Twitter erupted as the trailer revealing the 13th Dr Who was shown just after the Mens Wimbledon Final yesterday. To be honest I had forgotten the BBC had scheduled it to be shown then, because we haven’t watched Dr Who since Sir David of the Tennant left a few years ago. Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, whilst great actors, just didn’t feel like great choices, so where once we all sat and watched it, we no longer did.
Yesterday’s announcement that Jodie Whittaker was to be in charge of the Tardis divided opinion instantly. Some saying “hoorah” and some saying “this is ridiculous”. The greatest Tweet I read said “so the Dr can have two hearts, but they can’t have a vagina?”. People seem to be up in arms that the role is to be played by a woman.
I, personally, think it is a brilliant decision. Not because “it’s about time we had a female Dr Who” but because Jodie is the best person for the role. Jodie is at the top of her game. Three seasons of Broadchurch and we fell in love with her, she went from grieving mother to astonishingly supportive counsellor, shining in each scene she was in. She is an actress in demand right now and therefore is a great catch for the series. The best person for the job.
Her gender is irrelevant to me, though I admit at the time I was ecstatic that a woman had been chosen, as the news sunk in and the vitriol from certain quarters spewed forth it sadden me that her gender was the focus.
And that is my point, and the one that people seem to be missing. The best person for the job has been chosen, and they happen to be a woman. The fact people are focusing on the gender of the person filling the Dr’s shoes just goes to highlight the fact that we still have a long way to go don’t we? When we are still discussing that it is a woman being given a role rather than who the person is.
By the same token I get grumpy when we hear politicians declaring “I am going to make the cabinet at least 50% women”. Well really they shouldn’t, they should be ensuring the best person for the role gets it, regardless of their gender. So if the cabinet ends up being 80% male, or indeed 80% female I want to know that those bums on those benches are the person most qualified for the title they hold, not chosen purely on which sex they happen to be in order to tick some boxes.
That might sound backwards when we live in a time where feminism and equality are more prevalent than ever but isn’t it the crux of both those things? That we want to be equal? We don’t want to be viewed as being in a position because of our gender but because the qualifications we have worked hard for have been recognised by those that are doing the hiring?
That we still have a long way to go before we hear the news of something like this and don’t automatically view the gender of the actor before we see their ability to nail the role?
Ditto when they make Idris Elba the new James Bond, as they surely will. It won’t be that he is the greatest actor and will make a stunning Bond, it will be that his black.
Photo of the TARDIS courtesy of Shutterstock