Could the Doctor be Female?

With speculation about the next Doctor being at it’s height, of course there is also speculation about the next actor’s gender. In this article I’m going to talk about the real world implications of a female Doctor, as well as those within the world of the show itself.
Let’s first look at Doctor Who since Steven Moffat has been at the helm. In The Doctor’s Wife, we learn that one of the Doctor’s old friends the Corsair, was a man in some regenerations, but a woman in others. This is the first time that it had been confirmed in the show that it was possible for Time Lords to change gender through regeneration. Then we have The Night of the Doctor; in which the Sisterhood of Karn let the Eighth Doctor have the possibility of regenerating into a man or woman. Most recently we have the Master turning into the Mistress, and the Gallifreyan General regenerating from a white male to a black female on screen.
All of this would prove beyond doubt that Time Lords and therefore the Doctor, have the ability to change gender through their bodies dying. In terms of storytelling, my problem with this is that if the Doctor has had 14 bodies so far at random; each one has been a white male. Why would this change now? Why hasn’t it happened before to the Doctor? It would be an extreme change to swap genders in the blink of an eye, but I have a feeling that the writers would try not to address the shock or possible distress that unintentionally changing sex would cause. If the writers were to explore the actual ramifications of this, as well as offering an explanation as to why the Doctor hasn’t been a woman before – then it wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to Doctor Who.
In terms of the problems behind the scenes; the idea of a female Doctor has been mooted many times before. The first time it was speculated was in the 80’s. Most of this was to raise the profile of the show by the producer, John Nathan-Turner at the time. When the topic is raised today, it is discussed very thouroughly; and would have the bonus of getting very high viewing figures for Doctor Who. In terms of which actress would be best suited, I would have no idea. We haven’t seen a female Doctor yet, so it is hard to speculate.
There is certainly an argument that after 13 actors playing the part, they have more or less played most possible varients for the character. For example, we have had two or three more alien, standoffish Doctors. We have had at least three more comical Doctors. There have been a couple of more humanised Doctors – you see my point. But I don’t think that getting a woman to play the part instead really offers that much more room for expansion regardless.
It’s also my opinion that if the showrunners were looking to have a lead character who was a woman, then I see no harm in introducing an original prominent character. For instance, Clara had a habit of hogging the show in series 8; and River Song *shudder* was another example. If not, then why not give a strong female character a Doctor Who spinoff. You know? Like the Sarah Jane Adventures? I think there are alternatives to radically changing the format of the show. Unfortunately this wouldn’t be enough for some people, who are determined to see a female Doctor. It would be a huge risk for the show to take – one that I feel is unnecessary.


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