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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: Should the next Doctor be a woman?

Ben Walsh in The Independent insists that “the next Time Lord has to be a Lady”:

Is a radical change needed? Should the next regeneration of the Doctor, the 12th, be… wait for it… a woman?

In fact, didn’t the current Who guru, Stephen Moffat (the extremely capable replacement for Russell T Davies), feel the time was ripe for Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson or Catherine Zeta-Jones to play the Time Lord? Matt Smith has been an energetic, smart and towards the end of the last series rather terrific Doctor – more eccentric Tom Baker or creepy Jon Pertwee than prickly buffoon Colin Baker – but wouldn’t an actress reinvigorate the series? Moffat, perhaps, could devise a couple of episodes in which the Doctor becomes a woman, Boy Meets Girl-style. This might ease worried Whovians around to the idea. Moffat could then unleash two full series with a female lead and a dishy young male assistant. Andrew Garfield of The Social Network or Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire, maybe?

It may be fanciful to suggest that thespian heavyweights like Thompson or Mirren would take on a role that was once filled by Sylvester McCoy (last spotted in Casualty), but as American television has demonstrated, the best roles for women are on the small screen. Think of Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife, Glenn Close in Damages, Anna Paquin in True Blood and all the female leads – Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Joan (Christina Hendricks) and Betty (January Jones) – in Mad Men. Whovians (and I apologise for not being one, just a fairly regular watcher since the days of Pertwee) may baulk at the thought of the next regeneration going from male to female.

Is he right? The question of whether the Doctor could or should regenerate into a woman has been raised numerous times before. I’d love to see a female Time Lord heading up her own sci-fi adventure show… but maybe we could save that for a spinoff or reboot rather than making it work in the current iteration of the show.

Have at it.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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