The Doctor is in
Doctor Who has unveiled its first female Doctor - and if you listen very carefully, you can hear the sound of nothing changing.
On Sunday Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker was revealed as the actor who will take over from Peter Capaldi, thereby becoming the 13th Doctor.
I will lay my stand out early, I have no problem with this. Indeed I like it. From what I have seen her in, Ms Whittaker seems like an excellent actress, and her resume looks great. As far as the Doctor goes, I could not care less whether the actor is male or female, tall or short, black or white, Scorpio or Pisces. So long as they have their own, interesting take on the character and good scripts, then you can colour me happy.
I am aware that a vast number of people share this view. Quite right too.
Naturally there are those who are not pleased with the choice. People are allowed to have their own point of view, but since we disagree allow me to address some of the concerns.
Saying "concerns" may be putting it a little lightly, and lending an undeserved sense of consideration to much of the opposition which has been vented towards Ms Whittaker and the BBC.
The outpourings on Twitter have ranged from confusing to bizarre.
Now there are a couple of issues people could be taking with Ms Whittaker's casting; either it is that she is not good enough, or it is an objection against The Doctor being a woman.
To the former, I will respect your personal opinion on her ability, but I would direct you towards Broadchurch and Ms Whittaker's work at Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre as evidence that may change your mind.
To the latter, to those who feel a female Doctor is somehow "wrong".
Let us take a second here to remember we are talking about a millennia old, shape-shifting alien who flies through time in a spaceship which is bigger on the inside and stuck looking like an old-school police box. This is an alien who has lived his relationship with his wife in reverse and comes from a planet which now may or may not be stuck in a painting. If you are arguing this casting is "unrealistic" you are a little way off the reservation.
If you are arguing that it undermines the integrity of the show, you seem to be forgetting this is science fiction. The rules are, quite simply, whatever the writers want them to be. As former Doctor Colin Baker pointed out, fandom does not equate to ownership. The writers are trusted to steer the ship and whatever they say can happen, can happen. We have had a female Master and seen another Timelord change gender in their regeneration, so there is even plenty of precedent here.
The Doctor has always been a reflection of the time. The First Doctor was stern and patriarchal, as a lead in that sort of show needed to be at the time. Since then The Doctor has been whimsical, serious, fatherly, brotherly, friendly, loving, cold, calculating, removed, murderous and funny.
To say Ms Whittaker lacks the ability to add her own spin to that list seems shortsighted, to argue the character cannot be a woman is, in my not so humble opinion, just wrong.