Helen Mirren Wants a Lady ‘Doctor Who’ – Do You Agree?

Published 2 years ago by

helen mirren doctor who Helen Mirren Wants a Lady Doctor Who   Do You Agree?

It seems like a new name falls off the Doctor Who rumor wagon on a daily basis, replacing the last and giving us all someone new to ponder and parse. Yesterday, the Internet was all a flutter over the prospect of Rory Kinnear and before that it was Dominic Cooper – but Dame Helen Mirren’s name always seems to keep coming back around, and she has something to say about it.

Speaking about the prospect of playing the the Time Lord for the first time since she said that she would be interested back in 2011, Mirren opened up about not just the likelihood of her getting the part, but also her desire to see a Time Lady, and her seeming displeasure over the continued swing toward convention with regards to Doctor Who.

Said Mirren, before adding that she would “put much longer odds” on her winning the role than the stated 25 to 1 line that has been circulated:

“I think it’s absolutely time for a female Doctor Who. I’m so sick of that man with his girl sidekick. I could name at least 10 wonderful British actresses who would absolutely kill in that role.”

While Mirren doesn’t think that she’ll get a chance to pilot the TARDIS, her remarks do add fuel to a debate that has been raging for years: is it time for a woman to play The Doctor?

Peter Davison and David Tennant in the Doctor Who Children in Need special Helen Mirren Wants a Lady Doctor Who   Do You Agree?

Now, obviously, the question is one that polarizes, and both sides have a pocket full of valid points to throw at each other with regard to both the Doctor’s long history as a man and the characters worldly, evolved views that would seemingly team up with his mostly asexual nature to inoculate him from the existence a gender preference. Those views would also seem to make a change in the Doctor’s race or ethnicity completely viable as well.

With that said, though, this is not a purely intellectual (and emotional) debate between fans and critics. Commerce weighs heavily on these decisions, and while the show and showrunner Steven Moffat could use both an influx of buzz and a new field of available story options to mine, the existing formula of a white male Doctor remains proven while a change is likely perceived as risky and untested… because, to some, the time never quite seems right to test it.

So, when will that change and when will the BBC roll the dice and bank on both an influx of new fans and the acceptance of a majority of current fans over the likely loud outrage of other fans? Time Lord only knows, but until then, the Whovian gender debate’s very own Time War continues.

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Doctor Who returns with the 50th Anniversary Special in November.

Source: Yahoo [via: The Mary Sue]

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. I would love to see it done well. I don’t know if I trust Moffat to do it well.

    I would love to see them cast someone like Mirren, or Judi Dench. I could see the role taking on shades of Geraldine McEwan’s turn as Marple; see the moment in her first time in the role when she figures out the mystery and gets a twinkle in her eye as she appreciates the murderers’ cleverness. She gives it a full beat before decrying their wickedness and taking them down with cold resolve. . . Why not McEwan for Who? Sure she’s 82 and retired, but still . . .

    The only thing I really want is for changes to make sense to the character, history, and legacy of the show.

    • There is another reason to hesitate now. It’s always a transition when the doctor regenerates, and one of the ways the show best handles that transition is by showing how the compamions handle it. Remember Rose’s reaction to Ten? The mirrored the questions the audience was asking: is it still really you, are you still my doctor? I like Clara, but I don’t think she has the same relationship with us the audience that other companions have had. She was the mystery instead of being our representetive, and the resolution of that mystery takes her even farther away from us.

      I am not saying that this audience isn’t smart enough to meet the new doctor on their own terms, but it seems like such a wasted story opportunity if they do it now. If they do do a gender swap, I really hope they revisit lots of old friends to get their reactions.

  2. I don’t know about this… There has always been a strong male character in the role so why rock the boat (or Tardis). I for one can see viewers dwindling if they go this route (myself included).

    Why not do a branch-off series instead as there was The Doctor’s Daughter episode and then nothing more from her character ever since. Take heed BBC! This is a better idea than dicking around with a solid, trusted theme already well established.

    • With The Doctor’s Daughter they can start with a new fresh storyline(s) because her origin is already known (she was machine created). The more I think about it the more I like this idea better than trying to picture the Doctor in a dress and high-heels. Egad.

