Many fans of the longtime cult favorite BBC sci-fi/fantasy series Doctor Who – including those with star-power like Dame Helen Mirren – have openly voiced support for a future version/regeneration of the lead character (The Doctor) to be played by a woman. The possibility was properly opened up back in 2011, when a bit of dialogue in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” mentioned a time lord regenerating as a woman.
The show has since set a more concrete precedent for its Time Lord characters to regenerate as female when, during Doctor Who season eight, the character of “Missy” (Michelle Gomez) was revealed to be a female regenerated “Master”. Fans has since nominated their picks of who should play the first female Doctor, but one such candidate has now tossed her name in the ring by her own accord.
Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell recently conducted an impromptu Twitter Q&A, during which time she took fan questions ranging from what was the last good book she read (“Us” by David Nicholls) to what pranks she’s played on set (filling a co-stars dressing room with 3000 plastic balls). However, one particular answer made the internet go crazy and it concerned Doctor Who, as you can see below:
@ohmyjlc I'd like to BE Doctor Who— Hayley Atwell (@HayleyAtwell) August 14, 2015
Former Doctor Who cast member Karen Gillan (who played companion Amy Pond) has said she is on board for a female Doctor, citing Alex Kingston – if she wasn’t already River Song on the show – and Mirren (whose name has been tossed around a lot by fans) as good choices. Even the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, said during San Diego Comic-Con 2015 that “We sort of live in a world where everything’s so easy and accessible. The Doctor’s mysterious, he’s a Time Lord. He’s not a guy.”
Despite the support, there has also been pushback to the idea of a female Doctor, including from the 7th Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, and current showrunner Steven Moffat. However, Moffat has started to change his tune more recently and even talked about how such a change would happen:
“Do you know how it will happen? It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman. That is not how you cast the Doctor. A person will pop into the showrunner’s head and they’ll think. ‘Oh my God, what if it was that person?’ And when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen.”
Is everyone in agreement that Hayley Atwell is the “Oh my God, that person?” Excusing that she referred to the character as Doctor Who instead of The Doctor (though not all fans are so forgiving), she certainly fits the part. Her role as Peggy Carte in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already shown her ability to create a multi-faceted character that exists within a fantastical world.
Of course, many hardcore Doctor Who fans are resistant to change in their favorite franchise (whether they are for more diversity in representation or not). The role of The Doctor has always been male, but in a show that has been around since 1963 it feels like high-time for some change. Do you think Hayley Atwell is the right pick for the job?
Doctor Who season nine debuts on the BBC and BBC America on September 19th, 2015.
Source: Hayley Atwell