Why is Doctor Who a girl now
How the first female Time Lord changed Doctor Who forever I n 2018, a blond-haired, two-hearted woman crashed through the roof of a Sheffield train and on to our screens, propelling into a new era. Reinvention has been key to the success of the show, which first aired almost 60 years ago.
Despite being long overdue, having a woman in the role was not a radical idea – it had been considered multiple times. Tom Baker thought a woman could take over from him after his tenure as the Time Lord ended in 1981. The show’s creator, Sydney Newman, suggested in the 80s that, if the show were to continue, the Doctor should change gender.
Joanna Lumley even portrayed a female incarnation of the Doctor in a 1999 Comic Relief sketch. But it took more than 50 years before the famous character was finally played by a woman full-time. This week, Jodie Whittaker will regenerate, leaving 31 episodes and a new generation of Who fans in her wake, and the sonic screwdriver will pass to Ncuti Gatwa, the first full-time black Doctor.
Joanna Lumley plays the Doctor in this Comic Relief sketch from 1999, written by Steven Moffat. After 12 male actors, it was a huge deal when Whittaker became the Doctor. There was, inevitably, a backlash. Change can be scary for those who are used to seeing something that has always embodied their own lives.
But the negativity doesn’t compare with the positives that have come from diversification. “As much as I have loved Doctor Who my whole life,” says the writer Juno Dawson, “there was a subliminal message running across the first 50 years: men are the central character and women are the ‘assistant’, ‘companion’. Ncuti Gatwa, who is to take over from Jodie Whittaker, will be the first black man to play the Time Lord full-time in Doctor Who. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian Dawson went on to write for the 13th Doctor in, a female-led spin-off series featuring trans and queer characters.
“When I wrote for the 13th Doctor, I never once considered her gender. Fundamentally, she is everything her predecessors were and that’s what makes her such a bold character,” she says. Evidence suggests that casting people from diverse backgrounds can improve our mental health. According to the psychologist Dr Sophie Mort, whose work focuses on how our society shapes mental health, not seeing yourself represented on-screen affects how you think about yourself and your aspirations.
“We learn about our identity, and how that identity is seen in the world, partly through the way people who share our identities are portrayed in the media. Historically, representation of women, black people, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities has been less prolific, and people have often found themselves in stereotyped, supporting roles.” So what does it mean when shows such as Doctor Who increase diversity in front of and behind the camera? Mort says increased on-screen diversity will improve the self-esteem of those represented, and having behind-the-camera talent from communities being portrayed on-screen will ensure the authenticity of these narratives.
“This way, diverse narratives can be told, not just stereotyped,” says Mort. In 2018, for the first time in 35 years, Doctor Who featured an episode written and directed by women It is not just Whittaker’s casting that marked big changes for the show. Mandip Gill became the Doctor’s first full-time Asian companion, whose character Yaz was revealed to be in love with the Doctor during this year’s New Year special, Eve of the Daleks – the first queer relationship between the Doctor and a companion.
This resonated with fans all over the world. Helena Emmanuel, a Doctor Who fan based in the US, says: “When Yaz described that she hadn’t admitted her feelings towards the Doctor even to herself, it resonated with me. I had that exact moment with myself when I was first coming out, not too far from Yaz’s age, and hadn’t ever seen a coming out on TV that felt so similar to my own.” In 2020, Sacha Dhawan became the first British South Asian incarnation of the Doctor’s long-time enemy, the Master. In love with the Doctor Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan in Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks. Photograph: James Pardon/BBC In 2018, for the first time in 35 years, Doctor Who featured an episode, The Witchfinders, written and directed by women, Joy Wilkinson and Sallie Aprahamian respectively.
Until that point, this had only happened once in the show’s history, in 1983. Over the course of the 13th Doctor’s era, just over half the show’s writers and directors have been women. This has meant we have seen incredible moments showing how the male and female incarnations of the Doctor are treated, with the Doctor now on the receiving end of sexism across space and time.
She is the centre of each victory, rather than supporting from the sidelines. Whittaker’s debut series also marked the first time the show had black or Asian writers. Malorie Blackman tackled the story of Rosa Parks, and Vinay Patel penned an episode about the partition of India.
Mark Tonderai became Doctor Who’s first black director. Recent outings have introduced audiences to the lesser told stories of the real-life figures Mary Seacole and Noor Inayat Khan. The journalist David Chipakupaku feels proud of Doctor Who for finally taking steps to tell diverse stories. “It shocked me when I realised that Doctor Who had never hired a non-white writer until Malorie Blackman.
