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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: what if the Doctors had been women?

Honor Blackman

Alasdair Stuart at SciFind.com has created a marvelous alternate history of Doctor Who in which all the Doctors have been played by women. A few delicious excerpts:

3rd Doctor-Honor Blackman

Fresh off her success with the Avengers, Blackman took the show in a very different, far more physical direction than Jacques. Her Doctor was an action heroine, the stories filled with car chases, explosions and fist fights. Many fans welcomed this with open arms, whilst many more felt the show had become The Avengers with occasional aliens. Despite this, her run was extremely successful and is notable for a series of appearances by Vanessa Redgrave as the Mistress.

9th Doctor-Suranne Jones

The 9th Doctor had everything to prove and the first trailers for the show demonstrated the exact level of bravado needed. Footage of Jones, in jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket, sprinting away from an explosion were intercut with a monologue in the TARDIS control room where she not only trailed the show but made it clear just how dangerous things would be. Despite being around for just one season, Jones’ take on the Doctor is regarded by many new fans as the definitive one; her combination of Northern flamboyance and desperate, desperate need to atone for the sins of the Time War make it an electrifying season, with her chemistry with Rose and Captain Jack pushing these 13 episodes into contention for one of the greatest seasons in the show’s history.

Go read the whole thing — it’s brilliant. And then come back here and discuss: Do you agree with Stuart’s choices? What other actresses else would have made great alternate Doctors?

Thanks to Karl for the heads-up.

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



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  • RogerBW

    It’s a lovely set of ideas, particularly Grenfell. I can’t see Diana Rigg turning it down if she got the chance, though.

  • althea

    This is great! A couple of the actresses I don’t recognize, but most of the choices are genius – especially Joyce Grenfell. Penelope Keith is probably a good idea but I can’t quite see it, and the Siobhan Redmond, I don’t see a parallel with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor. But in the main, this was so rewarding it’ll probably make up for the weather forecast we’re getting.

  • Jody

    My first reaction to your question, before I read the article, was “Joanna Lumley” (who actually HAS played the Doctor in a comedy special, “The Curse of Fatal Death.”) Don’t know all these actresses but love Penelope Keith for Tom Baker.

  • Jurgan

    If the Doctors are gender-swapped, maybe the same should be done for the companions. Any suggestions?

  • Judi Dench as Professor Yana?! Oh my Gods that would have been a hell of an episode…

  • Legend has it Lumley *was* considered for a Doctor’s role, when they toyed with the idea back then that Time Lords could gender-switch (a throwaway line from a Tom Baker episode set the seed). It would have been either Fifth Doctor or SIxth.

  • Paul

    What swung it for me was Sue Perkins as the 10th Doctor. Absolutely inspired, especially in the way that I can see her as the Tennant Doctor.

  • Yes, I loved that one as well! And keeping Rose to add a lesbian angle was a nice touch too.

  • Paul

    You know there’s now a petition to get Sue Perkins as the Doctor in a Big Finish “Unbound” story? Her Twitter response suggests that she’s keen to do it.

    Needless to say the British press reported it all wrong, turning it into another “make the next Doctor a woman” story.

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