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April 17 2013

Jane Espenson thinks Amy Acker could play the Doctor. In this episode of Just Cos, a cosplay based show on the Nerdist YouTube channel, Chloe Dykstra and Jane discuss gender in Doctor Who. The discussion also covers women in TV and film on a broader scale.

I think Olivia Williams might be a good Doctor, and not just because she's British.
*thinking about it* Now that I think about it. Yes, that would be AWESOME!
Amy Acker could play a potted plant and I'd gladly pay the ticket price and/or subscription fee to enjoy the whole, glorious spectacle.

[ edited by Jonnathan on 2013-04-18 06:59 ]
We need a female Doctor! I've thought about Olivia Williams too. I think Acker would be great but I think The Doctor has to be played by a British actor. But he doesn't have to always be a man. It's a shame that it looks like they will never budge on this one.

I do hope I end up eating my words. If Doctor Who every has The Doctor regenerating into a woman, I will start watching again. I promise.
A female Doctor would be about as accepted as a female Inspector from Inspector Spacetime.

Seriously though, the Doctor is a man...changing his sex in a regeneration would be a strange thing to unwillingly happen to him. It's not about women power, it's about a character with 50 years of history that shouldn't be switched for political reasons, IMO.
Political reasons? Tumnus, many would argue that the only reason the Doctor has been a man for this long is due to sexist 'political reasons', so I have a hard time agreeing with your assessment that making the doctor a woman would somehow ruin the integrity of the show. That's like saying there shouldn't be women political leaders simply because men have predominantly held those positions for centuries.

[ edited by libradude on 2013-04-18 07:35 ]
I can't see in the current environment that anyone over 35 would be picked to play The Doctor. The BBC would cast someone in their early to mid twenties. Like Ellie Kendrick for example. She would make a great 12.
I would love a female Doctor! As much as I like Matt Smith and Moffat, Doctor Who has gotten really stale and feels like it's going nowhere. A female doctor might be just the thing to put some life back into it.

Considering how bizarre the whole regeneration thing already is to begin with, I don't see how a gender change would make it any weirder
@Jonnathan Absolutely!

Amy is so incredibly talented.
Though Amy is awesome, I think it would be wrong to cast an American in such an iconically British role. I would love to see a female Doctor though.

Personally my pick for the Twelveth Doctor would be Anthony Stewart Head. Because he would be AMAZING. But the current producers of Doctor Who would never risk not casting a young person (sex appeal) despite the fact that the Doctor has had older regenerations before. (Though I think this is a big mistake. Tony Head can be damn sexy... and I'm a heterosexual male. Just sayin...)

However, considering they probably will not go for a female actor or an older actor, my pick for the Doctor within those guidelines would be Tom Hiddleston. He would be fantastic.
Apparently there was (and maybe still is) a rule that the Doctor could only regenerate 12 times.

I've heard Steven Moffat say that when it comes to that point, they will just have to make something up.

I wonder whether that twelfth regeneration could be used to take the character in a completely new direction - and whether that could include having a female Doctor.
No, Tom Hiddleston for the Master. He really would be amazing in that part.

I think they may be considering a female Doctor, simply because Moffat has suggested the idea a couple of times. Though, much as I love Amy, she'd need flameproof underwear if she took on such an iconic British role. Brits would hate the Doctor being played by an American.
Doctor. British. Amy. American.

Personally, as a fan since '65, I don't want a female Doctor. I'd like another female Timelord - Susan for instance, to show up.
I'm not British, but by the Brits I know, and Who fans I know, I feel comfortable and saying that American doctor is a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay bigger issue than a woman Doctor.

But, is Irish negotiable? Katie McGrath's show just ended, after all...
Amy could play anyone and anything. But as much as I'd love a female Doctor (I've also seen Helen Mirren suggested), I concur with the the fact that an American Doctor just would not do! But oh, Olivia Williams would be wonderful, indeed...

"A Time Lord has thirteen lives.." I don't think we'll see a female Doctor, but what about another Time Lady?

Kingofcretins, Irish should be negotiable, after all, David Tennant is Scottish!

[ edited by katsadako on 2013-04-18 13:32 ]
An American playing Spike or Wesley? Ridiculous!
I'm not big on the idea of the Doctor changing genders. There are Time Lords and Time Ladies and that's almost the only thing that's been consistent in the regenerations.

If there were to be a female Doctor, she'd have to be British. I'm American and I just don't want my Doctor Who to be anything other than British. Another website recently suggested Tilda Swinton, who I think would do an incredible job. She'd win me over to the idea of a female Doctor. They also suggested Helen Mirren, who'd also be great, but the BBC would never consider someone that old anymore.

I second the Tony Head suggestion. I like my Doctors a little older and I think he'd be great. Funny at the right times and menacing at the right times.

Re: the regeneration limit. I've always imagined that the limit was just an arbitrary number imposed by the Time Lords on Gallifrey. There was an episode where the rulers on Gallifrey needed the Master's help and his demand was another set of regenerations. They agreed like it was no big deal.
I think the number was arbitrary lore imposed by creators that never assumed that someone would still actually be making a show and facing the dilemma of needing a 13th actor. It's going to be an asspull of such magnificant brazenness that it will probably become its own trope namer :)

Apropos of nothing, I just had a funny mental image of the Doctor regenerating and standing up as... Dwayne Johnson. What sort of quippy reaction do you think the character and his companion would have to that?
The show has absolutely made it clear that Time Lords CAN and sometimes do change gender during regeneration (specifically, the Doctor mentioned a friend of his who had been both in the episode The Doctor's Wife). So there's absolutely no reason Twelve shouldn't be female, and I hope they do go in that direction. Olivia Williams would be an AMAZING choice.
Can you smellllllllll what the Doc is cooking?