Even then, I had worries that there would be an attempt to sanitise Rosa Parks’ story. But when, less than five minutes in, companion Ryan (who is a young black man) was assaulted for daring to speak to a white woman, I knew nothing was off the table.” Doctor Who is on Sunday at 7.30pm.
How long can a Time Lord live
Physical characteristics – The binary vascular system of a Time Lord (from ” Dalek “, 2005). Time Lords and human beings look alike, however they differ in many respects. Physiological differences from humans include two hearts which normally beat at 170 beats per minute, three brain stems, an internal body temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and a “respiratory bypass system” that allows them to survive strangulation.
- The Twelfth Doctor was able to survive direct exposure to the vacuum of space in ” Oxygen “.
- Time Lords also seem to have an increased resilience to higher frequencies of sound, as seen in ” The Christmas Invasion ” and ” Partners in Crime “.
- If severely injured, Time Lords can go into a healing coma which lowers their body temperature to below freezing which the Doctor did in Planet of the Daleks,
In the serial Destiny of the Daleks, Romana was able to voluntarily stop both of her hearts beating, to fool the Daleks into believing that she was dead. The Doctor also shows a greater tolerance to cold compared to humans in The Seeds of Doom and ” Planet of the Ood ” and even Romana in The Ribos Operation, and in ” 42 “, the Tenth Doctor states he is able to survive at absolute zero for a short period of time.
In ” World War Three “, the Doctor is able to shake off an electrocution attempt which is fatal to a number of humans, and appears unaffected by the energy whip wielded by the Sycorax in ” The Christmas Invasion “. In ” Smith and Jones ” the Tenth Doctor says that the radiation given off by X-rays pose no real threat to Time Lords, and proceeds to absorb an amount that would be lethal to a human, which he subsequently expels through his foot.
“The End of Time” shows the Tenth Doctor as being capable of surviving (for a short period) a massive burst of radiation that would have killed anything else instantly. However, the radiation burst caused enough damage to start a regeneration. Time Lords are extremely long-lived, routinely counting their ages in terms of centuries; the Second Doctor claimed in The War Games that Time Lords could live “practically forever, barring accidents.” The series has suggested that Time Lords have a different concept of ageing from humans.
- In Pyramids of Mars, the Fourth Doctor considers an age of 750 years to be “middle-aged”.
- In ” The Stolen Earth “, the Tenth Doctor refers to when his original incarnation was a “kid” at 90 years old.
- However, within a specific incarnation, a Time Lord is able to age, albeit much more slowly than a human.
The War Doctor and Eleventh Doctor, over the course of the Last Great Time War and the Battle of Trenzalore, respectively, are seen to age within their respective incarnations to what would appear to a human to be old age; both conflicts are suggested within the series to last hundreds if not thousands of Earth years.
In The Daleks’ Master Plan, the First Doctor is able to resist the effects of the Time Destructor better than his companions, who are visibly aged by it; one of them, Sara Kingdom, ages to dust before the Destructor device can be reversed. The Fourth Doctor is briefly aged 500 years in The Leisure Hive, leaving him an old man but still active.
A similar situation occurred in ” The Sound of Drums “, where the Master uses specially made technology to age the Tenth Doctor by a century, leaving him in a frail and helpless state. A further application of this technology in the following episode, ” Last of the Time Lords “, suspends the Doctor’s capacity to regenerate, showing the effects of 900 years of life without regeneration.
- In The Two Doctors, the Second Doctor states that the “Rassilon Imprimatur” allows Time Lords to safely travel through time, becoming symbionts with their TARDISes, and that the reason other species are incapable of developing time travel is that they lack the imprimatur.
- However, he implies later that he was lying about at least some of this information to mislead the Sontarans,
At the beginning of The Trial of a Time Lord, the Sixth Doctor suggests that a number of elder Time Lords were able to use their combined mental energy to summon his TARDIS against his will. Time Lords can survive, but not function properly, without two hearts.
In ” The Shakespeare Code “, the Tenth Doctor has only one heart working. He knows this and tries and fails to stand up, until both of them start working again. Also, in ” The Power of Three “, after a massive electric current is passed through the Eleventh Doctor, he is left with only one heart in working condition and is unable to carry on for a long period of time.
In ” The Unicorn and the Wasp “, the Tenth Doctor is able to overcome the effects of cyanide by “stimulating the inhibited enzymes into reversal”, a process he referred to as going through ” detox “. In the episode ” Cold Blood “, the Eleventh Doctor experiences excruciating pain when the Silurian attempts to decontaminate him of surface bacteria.
