The 13th Doctor: 3 reasons why the BBC have made a brilliant choice

There is only so much excitement Liberal Democrats can take. The prospect of a new Doctor and a new Leader in the same week is testing us to the limit. I suppose it’s just as well we had a General Election campaign to build our stamina. We should perhaps also be grateful to our MPs for sparing us the extra adrenaline rush of a contest. Just to get this out of the way, I know that there have actually been 14 Doctors, if you count John Hurt, the “War Doctor”, but the BBC aren’t going to screw up decades of merchandising by mucking about with the numbering.

There is something about the quirky, socially awkward time lord, traversing time and space, saving entire races from themselves over and over again that appeals to Liberal Democrats. So many of us would have been waiting for the announcement this afternoon. And so it came:

I cannot contain my joy and excitement at this news. As soon as Jodie Whittaker’s name came into the frame, I convinced myself that she would be so perfect for the role that there was no way she was going to get it.

I waited this afternoon for Kris Marshall to be announced.

And then he wasn’t.

I have to say that I’m not impressed with the way it was done. Matt Smith got a half hour special. Peter Capaldi got a whole tv programme. Jodie got a 30 second trailer almost casually slotted in after the Wimbledon men’s final with not even an interview.

I’m also not impressed, but unsurprised, that Lewis’s Law has been invoked many, many times today. Some of the reaction to the announcement definitely justifies feminism.

So why is Jodie so perfect for the role?

The first reason is her portrayal of Beth Latimer in Broadchurch. This character had to deal with the murder of her young son, keep her family together, give birth to another child and become a supporter of women who had suffered sexual violence. She played that role with such likability and strength. You couldn’t help but warm to her. I am fairly confident that Jodie can play whatever the universe throws at the Doctor.

The second is her close association with new Who chief Chris Chibnall. I have to say that I have never been able to forgive him for the dire, misogynistic Cyber Woman episode of Torchwood. I feel nothing but trepidation every time he comes anywhere near the Who universe.

I have, however, been thoroughly scared, horrified, repelled (at all the right bits) and moved by Broadchurch throughout its 3 series. I know that he has form for writing a brilliant female character for this actor. So any worries I may have had have evaporated with excitement at this excellent combination.

The third reason is that I’m sure Jennie Rigg will be delighted to have the first Doctor from Yorkshire. Will Jodie overtake the Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker, in her estimation?

For the record, I suspect not. You never lose your attachment to the Doctor you grew up with. In the run up to the 50th anniversary special, I did this 30 day blog challenge and right up until I wrote who my favourite Doctor was, I had thought it would be Tennant. At the very last moment I changed it. There was no way it could be anyone other than Tom.

It makes me happy to think that in 30 years time, my nephew Ethan could be telling his kids that his Doctor was Jodie Whittaker.

Roll on Christmas Day when we’ll get a fleeting glimpse of our 13th Doctor.

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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31 Comments

  • So, even Dr Who beats the Liberal Democrats to giving a woman the top job.

  • Sorry but I’m going to say it. What has this got to do with the LibDems? I get that you’re a big fan of the show, and that lots of people are. That’s fine – good luck to you. But lots of us really couldn’t care less, and we come here to discuss LibDem issues.

  • jayne Mansfield 16th Jul '17 - 6:58pm

    But not in theory,

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '17 - 6:58pm

    Has she been on Strictly Come Dancing?

  • Mick Taylor 16th Jul '17 - 7:26pm

    Only 1 woman ever applied to be LibDem leader, Jackie Ballard. Our problem was not having enough women MPs able to apply. Many of us had hoped the opportunity would arise this time, but Jo declined to stand. You can’t elect a woman leader if women don’t stand for the post. I hope next time we’ll see a woman standing.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 16th Jul '17 - 8:26pm

    Tom,

    There are a disproportionate number of Lib Dems who are Doctor Who fans. I suspect a fair few will find this interesting.

    It, is, after all, Sunday, a day when we can surely be permitted a little deviation from the political rough and tumble. .

    And, frankly, if the subject matter of a particular piece isn’t to your taste, you are under no obligation to read it.

  • “There are a disproportionate number of Lib Dems who are Doctor Who fans”
    Well, at the risk of seeming even more Grinch-like, I’d say that’s an assumption without evidence, wouldn’t you (?)
    But I honestly don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade. This is obviously a big day for DrW fans and as I said earlier, good luck to you – take your pleasure where you can get it. My point is this forums has a purpose, and when that gets diluted we all lose.
    I don’t think DrW fans are finding a shortage of places to discuss their programme this evening. I just don’t really see why this should be one of them. (Even if it is a Sunday!)

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 16th Jul '17 - 9:45pm

    Fair enough, Tom. But we will have to agree to disagree on that.

  • Tom: it’s not an assumption, but rather something there’s quite a lot of evidence for as polling about Doctor Who has frequently shown Lib Dems are disproportionately fans of the show. E.g. Lib Dems are more likely to be fans of the show (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/feb/03/lib-dems-party-science-fiction-fans) and to have views on merits of a female Doctor (https://twitter.com/JoeTwyman/status/886652417533771778).

