Back in July, the BBC released a minute-long teaser in which they revealed the actor due to take up the title role in their sci-fi spectacular, Doctor Who. And, after years of speculation and query following the show’s return to TV screens in 2005, the clip revealed that the Doctor would be taking the female form for the very first time, as the individual stepping into the TARDIS will be Jodie Whittaker.
Unsurprisingly, reaction to the news swept across the web. Scores of fans rejoiced as the announcement proved that the series’ creators had listened to their requests and long-running hopes for a female lead. In the months that followed, countless people who’ve been close to the show over the years voiced their support for Whittaker, with many former stars even suggesting that, from early footage they’ve been shown, she looks set to be the best-suited to the role yet. However, not every commentator has been as thrilled about the change.
For every positive view on the casting there seemed to be an equally negative comment to follow in return. Some fans slammed it for being a “PR stunt” or an “exercise in political-correctness.” Rather than give Whittaker the benefit of the doubt and assume she landed the role for being the most suitable, detractors were quick to suggest that the whole thing was contrived as a means to broaden the show’s universal appeal for 21st century audiences.
Lively debate has followed posts from either side of the casting critique and to this day, there’s still a mass disagreement about whether the introduction of a female lead is the right move. Healthy debate may be a great thing in the right hands, but in this case, that key question at the centre of the debate is an invalid foundation. Why? Well, because Jodie Whittaker is not the show’s first female lead.