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And Now For Something Completely Different

John Barrowman Thinks the Next Doctor Should Be a Woman, and We Will Not Argue With That

While speaking to the media in Glasgow, Scotland, John Barrowman said that after Matt Smith decides to call it a day and regenerate into the 12th Doctor, perhaps a woman should take the TARDIS controls on Doctor Who. He’s even offered to put on a dress and do it himself. And once John Barrowman stops saying awesome things, we will stop posting them. (Dear John Barrowman: Never stop saying awesome things. Never.)

Barrowman had the following to say while promoting his pantomime show, Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates:

“Listen, if Captain Jack can be an omni-sexual time agent and an assistant to the doctor, why can’t we have a female doctor?”

And then, on who could play such a role:

“… I always thought Catherine Tate would make a lovely female doctor, if they did something with her character, but I don’t know, I have no idea.”

And then, if absolutely no one else wanted the gig:

“Put me in a dress and I’ll be the female doctor.”

Heavens to Betsy, we are so on board with this. Between characters like Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen), River Song (Alex Kingston), the Doctor’s Daughter, and Donna Noble, why couldn’t the Doctor be a woman? Right after regenerating into the 11th Doctor, the Doctor wondered if he had become a woman, so surely, it’s a possibility. And if you’re going to try to debate the use of the word “Lord” when referring to a female Time Lord as opposed to “Time Lady,” then consider this: the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is the Lord of Mann, the Lord Proprietor of the Isle of Man. If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, then shouldn’t it be good enough for the Doctor?

Come on, seriously — what better way to celebrate a show that’s been around for nearly 50 years than with a bit of diversity?

(By the way, yes — that is John Barrowman in drag. From when he played Zaza in the West End production of La Cage Aux Folles. And he is a very handsome woman indeed!)

(via Blastr)

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  • Robot Girlfriend

    I’ve been wanting a female doctor since I started watching the new series! Or even ANY female time lord to be a real character, like The Master or The Meddling Monk!

  • Whitney Drake

    Definitely on board with a female incarnation of The Doctor.  And considering Eleven briefly wondered if he was a girl, and talked about the Corsair regenerating as a woman… it’s not something unheard of.  It would certainly make for a great shakeup.  (Though honestly, finding a way to bring back The Doctor Donna would be AMAZING.  Tate is brilliant)

  • Shard Aerliss

    It would make for interesting exploration of the human psyche, international cultures and societies as well gender, sex and sexuality. These are the sorts of things that good scifi should and does explore. If it had happened in his third or fourth regen it would work. However, now it would very much feel like a publicity stunt rather than part of the natural evolution of the show. They should simply open up the auditions to women and pick the best person to play the character, rather than seek out a specific gender (or race… Chiwetel Ejiofor for the Doctor!).

    Also; all arguments against the idea of a female Time LORD are irrelevant; refers to herself in the show as a Time Lord and the title Time Lady is also used.He did regen as a woman once, played by Joanna Lumley, but that was just a comedy, non-cannon short XD (dunno if international audiences will be able to see it… youtube should have it somewhere else though)

  • Bad Influence Speaks

    I completely agree with Whitney Drake. Having a Doctor Donna would be amazing. The 10th wanted to be ginger, and the 11th wondered if he was a woman, so why not be both?

    It would also be a nice way to change Donna’s storyline. The way they ended it broke my heart. I’ve seen it twice and just can’t watch it again because I cry so hard.

  • Anonymous

    There were a few rumblings about a female doctor the last time, when it became known that David Tennant was stepping down from the role. Either way the show does seem to be run by a creative team who are very progressive in their attitudes generally. They’ve done a few ‘firsts’ (first married couple travelling in the TARDIS, first openly ‘gay/omnisexual’ companion ect.) Guess it might be time for a new first…

  • Ceili

    God, no. No no no. I want a female Time Lord more than anything, but if I see Donna Noble one more time I am washing my hands of Doctor Who forever. Even seeing her in the recent cameo was almost enough to make me turn off the episode.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I’d love for Donna to come back. I thought her removal from the show was really… well, lame. She didn’t die saving someone, she didn’t choose to leave the Doctor, she was just made to forget. Really, really lame. I felt the same way about Rose, but liked Rose less. If you’re going to remove a character from a show, kill them. Don’t do a half-arsed job about it.

  • st3v1 f3rg

    Zooey Deschanel. Female AND American = highly unlikely, but it sounds awesome in my head.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I just saw another article on the same subject and the comments to that were…interesting. And by interesting I mean horrendous and bigoted.

