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Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat Takes Credit For Gender Swapping Time Lords But Says Politics Won’t Make A Female Doctor

The World Doesn't End Because the Doctor Dances

When I heard Steven Moffat was talking about women playing Doctor Who’s Doctor again, I wanted to crawl into a hole with a bear. That can probably give you an indication of what he said. 

When it was revealed Matt Smith was planning to leave Doctor Who, all sorts of names were thrown into the ring as to who might take his coveted role. So many, in fact, we even wrote up a list of 12 people who wouldn’t play the Doctor the next time around. But one thing was for sure, many of us here would have loved to see a woman play the Doctor.

A quick search on the site revealed John Barrowman for the idea, Helen Mirren talking about it not once, not twice, but thrice, and Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan loving the idea of Mirren as the Doctor. While Moffat said Peter Capaldi was the only actor on his list this time around, he added this when asked about hiring a woman, “It didn’t feel right to me, right now. I didn’t feel enough people wanted it.” Neil Gaiman, known for making Time Lord gender changes canon, said he would like to see a woman play the Doctor but following Capaldi.

That brings us up to now. Speaking in a Q&A at the Wales Hay Festival for Literature and the Arts, Moffat got on the topic of a woman playing the Doctor. The Telegraph reports:

“I don’t know why I’m the one who gets the grief for this. I’m the one who put the dialogue into the show to say it can happen.

“Do you know how it will happen? It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman. That is not how you cast the Doctor.

“A person will pop into the showrunner’s head and they’ll think. ‘Oh, my God, what if it was that person?’ And when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen.

“Casting is the dark arts of television. It is everything. That decision is central and absolute to everything you do. It’s the difference between a television programme and a sensation.

“So you don’t mess around with that; you don’t cast for any other reason than for passion and for aesthetics. It’s not a political decision, it’s an aesthetic decision and will always be.”

Capaldi was chosen in just such a manner. Moffat explained: “Peter Capaldi just kept popping into my head. I got him round to my house to audition. And He didn’t know he was the only person auditioning.”

I find it extremely odd Moffat is taking credit here for the dialogue about the Corsair in Gaiman’s “The Doctor’s Wife.” Unless he’s simply suggesting he “allowed” it to make it into the episode? How nice of him either way.

In the same Q&A Moffat said he would “consider” making a companion someone other than a 20th century female I very nearly did it last time.” That would be a breath of fresh air. He also alluded to the series almost endeding after David Tennant decided to depart.

“The idea that Doctor Who could go on at all in the absence of David was a huge question,” he said. “I didn’t realise how many people thought it wouldn’t succeed at all. That was quite terrifying when I found out about it later. I think there were plans maybe to consider ending it. It was Russell saying, you are not allowed to end it.”

(via The Daily Dot)

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."