Behind the scenes, when it comes to writers, Doctor Who has been a bit of a boys club lately. It was 2008 when a woman last wrote for the show, when former script editor Helen Raynor scripted The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Earth. To put it in perspective, that was near beginning of the Tenth Doctor and Donna’s time together.
Over five years on, there have been no more stories written by women. None in the whole era of the Eleventh Doctor! This seems particularly strange since Doctor Who has one of the most diverse fanbases of any show in the world.
It is also somewhat ironic because, during Steven Moffat’s time as showrunner, we’ve seen the rise of some of the most prominent and strong female characters in the show’s half-century history: Professor River Song, Amy Pond, Madame Vastra and Jenny, and the various Oswalds. There has been some criticism though, that these leading women are often written in too similar a fashion… like they’ve been “Moffatized.” They tend to be quick with a one-liner, have nicknames for people (usually the Doctor), possess a certain breezy sexuality, and are bold in the face of danger.
Could a female writer add more depth and “realness” if given the chance to write for Moffat’s female characters?
When there are women writers out there such as Debbie Moon, creator and writer of the BAFTA-nominated children’s fantasy series Wolfblood, who seem interested and willing to give it a try, it would certainly seem like a possibility. In a recent comment on her blog page, Moon mentions that she would like to write for our favorite Time Lord, saying:
I’m hoping I’ll get to do a Doctor Who one of these days…
It’s probably more of an innocent comment and not a guarantee (as a novelist, Moon is only likely to join Jenny Colgan as the only notable female Doctor Who writer at the moment), but with someone like Moon–and surely there are many other very capable and experienced women writers available as well–isn’t it time they were given a chance? Doctor Who has had women writers before, from Barbara Clegg (Enlightenment) to Jane Baker (The Mark of the Rani, et al) to Rona Munro (Survival), but hasn’t the time come when there should be more female Doctor Who writers on TV?
When it comes to women writers, is Doctor Who behind the times?
(With thanks to Ian.)