It took 54 years but Doctor Who finally got a female lead when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor in 2017. There’d been increasing calls for this to happen for a few years prior, with the concept slowly being introduced into the fabric of the show over time, but it still caused a huge storm when the moment came. For one Time Lord, though, the moment didn’t come soon enough. In fact, he thinks a woman should have been cast in place of him.
Christopher Eccleston played the Ninth Doctor for a single year back in 2005, with his popular performance helping to relaunch the series for the 21st century. Reflecting back now, however, the star thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the production team weren’t thinking of hiring a woman at the time.
“It’s ridiculous we weren’t thinking of a female Doctor at that time. In 2004, in me they picked yet another white skinny male to be the Doctor. If somebody had said in 2004 it should have been a woman, there’d have been outrage. But only 14 years later it’s acceptable.”
In fact, Eccleston went as far as to suggest that Billie Piper could’ve taken over from him and swapped Rose Tyler to play the Doctor herself.
“I think it’s time for white middle-aged males to step aside. And if Billie Piper ever wants to play the Doctor, I’ll [be her companion]. Who wouldn’t? I think that’s what they should have done, I was saying backstage. Rose should have moved up to become the Doctor… but it was just too early.”
While it’s difficult to see how Rose could become the Doctor in the show’s mythology, many people have had the same thought as Eccleston over the years. Every time there’s a new Doctor, Billie Piper’s name always comes up. As for whether it should’ve happened at the time, it certainly would’ve changed the shape of Doctor Who, but we wouldn’t have had David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor then.
The Thirteenth Doctor, meanwhile, returns when Doctor Who season 12 arrives early next year.