      • I think women are allowed to wear pants now and comfortable shoes. I will have to check the laws of Great Britain but I think it may only be your brain that is stuck in the 1950s and not the attire that is allowed for actresses on TV.

        • Ha, that guy got burned.

  3. i not so sure about a female doctor but one in a wheelchair might be an intresting take

  4. Why not?

    • Then they could do a really awesome episode with Davros. (Why not?)

  5. I think the next dr who should be a half black half oriental Pre op transsexual with learning difficulties and a wheel chair. That should satisfy the PC brigade! Dr Who should be cast as it should be, male lead and female co-stars, they share equal screen time and equally save the universe. Will the co-star be a man or a woman, sexuality? All this should not matter, it’s a sci-fi series originally aimed at kids in the early 60’s here in UK and is now loved all over the world. When it looses it’s appeal you watch the BBC ruin it, it’s what they do these days

    • Ya and all the Doctors should be blond and have blue eyes and be supermen. The ignorance on display from most of you is truly legendary.

      ‘Please keep Don’t let the alien from another planet that can regenerate his entire form turn into a black guy or a woman or I will take my narrow mind and stop watching your show!’

    • Oh and BTW Oriental is a great way to refer to rugs, not so much for people.

      • iv seen you comment in defence of a female doctor repeatedly on this post, which is fine, if you think the doctor should be female thats your opinion and everyones entitled to them. And i also agree that a lot of people are just being sexist, but many are not and its just their opinion that the doctor shouldn’t be female, they’ve given perfectly good (non sexist) reasons as to why they believe this and your response, every time, is “your ignorant, your stuck in the 50’s, your a pinhead”, so how about you give YOUR reasons for once, as to why you think the doctor should be female, and forget the womens equality nonsense cause it doesnt apply here, they’re not reasons why the doctor SHOULD be a woman, they’re reasons why the doctor CAN be a woman, and theres a big difference between ‘should’ and ‘can’.

        • “they’ve given perfectly good (non sexist) reasons as to why they believe this”

          I haven’t seen any of these so far. Perhaps you can recap in your response.
          As to your second bit I just posted them about an hour ago… but again:
          #1 It is established in canon that it can occur (multiple times actually)
          #2 A female Doctor could bring fresh possibilities to the role. (expanding on this: How would the Doctor react to becoming a woman? How would current/past companions react? What would it mean for the Doctor in all future incarnations to have been a female? How would it change his understanding of women? What types of witty dialogue would be opened up considering the Doctor has been male for 11 incarnations and suddenly finds himself a woman?
          #3 This expands the pool of possible actors to choose from.
          #4 Straight Male companions could drool over the Doctor for a change.
          #5 Women are just as smart, strong, funny, and amazing as we men. There is a woman (and probably scores of them) that would render a Doctor as beloved as my favorite (D.T.). Attempting to throw out half of the human race because of a “tradition” for a shape shifting science fiction character on TV is ludicrous.

          • Oh and 1 more the Doctor could constantly amaze misogynists throughout time and space by defying the stereotypes of the day and being powerful and brilliant. We all know women have always been brilliant, but we also know that throughout most of human history most were kept from being powerful or at least were either reviled or
            discounted even when they were…

            • once again you have to use the ‘misogynist’ rubbish, please try responding without reverting to simple insults, i can do it so can you.

              As your your reasons, only #2 and #3 make sense, like i said in my last post, theres a difference between should and can, i agree the doctor can be a woman, and thats all your #1 does, as for #4, ten drooled over rose just as much as she did over him, donna sure as hell didnt, river is more his equal than any have been and eleven seems to be the one drooling over clara, amy did a bit at the start but only martha really counts in terms of ‘drooling over the doctor’, and as for that point as a whole, if your main concern in doctor who is ‘who fancies the doctor’ then your not much of a fan.

