All as bad as each other in destroying Doctor Who, its credibility, its legacy, and its fandom.
For the last few years Doctor Who has gone down a very bad route. Its viewers have tanked, its fandom has become utter poison and its casting choices for the Master, the companions and even the Doctor himself have all been misguided at best.
I have not been a fan of Jodie Whittakers Doctor. In fact for the first time I didn’t watch a season of Doctor Who in its entirety. I didn’t review it here because the entire page would have been nothing but negative.
Jodie is awful. She lacks any kind of gravitas, charisma and she is utterly hopeless at conveying any kind of authority.
Jodie’s entire idea of how to play the character it seems is just to pull funny faces which gets very annoying, very fast.
That seems to be her entire “acting” range.
The show does not seem long for this world, with its viewers declining and the show going on yet another hiatus. I’d argue that Doctor Who has never been in a worse position. In the late 80s whilst its viewers sunk thanks to the BBC’s smear campaign, its fanbase was still strong, and the show at least died a dignified death.
Still all is not lost. There is still a chance for Doctor Who to crawl back from the abyss and in this article I am going to run through the ways in which I feel Doctor Who can be saved.
Cancel the current version
Well that among other things seems to have backfired on you quite a bit Jodie. Who would have thought saying “watch me or you’re a sexist” wasn’t a good strategy for success? Worked wonders for Ghostbusters and Star Wars. Didn’t it?
Jodie’s era needs to finish before it does any more harm to the brand. Not only is Jodie a poor choice for the part, but she is also associating the show with a poisonous, divisive and hateful ideology.
I would argue that the casting of Jodie in the first place was nothing but spite and bigotry towards men. As I have explained before the character of the Doctor cannot be anyone. There is a definite template to all of the different incarnations of the Doctor, as they are all meant to be the same person, same consciousness, same core personality etc, under his new faces.
The Doctors gender is a part of that template by default, as he was always written as a male character, all of the 13 men who played him brought aspects of their own persona’s to the role, and viewers always related to him from a male perspective. This doesn’t mean that women can’t play heroic roles in general as often as men. Its just that this particular character is set as a man.
Yes Steven Moffat made it canon that Time Lords change gender, but that was only a few years ago and on the insistence of SJWs and feminists, who viciously slandered Steven Moffat for several years as a sexist until he caved to them. (The fact that non binary Time Lords was only added at the insistence of a pushy political ideology alone, should make anyone who is an actual fan angry. It sets a terrible precedent for the show.)
See here for examples of the feminists smear campaigns against Moffat, as well as responses from Steven Moffat and others at the BBC proving that it bothered them.
A female Doctor just isn’t a good fit as it doesn’t seem like the same character anymore. It feels disjointed from the previous 13 men, and it is also in danger of turning the show into parody.
I am sympathetic to people who do genuinely want to see more leading roles for women and minorities, but ultimately you don’t need to sex change the Doctor for that.
You could easily create your own female or LGBT hero. Even within the Doctor Who universe you could easily bring Romana, a female member of the Doctors race back, give her, her own show and then everybody wins.
Little girls get a role model, little boys still keep their role models, and guys like me who don’t give a shit about role models, get two great time travelling heroes to enjoy. What the hell is wrong with that?
The SJWs who bullied Moffat into making Time Lord gender bending canon, and put pressure on the BBC to sex change the Doctor however; clearly didn’t actually care about female role models for little girls. Instead they just wanted to take them away from men, who their toxic ideology says are all privileged shit lords that need taken down a peg or two.
Proof of this can be seen in the fact that the most prominent female Doctor advocates ironically have no interest in, or knowledge of female heroes whatsoever. The likes of Claudia Boleyn, Whovian Feminism, Mr Tardis, and Christel Dee (the most prominent Female Doctor advocates, who have all worked for the BBC, or the brand in some official capacity, or at least been promoted by the makers of the series.) Are not actually fans of ANY female led series or films. They may briefly comment on a female led film if its in the cinemas and is popular, but that’s it.
