wonderful Joanna Lumley, the first female Doctor, in the Moffat-penned Comic Relief story The Curse of Fatal Death, back in the late 90’s.
A marvellous conversation was had, in any case, long before Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife sneakily made it “canon” that Time Lords can change gender.
More recently, I was chatting with my (then six-year-old) daughter in the car about how she likes to play the Doctor in the playground when playing Doctor Who games with her friends. At one point she had four little girls playing with her, as River Song, Melody Song, Amy Pond and little Amelia Pond, and was very scathing they couldn’t all keep the personal relationships straight…
I was delighted that she was choosing to play the Doctor, and started explaining to her about cosplay and crossplay, and how the Doctor could in fact be female one day, and Joanna Lumley had already been a female Doctor…
“Yes, Mummy, I know all that,” she said patiently. “I remember the thing where you talked with all the people about it, and there were lollies.” She had been sitting in the front row of the audience, a year earlier, and remembered the whole discussion!
“But *I* play Matt Smith’s Doctor,” she added firmly. “And I need a bow tie.”
So, let’s assume that the next Doctor WILL be female. Who would you cast? Let’s talk NAMES!