Sorry, King of Cretins, that just popped in my head when I saw your post.
I think that was Neil Gaiman being playful. There was a Moffat female regeneration - Joanna Lumley in Curse of the Fatal Death.
@redeem147: "that was Gaiman being playful" is undoubtedly true, but doesn't make it any less true that the Doctor actually said it, in-universe, in-show, in-canon (admittedly the idea that the word "canon" can ever be applied to Doctor Who is a little ridiculous) in a context where there's no reason whatsoever to assume that the Doctor was lying. The playful motivations of the writer of the episode don't negate the fact that what happened in the episode, happened. That statement by the Doctor clearly establishes cross-gender regeneration ("regenderation"?) as being something that happens.

(Curse of Fatal Death, on the other hand, is clearly not canonical even by Who's loose standards - any more than the Doctor actually taught Shakespeare to Lauren Cooper ;) )
sab39, I believe the episode that you're referring to did not say that Time Lords sometimes change gender in regeneration. It just said that one Time Lord had been a woman once or twice.

That's no big deal. Humans sometimes change gender in our society, it just takes a fair amount of surgery and hormone treatments. So it's easy enough to believe that a Time Lord can change to a Time Lady if he really wants to, but that doesn't mean it isn't rare or that it would be the Doctor's preference. Since we've seen at least 15 regenerations so far with no gender swapping, I'd say that it is at least somewhat rare.

Despite the difference from one actor to the next, there are some things that have stayed stable. I'd prefer if they stayed. I'd be okay with changing them if we got a great story or a great actor out of it.
Making the next Doctor female coud possibly maybe totally help me get over some of the squicky "white dude saves people with female sidekick" feelings that the entire premise gives me. So yay!
@Jason_M_Bryant: That's an excellent point! You're right that the fact that a Time Lord changed gender a few times does not necessarily mean it's part of regeneration and that disproves what I said about the show having established that it is.

Still, it does definitely establish that it's not impossible for the Doctor to be a woman at some point in the future, even if it would be rare or unusual. And a lot of things that happen to the Doctor on a regular basis are unusual!
Just to echo what some others have said: The issue isn't can a Time Lord regenerate into a female (or a Time Lady into a male). Not only has there been vague in canon references to this in dialogue but, if I remember correctly, when Romana (a Time Lady during the Fourth Doctor's tenure) regenerates she shows that she has a level of control over who or what she looks like. She "tries on" a variety of bodies and ultimately choose the one she likes best. In theory, there is no reason she couldn't have decided to have been male.

HOWEVER, having said all of that, The Doctor is clearly in favor of the random choice. He never tries to affect his regeneration. In fact, I have always held it to be true that the environment The Doctor is in, the situation he's in, and the companion(s) with him at the time all affect who he turns into. He becomes what he needs to, and doesn't try to influence the change. Along with that, he identifies as a male. Just as Romana identifies as a female. It's not "if" but "why" that is the question. Why would The Doctor, who for over 1,000 years has been a male and identifies as a male, change that? It would require a large amount of character justification in my opinion.

What Amy Acker should play is a new Romana! Or a new female Time Lady. She would be great.
Perhaps Amy could play Doctor What or Doctor Why?
Quinn, my personal theory is that if a Time Lord chooses to regenerate, they can control the process. Perhaps there's a set amount of time that each regeneration is supposed to have and the Doctor just chooses to ignore it. So Romoana did it the orderly way, and the Doctor always waits until he's dying and doesn't have any control over it.

Of course, the reality of it is that the writers just wanted Romana's regeneration to feel different than the Doctor's. In the end, it all comes down to serving the story.

Another point, there has been a female Doctor, just in a non-canon story done for charity. It was called "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death." It was written by... Steven Moffat, the current head writer of Doctor Who.
I always assumed that because that the Tardis had 30ish control rooms that we have 30ish Doctors.
It has one control room and a (rarely used) secondary control room. I don't getcha.
Idris referenced it in the The Doctor's Wife.

IDRIS: I directed him to one of the old control rooms.

DOCTOR: There aren't any old control rooms. They were all deleted or remodelled.

IDRIS: I archive them. For neatness. I've got about 30 now.

DOCTOR: But I've only changed the desktop, what, a dozen times?

IDRIS: So far, yes.

DOCTOR: You can't archive something that hasn't happened yet!

IDRIS: YOU can't.

I would watch the hell out of Amy Acker as The Doctor; she would be fantastic. And I'm sure she could do a perfectly fine British accent if it was deemed essential for the part. Lots of British actors perform roles on US TV as Americans--somehow the nation survives.

ETA: if the Americans can happily accept a Brit--Henry Cavill--playing Superman (an alien strongly identified with the USA), then it would seem a little small minded of the British to cavil (hah!) at an American playing the Doctor (an alien strongly identified with the UK).

[ edited by Yoink on 2013-04-19 00:49 ]
Thanks, Simon. Neil was really stirring things up in that episode.

Don't anyone hold their breath on an American Doctor.

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