International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of those with two X chromosomes. To mark the occasion, we acknowledge ten TV characters who, in their own special ways, make a mockery of the expression “the weaker sex”…
1. Dana Scully: The X-Files
Whether she was tackling aliens, killers, government conspiracies or Fox Mulder’s credulity, the medical doctor and FBI agent took it all in her stride, often simultaneously battling some unfortunate hairdos. Smart, courageous and resourceful, Scully was never afraid to say what she thought – or back up a friend.
2. Aeryn Sun: Farscape
Claudia Black’s ability to play vulnerable without appearing weak was indispensable in bringing former soldier Aeryn Sun to life. This – along with a dark sense of humour - allowed her character to be believable in scenes as diverse as fighting alien foes, weeping over her dying lover or fending off enemy attack while giving birth.
3. CJ Cregg: The West Wing
The White House press secretary (later Chief of Staff) faced many a challenge when political expediences were at odds with her conscience. Though slightly insecure and a little lonely, her wit and fierce intelligence shone through.
4. Lisa Cuddy: House
Hard-working hospital administrator with attitude, latterly balancing the power-suits and heels with her status as a single mom: little wonder House should harbour strong feelings for the sexy dean of medicine.
5. Kate Beckett: Castle
Sassy and classy NYPD detective who handles criminals and her writer sidekick’s wisecracks with equal aplomb. She may give the orders to her male colleagues, but she’s no predictably boring ballbreaker – Kate has her own playful side and we see plenty of it.
6. Irene Adler: Sherlock
She may have greeted Holmes and Watson without a stitch on, but the most charmingly naked thing about Ms Adler was her ambition. Not since Scarlett O’Hara has a woman employed quite so many feminine wiles in pursuit of her ultimate goal – and with such chutzpah it feels churlish to criticise.
7. Kira Nerys: Star Trek: Deep Space 9
The former resistance member was equally at home kicking Cardassian butt as practising the Bajoran religion. Reflecting on the short fuse she’d cultivated to play Kira, actress Nana Visitor once observed that on a night out, she found herself challenging a man who’d been hassling a friend – at which point a little voice in her head had to point out: “You’re not really Kira.”
8. Donna Noble: Doctor Who
At last, a companion who wasn’t head over heels in love with the Doctor. Donna was a godsend for female fans like me, who, since childhood, dreamed of travelling with the Time Lord for adventure – unlike Rose, Martha and Amy, who were seeking an altogether different kind of action in the Tardis.
9. Amanda Price: Lost in Austen
Being catapulted into the world of Elizabeth Bennet might sound like an enticing prospect to fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. But ballsy Amanda Price had her work cut out to put things right as her presence there started to affect events in the classic novel. It came as no surprise that Jemima Rooper’s sparky heroine caught the eye of Elliot Cowan’s hunky Mr Darcy - ensuring a vicarious ending that no fair-minded woman watching could possibly begrudge her.
10. Miss Piggy: The Muppets
She might be a diva - but there’s no denying she (almost) always gets her way…
We want to know which strong female TV characters you admire. Leave a comment in the box below...