Much as the media is obsessed with asking young actresses about their stance on feminism, the latest trend in Doctor Who reporting is to ask former cast members whether they think the show’s central Time Lord should be played by a woman. Although it’s been established on the show that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate into new forms, so far all 12 incarnations of the central character have been played by men. According to former Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, that might not be such a bad thing.
In an interview with ABC Australia, Davison explains, “This is very much down to personal opinion. Personally…I have trouble with the idea of a female Doctor, only because I reckon if you’re born on Gallifrey a man, you’re probably a male Time Lord.” Although Davison has no creative control over the show (and showrunner Steven Moffat has confirmed the Doctor can and probably will be played by a woman in the future), Davison’s opinion is likely to frustrate fans already disappointed to see another white man step into the role last year.
Furthermore, Davison followed up with an even more questionable explanation that because Doctor Who is interested in exploring a flawed male Doctor and his strong female companion, reversing the genders would result in “more of a stereotype than anything else.” Perhaps sensing he might have upset a few fans, Davison then suggested that there could be a spinoff show about a female Time Lord and adorably suggested his daughter for the central role. As those deep into the Doctor Who fandom already know, Davison’s real-life daughter Georgia Moffett played the cloned daughter of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor in an episode of the rebooted series. (She later went on to marry Tennant in real life, thus creating a family deeply steeped in Who lore.)
While most news stories are latching on to Davison’s comments about a female Doctor, it’s equally important to note that at one point in the interview he clarifies that he’s speaking “not as a Doctor, but as a viewer,” a statement that raises many questions about Davison’s conception of the world.