In Jodie Whittaker, Doctor Who has its first female lead – but one former incarnation of the Time Lord thinks the change should have come much earlier.
In fact, according to former Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston (who restarted the series in 2005) the BBC should have brought the show back with a female Doctor in the first place, even if that would have meant he didn’t get the job.
“It’s ridiculous we weren’t thinking of a female Doctor at that time,” Eccleston told the crowd at Rose City Comic Con. “In 2004, in me they picked yet another white skinny male to be the Doctor. If somebody had said in 2004 it should have been a woman, there’d have been outrage. But only 14 years later it’s acceptable.
“I think it’s time for white middle-aged males to step aside. And if Billie Piper ever wants to play the Doctor I’ll [be her companion]. Who wouldn’t? I think that’s what they should have done, I was saying backstage. Rose should have moved up to become the Doctor…but it was just too early.”
And in general, Eccleston says he thinks that there needs to be a shift in the gender dynamics we see in TV drama.
“Genuinely, joking aside, certainly in my country I think we’re all tired of [seeing] how difficult it is to be a white male,” he said.
“As a 55-year-old bloke, I don’t think I should be carrying dramas any more. I know I’m putting myself out of work, but I have a daughter. I have a son who needs to see that the world is not patriarchy any more. And the idea of males being marginalised in dramas is going to throw up interesting roles for men.”
Sadly, without his own Tardis Eccleston won’t be able to change the past – but perhaps there is still a chance for his hopes to be realised in the future.
And yes, we do see what we did there.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in early 2020