DOCTOR WHO - A female Master. WHO's next?

Tom Pheby examines the W-hoopla over gender changing in Doctor Who.

Over the last seven days the world has been recovering from the revelation that the Master has become a Mistress. It's something that has caused huge amounts of controversy amongst fans - check out any Doctor Who group or fan-page for very divided opinions - and has also filled a fair few column inches in the press.

Inevitably the talk quickly turned to "If the Master is now a woman, then the Doctor will likely change sex next". Even The Guardian, which rarely gets involved in such trivial matters, had an opinion. Mathilda Gregory went strongly for the pro camp by saying:
"A female Doctor would be a brilliant, thrilling turn for the show. Missy is already so much more fun than the Master, and her sex change is raising interesting questions.

Naturally, some nerdy dudebros of the internet are upset about all this. The nightmarish reveal in the episode that dead people remain conscious was nothing compared to the idea that women might get inside the Tardis and bleed on everything they love. Already the old arguments are being prepared, such as: “What if the Doctor got married, then changed sex?”, as if that isn’t something that happens in real life. As if Time Lords becoming women is baffling in a way that Time Lords becoming Scottish isn’t.

But a female Doctor is a-comin’, I’m calling it now. You may begin fan casting. I still, as ever, go for Tilda Swinton – my #TildaDoctorSwintonWho hashtag may yet gain some traction."

After seeing Michelle Gomez' brilliant portrayal of what had always previously been a male character it's harder than ever to argue against the idea of a strong female actress taking the title role in Doctor Who. Her cross between a Victorian dominatrix, Mary Poppins and Dot Cotton, retains the evil and devious elements of the Master, but presents them in a softer, more intelligent way than her manic predecessor John Simm.

But not everyone is on board with a possible gender change. Former Doctor Who, Peter Davison (who starred as the Fifth Doctor from 1981-1984) is firmly in the 'No' camp.
"To have a female would be like having a female James Bond. It would be a rather odd thing.

If you suddenly make the Doctor a woman, you effectively say, “Well, let’s give him a sex change” and I don’t think that works."
Yet the time may soon be right for a big dramatic change, especially following this season. Clara's emergence as a more than capable make shift Doctor has provided a stronger female presence on board the TARDIS than ever before, and, depending on your opinion, may just have proved it can work. Perhaps this is part of Moff's 'Big Plan'. He has hinted in the past that he had at least considered the idea of choosing a female as the Time Lord before casting Peter Capaldi in the role:
"It didn’t feel right to me, right now. I didn’t feel enough people wanted it [...] Oddly enough most people who said they were dead against it – and I know I’ll get into trouble for saying this – were women [...] [They were] saying, ‘No, no, don’t make him a woman!'"

While the debate raged on, it was nice to hear from the lady who sparked it all in the first place - the Mistress herself, Michelle Gomez. It would appear that she was destined to play the role, having missed out on another opportunity to appear in the show.      
"I was offered another part earlier in the season but I was doing this other show called Psycho Bitches, so I couldn’t do it. I was heartbroken and thought I’d missed my moment.
So, I wrote to Steven Moffat and said, “I can’t believe that I can’t do it and if you have any space in the future for a Scottish woman with high cheekbones who’s very good at playing witches and bitches, please please consider me.” And then thankfully, a few weeks later, I got this offer, which I grabbed with both hands."
Having written an article previously about a woman possibly assuming the role of the Doctor, what I originally set out to be a lighthearted piece now seems to have more merit than ever. So what are your thoughts on the subject? Do you like having a female Master? Do you think when Peter Capaldi hands in his Sonic it might just be time for the most drastic change in Doctor Who's history? And if so who do you think would make a great female Time Lord?

Let us know in the comments below...

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter
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