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Discussions & Debates > The fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, says Time Lord should never be played by a woman

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message 1: by Gary (last edited Jan 28, 2015 02:58PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments His reasoning is a strangely obversed pro-female character stance:
"I have trouble with the idea of a female Doctor, only because I reckon if you're born on Gallifrey a man, you're probably a male Time Lord."

Davison said the key to the success of the modern Doctor Who series was the dynamic between a troubled Doctor and strong female companion.

"It seems to me if you reverse that, if you have an uncertain, fallible female Doctor with a really strong male companion, you've got more of a stereotype than anything else."
Confession: I'm not a big Doctor Who fan. I watched a bunch when I was a kid with Tom Baker back in the day, and I've watched a few episodes here and there with other actors, but I've never been "into" them after that initial introduction. The pacing of the recent versions just seems off to me. (I have a similar problem with a few British TV shows.)

So, I don't know that the issue that Mr. Davison raises is true of more than just the Doctor that he played. I don't think it would have been an issue for Tom Baker's version, despite his actual gender....

Even if it is the case for more recent incarnations of the Doctor, it seems like a relatively easy thing to shift.

Edit: Sorry, here's the full article:

message 2: by Bryn (last edited Jan 28, 2015 02:36PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) I'll jump in, as a big Doctor Who fan, nowadays. I'm sorry to hear the old dude say this. Yes, the companions are strong these days, but the doctor, although 'troubled & uncertain' is portrayed as enormously strong. In fact, the challenge is, opposite to what he says... I suspect the challenge is, a woman with the much-more-than-human, often frightening strength that he has up his sleeve.

But they did well with Missy. --The doctor's archenemy, the Master, recently was incarnated as the Mistress. No bother. Fine actor. Perhaps that was an experiment, a first step to a woman doctor. In which case, she's popularly adjudged to have killed the task in front of her.

message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Yeah, I'm not really seeing it as an issue either. I can see how it could fall into a stereotypical situation, but in those (admittedly few) episodes of the more recent productions that I have seen, the elements of the troubled, uncertain, fallible Doctor don't strike me as necessarily stereotypical of female characters.

I'm not really sure those words are really the ones I would use to describe that character. Rather, it seems to me that the character is more defined by his (or maybe her...) isolation and distance from connection rather than "troubled" and the uncertainty/fallibility is more a consciousness of the consequences of making the wrong choice.... If they got the wrong actor/director combo that could turn into some sort of stereotype, but they'd have to make something of an effort to misconstrue the themes of the character in order to really muck that up.

message 4: by Matthew (last edited Jan 29, 2015 05:50PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) | 156 comments As someone who's only recently become acquainted with the new version of the Doctor Who series, I have to say that this sounds like bollocks to me! See what I did there? Thinly-veiled use of British colloquialism? Anyway...

Why a female Doctor Who would be an "uncertain and fallible" is beyond me. The male doctor's were only like this on occasion. The rest of the time, they were always supremely confident and larger-than-life. The rest of the time, it was their sidekicks who were fallible due to their comparative inexperience and the fact that they were hurled into a world much larger than they were used to.

Frankly, I think he's just making excuses.

message 5: by William (new)

William Galaini (williamgalaini) | 73 comments As a vet, I've seen women in combat first hand I will attest that women belong in every facet of the military. Period. That's my context for my thinking here....

With the prior in mind, I had a friend who thought female infantry was a terrible idea. He feared too much for women's safety and it would 'preoccupy his mind' taking him off task. I told him that it was HIS issue, and not having a viable soldier on the front line because he couldn't maintain HIS OWN viability was nonsense.

He also said female soldiers would be raped when captured. I told him that male soldiers are raped a plenty as it is, citing Lawrence of Arabia as a quick reference not to mention over half of military sex within the ranks target men from other men.

In the end my friend is an astounding gentleman and kind natured. He is sexist, and oddly enough his sexism may come from a tender place, but it is sexist.

message 6: by Owen (last edited Feb 14, 2015 08:25PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) William wrote: "As a vet, I've seen women in combat first hand I will attest that women belong in every facet of the military..."