You’ll never see comprehensive reviews of female led television and film series like Xena, Buffy, Charmed, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Once Upon A Time, Ghost Whisperer, Alien and Nikita on any of these people’s channels or blogs. You’ll never see an analysis of the impact these female led series had on the genre from these people. None of them even follow any prominent leading ladies in the genre like Katey Sagal, Lucy Lawless, Gina Torress, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shannon Doherty, Maggie Q or Dana Delorenzo on social media. (I’d be surprised if they even knew who the vast majority of those women were.)
Ironically I myself have done more to promote women in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional. I’m well aware I have less than 0 impact on the entertainment industry.
Still at least I have written 10 thousand word articles about characters from series like Xena, promoted female led films and series like The Heroic Trio that are obscure in the west, written 10 thousand word articles about Amy Winehouse (one of which was retweeted by her mother,) and put forward ideas for female led series and films, that have even been retweeted by prominent actresses within the genre themselves
(Note: I do not know either Dana Delorenzo or Ingrid Oliver personally. I met Ingrid at a convention when she was a guest fleetingly, but that’s it! My only interaction with either of them has been via these tweets and a few fan posts I made on Instagram. I feel I have to make this clear so as not to drag them into this ridiculous political minefield and make it appear that they endorse any of my views.)
Again I don’t think that makes me a modern day Gene Roddenberry or Rob Tapert, but its more than people like Whovian Feminism or Claudia Boleyn have done.
All the likes of Claudia have used their platforms for is to smear male writers and producers as sexists over trivial concerns, and slander male fans in general as sexists, losers and basement dwellers (which is ironic considering their supposed hatred for toxic masculinity!)
I think its one thing to criticise a programme and another to invent motives out of amateur psychology for the writer and then accuse him of having those feelings. I think that was beyond the pale and strayed from criticism to a defamation. I’m certainly not a sexist, a misogynist. It was wrong.
–Steven Moffat on the feminist backlash against series 6.
With this in mind I think its fair to say they care more about tearing down prominent men, and male role models in the genre, than in building women up.
A further example of anti men spite being the primary reason behind the push for a female Doctor, can be seen in these two articles from the notorious feminist website, The Mary Sue.
In the first article they argue that it would be wrong to reboot Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a black actress, as black people deserve to have heroes of their own, rather than just third rate copies of existing white heroes.
In the second article about a female Doctor however, they are all for giving supposedly underrepresented groups hand me down’s of other people’s heroes, and anyone who expresses the same opinions about a female Doctor, that they did about a black Buffy, is automatically a sexist, woman hating freak?
Claudia Boleyn meanwhile also claims that a female Doctor Who is a fabulous idea because Time Lords are non binary, and so the Doctor should be a woman, since he has no preference. Yet bizarrely enough, she doesn’t want Romana, a Time Lady to be played by a man?
Hey its not like the first thing a lot of the pro female Doctor people did when it was announced was spitefully gloat about how glad they were that it was upsetting white men right?
To me this all points towards Jodie’s casting being a spiteful act against male viewers than anything empowering for women. Whilst the likes of the Mary Sue and Claudia Boleyn didn’t make series 11 of Doctor Who, they did influence it, as Chibnall, and even Moffat before him were clearly influenced by them and their smears.
There have been many digs at men throughout Doctor Who itself during both the Moffat and Chibnall era, such as the First Doctor being retconned into being a racist, homophobic sexist, or the attacks against single fathers in the Chibnall era.
In addition to this Jodie Whittaker has more or less derided anyone who is opposed to a female Doctor as a sexist, whose mother would be ashamed of them.
See here. Doctor Who Interview Marie Claire
Naturally for all of these reasons both male and female viewers took a dislike to series 11 and its fandom. The majority of women don’t want to see men insulted, the same way the majority of men don’t want to see women insulted!
I for one would never watch a remake of Xena that replaced all of the prominent female roles with men, solely to spite “entitled female fans”, included digs against women in the show itself, slandered Lucy Lawless’ portrayal as misandrist moron, the way Hartnell’s Doctor was slandered as a sexist moron in Twice Upon A Time, and whose core male audience wrote articles gloating about how happy they were little girls had lost a role model in Xena.
Sadly however, upper middle class feminists arrogantly assumed that what they wanted, was what all women wanted, and in doing so they drove the shows female audience away just as much as the male audience.
