Doctor Who’s That Girl?

Jodi Whittaker will be taking over for Peter Capaldi in the role of The Doctor. When the announcement was made, a very vocal portion of the male fan base reported a bit of shrinkage over the prospect.

“But The Doctor is a male!” Some cried. “How can he become a woman? It’s not like there’s a natural precedence for the male of a non-human species changing genders under certain circumstances.”

And that’s usually the fact that so called “hardcore” Doctor Who fans have to be reminded of. The Doctor is not a human being. He as a Gallifreyan who is part of the Oligarchic system of rule known as the Time Lords. When he dies, his body changes radically in a process called regeneration.

In Doctor Who, this was the built-in excuse for so many actors taking on the part over the years. Also, in the new series, it’s established that Time Lords can change gender in the process of regeneration. Matt Smith referenced it in the first of two Neil Gaiman written episodes. The Master, a character also played by many mane, eventually “regenerated” into Michelle Gomez. And there was a one off character known as the General who also became a woman after the Doctor shot him.

So never mind that this has been established as part of the continuity of Doctor Who. When the announcement went out that Jodi Whittaker was going to be the thirteenth actor (16th, if you count Peter Cushing, Richard Hurndall, and John Hurt) to play the Doctor, a lot of guys felt their sonic screw drivers flicker and die.

At least Doctor Who is in good company. I’m sure there were a lot of guys who watched season one of Star Trek: Voyager and said, “Boy, that woman with the bun on her head is tough, but I wonder when we’re going to see the captain.”

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