Getting to know a new Doctor can be a traumatic experience. I started my love of Doctor Who with the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. The first episode encouraged me to look up some of the older episodes and I found that I adored Tom Baker as well. A friend even took the time to knit his scarf for me (though not quite as long as his. She explained that, having met me it seemed safer to not give me something that I may accidentally kill myself with. Deb is a wise woman.)
Moving on to David Tennant was easy for me. I’d known that Eccleston had only done one season and I was prepared. Besides, David Tennant is adorable. Matt Smith on the other hand, I hated Matt Smith. Not only did they change the Doctor, they changed the TARDIS. I was not amused. In fact, I didn’t even finish all of his episodes until the day before Peter Capaldi appeared (who, incidentally, I loved from day one).
Now before you start writing hate mail, I did learn to love Matt Smith. I went back and re-watched every single episode, some more than once. My very favorite line from Doctor Who is from Matt Smith:
Because every time you see them happy you remember how sad they’re going to be. And it breaks your heart. Because what’s the point in them being happy now if they’re going to be sad later. The answer is, of course, because they are going to be sad later.
- The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe
Having had a bad start with Matt Smith, by no fault of his or the writers, I was a bit worried about how I would feel about Jodie Whittaker. Not because she’s a woman of course. I’m a woman and seeing a woman as a front-runner in such a role is exciting beyond belief. No, I was worried because what had happened when Matt Smith entered the TARDIS was about to happen again; new Doctor, new TARDIS, new writers and new producers. How could I be sure that they’d get it right?
As I’ve stated before, I’m a Trekkie. In Star Trek there are very clear rules. There are instances of time travel and alternate realities, but that’s what they are: instances. (Ok, ok, the newer Trek films are very much an alternate reality, but the rules of that alternate reality are very clear and rarely challenged.) With Star Trek, once you know the rules it’s a relatively easy universe to navigate.
Not so with Doctor Who. Oh there are rules all right, but they seem to have gotten tossed into a supernova along with the TARDIS manual. It was established in the Baker era that a Time Lord would always regenerate into a Time Lord and a Time Lady would always regenerate into a Time Lady. But it was also established early on that a Time Lord/Lady would have a total of 12 regenerations and they fixed that little problem in Matt Smith’s final episode.
So I was not at all surprised to learn that Peter Capaldi was going to pass the TARDIS key on to Jodie Whittaker. Also, Michelle Gomez as Missy made it clear that Time Lords could be gender fluid. Michelle Gomez did an amazing job playing evil, she always does. If you haven’t seen her in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina go and watch it now!
WAIT! Finish reading this article first…
I’ve waited to write about the new Doctor, lucky number 13. I wanted to give her a chance to get her sea legs, err, time and space legs. I can say in all honesty, I have not been disappointed. There have been some rumblings that the writers are making things too political. Not so in my opinion!
The now female Doctor is dealing with misogyny for the first time in 2000+ years, something that many women today deal with on a daily basis. The episode Rosa deals with the racism in 1950’s American South, something that has become apparent in the last few years is alive and well. Arachnids in the UK gave a clear example of how the rest of the world currently views America, over-cocky, stupid, and let’s not forget misogynistic. Last week’s episode, Demons of the Punjab, brought to light the conflict between India and Pakistan, Hindu and Muslim, as well as Me versus You. All of these things are important for people of all ages to acknowledge.
In other words, I love the new Doctor! She’s doing a fine job. She is the Doctor. If I could say anything to Jodie Whittaker it would be this:
Welcome, Doctor. It’s good to meet you!
Sidney Fraser is an American transplanted to a new life in London, where she explores fannish and geeky places, events and creations, which she relates in the continuing True and Proper Adventures of Sidney Fraser.