Doctor Who: My Thoughts on a female Doctor

With Capaldi announcing he’s leaving the series, the speculation about a new Doctor has started up again and arguments for a female Doctor are back.

Initially I was opposed to the idea, and in some ways I still am, however I still think it could be done as long as there is a reason for it, it has to be written well, not just shrugged off as a “He just regenerated into a woman.”

I have several reasons for this qualification:

1) Time Lord Society

Most depictions of Gallifrey and their society come from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and as a result of this, reflect the attitudes of those times. Gallifrey is a fairly sexist place, with a grand total of one woman on the High Council shown and one Inquisitor. Everyone else shown has been a man in a position of power. In “The Deadly Assassin” we see the Time Lords convene for an important presidential ceremony. There’s not a single woman present. In fact, from memory, I don’t think there’s a single woman in the entire episode.

This is also reflected in the Doctor’s attitudes to women in his earlier incarnations. This is a product of the times, yes, and if the series were rebooted, neither of these things would be the case unless they were trying to portray something else relevant about Time Lord society:

Time Lords have immense power, but they’re also VERY conservative and set in their ways as a society. Their technology is archaic (Also mentioned in Deadly Assassin). They’ve become stagnant, relying on their dominance of time to protect them from anything hostile or technologically superior and retain their isolationism.

So I ask the question: If the most powerful men in your society can suddenly change into women, are they going to set up their society in such a way that they lose power for that, when they would otherwise retain it if they were a man in their next incarnation?

It doesn’t make sense.

So the conclusion I draw is that Time Lords do not change genders when they regenerate, or if they do, it only happens very rarely.

2) “But he said ‘I’m a girl!'”, “What about Missy?”, “What about the Commander?” etc

There is nothing to indicate that any of these are normal occurrances. We also know for the first point, that Time Lords are erratic and confused when first regenerating, so anything said in a regeneration episode can pretty much be dismissed.

The Master spent most of the 80’s and 90’s in stolen bodies. The fact that The Master now has a female body tells us nothing of how or why.

As for the Commander regenerating into a woman, changing into a man is mentioned that it was her only male incarnation and for all we know it was induced, like in “Night of the Doctor” where Ohila offers the Doctor a variety of choices. They could make it just happen, make it normal, but I don’t think that would be very good writing for the reasons listed above.

3) It could still be done other ways 

With all sorts of interference, things going wrong, the circumstances of death and regeneration, there’s plenty of ways the could write it into the story. Personally, I think when the Time Lords gave him a new set of regenerations, that was the perfect opportunity, but it’s a missed one now. Interference is still a big option, like with meta crisis Doctor and Donna, the regeneration could be interfered with in some way that turns him into a woman. There’s plenty of other ways that it could be done too with some interesting writing. If they do it well, then I think it could be good.

My Picks

I prefer the classic series, so to me the Doctor is a pretty asexual character, so their gender doesn’t have any real impact on the dynamics of the show. A woman can play that role just as well as a man and hit all the right feelings that they are The Doctor. So I have 2 men and 2 women I think would do a great job.

Joanna Lumley – She’s played the role brtiefly in “The curse of Fatal Death” comedy relief sketch and I think she’d do the role justice. She’s quirky enough, with an air of dignity and authority that would make for an interesting choice.

Hayley Atwell – Like Lumley, she has the ability to show the sort of dignity and authority the role needs (The Doctor tends to walk in and take charge of situations), while being younger she can fulfil many of the things Matt Smith and Peter Davison brought to the role.

Charles Dance – For me, he’d make an excellent choice of a darker Doctor, something like McCoy’s master plans, with all the authority Dance brings to any role. He’d allow the show to go in new directions and I think would do an amazing job.

Eddie Redmayne – He wants the role, he’d do a great job of it. I don’t really feel he needs much justification. Only problem is it wouldn’t fit his schedule so he’s likely out of the question.

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Dev Diary – Week 9

And that’s a wrap!

 

This last week has been very stressful. We were very behind and I realised we made a few mistakes with time management.

Completing our last important mechanic took much longer than expected, but it was too important to leave out if we wanted the game to do better than just work. It is finished, and we have something we are happy to present.

