'Doctor Who' to get first female lead - is that a good idea?

Opening Argument

agsragsr 601 PtsPremium MemberTechnology Community Moderator
Big news today for Doctor Who fans - first female doctor!  Jodie Whittaker. She will take the role of Doctor in the next season and will first appear in Christmas special as Peter Capaldi moves on.
It will certainly be a new era for Doctor Who, and a great achievement for feminist movement, even after introducing ....but..
will current audience (mostly men) get alienated? How will dynamics of Doctor and a cute girl companion evolve?
I think that BBC is taking a hugh risk here to detail the show,

'Doctor Who' to get first female lead 

  1. 'Doctor Who' to get first female lead - is that a good idea?

    4 votes
    1. Great idea
    2. Bad idea
    3. Mixed
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Persuaded Argument

  • AlwaysCorrectAlwaysCorrect 235 Pts
    edited July 19 Winning Argument ✓

    I think that concern relies on several assumptions.

    Firstly that the audience is mostly male. I can't find any direct measure, but the only indirect measure I found indicates a slight female majority.

    Secondly, it assumes that men will be turned off by a female lead. While the move has been criticised by some it's been lauded by others. Whether the amount of men turning off is greater than the amount of men (or women) turning on is up in the air.

    Thirdly, we are talking about what is best. Does best correlate with the most viewers? Some of my favourite programs have struggled for ratings. Good is not the same as popular. If the best actor for a role is a woman, then picking a woman results in the best TV. Not only have Jodie Whittaker's performances been critically acclaimed, but they've been critically acclaimed in shows run by the season's new showrunner. We have no reason to think she wasn't the best available choice in terms of quality and indeed may very likely have been specifically picked not just because she's a great actress, but because she's a great actress Chris Chibnall is sure he can work with.

    Lastly if the argument presented in my last post is accepted, there is no logical reason why people would turn off for a female actor. That only leaves the illogical, the main example of which is not wanting to watch an actor simply due to their gender rather than the quality of the performance or because it interferes with the show's canon (both issues that have been dealt with). Such reasoning is pretty much by definition a form of prejudice. Is it right to pander to prejudiced points of view to try to get ratings? And how will those prejudiced points of view ever change if they are never challenged?

    I'd also mention the latest season, staring a male lead, had the lowest viewing figures of the rebooted franchise. Even if after the above arguments all you care about is viewing figures AND you don't rate Whittaker as an actor AND you don't care about prejudice, it could still be considered a bold move to shake things up, get a lot of free PR and try to draw in a fresh (and larger) audience.

    I don't think there is a strong argument against a female Doctor Who as there is no firm basis for supposing a viewership loss and there could be a viewership gain. Meanwhile based on alternative metrics than viewship, a female Doctor Who looks to be a positive.

Status: Open Debate


  • That is not good in my opinion. I am not a sexist, but rather believe that there shouldn't be a female doctor in Doctor Who. It just wouldn't work there.
    DebateIslander and a lover. 
  • ale5ale5 147 PtsPremium Member
    Premium Member
    @joecavalry, I partially agree. I see the concerns, but at the same time some  men may actually enjoy a female doctor an it may attract a new audience.  It will alllow producers a new set of angles that we previously not available - the show does need a refresh.
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  • @joecavalry

    Why not? Doctor Who's famous for The Doctor regenerating and being played by a different actor. Before the most recent casting it was already explicit that Time Lords can change gender when regenerating, with the Master (the Doctor's nemesis) doing just that.

    This seems one of the very few programs where changing the gender of a character and their actor makes perfect sense!
  • agsragsr 601 PtsPremium MemberTechnology Community Moderator
    Premium MemberTechnology Community Moderator
    @AlwaysCorrect, agree that makes sense technically,  but the concern is impact on mostly male audience, amd if they would prefer to watch a female doctor.
    Live Long and Prosper
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