Published on May 5th, 2014 | by Alex Skerratt
Doctor Who: In Need of a Woman’s Touch?
So many new writers, so few females! In the wake of the news that talented scribes Jamie Mathieson and Peter Harness will be penning some episodes for the upcoming Series 8, many people have lamented the lack of female input into the Whoniverse. Even the classic series was somewhat lacking a woman’s touch, especially when Attack of the Cybermen was revealed to have been written by Eric Saward and (allegedly) Ian Levine, (not Paula Moore, who didn’t even exist!)
Keen to buck the trend, the bods at What Culture have compiled a list of five female writers (“5 Women Who Need To Write For Doctor Who“) who they would like to see scribing for the good Doctor. Here’s what they have to say about them…
“Although Una McCormack would be new to writing for television, the success of writers such as Paul Cornell, along with her own work on Doctor Who, show that she should not be dismissed so easily… In addition to her short stories, tie-in novels, and audio adventures she has also contributed essays to several Whoniverse reference books (one of which she co-edited), written for audiences which range from general fandom to academic scholars.”
“Not only did she write four episodes of Merlin over a period of three years, but she held the pen behind Lancelot Du Lac, a somewhat pivotal episode… Writing for Doctor Who is obviously a big responsibility, but with high praise from the likes of SFX Magazine (and more importantly, the fans), this is something Watkins has proved she can handle.”
“…women made up a quarter of Torchwood’s writers, and penned over a third of the show’s episodes. That said however, Jane Espenson’s entries came as part of the show’s underwhelming US co-produced fourth season, Miracle Day. Not that this should be taken against Espenson personally, as she has also made contributions to beloved shows such as A Town Called Eureka, Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica, and, of course, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“…Jessica Hynes joined Doctor Who’s (extended) family as an actress rather than a writer, and is best known to Whovians for portraying Joan Redfern in the highly acclaimed two-parter Human Nature / The Family of Blood. That said however, describing her only as an actress would be doing Hynes a massive discredit. Hynes initially proved her writing credentials when she co-wrote the cult sitcom Spaced… with Simon Pegg. More recently she also penned the BBC4 comedy Up the Women, a sitcom set during the women’s suffragette movement in 1910.”
“As mentioned before, Torchwood was more than happy for women to write episodes alongside the men. Of these, Out of Time, and Captain Jack Harkness are in contention to be among the best of the whole series. Both were written by Catherine Tregenna… [She] has proved herself more than capable of handling characters audiences know and love… and with a nomination for such a prestigious sci-fi award [the Hugo], it is quite simply mind-boggling as to why she hasn’t written for the show already, especially during Russell T Davies’ tenure as executive producer.”
I certainly couldn’t argue with any of these nominations, and I must concur that Catherine Tregenna wrote some of my favourite episodes of Torchwood. But I would also like to throw the name Tanith Lee (alias Esther Garber) into the ring. She is an award-winning writer of over 90 novels and 300 short stories, including two sensational episodes of Blake’s 7 back in the 1980s. Also, how about letting Kay Mellor (The Chase, The Syndicate) loose in the TARDIS for a while…?