First airing in 1963 and spanning over 851 episodes making it one of the longest-running shows on the BBC, Doctor Who is a staple of British culture. The way this show has managed to keep going was changing the main character through regenerations which breathed new life into the show.
So far there have been 13 incarnations of the Doctor, 14 if you include John Hurt, with actors like David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi taking on the role more recently. However, it wasn’t until mid-2017 until we got our look at the 13th doctor, Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to take on the role. A true milestone for the show.
Now we are well into a second season with Jodie at the helm and has been well-received showing that gender doesn’t matter when casting someone as brilliant as The Doctor. But show writer Chris Chibnall blew everything out of the water with surprising reveals is one of his latest episodes, Fugitive of the Judoon.
Doctor Who, the show about space and time, is making sure to make space for these actors and giving them the time to show why anyone with the talent can play the role and, in some cases, exceed previous performances.
Not only did it mark the return of fan favourite, and gay icon, Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman from the Tennant era of the show, but also the incredible reveal of the first black woman to play The Doctor.
The episode centres around a new character, Ruth, played by Jo Martin from Holby City and appeared in Fleabag with Jodie’s Doctor trying to figure out who she is. It isn’t until later in the episode it's revealed that Ruth is actually the Doctor. This is a very important moment for the show as she is the first black woman, and person of colour to take on that role. And personally I think she crushed it. The show has definitely set up her, and Captain Jack Harkness to return in later episodes and many fans will wait with anticipations to figure out how Jo’s Doctor relates to Jodie’s as far as timelines go.
Another great example of representation in the show came in the latest season’s two-part premiere with the reveal of the next incarnation of one of the Doctor’s most iconic villains: The Master. Formally played by Michelle Gomez (The Mistress or Missy) and John Simm, the role has been passed to Sacha Dhawan, Iron Fist, the first British of Indian descent to get the role. Despite only appearing two episodes so far, Sacha’s performance was brilliant and one of my favourites. It is clear that Chibnall intends for the character to return with the overarching storyline seemingly centring around the Master’s Actions.
Hopefully, Hollywood will soon see that the future is inclusive for all
For most of Doctor Who’s runtime its been dominated by white faces and while that may have worked in the past, now that we are in 2020 inclusion for all is so important. And Doctor Who, the show about space and time, is making sure to make space for these actors and giving them the time to show why anyone with the talent can play the role and, in some cases, exceed previous performances.
Hopefully, Hollywood will soon see that the future is inclusive for all, like what TV is doing. Perhaps other iconic British characters, like James Bond get recast in similar ways. Please all I want is Idris Elba to play 007. And if you haven’t yet given Jodie Whittaker’s run as the doctor a check, please do as it’s a great watch and it will show the BBC that what they doing is working.