              Your #5 is right, iv never said women are inferior, but we do have many capable female characters that are strong funny and amazing already on the show, so dont go insulting them by saying we ‘need’ a female doctor

              And you said it yourself, this is a sci/fi show about traveling through space and time, not an educational documentary about female equality, and at this point if a female actor was cast as twelve it would only be for the sake of it, and doctor who should be beyond this kind of stuff, so in my opinion a female doctor shouldn’t happen until everyones ready for it, which they’re clearly not, doing it now only runs the risk of killing the show

              • How can you in one post both acknowledge that women aren’t inferior and accept that it is canon, and then say ” if a female actor was cast as twelve it would only be for the sake of it”. This is my whole beef with this. There is nothing to say the Doctor can’t be a woman. And there are AMAZING females who would do honor to the role. But somehow you and your lot can only intone together that the only reason someone would cast a female as the doctor is as some equality drive, or some educational experiment. It’s nonsense.

                Starbuck was a male in the original BSG. Lots of guys thought it was utter b******* for Starbuck to be a woman in the newest BSG. But Kara improved the show, it was better because it was a female. Starbuck was still the same basic character. A great pilot, a drunk and a gambler who liked to smoke cigars and was a friend to Apollo. But within that framework she added a depth of character partially from the writers and partially from her acting chops. Starbuck was a broader archetype not a male or female character. I have no doubt that given the right actress we could see similar depth and growth in this character.

    • Couldn’t aggree more. Ecxept to add for me, it’d be like casting (however brilliant) Judy Dench to play Churchill or benedict Cumberbatch as JULIA Ceasar.

  6. Time Lords and Time Ladies are separate entities.

    One doesn’t regenerate into the other.

    So we CAN’T have a female Time ‘Lord’… it’s the same reason we CAN’T have an ethnic Time Lord.. There are no ethnic genes within the TimeLord society, they all evolved from the same stock.

    • British stock? (just teasing)

      But I agree with you. There’s no reason why a male of that particular species should regenerate into a female of the species. It’s been at least 10 regenerations now? None have been gender changing. So why would one suddenly be?

      • Because everyone knows if something happens ten times in a row that means it will always happen that way. LOL I find all the ridiculous excuses the misogynist morons are throwing out hoping something will sound mildly legitimate. If you don’t like the lore of the Who-niverse, perhaps you are watching the wrong show.

        • See this is what im talking about, your only reason is “its established canon that it can happen”, which we all agree is true, but that doesnt mean it should happen, maybe in a few years if the show is starting to fail they could implement a female doctor to try boost ratings but why know when the shows as big as its ever been? and when ever someone gives their honest opinion at not liking the idea, and provide legitimate reasons as to why they feel this way that are clearly not sexist its thrown ignorantly in their face, and they’re call ‘sexist’ and ‘misogynistic’, so can anyone who is in support of a female doctor please have some manners and debate it in a non aggressive and non ignorant manner, because your not making a case by just insulting those who dont share your opinion

    • Do you watch the show or did you just roll in here from the 1950’s to spew your nonsense? The show has confirmed it more than once that timelords can regenerate into another sex.

          • your right, its been more than once, sorry

            But whats with the aggression? i find it extremely hypocritical that anyone who’s opposed to the idea of the doctor being female is labeled ‘fema-phobic’ and ‘sexist’, i never said the doctor should never be a woman (but i also dont think he should as he’s never in any of his incarnations expressed any interest in it so why now after 1200 years of being a timelord would he suddenly want to be a timelady), but i digress, as i said in another post, the female companions are alot more than sidekicks, they’re strong independent women who are just as important to the show as the doctor, and i find the repeated “we need a female doctor” thing pro-fem doctor people keep saying kind of insulting to the female characters already on the show .

            When it comes to ratings you cant honestly believe that a female doctor would bring more viewers? Anyone who isnt interested in doctor who at the moment will still be equally uninterested weather the lead actors male or female so other than the small amount of people who have recently discovered the show, there wont be and spike in viewers, and theres alot of current fans who truely despise the idea of a female doctor and have said they’ll stop watching if it happens (im not one of them, but id prefer the doctor to stay male), so being logical it can only hurt the shows ratings

            • I also ment to add that theres no chance of Helen Mirren being cast as The Doctor, i dont think any of the people named so far will be cast as the showrunners tend to pick an unknown. Helen Mirren is far too famous to be cast as the lead in a television show, plus dont know if she’d be able to cope with the rigorous filming schedule.

    • During a conversation in The Sarah Jane Adventures between The 11th Doctor and Clyde, Clyde comments that he thought The Doctor’s eyes would stay the same after a regeneration. The conversation goes on when Clyde asks “Can you change colour or are you always white?” to which The Doctor replies, “No. I can be anything.”

