Friday, 2 August 2013

A female Doctor Who?

I can hear a few people keeling over in horror already, and a few others doing fist pumps and victory dances. With all the recent fevered discussion over who the new Who might be, including calls for someone black, ginger, or female (or maybe all three? C'mon, how awesome might that be?!) and the announcement now scheduled for this coming Sunday, it seems an appropriate thought to muse over. I don't honestly believe it will ever happen. Although I think Joanna Lumley did a sterling performance as a female Doctor for Comic Relief (and imagine the fun as the new Doctor had to come to terms with not only regenerating into a new body but the opposite gender too), I think there'd be too much resistance to the idea. Imagine the possibilities though...

I'd love to see Zoƫ Wanamaker (Lady Cassandra in DW, Madame Hooch in Harry Potter) or Celia Imrie (Miss Kizlet under the influence of the entity for The Bells of Saint John.) play the role. Although perhaps someone younger would be wanted for the part (aaah, ageism as well as sexism. Well, I'm just judging on the current trend. Sad to say Matt Smith is the first actor to play the Doctor who is actually younger than me. Grrr). Failing that, I'd love to see the Rani (played by Kate O'Mara during the Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy eras) return. If both the Master and the Doctor could survive the Time War, why shouldn't she have done so? I think the Rani was a very underexploited character, particularly as a villain. After all, Gallifrey has had a female president (just as the UK has had a female Prime minister) and the Doctor had Romana - a Lady of Time - as his companion. If Star Trek can have a female captain (Janeway), why can't we have a female Who?

Perhaps that was part of what drove me to write Keir. I've had numerous reviews on Goodreads drawing comparisons between it and Doctor Who, particularly since the evolution from DW's early days into a more...mature kind of show (I'm a little tired of the often blatant hints of romance between the Doc and his female companions, but I guess I'm old fashioned). While my female protag may have some Whovian similarities (oh, all right, and there is snogging involved - it *is* a scifi romance after all) I didn't set out to deliberately write a female Doctor. She doesn't have a sonic screwdriver, although she's handy with a hypo or a lightwand. She doesn't have a TARDIS, but the ability to cross time and space with a wave of her hand. And in my recent release Gethyon, she isn't adverse to handling weapons either. Quin might be compared more to Sarah-Jane Smith in the Who spin-off - The Sarah-Jayne Adventures - rather than the Doctor himself.

Fan art - Quin and Keir
But I never deliberately intended to write a female version of the Doctor in the first place. I suppose it's inevitable that something of the UK's longest running scifi show would creep into my work. My parents were fans, and I've watched it devotedly (mostly) for as long as I can remember - since Planet of the Spiders, Jon Pertwee's last adventure. When the series was cut in 1987, I cried. Having written three short Doctor Who stories, what would now be considered fanfic (and yes, I had the Doctor regenerate into a girl in those, so I'm biased), I wrote a whole 40K Doctor Who adventure. It starred Sylvester McCoy, and a certain feisty redhaired young woman called Tarquin Secker, as well as a monster called a Shadowshaper. Sound familiar? Oh, yes, that's where Quin started. I even submitted it, and although it wasn't accepted, the feedback convinced me that I had a smidge of writing talent. A friend's dad bound the MS up for me, and I still have it - maybe one day I'll post it online for people to read.

Some twenty tears later, and my poor tortured hero Keir was sitting in a dungeon waiting to die. He needed rescuing, but who was going to do it? That's when Quin came back to me. Keir is NOT Doctor Who fanfic by any means, no more than Quin is actually the Doctor. But I think the comparisons made by some readers are fair, especially considering how Quin made her debut in my head. Keir pays tribute as much to my love of hard scifi by Asimov, Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke, to fantasy by the likes of David Eddings, Ursula Le Guin and Terry Brooks. Perhaps more so to Anne McCaffrey, who so successfully blended creatures of myth and science fiction.

So, I already have my female 'Doctor', and no particular wish to see one on TV. But maybe - just maybe - as old monsters and old Whovian legends like the Metebelis Three crystal, the Valeyard and the Ice Warriors are resurrected, perhaps there might be hope for the Rani?

Now tell me - female Who or another female Timelord like the Doctor? And while we're at it, what are your thoughts on having a male companion at long last?

1 comment:

  1. Love it! And now I want to read this. I was infected by the Doctor Who bug and it's been utterly chronic ever since. Fatal, even.


I always love to hear your thoughts.