Is there going to be a female Doctor in Doctor Who?
We don't know.
Well, why is everyone always going on about it?
Because they always have done – well, at least since 1981 when the outgoing Tom Baker mischievously answered the question about his successor, "you're making the presumption it's going to be a man."
But the Fifth Doctor was a man...
Yes, clever clogs – it was Peter Davison. But since then the idea has grown and developed – and now with Peter Capaldi's successor unknown,
many of the favourites to take over have been female.
Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge has led the bookies' odds for the past few months, with the likes of Chewing Gum actress Michaela Coel, Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer and British Hollywood royalty Tilda Swinton also constantly associated with the role.
Wait, can a Time Lord even become a Time Lady?
Yes. A precedent for that was set in series 9 finale Hell Bent, when a white male Gallifreyan regenerated into a black female, answering two questions in one (but also raising another – where did her immaculate eye make-up come from?).
So has the Doctor ever been played by a woman?
Sort of. Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley played a non-canonical fictional Doctor in a 1999 Comic Relief special called The Curse of Fatal Death – it was written by current showrunner Steven Moffat. There was also an unofficial audio incarnation of the Third Doctor played by Arabella Weir in a 2003 radio play, Exile.
That was ages ago, and was non-canon. Why is this news again today?
a report has emerged from the Sun that a Doctor Who fan wrote to the BBC outlining their concerns about the possibility of a female Doctor and a complaints officer replied:
“We appreciate that you’re a big Doctor Who fan and you have concerns that the programme would change should there be a female doctor.
"Be assured there are currently no plans to have a female Doctor Who.”
Right, so that's settled? 13 will be another man?
Not so fast. The BBC publicity machine have issued a rather more open ended statement, wait for it:
“No casting decisions have yet been made on Series 11."
Right, so what do people in the Doctor Who family think about this idea?
Former companion Karen Gillan reckons a female Doctor
"would be really cool", writer Mark Gatiss thinks a woman at the helm of the Tardis would be "fantastic", and Captain Jack himself, John Barrowman, has said in the past the show should give a Time Lady a chance.
How about incoming showrunner, Chris Chibnall?
Well, the man who'll be at the heart of the decision making process has been more guarded. Although he says
"nothing is ruled out" he tempers his remarks by insisting "I don't want the casting to be a gimmick."
Hmm? So we're no closer to solving this mystery than we are to what's going on with Kris Marshall?
Sorry, at the moment it seems only time will tell...