After an absence of nearly 15 years, Christopher Eccleston is finally returning to Doctor Who. The Ninth Doctor was praised for his performance, though left the show after just one season due to conflicts with the production staff. Of course, the nature of the character meant it was easy to regenerate him into David Tennant, but unlike other Doctors, he’s never reprised the role and was particularly missed in the 50th anniversary spectacular.
Next month, though, he’s stepping back into the TARDIS for a series of Big Finish audio adventures. The first effort is titled Ravagers, will comprise three instalments and be here soon. To mark his return to the franchise, Eccleston gave an interesting interview where he discussed his past with the show, where the new adventures take place in the canon (he doesn’t care) and how the series has evolved after he departed.
During this, he praised current Doctor Jodie Whittaker and called for the program to do more explicitly feminist episodes. When asked who he’d like the Ninth Doctor to meet, he said:
“I think it’s time for the Doctor to meet the Cyberwomen in the 21st century. We’ve had enough Cybermen. I would very much like the Doctor to meet Emily Davison who threw herself in front of the Derby winner and was one of the forerunners of the feminist movement and a martyr for it. I think that’d be extraordinary for him to mix with Emily Davidson and Pankhurst and explore that. As I’ve said earlier, he’s very drawn to the feminine. And I think that it’s great that we now have a female Doctor, and I think we should take that further in the way that we look at history and look at it through a female lens. I think the [Ninth] Doctor would respond very well to that.”
He went on to praise the 2005 revival for its gender politics, too, saying:
“The feminization of Doctor Who, I would call it. Russell T. Davies’s great strength was to really elevate the female in Doctor Who. I think Russell writes brilliantly for women.”
The obvious impact of this is that Doctor Who‘s fanbase is now roughly evenly split between men and women. Prior to the revival, it was seen as a very male-orientated show, but post-2005, it’s built a passionate global audience of women who’re as invested in the ongoing tale of this rogue Time Lord as the old school male fans who’ve watched it since the 70s and 80s.
The only issue I have with Eccleston’s comment is with the idea of Cyberwomen. Spinoff show Torchwood‘s notorious first season episode “Cyberwoman” tried to bring this concept to life and it’s generally considered one of the worst outings of any Doctor Who-related series. But hey, maybe there could be some mileage in it if done right?