      Also, in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” the Doctor mentioned that The Corsair did regenerate into a female a couple of times.

      Taking that into account, your comment not only comes across as nonsensical and possibly quite sexist and racist. This is a science fiction show; you can suspend disbelief and believe that a time travelling alien that can change his appearance and has a machine that is bigger on the inside than on the outside, but that him changing the colour of his skin or his gender isn’t possible?

      You definitely sound like a casual viewer who has no knowledge or respect of the history and long-standing mythology surrounding the character and the show.

    • During a conversation in The Sarah Jane Adventures between The 11th Doctor and Clyde, Clyde comments that he thought The Doctor’s eyes would stay the same after a regeneration. The conversation goes on when Clyde asks “Can you change colour or are you always white?” to which The Doctor replies, “No. I can be anything.”

      Also, in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” the Doctor mentioned that The Corsair (another Time Lord) did regenerate into a female a couple of times.

      Taking that into account, your comment not only comes across as nonsensical and possibly quite sexist and racist. This is a science fiction show; you can suspend disbelief and believe that a time travelling alien that can change his appearance and has a machine that is bigger on the inside than on the outside, but that him changing the colour of his skin or his gender isn’t possible?

      You definitely sound like a casual viewer who has no knowledge or respect of the history and long-standing mythology surrounding the character and the show.

    • In the episode the Doctor’s wife, the Doctor specifically mentioned his old friend the Corsair, who was a Time Lord, but regenerated into a Time Lady. Do your research.

    • I hope you’ve watched the most recent finale and realise your point is now invalid. Have a nice day.

  7. Pisses me off. The Doctor is and has always been a male, and a white one at that. Are people just getting BORED with the series? I mean, really we need to physically change the Doctor’s gender or race to make the show “interesting?” How ’bout just some interesting stories? As one poster pointed out above, this is just PC nonsense.

    How about this—how about bringing back Romana? It’s show they could…. I would love that!

    Oh well…I really have no say. If they do it, so be it, but I’d be done with the series for good.

    • Take off that tall white hat man and tell your wife she can leave the kitchen. It’s not 1954 anymore.

  8. It would be a tough thing to pull off, but if done properly, could work. The Doctor has been a male his entire life. If he regenerated into a female, he would still think and act like a man. Just because the Doctor’s gender changes, doesn’t mean his (her) personality would change. If there is a woman who can pull many of the traits that Tennant and Smith share then it could work. If not, then the show will be ruined.

  9. Will she have BIG BOOBS? The heck with a decent story as long as she has over-sized huge knockers that can’t fit through the Tardis’ door. lol

    No. I’m not serious. And I truly hope BBC isn’t either.

  10. A time lord can change gender, it was established in the Doctor’s wife with a comment about the corsair

  11. Excuse me, but I see where this is going. Those who support the notion of a female doctor think that those against it are afraid of change. And yes, Doctor Who does change. But somethings just DON’T! The TARDIS has never been something different than what it is- a blue box that travels through space and time. Next you’ll want a green TARDIS because of unfair “colorism”. Bugger off. It could happen. Technically speaking, the doctor could have his face reconstructed to look like a rabbit. But there’s no need for a female doctor. Females have been main companions since the show started. Does the show have to radically change so a majority of fans hate it, and the minority of fans that still like the idea now get to like the show a bit more. All you people who need social equality, the show producers, believe it or not, need Money! To new viewers, a female doctor won’t be a big deal. But to those who know doctor who, a female consequence will result on less viewers and less money. All you “true fans” out there have lasted 50 years without a female doctor. So lets throw one in to please less than half of the fans who are already pleased! Sounds stupid, right? SO DO YOU. I’m sorry, but all this social equality stuff is very new. Males have been dominant for how many years now? 2000+? I may be getting to off topic, but in the Christian bible, even God is referred to as He! I’m sorry, but don’t change the show so drastically, just for the sake of seeing a girl doctor. I’m done now.

    • but in the Christian bible, even God is referred to as He!

      But Dr. Who is much more realistic than the bible.

