(BBC News School Report) Should the next Doctor be a woman?

(Reported by Honey Clark, Year 9)

Time travel, space, adventure, monsters and aliens – and of course, drama. All these things make up the  Science-Fiction show that millions know and love today. The show has been running of over 50 years and has captivated viewers into becoming lifelong fans. Furthermore, Doctor Who has worked its way into British culture and is part of what makes our culture so enviable. Whether everyone in this country likes it or not, I assure you most Brits have heard of the hit television show.


Early into 2017, Peter Capaldi confirmed his departure from the long-running Science Fiction show, Doctor Who. Fans have been in speculation as to whether the lead role of The Doctor will be replaced with a female actress. Capaldi confirmed that he had had enough and it was time for a change. Head writer, Steven Moffat has also confirmed he will be leaving the show and as we are aware, Moffat is really in favour of having a female lead in the show.

Fans are now aware that the Doctor has the ability to change his appearance and personality during regeneration. However we have learned in Season 8 that Time Lords can also change their gender. Being introduced to Missy in Season 8 was a shock to viewers as no one expected a gender change. This was Moffat’s way of telling us that the Doctor could change gender at any time. But is it really what watchers of the show want?

Steven Moffat is extremely keen on the idea of a female lead. He said to Wales Online that “There easily could be a female Doctor. I think the next time might be a female Doctor. I don’t see why not. I think it’s good to do that.” Which has caused fans to think. Will he really take that much of a risk by changing the gender of the main character? Many people are behind the idea as they feel it is time for a change and it is about time a female stepped up to the role.  Maybe it is time to wipe out the stereotype of the hero always being a handsome male who is strong and saves the princess. Fans feel like this has been a stereotype for too long and something needs to change; changing the gender of one of the most significant characters in television history would be the perfect opportunity. Most Sci-Fi television and films predominantly have male lead characters. However it makes sense that in the 21st Century women should have equal opportunities to influence all genres of film and TV. If they can change the gender of the Ghostbuster then they can change the gender of the Doctor, right? A large majority of actors in the list of bookies’ favourites are females.

The current favourite to be the next time lord is female actress, Tilda Swinton. It is rumoured that she could be taking over as the thirteenth Doctor. Although, Swinton is a well-respected female actress who might be able to do the role justice, many viewers are still of the opinion that the role should be continue to be portrayed by a male actor.

On the other hand, British people are known for not liking change. We like things the way they are and unless they must change, we would rather they didn’t. So why would Steven Moffat choose to change something so dramatically? Many fans simply see that there is no problem the way it is, so changing it would have uncertain results. No one knows what will happen if he did decide to recast the character as a female. The results could be incredible and ratings could increase dramatically.

On the flip side, it could have disastrous effects where fans stop watching because of the new role, leading to ratings dropping. Furthermore, some fans are speculating that “there would never be a female James Bond, Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter, so why would you change the gender of one of the nation’s favourite British fictional characters?” Moffat would upset a very large percentage of fans by changing the Doctor’s gender. Will he actually do it? He has already changed the gender of the Master, so would it be too much changing the gender of another character too?

So what does this mean for the future of Doctor Who? Will Steven Moffat go along with the idea of a female role? Or will he continue the tradition of having a male lead? Whatever he does decide to do, I am sure Doctor Who will still remain one of the most popular shows in British television history.