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Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Reality Bites the Twelfth Doctor Press Circus

Not so much playing down rumours as shooting them down with a blunderbuss, mounting them in her study and occasionally hanging bits of washing off their formerly fearsome horns, Olivia Colman has denied that she’ll be the Twelfth Doctor in no uncertain terms.


The actress who was one of the favourites with bookies has said that there’s no chance she’ll be boarding the TARDIS:

“My brother sent me a text saying, ‘Congratulations, they’ve released odds on you being the new Doctor Who’ – which we thought was very funny. It’s all on Twitter, isn’t it? I don’t have Twitter. It is all on Twitter, isn’t it?”

It is. But don’t worry, it’s mostly nice.

Cutting to the heart of the matter, the Broadchurch star added:

“No-one’s ever asked me about it. I assume they would have to ask me for it to be true.”

And there you go.

The simple heart of the matter is that we don’t really know at what stage the BBC and the Doctor Who crew are at with their hunt for the next Doctor other than we expect it to be announced at some point in August.

Everything else is at best guess work and at worse arbitrary choices based on a mixture of what is popular and what characteristics best sum up the Doctor to the causal viewer; even though we are seeing a lot of choices put forward that subvert that rudimentary understanding of his character.

None of which seem to be coming out of the need to take the show in new directions organically. There are some very interesting names being linked to the role that lay out a whole host of interesting routes to take the show down but if it were simply a question of waiting to see who was cast before planning what comes next the show would grind to a halt or be at the whim of one choice.

A change of sex for the Doctor would be one of those arbitrary choices. It would be like making Captain Ahab a woman just to freshen up Moby Dick or making James Bond a woman – he’s written as a man, it’s one of his defining characteristics unless there was a specific reason to change his gender, the choice shouldn’t be made.

That’s not a reflection on the names being linked to the role; if it was just a case of being a superb actor then every actor could be the Doctor. And we know that’s not true. It takes a certain something to be the Doctor. Though this isn’t to say that an actress couldn’t possess that same mixture of agelessness and whimsy that Matt Smith brought to the role but it means changing what is fundamental to the character.

You can argue (and should argue) for equality in our choice of genre characters but that doesn’t mean swapping out one gender for the other; that means crafting the kind of well written parts for female actors that Doctor Who has and continues to do.

Still, for better or worse, that doesn’t mean that the choice won’t ever be made; the sole hope is that when it does happen the story attached to that choice is a belter and that the performance is magnetic because it could break what makes the Doctor who he is.

(Via Digital Spy.)


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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.

15 Responses to Reality Bites the Twelfth Doctor Press Circus

  1. avatar jakobpfender says:

    Being a man is one of his defining characteristics? And here I was thinking that was the stuff about being a centuries-old alien with two hearts who travels through space and time and saves planets, civilizations and people. But obviously that’s a man’s job, right?

  2. avatar Steve T says:

    Using the Captain Ahab/James Bond argument doesn’t really work. They are literary creations with limited spans from the original authors and most importantly, neither have the capacity for regeneration. By all means, say that you feel that the Doctor whouldn’t be a woman because you don’t FEEL it’s the right choice, but don’t use spurious logic to attempt to prove it.

  3. avatar krumstets says:

    .”….he’s written as a man, it’s one of his defining characteristics unless there was a specific reason to change his gender, the choice shouldn’t be made…..”

    The same could be said of the dilemma faced by some men who struggle with their sexual identity and subsequently decide on gender reassignment.
    People change, a man can be the sum of his mammaries, a Time Lord even more so..

  4. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    The Doctor, as has been pointed out, is an Alien – why could he not be a she? I’m not saying they should cast a woman for the sake of it, but the arguments used could also be used to say he’s always been white so you can’t have a black/asian actor.

    Frankly, I really don’t care much about this supposed “issue” – I want a good actor (in the unisexual use of the term) – one who can convince me to watch the show every week. Some of the male actors who we’ve had have failed in that!

    However, we would need to have better writing for a female Doctor – River Song was effectively a female Doc and was horribly written. It seems to function in the DW universe as a woman you either have to be in love with the Doctor or a lesbian, not exactly a wonderful range for an actress.

  5. avatar Barry says:

    The Doctor was originally played by an older actor and over the years he’s been played by increasingly younger actors. As someone who watched the show from episode 1 that was difficult for me at first but that is the nature of the show that the central character changes and that is what is special about it. If they cast a woman, I think that those that get the show will appreciate it. I have friends who couldn’t deal with the change from Tennant to Smith. They don’t get the show in my opinion and those that couldn’t deal with having a woman in the role miss the point of the show too. It is 50 years old and now is the time for something radical that shows that the programme can still change and go in surprising new directions. Or we could compromise and have Chiwetel Ojiofor in High Heels.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Or Eddie Izzard – a once popular choice – with his lippy and nail polish!

    • avatar Simon Porter says:

      Okay this is controversial, but if they were ever going to cast a female Doctor (Who) they could do a lot worst than looking at Ruth Wilson. Her performance in tonight’s brilliant episode of Luther was practically an audition for the role.

      • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

        There’s been fan art of Wilson as the Doctor online for a while: The 12th Doctor- Ruth Wilson by *PaulHanley on deviantART

  6. avatar Ian says:

    It would kill the show. And please don’t tell me I don’t get it because I think so. The simple truth is that the idea is just pointless PC bollocks.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Why would it kill the show. I hear this all the time, but have yet to hear a real argument to back it up. You might stop watching it, a lot of “fans” might stop watching it, but a lot more peoplemight replace you.

      You could argue that whoever is cast could “kill the show” if HE proves unpopular.

      I don’t particularly think they should have a woman, or that they will, or that they should do it for the sake of doing it – and as I say above the writing would need to improve markedly – but I don’t think you can just dismiss it out of hand with bare statements like “it will kill the show” without backing it up.

      (pointless PC bollocks isn’t an argument)

  7. avatar Ranger says:

    Speaking as a woman, I accept every single argument in the comments as to why it could be a woman. And I agree. But my innermost being cries out against the concept – it just doesn’t feel right.

    But having said that, I wouldn’t stop watching – because I could come to really love the idea and even if I didn’t, there’s always the next regeneration to look forward to!

  8. avatar TonyS says:

    Tom Baker once said that the part is actor-proof. I do not agree. As has been stated above, the wrong actor could kill the show stone dead. The role needs to be filled by the best actor for the part: whether that be a man or a woman, whatever the colour of their skin and whatever their age. I think that having a female Doctor could bring a freshness to the programme. But I accept and respect the views of others who do not agree with me. What would worry me more would be to cast anyone in the part simply for political correctness. “It is about time” is a very bad reason to cast a woman in the role.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:


  9. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    The Doctor was written as a male, this is a true. An elderly male mysterious possibly alien scientist.

    But this isn’t what he became. The Doctor wasn’t written as a shorter, younger, dark haired cosmic hobo. Or a dynamic dandy, nor wild eyed bohemian, Edwardian cricketer, boastful showman, mysterious planner, swashbuckling Byronic adventurer, Northern accented war scarred survivor, mercurial wanderer or youthful tweed clad fez enthusiast.

    The Doctor is whatever the production team and actor – or actress – portraying the character – decide the Doctor to be. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The Twelfth Doctor will be the Twelfth Doctor – whether you like it or not.

  10. Pingback: It’s Official: The Next Doctor on Doctor Who to Be Announced On Sunday. Why Is Peter Capaldi Suddenly the Leading Candidate? | We Minored In Film

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