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Published on May 10th, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

Lesley Sharp: Not the First Female Doctor

So far we’ve had tabloid conjecture (Dame Helen!), alternate universe counterparts (Arabella Weir!) and Joanna Lumley (non-canonical!)

Is it about time we had a female Doctor? Of course rumours are just that, unfounded statements based on conjecture and until an actress gives the best audition (or is even considered for an audition) we’ll never know if such change would be accepted by adults and children alike.

There’s no doubt that there are some amazing actresses out there that could fill Matt’s fashionable boots – and one such actress is Scott & Bailey star and former Doctor Who guest star Lesley Sharp – who was again quizzed on comments made by former show runner Russell T. Davies when she chatted to the Metro:

“He said you should be the first woman Doctor Who, didn’t he?

Yes, but I think he was kidding around. He’s fantastic, though.

Do you fancy doing it?

I think Matt Smith’s doing a wonderful job.

He can’t do it forever though, can he?

We’ll see.”

Well, if anything, her answers prove that you can’t kid a kidder. Her love for Russell T. Davies doesn’t end with his ability to stir up the odd cheeky tabloid rumour:

“I learned a lot from Russell T Davies, who is the most wonderful writer. He and I just agreed on how much we love television and how important it is. He’s amazing. I learned a lot just from watching him on set and how he is with actors.”

Before she made her sole appearance in Doctor Who Sharp worked with Davies on the powerful, thought-provoking drama The Second Coming alongside the then future Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston. It was and remains the kind of important programming that elevates television above the lazy ‘poorer cousin of film’ comparisons that irk the Clocking Off star:

“A lot of the time, it isn’t even reviewed well. If you get someone who loves telly and knows about it, you get really entertaining and incisive reviews but sometimes you feel it’s almost there to be ridiculed. It’s an incredibly  important part of our culture in terms of writing and acting and we’re really good at it. We should be more proud of it and cherish it. Viewing habits have changed over the past few years and as shows go out, a ‘sofa moment’, where you sit and engage with a show when it is aired, is becoming an event and hopefully more precious.”

To read her thoughts on Scott & Bailey (in which she stars with living TARDI Suranne Jones), her worst audition and why she’ll never be a caught in an all singing, all dancing musical, head over to the Metro.

You can catch Lesley in Starlings starting Sunday at 8pm on Sky One


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

8 Responses to Lesley Sharp: Not the First Female Doctor

  1. avatar Sue. Smith says:

    I think, when Matt is done his time as, The Doctor, a consideration fr his replacement should be, David Hewlett. Hewlett is a huge Dr. Who fan, born in England, he has already become much adored by scify fans as, Dr. Rodney Mckay from the Star Gate series. Don’t do a female doctor, why reinvent something that works so well, and has done so for so long. Hewlett would make an excellent Dr. Who!


    • avatar Spiderpope says:

      You start the website and i’ll join the campaign, ‘Rodney Is The Doctor!’.
      Although i would think it may be difficult to get David to relocate from Canada to Cardiff.

  2. avatar DavidF says:

    Tedious, contrived tabloid page-filling topic. There will never be a female Doctor. Why would any production team take such an unnecessary risk? The show runs on good will. They’d alienate half the fanbase, and freak out the casual viewer. Especially parents, forced to explain to their kids how this alters the Doctor’s implied romances with previous companions.

    Which showrunner would want to take the chance if he or she didn’t have to? Yes, it’s science fantasy, and an in-story justification could easily be found, but at the risk of self-destructing the brand? Complete nonsense.

    Lesley Sharp didn’t approach the press to play down rumours about her being the Doctor. All she did was politely field bizarre questions that clueless interviewer choosed to throw her way.

  3. avatar DavidF says:

    (Did I really just type “choosed”?)

    • Apparently so. I can change it if it makes you feel better? :)

  4. avatar nicholas buckland says:

    Don’t think I’d watch it if The Doctor was played by a woman. He’s a male character, whatever people say.

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    A female Doctor would not stop me watching. But I am 50 years old. It might prove a set too far for its target audience. Not that I think children could not grasp the concept. I’m just not sure they’d accept it. Now let me find some other fences on which to sit…

  6. avatar Vicky says:

    A female Doctor probably would be too big a risk, but it would be nice to see someone else regenerate and switch gender now that we know it’s possible. Lady Master maybe? Or maybe that would be too risky too… Boy Susan? Female Rassilon? I can totally see Rassilon as a woman. :D

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