I’ve been a die hard Doctor Who fan since I was tiny and I’ve been stunned by the announcement of the thirteenth Doctor. In fact, it’s taken me a while to get my head around it.
When I was a little girl, Doctor Who was one of my favourite shows on TV. I didn’t have many favourite shows, I grew up in a time when parents decided which of the three available channels you got to watch and it very often wasn’t the child’s choice. Doctor Who, thankfully, was allowed.
My Doctor was Tom Baker. He made a profound impression on me, with his eccentric way of dressing, his love of jelly babies, confident way of striding into a situation and bending all to his will with his quick wit, care and handiness in a fight. It is entirely possible I modeled my adult self on him.
It was Doctor Who that lead me to the library shelves full of science fiction – and from there, to having a strong science fiction thread in much of my writing.
Doctor Who is so much a part of me, that when the new series first started, with Christopher Eccleston in the role, I was terrified it would disappoint – and even more terrified that my children wouldn’t like it, would wonder what on earth I was on about when I raved about the show.
I needn’t have worried – for many years I had two new Doctor Who fans to watch the show with and David Tenant became a much beloved incarnation.
So yeah, I am a huge fan and when the BBC bent the rules of the entire fabric of the regeneration process, I was a bit put out. Peter Capaldi was the twelfth doctor. Historically the end of the line. There could be no more regenerations!!!
Or could there?
There was precedence to fiddle with this… there have, actually, already been fourteen regenerations – read them here – two of them were a bit suspect but still, if you count John Hurt, the missing regeneration, you could actually say there were fifteen. And in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures it was said that the doctor can regenerate 507 times. And of course, the Master did a deal in which he can regenerate as many times as he likes, so why not the Doctor? And then there was Romana, the Doctor’s Time Lord companion, who could seemingly regenerate at will…
So yes, it’s a bit controversial, but I am prepared to forgive this fiddling with the original concept of limited regenerations for the sake of continued Doctor Who joy.
Congratulations to Jodie Whittaker, the actor due to take over as the thirteenth doctor. I think she’ll be excellent. At least there’s no controversy there!
I’m sorry? What was that? Did I hear a murmur that the Doctor can’t be a woman? Why exactly? In no storyline has it ever been said that the Doctor can’t regenerate into a woman, in fact, there are quite a lot of hints that they can. If the words coming out of your mouth at the news of a female Doctor are “I’m not sexist but…” You can stop right there because you are wrong already.
Further reading: This excellent article by Susie Day.