      I don’t think the majority of fans would leave if the Doctor was a Woman. I think narrow minded pinheads would stop watching, but not the majority of Whovians who are unusually open minded. Sorry you aren’t among that group.

  12. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Wouldn’t make sense. You’d have Dads in Gallifrey becoming Mothers. With their… wives.

    (I’m aware I said ‘doesn’t make sense’ with reference to semi eternal time jumping alien races, but there have got to be some rules, dammit!)

  14. We truly live in a sick an perverted world when they are thinking about turning the Dr. into a woman, really. It’s getting to the point where I can’t even sit with my family and watch TV without two guys kissing or two girls, or something thing that thinks it’s a other gender.

    • If only you had been born in a more closed minded section of history everyone on TV could still please you and Mrs. Bunker.

      • As a 40yr old who watched Dr Who as a child and then religiously since its relaunch, I’d like to go on record to say I would be devastated if the Doctor became a woman. For me, it would be insulting as, the whole story of Dr Who is how he is seen through the eyes of his ever changing companions who tend to be women. There were some very strong female companions in the series in the 70s & 80s as well as now. I’ve no preference as to his ethnicity but feel strongly that he should remain male. How would people feel for instance if ITV suddenly announced they were remaking Agatha Christie’s Marple series with Marple suddenly a man or Poirot as a woman? And the fact that you keep calling people (I think they’re all guys) who disagree with the idea of the Doctor becoming a woman, misogynistic wont wash with me because I’m female. I say keep the Doctor a man and carry on showing just how strong and independent his female companions are even when there are male companions travelling alongside them as well.

  15. I think they should bring back the Dr’s Daughter and then when he gives up the last generation…they could keep the show going following the daughter’s adventures….

  16. I think Helen Mirren woulh make a fabulous Dr. Who!

  17. I cannot even think of the Doctor being a women. I mean, I am a girl and all for the who girl power thing, but no. The show has been airing for 50 years with a male doctor and I really don’t knoe how it could play out correctly. Or, it could be like the 9th doctor and only be there for on month, just to try things out.

  18. The doctor is a MALE character. He has had eleven male regenerations. Having a female one now will be completely out of place and confusing.

  19. NO! I am a woman and I think no. The Doctor is a man, he should never be a woman. It’s like taking James Bond or Batman and turning them into women. No. Just no. I’m all for girl power but The Doctor is an iconic MALE role and should stay that way. If people want a female timelord then make a different show about one and don’t ruin The Doctor.

  20. I would not stick with it if the doctor became female. I have nothing against women, it just doesn’t seem right. It is like making James Bond into a woman. Or Darth Vader into one, or Indiana Jones into a woman. Just like the TMNT should not be changed into aliens or have a female turtle(it didn’t work well), it doesn’t work in the formula, stick to the formula that has been working and that will keep working. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it!

  21. Now, with the 50th Anniversary episode aired, who’s to say the Doctor won’t run into some legit Time Lady’s

  22. I think it is time for a different Doctor. A woman? Darker skinned? Ginger? Not really the ginger thing, but still, they need to mix up the Doctor a bit. If the Doctor regenerated into a woman, maybe He/She could learn more compassion, or develop more love for children (more than he/she has all ready has), the writers could keep Doctor Who more interesting to widen the field. What if the Doctor looked less human? What if he gains wait? He doesn’t have to be a skinny boy in a suit forever. Skin color? Gender? I can only become a true Whovian when they finally do something.

  23. In the past Doctor Who has been temperamentally male. But since people now see themselves as separate individuals and not as members of a group, they have to balance themselves out internally. Men tend to develop feminine temperaments, and women tend to develop male temperaments. If Doctor Who is not turned into a woman, he’ll flip to being completely feminine. You can see this in the plots now, where his intellectualism becomes more and more cautious and analytical, and he is becoming a kind of oracular hyper-receptive personality. His partners are getting increasingly more masculine in their temperament, being more direct and able to cut through the nonsense.

    Basically, by deciding not to change Doctor Who into a woman they’re turning him temperamentally into a woman. It’s okay. We can all have a laugh now :)

  24. Why not have a living female time lord? I think it would be very cool.

    The fact that I would walk a mile on a bed of nails without shoes on for Helen Mirren has nothing to do with the above answer.