My week was spent working with the programmer to find solutions to problems where time restraints meant we’d need to compromise, as well as ensuring important features such as menus and a basic “how to play” page were not forgotten.

The artists were both working on polishing and finalising assets, decorating the scene and adding last minute UI elements. It’s been a stressful few days, but we are happy with the results.

We intend to keep working on the game after this project, as we have many ideas to improve it. We’ve come up with some solutions to problems we’ve had today that we don’t have time to implement, but will improve the gameplay significantly in the future.

Dev Journal – Week 8

This week did not go exactly as planned.

Our programmer had a lot of problems getting the last core feature to work. but it’s too important to leave out. It was finally implemented on Sunday. This puts us further behind schedule than we wanted to be, but we had plenty to polish during the week.

The artists have been working on set dressing and UI polish. I’ve been working with the programmer to polish up everything else and help solve problems as they arose with the core mechanics.

It’s been a busy week, but doesn’t feel like we have much to show for it. We’ve all agreed that the version we present on Friday will not be the final version, there’s more features and polish we want to add to the game, but it wasn’t feasible in the time frame we had.

Wednesday is the last day we’ll be adding anything to the game, after that it’s just polish and presenting. We hope to have a fully functional game with enough balance to be enjoyable. I’m happy with what we have made, but think it still needs fine tuning. It has the potential to be a good game.

Dev Journal – Week 7

This week was the final week for beta. We tried to have all our features in the game, but didn’t finish them all in time. One of the challenges of programming is that you get a lot of unexpected problems and bugs when creating new features. We had plenty of those. Hopefully all will be finished before Thursday.

 

While our programmer worked on implementing our orders and shop systems, I was reiterating the orders so that there could be a more random element, allowing for more options and hopefully give players more to work for.

Our artists have been polishing assets and adding some background items to fill out the scene. It’s looking really good now.

The final stretch is all about polishing and making sure we create the experience we’re after.

Dev Journal – Week 6

This week we fully completed everything we wanted in our alpha. Our programmer worked hard over our days off to put in the missing features and it really paid off.

Since then, I’ve been mostly bug testing and getting some feedback tests from players. We would likely benefit from a tutorial, which I might put together this week if I have time. Some of our bugs have been fairly elusive, seeming to be fixed, then reappearing during a test. It’s a bit frustrating. Fortunately, most of them have been easy to fix.

We also ported to Android for the first time! It looks great, a few UI tweaks needed, but we were prepared for that. We’re actively looking into getting a testing device this week purely for testing builds on.

This week is devoted to adding some new features that will add some more dynamic elements to gameplay. If we can’t get it done in time, we may have to scrap the extra features and polish what we do have. Either way, it’s going to be a very busy week for me and the programmer, tweaking systems and getting them working for Friday.

Our artists have been working on 2D assets- potions, some updated ingredients and UI elements. The game is looking great now, we’ve been getting compliments on the look of the game.

Dev Journal – Week 5

This week we had to show off our Alpha. We had our core features ready, but not the feedback mechanisms we wanted to have in at this point. As a result, we’re currently focusing on getting the feedback mechanisms and recipe book implemented for our game before moving onto our Beta goals. If we can get this done by the end of the week, we can move onto our Beta goals, which should not be as difficult.

The artists are focusing on 2D assets at the moment.
The programmer is working hard on the final systems for alpha and fixing the bugs that I find during testing.

We got a few people to test our game on Friday, not enough for really significant feedback, but what we did indicates what we already knew- we need those feedback mechanics!

Dev Journal – Week 4

A comparatively quiet week this week. The start of production means the team has been working on the prototype. The programmer has been trying to solve some of the difficulties with making the core mechanics work and is pretty confident he’ll get it done early in the next week.

 

The artists have been making good progress on the assets, while I’ve been tweaking some names to inject the right level of humour as well as helping the programmer by inputting the ingredients and potions into engine so that when he solves his problems we can start testing immediately. Other than that I’ve been wearing my producer’s hat, helping iron out minor details and some of the planning for this and future milestones.

 

All in all, smooth sailing, here’s hoping the next week goes just as well!