The show needs to break its association with this toxic ideology, and the only way to do that is to ditch the current version.
Sell it to Netflix
Netflix could do a much better job at producing a Doctor Who series than the BBC for many reasons.
First of all, Netflix can put proper money into it and allow the show, for the first time to really compete visually with more glossy American productions.
Even Steven Moffat himself has expressed this opinion recently, that Doctor Who needs a higher budget to properly compete in the modern world. (Of course a low budget is the least of the Jodie era’s problems, but he does have a point in general.)
Some monsters from series 11. Moffat REALLY does have a point you know.
Netflix can also allow the show to return to a serialized format. 45 minutes is too short a time to tell a proper Doctor Who story.
You need time to build up the atmosphere, establish a proper backstory for the world or time the Doctor has visited, and flesh out the villains and side characters motivations properly.
Yes its true some Classic era stories could be padded, but ultimately something like Doctor Who, which takes us to a new place every week has to have time to tell a story to set things up.
Trying to cram everything into 45 minutes is too much. Classic stories like Genesis of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, the original Dalek story, Tomb of the Cybermen, and Pyramids of Mars that are able to build up a suspenseful atmosphere as the Doctor treads ever closer to danger, keep the audience guessing with a proper mystery about the main villain, establish supporting characters like Lawrence Scarman, and General Williams backstories, and create in depth worlds with their own history and identity, from Skaro to Draconia to even the future earth, simply could not be done in 45 minutes.
I don’t blame Russell T Davies for ditching the serialized format in 2005. I think in hindsight it was a mistake, but the tv landscape had changed dramatically in the decades the show had been away. There were virtually no other serialized shows on air at that time.
Still almost 15 years on from when Doctor Who returned in 2005, the tv landscape has changed once more. Now streaming services like Netflix regularly release entire seasons of television series all at once.
With this in mind there’s no reason Netflix couldn’t do a series of say 22 episodes split up into 4 four parters and 1 six parter. If anything I think the serialized format would be a hit on Netflix, as people tend to enjoy watching shows on Netflix if they have a story arc.
Also its worth noting that to modern audiences, the Classic era style seems to be more popular. In 2017, Classic Who was the third best selling cult series (and the best selling sci fi series) on both DVD and Blue Ray in the entire world (with New Who only coming in at number 10.)
In addition to this other than the first few episodes of Jodie’s era (which drew in viewers purely for the novelty of a female Doctor.) The revival has not been a hit since 2013, with viewers falling dramatically every year.
It can be argued that the New Who format which hasn’t changed since 2005 is now outdated.
Finally Netflix can also aim the show at a more adult audience. I’m not saying I’d want it to be a totally adult show. I think a return to the levels of violence and fear seen in the Hinchcliff era of the series would be fine.
Now I know what you’re thinking. That the BBC would never sell Doctor Who, so its a pipe dream to even think about it being sold to Netflix. The BBC wouldn’t have to sell it completely to Netflix however.
They could reach a deal where they jointly own the rights, allowing them to still profit from the brand, but not actually have to make the show. It would be similar to the deal they have with Big Finish productions. Lets be honest the BBC HATE Doctor Who.
They always have. Leaving aside their shameful and unprofessional treatment of the series in the 80s, even today the BBCs treatment of the series has always been one of indifference at best. Look at all of the hiatus’ and gap years we’ve had to deal with in the last decade.
The BBC enjoys making money off of Doctor Who merchandise, toys, magazines, and books, but they hate having to make the actual show. This would solve all of their problems as well as ours.
Cast Julian Richings as The Doctor
My top choice for the Netflix Doctor would have to be Julian Richings. For those of you unfamiliar with him, Richings is a character actor who is probably best known for playing Death in Supernatural.
His performance as Death became an instant fan favourite with many hailing him as the greatest onscreen interpretation of the Grim Reaper of all time.
Now personally I think Richings would be an ideal choice for the Doctor for many reasons.
To start with he could capture the Doctors great age, his wisdom, and his authority perfectly, as seen with his performance as Death.