    Sigh…If I had to nominate an actress for the role it’d likely be Keeley Hawes, star of Ashes to Ashes and the voice of Lara Croft. Especially since they already had John Simm (Life on Mars) as the Master…

  • Shard Aerliss

    lol, I think an American Doctor would get more hatred than any other change to the forumla they could make.

    “You’re an alien? But your American!”
    “Lot’s of countries have an America.”

    Doesn’t quite work XD

  • Francesca M

    I’m going to be the voice of dissent. Sorry. I just prefer the Doctor to be a male. *TAKES COVER* I know I know. But I’ve had a long conversation about it with other whovian ladies, and I just like him as a male. I can’t quite explain it but to me its a tiny thread of continuity that I prefer. He could come out ginger polkadotted and I’d be okay with it. But if we were casting…

    If Catherine Tate hadn’t already been in Who as Donna I think she’d have been fantastic. Also there were constant rumors for years of Joanna Lumley having been cast as the Doctor. Take a look at the Curse of Fatal Death on youtube for a glimpse of a that ( written by Mister Moffat) anothe good choice would be Dawn French, for that matter Jennifer Saunders.

  • Francesca M


  • ainok

    I stopped watching the show after what they did to Donna. I just…couldn’t.

    (I fudged a bit to watch the last eps with 10, but I haven’t seen any of the new series at all.)

  • nmlop

    Chiwetel Ejiofor for the Doctor!


    (Also, a lady would be nice! But also Chiwetel Ejiofor!)

  • Shard Aerliss

    It’s a whole new production team for the new Doctor though. It was RTD that ruined Donna.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I’d say Zoe Wannamaker, though again she’s already been in Who as a recurring character. Though they’d likely go with an unknown again.

  • Kristin Frederickson

    It would be nice if there was a female Doctor, but the writers have done such a great job of including proper female characters in the show that I’m not gonna get my panties all in a bunch of the Doctor never becomes one. I could think of a ton of other shows where I’d like to see the protagonist gender swapped for some more equal representation, though not very many have as convenient a plot device as “regenerations” for doing so.

  • Kim Tink

    Yeah.. but if it was Doctor Donna, what would happen to the current Doctor character? He couldn’t regen into someone else (as far as I know).. would he die? That’s the only way I can see it working.

    If not.. I don’t think they could use Catherine because she’s already been Donna. They’d have to change her appearance to fit another character in the same universe. I don’t see it working, unfortunately. I still want a female Doctor, though. Preferably one smart and sassy as Donna or River Song. :)

  • Kim Tink

    Haha, no different then a british character being an alien, really. What, other planets (I’m thinking you mean that and not countries) have UK? XD

    Sides, I think various Doctor’s have been other nationalities.. isn’t David Tennant scottish?

  • Anonymous

    Why not Chiwetel Ejiofor in drag, like Barrowman suggested?

  • Francesca M

    Wannamaker would be good as well. She is a recurring but for the most part you don’t recognize her so she could still come out.

  • Francesca M

    Well said.

  • Alice Tordoff

    What about the girl who play Luna Lovegood? She can play weird and quirky.

  • super

    A Gallifreyian is not a TRILL from STar Trek.  I might be mistaken but i ever saw a Gallifreyian regenerate into another gender.  I believe once a male you are forever a male and the same thing with female Gallifreyian.  Did the Master ever regenerate into a female???  Nope.  If you want a female time lord character you now have River. 

  • Shard Aerliss

    lol, type cast much? ;)

  • Shard Aerliss

    Why wouldn’t he be able to regen?

  • Anonymous

    Typecast?  Does Ejiofor typically play a woman?

  • Maiasaura

    Tennant’s a Scot, yeah, and actually, I believe the Seventh Doctor was played by Sylvester McCoy with a Scottish accent.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Yeah, planets… commenting at 1am not a good idea sometimes.

    Just like with that other great British regenerator, James Bond; any country in the UK is allowed, but woe betide anyone who tries to make him American. The fans would eat the casting director alive.

  • Maiasaura

    Actually, as of 6×04, there’s canon confirmation that Time Lords can switch gender–the Doctor mentions that the Corsair was a man in some regenerations and a woman in others.

  • Komiyan

    It’d be nice to have Romana or The Rani back, it’s true..

  • Komiyan

    In all fairness, their canon with regards regeneration is shakey at best. There was one episode where Romana regenerated like 5 times as if she was trying on new clothes, and the Master’s ran out of his 13 regens before now but he’s still trucking due to plot devices.

    They can do whatever they like with them, because they’re the writers and its their show :)

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    My husband had an awesome idea about bringing Donna back… as a villain.

