Matthew Munson: Fury as new Dr Who is revealed…as not ginger (again)

The new Dr Who still isn't ginger! Photo BBC Media

I’m absolutely furious, dear reader, and I wanted to share that fury with you today. Can you honestly believe it; the new Dr Who has been announced after the Wimbledon Men’s Final, and the 13th Doctor – if you can honestly believe this – is going to be played by someone who ISN’T ginger. Again! This is absolutely disgraceful in the 21st century; I’m going to do the classic British response to this and passively-aggressively complaining about it at every opportunity.

I hope, by now, you’ll have picked up the sarcasm dripping from every word in that paragraph. Dr Who, it seems, is going to be played by – the horror! – a woman. An actual, real-life woman! Is that even possible? How do those gender-bending Time Lords actually do it? I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s a particularly-Dr-Whoey-type explanation that will pop up one day.

What’s particularly intriguing is how social media has exploded with commentary on the choice; a lot of people are applauding the choice, welcoming Jodie Whittaker to the role and saying that it’ll be an interesting and fresh choice. There are others who seem very concerned by the change of gender, and how this will affect the series. Well, I’ve given this a lot of thought recently, and let me give you my opinion.

It’s fiction.

I hate to break it to everyone, but Dr Who isn’t actually real; it’s the product of a series of brilliantly-inventive minds over the past 50 years that I applaud, because I couldn’t possibly come up the ideas and concepts that the script writers manage to. But fundamentally, the role is entirely fictional, so if the writers want to create a female character in the role, then go for it; fill your boots. Find a sci-fi based explanation of how a male Time Lord can become a female Time Lady; there’s got to be some explanation that’ll sound vaguely plausible.

In the last few years, we’ve encountered a couple of members of the Time Lord family who have moved between genders; one even moved from being a white man to being a black female, if you can believe such a thing was possible. What am I saying, of course it’s possible; anything’s possible when you’re the one writing the script, and believe me – I know these things, as I’ve written enough fiction and created enough worlds to be able to decide the rules of engagement as I’ve gone along.

Having spent the best part of an hour trawling through social media before writing this column – I’m absolutely sure I’ve got better things to do with my time than spend that long on social media reading conflicting commentary – I found myself wondering one thing; would this level of criticism be generated if the new actor was a male, but black? What about male, but gay? Well, quite possibly, but maybe not quite so much. Changing genders, though; crikey, it’s struck fear in the hearts of some hardcore fans.

To those people, I have nothing really to retort, except to say that there’s criticism of every doctor; Matt Smith was too young, and Peter Capaldi was too old, if you remember. So why not a female? Might as well – worth a try.

She’s not ginger, though, and that makes me very cross.