At the same time I also think Julian would mark a return to the Classic era type of Doctor. There’d certainly be no romance with his Doctor. His Doctor would also most likely based on his previous work, be quite a distant, mysterious, unpredictable and alien character, rather than the more cuddly, emo hipster the Doctor has sadly become in recent years.
Julian’s Doctor would also be a return to the more practical, level headed version of the Doctor. In the original series the Doctor, regardless of his incarnation tended to be more practical. He was more akin to Sherlock Holmes and Quatermass. We never saw him break down in tears, let his anger cloud his judgement, or completely lose his cool (apart from when he went temporarily insane in The Twin Dilemma.) He’d get angry and visibly upset yes, but he always kept his emotions in control.
Compare Jon Pertwee’s reaction to Jo Grant’s apparent death in Planet of the Daleks, calmly saying the Daleks murdered her, to David Tennant’s to losing Rose Tyler in Doomsday, or Peter Davison’s reaction to losing Adric to Capaldi’s to losing Clara.
See how the roles are reversed? In one its the Doctor telling someone how to cope with grief, whilst in another its someone telling the emotionally unstable Doctor how to cope.
Julian would be a return to the more emotionally mature, level headed and at times even quite cold Doctor.
There are many actors that would make an excellent Doctor like Robert Carlyle or Bruce Campbell, but I think Julian would be the best first Netflix Doctor as he would be a real return to the William Hartnell type (he even looks somewhat like Hartnell.)
If the Netflix series wanted a return to the old style, then it would need to get an actor that would show people that this Doctor really wasn’t the emo, romantic Doctor of the past decade or so, and Julian in my opinion would be the best choice.
I think it can be agreed that Julian Richings has more gravitas and screen presence than Jodie Whittaker regardless.
Hire Dana Delorenzo and Colin O’Donaghue as the Companions
Dana Delorenzo and Colin O’Donaghue for those unfamiliar are two actors already known for their starring roles in genre series.
Delorenzo played Kelly Maxwell the main female character from Ash vs Evil Dead, whilst O’Donaghue played the heroic version of Captain Hook from Once Upon A Time.
Both series have developed huge followings, whilst Delorenzo and O’Donaghue’s characters in particular have gone on to become among the most popular from either show.
Personally I think they’d both be the best choices for the companions for various reasons.
To start with I can see both actors bringing a real physicality to the role of the companion, which hasn’t really been present in New Who at all.
As I have pointed out many times in the classic series the Doctor did a fair bit of fighting (even in William Hartnell’s time) whilst in the revival the Doctor seems to rarely ever use his fists.
The same is also true of the companions. Characters like Rose, Martha and Amy may be strong, brave and resourceful heroes, but could you really imagine say Martha or Clara punching someone in the face? Classic era companions meanwhile like Barbara, Zoe, Leela, and Ace regularly beat up and even killed their enemies in fights.
Even the male companions like Jack, Mickey and Rory don’t seem to do much fighting compared to the likes of Ian, Steven, Jamie and even Harry. They generally tend to shoot badguys instead.
The reason for this is undoubtedly a hold over from when Mary Whitehouse and other moral guardians attacked the show for supposedly being too violent during the days of the classic era. I can imagine the BBC, fearful of another backlash deciding to make the Doctor and his companions less gritty and violent. (This would be another reason to make the move to Netflix.)
Dana and Colin have already done physical scenes in their previous series. Dana in particular brought a real physicality to the role of Kelly that made her very popular among fans of the show, so I could see her being more in line with companions like Ace from the original series.
You can see how Dana could quite easily be an Ace/Leela style companion no problem. Colin meanwhile I can see being more of a Jamie type companion. A little bit more blundering than Dana perhaps, but still dashing and brave, and maybe a bit more romantic.
I think it would be better to have the companion fulfil the role of being the more romantic, relatable character for younger audiences than the Doctor.
From about the Tennant era onward I think that the producers decided to cast the Doctor in the role of being a pin up to the female audience, and a role model for the young boys who watched the show. Obviously it was a success, and I’m not going to knock Tennant as an actor or his performance.
However I do think that this was a mistake in the long run. To start with it made Tennant feel extremely disjointed from his predecessors in many ways, such as in his relationship with Rose. It also I think pigeon holed the Doctor into being too much of a young, romantic, relatable character, which made it difficult for Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi to branch out and do something new.