This is off-topic, but I hope it I might be forgiven, since the conversion seems to have veered a touch, and (IMHO), it's a great story. (And it's true!)

Now this happened over 20 years ago, so I can't recall all the details exactly but here goes:
Back in the 80s, I had a friend named Steve (we were in the SCA together). Around 1991-2, Steve moved to the midwest and started dating a woman named "Toni" (gotta be little discreet here). Toni was (at that time) a captain, US Army, (I can't recall exactly what she did, except that she did a stint in the MP's). Anyway, she was in Somalia at one point and some other such lovely places.

Coming home from one such place, she was supposed to meet Steve in Miami (I think it was) for a weekend together. He was flying in from Chicago. Everything was all set and she's on her way when she gets orders that no, she's not going to Miami. She's gotta go to Fort Huachuca for some "war game" or exercise thing. There goes her weekend with Steve. She hasn't seen him in a long time -- very unhappy camper.

So she gets to Fort Huachuca, she's given (or has) a company, and blah, blah, this & that, here's your objective. Some command post or something. She is still pissed. Now (or so I was told) people don't always take these things quite as seriously as they might 24:7 -- there tends to be "downtime" when nothing much happens. Toni, knowing this, gets her guys up and takes them off on this run through the desert in the dead of night by some circuitous route, and descends on the objective at about 3:30AM, when the "defenders" are pretty much just hanging out.

So Bang! You're Dead! We win! Whoo Hoo!

Bright and early that morning -- the day she is supposed to meet Steve -- her CO calls her in and praises her initiative, and so on. Then he asks her -- this is the good part -- what was it that motivated her do this?

Toni looks him straight in the eye and says (I quote): "I have a date, sir."

The CO cracks up, and then whistles up some transport and sends Toni off to Miami pronto. She and Steve have a lovely weekend together. They get married a year or so later and have been living happily ever after since.

Now Toni and Steve told me this story after they were married. If they stretched a detail here or there, that's not my fault. It's still a great story. And if anyone starts whinging about women not belonging in the infantry, tell it to them.

Thanks for your time. Please resume the original topic.

message 7: by William (new)

William Galaini (williamgalaini) | 73 comments OMG love it. Love it love it.

And if they stretched a detail here and there, so be it. Never let reality get in the way of a good story.

message 8: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) William wrote: "OMG love it. Love it love it.

And if they stretched a detail here and there, so be it. Never let reality get in the way of a good story."

Well, if we did let reality get in the way of a good story, we'd all be out of a job! ;-)

BTW: While I do have some sympathy for how your friend must feel, in addition to the points you made, he's also overlooking the fact that the current crop of bad guys get really really upset when they get their butts kicks by "girls". It totally messes with their heads. I've heard stories along these lines from a number of veterans.

message 9: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Owen, love the story!

But this is complete bs. And who says the companion can't be a woman as well. Wouldn't it be reasonable to think a the Doctor, regardless of current gender, may still have the same preference for a string female companion? But, oh, that would mean two very powerful and string women. Nope, can't have that (the fear that the boys would stop watching).

message 10: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) Alicja wrote: "Owen, love the story!"

Thank you! :-)

message 11: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) But, Alicja, they'd just be like Silurian detective Vastra (the lizard lady) and her sidekick-turned-wife Jenny Flint. Dr Who can do this.

message 12: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Bryn wrote: "But, Alicja, they'd just be like Silurian detective Vastra (the lizard lady) and her sidekick-turned-wife Jenny Flint. Dr Who can do this."

That's fine for secondary (or even lower) characters, I applaud the writers for doing that. But the rules change concerning main characters. I think that having the main character be a woman or gay (or a gay woman) or a minority (all the Doctors have been white). So diversity in a companion or in tertiary characters is fine because the Doctor Who writers are progressive... but I think there is still that fear around the Doctor, or the main character, that people would stop watching if he wasn't like he's always been.

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