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It has been a preserve of the executive producer of Doctor Who as to what direction the Time Lord spins in, and more often than not just who will play the man from Gallifrey - that's the prerogative and perk attached to the position.
Russell T Davies spoke about his desire to cast Catherine Zeta-Jones in the lead role, but ultimately the time wasn't right. However with the discovery of Missy's true identity during Dark Water, Steven Moffat has proved that he has no problem changing the gender of a Time Lord. Is this his way of testing the water for the main event? Could Doctor 13 be a female? And if so, just who could play him...er...her?
Of course, all season long we've had comments of 'Clara Who', with areas of fandom upset that the companion seems to be taking the lead more and more, and has become as important to the show as the Doctor himself. This could all be another area of testing for Steven Moffat's gender-swapping masterplan. But if the roles, or genders, were reversed would it be so terrible? After all, as Flatline proved, Clara made a good Doctor.
It's unlikely that Jenna Coleman would be considered as the next Doctor, so who could fill Peter Capaldi's size 10 Loake's? And would they be in heels?
A change in gender would of course cause a degree of consternation among many fans, and I can almost imagine the cries of outrage as Zoe Ball announces the next Doctor live. People that can just about handle the thought of a female Master may well be pushed over the edge by this radical change. Who knows what they'd get up to...
But surely it's no worse an idea than that of a blonde Bond? Think of the backlash Daniel Craig received upon casting, and then look at how he silenced his critics.
Change my dear...
Regeneration lends itself to the idea, in theory there's nothing to say that it couldn't or shouldn't be done. But let's just put ourselves on the opposing side for a minute and consider some negatives...
The moment arrives. As the shaft of yellow regeneration light disappears the Doctor discovers he/she has sprouted a pair of breasts, exclaiming "great, now I have to worry about bras, make-up and coordinated outfits!"
Whilst we're at this level of stupidity I feel we should get all the chauvinistic crap out of the way...
Nobody wants a female Doctor who would get all broody when the annual 'kids on the TARDIS' episode takes place. Who wants to hear a Doctor complaining that she "just can't do anything with her hair today"? Or catch a glimpse of a wet thong drying on the Tardis console! In the heat of the moment, who wants to see the Doctor recoil because she has broken a nail on a Dalek? Or stopping the action to put a bit of lippy on before chastising a Villain?
Then there's the thought of that kiss shared between the Doctor and the Master...
...what would Roger Delgado and Jon Pertwee say?..
In the past Doctor Who was famous for including 'something for the Dad's', often in the form of the Doctor's glamorous assistant...
...with the roles reversed just imagine for a minute the possibility of fancying the Doctor! Indeed the thought of it alone might leave a lot of male fans wrapped around the toilet basin in a similar way to Ace Ventura (think plunger on the face).
Hold on whilst I turn my stupidity button back to safe and manageable levels for my own safety.
We live in a very different era to the days of Peri's ample cleavage, Leela's skintight leopard skin and Zoe's Lycra-clad behind. We've changed as a society and Doctor Who as a show barely resembles the classic series which ran for 26 years. Any change as radical as this would likely be handled very respectfully. So part of me thinks "Hold on, this is an idea worth exploring.."
If 'the Doctor' was advertised as a job, what would the candidate require? It's unlike other roles such as Morse, Frost or the one in the village that has a larger Police force than it has residents due to the fact that most of them are killed off weekly - I forget the name. The role of the Doctor is a multifaceted part, demanding lots from the actor. They have to be part hero, part court jester and part scientific whizz. In the past no chosen actor has totally failed, but it goes without saying that some were undoubtedly better than others.
So, who of the fairer sex could play Who? Let's press on and offer up some choices before we decide to set the TARDIS controls to self destruct.
Alex Kingston who played River Song would have been perfect. Saucy, witty, brave and determined but with a soft element that might even confuse a marauding group of extraterrestrials. I have always enjoyed her performances, she was more than a match for the Doctor and good value when ever she made an appearance.
If she wasn't a Dame I'd throw Helen Mirren's hat into the ring (I'm really going for it here). Not that I'd expect she'd even consider or accept the part, but when I imagine her in the lead I see her arms crossed with a disapproving face that would scare the daylights out of most life forms. Her stern 'School Mistress' approach would make her a sort of time traveling Miss Jean Brody.
What about some other options? How about Kate Beckinsale? The vampire killing action girl. Intelligent, stunning and up for a fight. I'm not sure about a leather cat suit, you can take things a bit too far sometimes. Then there's Helena Bonham Carter. She would certainly have fun playing the quirky genius, but her Gothic and grungy fashion sense might cause seriously ripples in the wardrobe department at the Beeb.
What about a suggestion from someone who's actually steered old "Sexy" (that would make the relationship interesting!). Matt Smith weighed in with a comment (maybe slightly flippant or genuine, hard to tell), "I think Jennifer Saunders would be great in Doctor Who". He might not be suggesting that she play the lead but I think it's worth considering. She's a fine actress and comedian and could probably pull it off. She could even be joined by Joanna Lumley as her companion, an Absolutely Fabulous in space (I'm back to joking now of course).
But now I've raised the issue I'm beginning to struggle for anymore alternatives. Finding the attributes in a male lead has proved difficult, so when you chuck in the complexity of a change of gender, well that makes successful casting a massive headache for both the executive producer and the chosen actor.
This time last year who would've thought we'd have a female Master? So who knows what the future will bring. This means that the idea of who could play a female Doctor is certainly worth considering, because unlike when the tabloid newspapers throw it out there every few years, it's now more likely to happen than ever before. So what are your thoughts? Which actresses could genuinely pull off the roll successfully? Let me know in the comments below.
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