Fans of fictional characters often get in an uproar when a specific aspect of that character’s personality is changed be it their gender, race, age, sexuality, beliefs or other traits. In some cases it can often be a valid justification as the aspect changed is a key part of that character and how it works in the narrative. Thus by changing it, the original intent of the story is ruined.
In other cases there’s a bit more flexibility. In the case of “Doctor Who,” you have a unique position – here’s a character called The Doctor where the key thing about him is that he regularly regenerates, and when he does he changes drastically both physically and psychologically. In fact the more change the better as it provides a more interesting contrast to what came before, and that frequent changing has been the key to the show’s longevity over the years.
Yet one change that some see as too far is that of the titular Time Lord becoming a woman. For years some of the fanbase has been clamoring for the possibility with names like Helen Mirren, Ruth Wilson and Lara Pulver all thrown about as suggestions. Current show runner Steven Moffat, who notably made The Doctor’s male nemesis The Master regenerate into a woman in the most recent series, has said it will likely happen one day after the current twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) finishes his run.
One person who isn’t a fan of the idea though is the seventh Doctor and “The Hobbit” trilogy actor Sylvester McCoy who sees no reason to modify anything. He tells The Daily Mirror:
“I’m a feminist and recognize there are still glass ceilings in place for many women, but where would we draw the line? A Mr. Marple instead of Miss Marple? A Tarzanette? I’m sorry, but no – Doctor Who is a male character, just like James Bond. If they changed it to be politically correct then it would ruin the dynamics between the doctor and the assistant, which is a popular part of the show.”
For now, the closest we’ll get to seeing a woman in the role will be that of Joanna Lumley in a Red Nose Day skit from back in the 1990s which also saw Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant take on the part. The show’s ninth season kicks off on September 19th on BBC and BBC America.