When you look at Matt and Peter’s first seasons they both try and make the Doctor more alien and professorial, but in both cases there was a backlash from people who wanted a more Tennant style, romantic, younger Doctor and so sadly for their later seasons, Matt and Peter were forced to be more clones of Tennant, via a romantic relationship with Clara.
Having a strong companion fulfil this role would be a good way of easing the audience back into a more old fashioned Doctor. The Doctor would still be the lead of course, but his companions would balance him out and take on other roles he couldn’t, such as being the audience surrogate.
Dana and Colin I think would fulfil this role brilliantly by being dynamic in their own right, but also more down to earth and human than Julian’s Doctor so as not to step on his shoes.
Snip New Who Away From The Old Series Canon
As controversial as it may sound, New Who needs to go in order to save the franchise as a whole.
Now again this is not just bitterness as the revival. I may not have been happy with the new series as of late, but I don’t completely hate it. I have said many positive things about it in the past. I have praised its very best episodes, such as Vincent and the Doctor as being among the best British television of the last 20 years.
I have also acknowledged the positive impact it has had on the entertainment industry, through launching the careers of many of Britain’s best actors and actresses of the past 20 years such as Freema Agyeman, John Barrowman, Karen Gillan, and Matt Smith etc.
I have also frequently rated Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith as two of the best actors ever to play the role of the Doctor.
So I don’t hate everything about the revival. However for practical reasons I don’t see how you can continue the franchise with New Who as canon.
To start with casting the next Doctor is going to be absolute hell. If you cast a man the SJWs will accuse you ironically of taking a role away from a woman, (and probably encouraging trans women to detransition.) If you go for another woman again however, the same backlash of people accusing you of taking a role away from little boys will continue. Its hard to imagine any experienced producer wanting to go through that hell from both sides, particularly when there are other, more lucrative franchises out there. A young and up coming producer meanwhile won’t be prepared for it either and probably shy away from producing the series.
On top of that it would be impossible to have the Master appear again as the actual Master.
For 26 years the Master was written as the Doctors archenemy who wanted him dead and was kept alive by his intense hatred for the Doctor. Now however you couldn’t do that because Missy was retconned into being in love with the Doctor. How would you be able to take say Charles Dance as the Master wanting to kill the Doctor seriously, after you had seen him as Missy staring into the Doctors eyes and French kissing him?
The whole illusion of the Masters character and his reason for being has been tampered with too much.
On top of this the continuity of the revival has become too overbearing in other areas. For instance the Time Lords are now at the end of the universe in hiding and want the Doctor dead. There’s no way you could have them in it again without having to deal with that story (and indeed the fall out of their war with the Daleks which still hasn’t been resolved from The Time of the Doctor.)
So with this in mind I think the best thing to do is to snip New Who away from the shows canon.
I would make Julian Richings the 9th Doctor instead of the 14th. I wouldn’t cut New Who out completely however.
I’d reveal that New Who and Classic Who take place in alternate universes to one another, with similar histories up until a certain point when they diverged.
This way you could still have New Who characters and monsters such as the Weeping Angels, but they would be the Old Who universe versions of them. You could even have New Who characters cross over into the Old Who universe from time to time.
For instance I’d love to see Captain Jack accidentally fall through a portal to the Classic Who universe and meet Julian’s Doctor. You could even have him be trapped in this universe and become a tradition for Netflix Doctors to meet (as he should have been for revival era Doctors.)
You could even do a story where the Doctor from New Who crosses over into the Classic Who Doctors universe and both have to take on a combined threat. (Personally I’d like to see Capaldi as the Doctor in this story, after the absolutely appalling way he was treated by the BBC, it would be good to see him in the role again.)
To be fair you wouldn’t have to come out and say that New Who isn’t canon to the Classic era. Just that it was an alternative universe to THIS version. You could then let viewers decide which one they wanted to be the true sequel, and which they wanted to be the alternate universe to Classic Who.
