Gender is again on the agenda again after Colin Baker branded the BBC ‘too timid’ to cast a female Doctor.
Speaking at the Radio Times cover party, the Sixth Doctor quipped:
There should [be a female Doctor]. It won’t happen because they are too timid but there should be. First female Doctor? I will have a sex change and do it. I am in touch with my feminine side.
This isn’t the first time that apparent voices of dissent at the Beeb have been cited by someone involved in the show.
Shortly after Peter Capaldi was announced as the Twelfth Doctor, Steven Moffat, who bore the brunt of most of the criticism for not breaking with the white British male monopoly on the role, commented that:
It didn’t feel right to me, right now. I didn’t feel enough people wanted it […] Oddly enough most people who said they were dead against it – and I know I’ll get into trouble for saying this – were women […] [They were] saying, ‘No, no, don’t make him a woman!’
Ignoring the gender of those dissenters, the suggestion here is that despite quite a vocal presence in both the media and online urging those that be to break with that tradition; there were still those in the BBC – after all who’s opinions would Moffat value more – that were firmly against the idea.
The problem being is that as Moffat himself argued at the time, you don’t cast a man, you cast a particular man; it’s all about the qualities the performer brings to the role not the particular gender or race of that person.
While tradition would dictate that the person would be a man – with the unique caveat that unlike a James Bond or a Sherlock Holmes, where, like the Doctor the role was specifically written to be a man, the Doctor does possess the ability to regenerate as a woman, the reluctance of the Beeb does at least admonish Moffat from some of more barbed criticism he received at the time.
Although, if we are to believe Moffat, who said that Capaldi was the only choice for the role; does this mean that there are no actresses on either the BBC’s or Moffat’s radar that could be the Doctor?
Do you think we’ll ever see a Female Doctor? Do you think the Beeb got cold feet over casting an actress in the role, or was it genuinely not on the cards?