Sunday the 7th of October marked the debut of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor Who, spanning the show’s entire run beginning in 1963, and receiving a revival in 2005. As a film student (incidentally currently studying TV Drama), as well as an Equality Diversity Champion, and not to mention a huge fan of the program itself, this occasion truly peaked my interest.
There was a question of not only would the show pick itself up from the rather scathing reviews of the program’ previous series, but also also how a female Doctor would change a long-standing dynamic. Inevitably a debate was sparked as to whether putting Whittaker in this role was purely a stunt casting, regarding a developing society in which not only female equality is slowly on the rise, but also one in which political correctness is a buzz word among many. So what did I think of the episode and the implication that this casting was a mark of society?
I suppose the first thing I should say is that I genuinely enjoyed the episode, it wasn’t perfect, but Whittaker really does hold her own; the script writing was far superior than that of several series previously, and the story entwined both drama and the family friendly edge of comedy and heart. However, to me, most importantly, the fact that Jodie Whittaker is a woman was not hammed up, and presented as something of unmitigated importance, in fact it was only subtly addressed once.
This is refreshing in comparison to the previous series, in which assistant Bill’s sexuality was not so subtly rammed down the throat of the viewer. Diversity in every sense is so important, especially when it comes to representation in mass media, however the sincerity of the action from a production team is lost when made so obvious, as if looking for praise, over an issue that should be addressed, but not as a means to gratification, for such a ‘difficult’ thing to do.
But does this new era in Doctor Who actually help the spread of diversity, or help the cause of feminism? The truth is, I’m undecided. It’s a wonderful feeling to think that Whittaker may inspire young girls to literally reach for the stars, and feel they can unleash a more adventurous side. Equally her costume does have feminine elements, but also shows that not every girl needs to like wearing pink dresses!
Nevertheless, this new casting may also be a chance for lucrative exploitation; although the new Barbie being released is a wonderful change in comparison to the unrealistic blonde stick being pushed to children all over the world, we can’t deny that companies know that Whittaker taking this influential role will be a profitable time for all kinds of merchandise manufacturers. We’re left with a dilemma, of a positive change also fueling a greed and not being left as purely as a movement for equality.
I won’t ramble on any longer, but if you’d like to know any more of my thoughts, leave me a message below…I could probably go on for a while. I hope you enjoyed some slightly different content from me.
Take Care Everyone, I’ll Talk To You All Soon!