    Wait, wait, hear me out! The doctor really *needs* a villain who is his equal, and Donna, if she had her memories back, would have all of the Doctor’s knowledge. She is his match. If she were acted on by an outside force (say whoever helped her get her memories back), she would also have good reason to turn on the Doctor: he abandoned her. (Made Amy Pond hate him, and Donna is even fierier and more fragile than Amy.) Also, there’s a great literary tradition of best mates turning into arch nemeses, and I think the Doctor/ Donna chemistry would be blisteringly amazing if it turned adversarial.

  • Anonymous

    He played a drag queen in Kinky Boots. (And was fantastic.)

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Since I’ve had a bit of a crush on David Tennant’s Doctor (my fiance is lucky I met him before I met the Doctor) to me it would be weird to have a female Doctor. I WANT the Doctor to be crushable, and since as-of-yet I haven’t felt attraction towards other women…it just wouldn’t be the same to me.

    That’s just my shallow reasoning for wanting the Doctor to remain male.

  • oathcircle

    Please, for the love of fuck, do not drag your gender politics and bullshit into something that I use to escape back into  my childhood.

    I simply do not trust anyone to do a female Doctor without smacking me over the head with gender related issues.

    Tell you what Barrowman: Write and produce a decent Sci Fi TV show with a strong female lead first. Because currently, one doesn’t exist. THEN, and only then, should you attempt a female Doctor.

  • Shard Aerliss

    The Rani, the Rani, the Rani, the Rani, the Rani!

    When the previews for The Doctor’s Wife came out I was praying we were seeing the return of the Rani.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Oooh, I like that. Not sure Catherine Tate could pull of villain but I’d be willing to see her give it a try.

    My other half thinks the kid with the hole in his head, the super genius (sorry, been a long time since I watched his episodes), would make a good villain who’s on equal footing with the Doctor.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Was he? I know Fifth had some Welsh thing going on (the leek) but I’m not very familiar with Fifth.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Not to be a spoil sport or anything, but most of the Doctors before DT were far from traditional crush material.

    Plus, as I said above; it’d make for a great way to explore gender and sexuality within the show.

  • Shard Aerliss

    But Who is already playing in the gender politics pig pen. The Classics touched on the subject here and there, though gender politics was too new back then for them to make a concious, concerted effort to ask questions and postulate answers. They wafted around it a bit in the RTD years (though sexuality and race were his thing) and it’s becoming a distinct part of the show with Rory and Amy about, as they practically swap traditional gender roles every episode.

  • Anonymous

    This echoes my sentiments exactly. Given the complete lack of subtlety shown in Doctor Who already in regards to various political/sexual/religious arguments since its resurrection, I have concern that every second word out of FemDoc’s mouth would be some sort of pseudo-feminist filibuster. I’d love to be proven wrong, of course, but still…

    The problem with changing any character of a particular gender/ethnicity/whatnot into a different gender/ethnicity/whatnot is that it can undermine as much as succeed in its claims to bring more diversity.  Having the Doctor become female/black in one regeneration might be seen as encouraging, true – but it could also be seen as a sign that people would only accept authoritative female/black characters if they’re riding the coattails of an existing male character. This is why ideas about a black James Bond irritate me: why not create a new black secret agent with a whole new history instead of just standing on the shoulders of a white character, making him stand out just because he’s the first black actor in a long line of white actors to portray the character? Similarly, instead of making her “that one time the Doctor was a woman,” why not start from the beginning with a character who started as a woman?

    It’s simply not worth it. As Oathcircle said, let’s write and produce a good SF TV show with a strong female lead *from the beginning* instead of trying to show off how very “diverse” and “forward-thinking” we are.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I know that the earlier Doctors were all played by older, gnerally un-crushable actors….But now that we HAVE crushable Doctors, I don’t want to let go. I think I just relate with male characters better? Most of my favorite book characters are male, and I tend to sob more when my favorite male characters are sad/hurt as opposed to my favorite female characters. Dunno why…anyway, I don’t know if I’ll have the same emotional attachment to a female Doctor. But, we’ll see.

  • Anonymous

    So what you’re saying is that introducing a female or non-white doctor (or 007, or whatever) could only ever be a publicity stunt? That there’s no way that the writers might just think that that’s a better direction for the character, or that, god forbid, they didn’t actually see the character’s race or gender as the primary motivator for that character’s actions? 

    And don’t try to make this some kind of pseudo-feminist argument about how those characters would be riding a white male character’s coattails, so we should just have the women find their own show, for their own good. 

  • Anonymous

    I feel like, at this point, having a white male doctor is just as much of a statement as not. If we’re assuming (and I know many people don’t, but I think canon supports it) that the doctor regenerates more or less randomly, and if we’re assuming that the pool of available regeneration bodies more or less reflects human demographics (that is, roughly 50% female, minority white), the odds that he would regenerate as a white male eleven times are infinitesimal.  

