When news broke that Jodie Whittaker would become the next Doctor on Doctor Who, fans of the show reacted in a variety of ways. Most were ecstatic, but others struggled to imagine the character, who’s so culturally important, being played by anyone other than a white male — and that group includes a former Doctor.
The show has a long history, as it originally aired on BBC from 1963 until 1989, and then relaunched again in 2005. And one of the old Doctors, Peter Davison, who played the character in the early ’80s, had some pretty sexist things to say about the female casting.
We wonder what his reaction would be to the fact that Whittaker will be paid as much as the male Doctors before her. Actually, on second thought, we don’t.
Davison’s statement about Doctor Who being a role model for boys is utterly eye-roll inducing, particularly because almost every sci-fi and action movie or show out there is for boys, and women are forced to empathize with male heroes all the time. Gotta love a double standard!
Davison did acknowledge the possibility that his opinion is outdated, but it didn’t seem to stop him from commenting on the casting. “As a viewer, I kind of like the idea of the Doctor as a boy, but then maybe I’m an old-fashioned dinosaur — who knows?”
Um, actually…we know!
That is old-fashioned, especially since so many girls watch Doctor Who and would probably like to see a woman Doctor! As always, there was some backpedaling done when Davison realized the err of his ways and said that Whittaker was a “terrific actress” and that she will do a “wonderful job.”
Unfortunately, our eyes already rolled so far back into our heads after his first comments that we can’t even look him in the eye to praise his encouragement for Whittaker.
Luckily, the Time Lord who succeeded Davison, played by Colin Baker, responded perfectly:
He makes a great point, because if role models had to be the same gender or sex as the kids they inspired, girls would be left with very few options.
Even though Davison feels “sad” about the female casting of the Doctor, tons of women are celebrating this moment.
“They’ve really done it this time!” said former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan.
The irony of it all is that the Doctor is actually a shape-shifting alien, and it only makes sense that the character would be played by a diverse group of actors. As comedian Cristela Alonzo tweeted, “WOC next.”