- The Doctor states this would kill him, most likely due to the scanners being programmed to “detox” humans and therefore being unaware of what elements the Doctor requires.
- A Time Lord is able to conceal their Time Lord nature, and become a human, by using the Chameleon Arch – a device that stores their “essence” and memories in an innocuous device such as a fob watch, and replaces them with false counterparts until the object is later re-opened.
The process allows them to disguise themselves as humans physiologically and psychologically, meaning they only have one heart and are stripped of non-human powers, and of any memory of having been a Time Lord. This story element was notably featured in Series 3 ; the Doctor uses it to hide himself from the Family of Blood and becomes a schoolteacher in Edwardian England.
Are Time Lords immortal?
What do Time Lords look like? – Externally, a Time Lord looks human. Although, as the pointed out, they came first, so technically, we all look like Time Lords. If you don’t know what a human looks like, please find a mirror. Internally, however, we couldn’t be more different. For a start, Time Lords have two hearts, a respiratory bypass system – enabling them to survive without breathing for long periods – and have low-level telepathic abilities.
- However, their physiology also gives them a unique ability, regeneration.
- Is the Time Lord’s way of staving off death.
- When they are dying, they can change every cell in their body.
- The downside to this is this change results in a new physical appearance and changes in personality.
- Apparently, Time Lords can only regenerate a maximum of twelve times in a single regenerative cycle.
After that, they die. However, the Time Lords have been able to give certain members of their society additional regenerative cycles. The Doctor, when he reached the end of his final life in, was granted more regenerations, and just in time too! The Time Lords’ home is called Gallifrey, which is a planet in the Kasterborous System.
Gallifrey orbits two suns and has a distinctive burnt orange sky. The Citadel of the Time Lords was located on the continent of Wild Endeavour, and there were barren wastes called the Drylands. The Time Lords fought off many threats to their home planet, including a war with vampires (as mentioned in )! They always won, due to their superior technology.
However, their defences weren’t infallible, and Gallifrey has been invaded from time to time. In one spectacular run of bad luck, they were once invaded twice on the same day (watch for this adventure)! One of the most catastrophic invasions occurred during the final day of the Time War when the invaded Gallifrey.
Who is Doctor Who’s biggest enemy?
|Over the past 50 years of Doctor Who, The Doctor has faced many villains. Because there are so many, I will just highlight a few of the main villains. He has come face to face with foes ranging from robot aliens, to animated mannequins.The most memorable of his villains are as followed: (The following names are links to pictures) Daleks – The Daleks have been the enemies of the Timelords since day one. They were involved in the “Time War”, where The Doctor was forced to kill all of the other Timelords and Daleks. Unfortunately, some Daleks have survived and continue to wreak havoc in the universe. The Master – He is a Timelord that went insane from the sight of the time vortex as a child. He was made human and lost his memory, but when his fog watch (which contained the essence of a Time Lord) was opened, he regained his powers and memories and regenerated into a younger person. In an effort to take over the world, he became Prime Minister of England and captured The Doctor, causing him to age. The Doctor, with the help of his companions, turned back time and all of this was erased. Cybermen – these are cyborgs from Earth’s twin planet, Mondas. They are robots with the brains of humans that seek to destroy the human race. Weeping Angels – these are gargoyle aliens in the shape of angels. They appear to be stone, and move only when you look away, or blink. If they touch you while you are not looking, they send you back in time enough so that you die of old age the day they touched you. The Silence – this is a religious organization focused on the destruction of The Doctor. They believe he has wronged people more than helped, and they aim to kill him. In Season 6 of the new Doctor Who, they kidnap the baby of one of The Doctor’s companions and turn her into a weapon against him. One thing about The Silence is that once you look away from them, you forget their existence. Great Intelligence – as of now, we have seen two episodes involving the Great Intelligence, but they are an agency that caused “monsters in the wifi” and created animated snowmen that tried to kill people. (The previous descriptions are from the 9th regeneration of The Doctor and up)||(Click above for a short video) Photo Above: a Dalek preparing to “exterminate” Above: a Weeping Angel in action|
Who is Doctor Who’s worst enemy?
2. The Daleks – (Image credit: BBC)
- First appearance: “The Daleks” (Season 1, Serial 2)
- First broadcast: December 21 1963
Of course, the Daleks are a perennial threat to our dual-hearted hero, and are the only villain so far to have faced every version of the Doctor. Their iconic screeching voice and plunger of death weapons have stood the test of time and made them into one of the most iconic alien races in sci-fi.