And so, the thirteenth Doctor has been announced, and she is going to be played by 35-year-old Jodie Whittaker.
I'm not especially familiar with her, although I have seen her in Black Mirror and she was excellent in Attack the Block. I still haven't gotten round to Broadchurch, but I was half-expecting Chibnall to cast someone from his biggest hit. I've generally heard good things about her, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing her in action. Exciting times.
Of course, there are plenty of fans kicking off about the BBC casting a woman in the role, but this is something I've been vocally in favour of for some time. I think that a character who can turn into anyone is long past the point where he should become a she. I honestly think that this is a good move for the a show that, in spite of some sublime moments over the last couple of years, needs a strong kick up the arse. I'm surprised by some of the people I know who are against the idea, but I think any fan needs to give Whittaker a chance. I mean, I'm giving Chris Chibnall a chance as showrunner, and he's so far been pretty dreadful for much of his Who and Torchwood contributions.
My hopes? I hope Chibnall and any writers he hires write her not as "the female Doctor," but just as the Doctor. I hope she's well-served with scripts and material. I hope people give her, and the series, a chance.
There's no point saying that the Doctor changing sex doesn't make sense, or that no explanation can logically work when he's been male for so long. Regeneration is made-up nonsense, ludicrous magical pseudoscience that works only because the writers say it does. Anything the writers want to do, it can do, and that can include changing sex, race or number of legs. And frankly, I haven't much time for people who think that changing gender is one step too fantastical for a series about someone who travels in time in a magic cupboard, fighting monsters. I know actual people in real life who have changed their physical sex, so is it really that hard to imagine someone who has changed their form thirteen times already doing the same?
I am concerned that, if series eleven does turn out to be rubbish, then this casting will be what gets the blame. The more people get angry about the casting, the more I want it to succeed. I'm going to miss Capaldi terribly, but it's always hard to see the Doctor change.
And frankly, I'm just relieved that the Doctor is still older than me.