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‘Doctor Who: Redacted’ writer talks the importance of trans representation

'Doctor Who' audio drama author Juno Dawson explains why it is important for the British sci-fi show to represent trans people.

Jodie Whittaker made history a few years ago as the first female actor to portray the titular character in the BBC’s long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who. Now, an upcoming audio drama that brings back the star for an all-new adventure promises to push that diversity and representation even further.

The first episode of this podcast series, titled Doctor Who: Redacted, will premiere alongside the upcoming “Legend of the Sea Devils” on April 17. In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, writer Juno Dawson explained why it is important for the British franchise to embrace diversity to a larger extent.

“It’s important that every person who comes to Doctor Who brings their own little identity. And of course, as a transgender woman myself, it was important to me to see the lead character being trans as well.”

Redacted will center around a character named Cleo, who, with the help of her friends, attempts to uncover a dark secret about those who’ve traveled with the Doctor across history.

“It’s a trans girl from a council estate in London – which is literally just me. Cleo, unlike me, actually has had quite a hard time with her family. It’s the story that is real life for a lot of trans people. I’m one of the lucky ones. My family were all very accepting, but most of my friends who are trans haven’t had that experience.”

According to the BBC, Dawson was speaking to the network the day after hundreds of people protested the government’s plan to ban conversion therapy for bisexuals and homosexuals, but not transgenders. Addressing the controversial situation, Dawson adds:

“We’re living in quite a scary time for trans people. I’m a trans person, and I’m quite scared. One of the ways things will get better is to let trans people tell stories about trans people. I was a queer kid growing up in West Yorkshire, and the thought that one day a Timelord would turn up on my doorstep and whisk me away from everything that was awful in my life was a really seductive idea. If you are a young person, who in any way feels like a bit of an outsider, it’s incredibly exciting. You can just hop in a blue box and escape your problems.”

Exploring all of time and space in a big blue police box that represents hope wherever it goes, alongside an alien with two hearts of gold who is always accepting of everyone’s differences and unique traits. What could be better than that?

About the author

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.