I think that Classic Who deserves to be seen as its own work. As I have said before its like the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels. Those novels are the only true canon for Sherlock Holmes. There have been hundreds of alternative sequels to Holmes, but NONE of them are official. Its all up to the reader to decide which if any later non Doyle Holmes stories are canon.
Now Classic Who isn’t like Doyle’s Holmes stories in that its not written by one person, but it still followed a consistent core characterisation for the Doctor, and overall style (serialised stories, focus on monsters etc) for the entire series.
The changes behind the scenes were gradual, and many of the people who helped create the lore and characters remained involved right until the end, such as Terry Nation who had input and final say into every Dalek story until the end, or Barry Letts, the co-creator of the Master who still approved of and helped to cast the Anthony Ainley incarnation.
New Who however comes decades later and has NO ONE involved in the original involved in its production. Thus for me its not really got any right to decide the definitive story of what happened next any more than any piece of fan fiction.
Having an alternative sequel would establish that Classic Who is like the Doyle version of Holmes, IE the only real canon, with everything else, New Who, the hypothetical Netflix Who, and any other potential sequels all being different people’s ideas of what happened next, with the viewers and fans being allowed to choose which, if any version is the true sequel.
This will also take the pressure off of any sequel, and allow the writers to actually end their versions of the Doctors story. It would also be better for New Who in the long run, as it would allow many of its changes to be less controversial, as they would no longer be the only canon.
Make a Romana Spin Off
Obviously the Netflix version of Doctor Who would establish that Time Lords do NOT change gender when they regenerate to finally free the show from the shackles of the female Doctor question.
However to those who do still genuinely want to see more female heroes and don’t just want to spite male viewers, (which would sadly rule out Mr Tardis, Claudia Boleyn, and Whovian Feminism.) A good compromise for everybody would be a Romana tv series.
Romana could easily be brought back into Netflix Who for a two part story that would set up her own series. Personally I would abandon the “Romana as President” idea and just have her travelling in E-Space.
If done right Romana the series could be every bit as good as Doctor Who. She has her own entire universe, E-Space to explore, and the writers could establish a new rogues gallery made up of monsters and villains from E-Space.
If done right the show could run for decades, as Romana was only on her second life when we last saw her, so that would give us at least 11 new Romana’s. If each actress did 5 years then that would be 55 years, whilst if they only did three years each like the majority of the Doctors, then that would still be 33 years!
Also as Romana would be more of a blank slate for the writers to experiment with than the Doctor, as we have seen considerably less of her life and personality than the Doctors. Unlike the Doctor we could also explore her past and upbringing too, as Romana isn’t dependent on being mysterious like the Doctor.
There are dozens and dozens of actresses who would make fantastic Romana’s. Almost too many to mention, but here are some of my favourite choices. (You could cast all of these actresses as various different incarnations.)
Jenny Agutter, best known for her roles in Call the Mid Wife, An American Werewolf in London, and Logans Run would be an exceptional Romana. I could see here as a strong, no nonsense, authoritative figure.
In contrast Ingrid Oliver (best known for her role as Osgood) I can see being a very fun, sweet natured and lovable Romana.
Rebecca Mader, who is best known for her role as the Wicked Witch Zelena in Once Upon A Time meanwhile would be a fabulously eccentric, over the top, dashing Romana who could rival any Doctor in terms of having a large, dominant, over the top personality.
Amber Benson, best known as Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, would be a wonderfully kind, empathetic, sweet natured and lovable Romana.
Katie McGrath meanwhile, best known as Morgana in Merlin would give us a darker, more ruthless and sinister Romana.
There are so many possibilities to be explored in a Romana spin off series and we would have a good chance of seeing them realised as a spin off version of a Netflix version of Doctor Who where the Doctor is always male.
Doctor Who in its current form is on its last legs, but that doesn’t mean the franchise itself is dead. If it takes these steps then I think it can pull itself back in just a few years. By the 60th anniversary we could be celebrating Julian Richings glorious reign as the Doctor and wondering who will be next, without any political dogma, like the good old days.
Sadly however if it goes on the way it is, whilst I don’t think Doctor Who will ever die completely, we will be in for a new very long hiatus, and this time it will not have ended on a high like in 1989.
Thanks for reading and tell me how would you fix Doctor Who?