  • Anonymous

    If the Doctor must regenerate as woman, How about:  Freema Agyeman or Catherine Tate?  Alex Kingston, or the actress who played the Silurian and her human girlservant(A Good Man Goes To War)?  Any of them might be good, I think…

  • Kim Tink

    Donna’s a separate character. She couldn’t take his place unless he was gone. I guess they could both be around at the same time, though. Although she wouldn’t really be “THE” Doctor that way.

  • Shard Aerliss

    No, but they could bring back Doctor Donna, or at least Donna.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I usually relate better to male characters too. There are very few female characters I actively like and are disappointed when they’re not around for a while. Who is one of the few shows with female characters I feel some connection with and can understand their actions. Sometimes think I should have been born a gay man… well a gay male baby because being born a man is just, well, it doesn’t bare thinking about.

    Where was I?

    I just don’t think there’s a reason for a character to be played by someone who is generally held to be attractive just to be a good and well loved character (don’t us weirdos with bizarre tastes deserve to be catered to if the rest of you normals are? XP ). Plenty of perfectly straight men adore the Doctor in various different incarnations after all.

  • Shard Aerliss

    But… Alex Kingston is River. Bringing her in as a Doctor would be an odd casting move.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Interesting thought; what IS the racial demographic of Gallifrey? How did the species evolve and in what environments? Are there vast swatches of tropical and subtropical land masses on the planet, or is it a colder, darker planet?

  • Anonymous

    I’m wondering the same thing, now. I think we can assume that it’s relatively earthlike, right, given that various Timelords have been able to come here and survive just fine (not just post-regeneration – I’m thinking of the ones at the end of season four, when they were trying to pull Gallifrey back into our universe. They weren’t here for long, but they survived). I would be comfortable assuming that they would have a gender makeup similar to ours (binary-ish, more or less equally distributed) and some racial diversity.

    I guess my biggest question is if they always regenerate as Timelords (like, do Timelords have a distinct physical form, or is it just whatever they happen to regenerate as?). I remember when 9 was regenerating, he said something about having two heads, or no head, which suggest that they don’t always regenerate in the same form, but he always has two hearts, so there is some consistency there. 

  • Shard Aerliss

    “The only thing consistent in Doctor Who canon is its inconsistencies.” XD Honestly, it’s worse than Star Trek!

  • Anonymous

    Heh, exactly. Although it does let me justify pretty much anything I want – there’s probably canon evidence somewhere!

  • Anonymous

    River is the eleventh Doctor’s daughter by Amy Pond….  She’s part human and part Gallifreyan.
    Just the right mix to be a Doctor…  Mr. Spock’s mother was an Earth Woman named Amanda Greyson…(See Journey to Babel, STOS)  Or Saskia Reeves, I’m easy…

  • Maiasaura

    Oh, I thought Five had celery…I wouldn’t know about leeks or Wales.  I have only a passing knowledge of Classic Who.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I’m not sure I understand. You don’t want Alex Kingston to play the actual Doctor, rather you want to lose The Doctor and replace him with River, giving her the title of Doctor?

    What’s Spock got to do with it? (only been up an hour, go easy on me)

  • Anonymous

    It’s like this…  Either give the title to River, or cast Alex Kingston as the new Doctor, and have River still appear as the Doctor’s daughter when they need her to make appearances…

    Cmdr. Spock, UFP/SFAF,(United Federation of Planets, Star Fleet Armed Forces) is on part Vulcan.  His mother’s name is Amanda Grayson…  We saw her in the Star Trek The Original Series episode,  Journey to Babel…  River, is part human(her mother Amy’s side) and part Gallifreyan.(The Eleventh and current Doctor’s side.)

    That’s what I meant.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I still don’t see what Spock (yes, I know WHO Spock is and his backstory, thanks) has to do with doing something weird to make River the Doctor, two completely different characters not actually related as far as we know. River isn’t Gallifreyan but she is a Time Lord. She’s not the Doctor’s daughter, she’s Rory’s daughter.

    The Doctor isn’t just a title that can be bestowed. It’s not like he’s The Batman. When the Doctor dies another person doesn’t take on the identity of The Doctor, he regenerates. It’s the same person, just with a new face and slightly different personality.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what I’m trying to say. When this Doctor regenerates, he ends up looking like, Say, River or somebody else.  Who they get to play that part, is in question.

  • Emma Liberman

    I want a Doctor I can crush on! And that probably involves being a lady. Since you know. I’m *queer*. And hey, straight dudes can appreciate a lady Doctor! Yes, my reasons are shallow. Deal with them.

    But seriously, I would like a non-white person, man or woman, to play the Doctor.