  • Every new doctor has a CHANCE to replace Colin as my favourite. None of them have so far.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jul '17 - 10:51pm

    I have not fully engaged with this programme since I was a small boy and was and am of the view that Jon Pertwee is the best ever, added to by have the pleasure of meeting him just after he left , when he played Abannazar in Aladdin, and my mother got us to the stage door , he invited us in to his dressing room , and my brother climbed up on to his knee and sat on his lap .

    I think Jennie terrific for rooting for the underdog Baker .

  • I support the decision if it was not a PC move due to pressure of social media et al. However, if it enhances the story line, then i am a fan. Look at the bright side, it leaves the possibility of changing many gender roles. It can transcend the other way too. Wonder woman can be Wonder-man!! Food for thought

  • Richard Church 16th Jul '17 - 11:02pm

    Colin Baker campaigned for the Liberal Democrats in the 1997 General Election, supporting the PPC for Northampton North Lesley Dunbar.

  • Ah Mark – but…..
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/shock-news-lib-dems-arent-dr-who-fans-196.html

    (No – I don’t have a database of all Mark’s internet posts so I can taunt him with something slightly contradictory he wrote over a decade ago – was idly wondering how many LDV posts there have been about Dr Who and that came up 🙂

  • Laurence Cox 17th Jul '17 - 1:05am

    @Tom

    Brian Orrell (a leading figure in London Lib Dems) played a Cyberman in Doctor Who. This information even made it on to Michael Crick’s Twitter feed:

    https://twitter.com/michaellcrick/status/503162324942082048?lang=en

  • I remember watching the first Dr. Who show but my interest in Dr. Who had waned by 1994.

  • Liberal Neil 17th Jul '17 - 7:50am

    Great article Caron. Jodie is a fine actor. Brilliant in Marchlands too.

    Let’s hope we get the Broadlands Chibnall, not the early Torchwood one 😉

    Stephen Lloyd MP also appeared in the programme once, and Sal Brinton worked as Floor Manager (I think) on the show.

  • David Evershed 17th Jul '17 - 8:48am

    If I was Jodie Whittaker I would want to be judged on my future performances in the Dr Who role rather than on my gender or past performances.

  • The choice of the new Doctor Who is clearly a progressive gesture that will not only impact future casting decisions in entertainment but also highlights the importance of equality and fairness that all social/lib democrats policy choices should be aspiring to. Good example of how centre ground thinking will win through eventually!

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '17 - 10:16am

    When I was a kid there were people who wanted to land on the moon and come back alive. As usual there were people who equated ‘very difficult’ with ‘impossible’.
    It would be very expensive, breathing is necessary and so is overcoming Earth’s gravity.
    People are now wanting to send humans to Mars, which involves withstanding boredom for long periods, protecting against solar flares and facing up to the risk that they might not come back.

  • Richard Church: I did not know that!

    Lorenzo: I could point to lots of good and valid reasons why Colin Is Best, but I suspect really it’s because he was the Doctor when i was 8. It’s amazing how often that is true of people’s favourite Doctor 😉

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Jul '17 - 11:30am

    Doctor Who is the quintessential embodiment of a ‘citizen of nowhere’, so I doubt many Brexiteers are fans of the show. And Theresa May just wouldn’t get it at all.

  • Yeovil Yokel 17th Jul '17 - 11:34am

    Sorry Caron, but I’m with Tom on this. Doctor Who is still a kids’ programme, however sophisticated it may have become in recent years. I grew up in the Pertwee/Baker era, and my children watched the Ecclestone/Tennant versions – but I and they have moved on.

    There’s nothing wrong with us letting our light-hearted and joyous side emerge occasionally, but LDV is a political forum, not a fab club for sci-fi enthusiasts and fluffy dog admirers. Furthermore, this forum is public, and not all of the visitors and contributors are fans of the Lib Dems. So stuff like this could give ammunition to our numerous and sometimes malevolent opponents to portray us as political lightweights who are not fit to govern.

    By all means kick off a interesting debate about women taking on roles formerly monopolised by men, using Dr. Who as an example, but this is neither the time or place (or should that be Time And Relative Dimension In Space?) for a sci-fi discussion.

    I will now retreat to the orchard to avoid the FYM which will be coming my way shortly.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Jul '17 - 12:18pm

    Yes, Jennie, as with me, but younger than you when keen on Jon Pertwee , must have been more like four years old !

    Colin Baker, as with Tom, earlier, is a real character , as a man and actor.

  • Neil Sandison 17th Jul '17 - 12:24pm

    You have to see it this way the series has got a new doctor to lead it who happens to be a woman to tackle the cybermen of conformity .We have a regenerated doctor in Vince Cable to tackle the Brexit Daleks who want to sever our ties with Europe and make us slaves to Trumps USA.The cyber tories who just want to upgrade us all in their own image removing all compassion and human feeling where we follow their dictate and warped values of selfishness and an zombie like hunger for power at any price.

  • It’s been a long wait with many disappointments on the way (like the Lib Dems)… but …

    First of all Huddersfield Town get promoted to the top Division after a 45 year absence ….with Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart as Club Honorary President………… and now we have a Huddersfield lass as the new Dr. Who. She’s a true daughter of Yorkshire, a supporter of HTAFC, and her Dad used to be President of the Huddersfield Central Cricket League.

    Harold Wilson (and H.H. Asquith) will be grinning somewhere beyond the Milky Way and the Huddersfield Choral Society will be singing the Hallelujah chorus….

    Well done, Jodie lass.

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