I fear this will be a tough (and dangerous) piece to write, one that will probably draw fire from all sides, but I shall attempt to put this in a non biased, non sexist way…..
The issue of gender change in Doctor Who has been present since the late 70’s, bought to the fore at the end of Tom Baker’s run. There was a little bit of fan trolling from Messrs Baker and Turner at the announcement of Tom Bakers departure from the show….
Ever since then however it has come up every time the Doctor has changed from both the for and against parties.
This has however become a running debate during Steven Moffats run.
Indeed the ‘rules’ on gender change in regeneration have been established on screen (in canon) by Mr. Moffat and have some quaters of the fandom in uproar.
In ‘The Doctors Wife’ its mentioned that another Time Lord renegade, The Corsair, has had both male and female incarnations…. fast forward a few years to series 8 and we are introduced to Missy.
By the end of the series the shock reveal comes that Missy is indeed the Master, the Doctors ‘best’ enemy and long time sparring partner in female form.
To be fair it is never quite explained whether Missy is a natural regeneration of the resurrected villain or a body snatched by the ghoulish Master after his battle with Rassilon.
The debates would (and still do despite all the evidence) rage on, “she is the Rani tricking the Doctor, pretending to be the Master to mess with the Doctor” is one argument amongst many. But it is clear that Missy is the Master. The Rani was far less erratic, far less ‘out of control’ as the Master became through both the classic and modern eras of the show.
While I am no great fan of Steven Moffats I think turning the Master female was a ‘Master stroke’. Wrong footing the Doctor and fans alike.
Fast forward once again to season 9’s finale and we finally get on-screen visual confirmation that not only can Time Lords change race when the regenerate but also gender.
To be honest with you the only complaint I have of that scene with the War General is the Doctors un-doctorish gunning down of the General (although this was the point, this is what the Hybrid was, the Doctor and Clara pushing one another to eventual destruction and uncharacteristic behaviour)
And so the general would regenerate from an older white male to a younger black female…. and I say good show. This doesnt mean that the Doctor will one day become a woman, it only means that he could become a woman. As long as the person cast suits the part I say go with it.
It would be alien and foreign to have a female Doctor (for me) but thats primarily down to the fact I have spent the last 40 years watching and thinking of the Doctor as male.
A final thought on the topic.
We know the act of regeneration is a gift, an act of mechanics, rather than a purely natural process.
What if, just suppose that there was a suffragette movement, spearheaded by Leela and maybe Romana for gender equality on Gallifrey. What if between them and all the other Time Ladies they convinced the High Council to open up Gender change as part of the regenearation mechanics….?
There’s a thought eh?
I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and a lot will agree.
Im not looking at the politics, just fitting what we have learned over 50+ years of the show. It always has to move forwards, its very essence is one of change and renewal.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions, but play nicely 😉
thanks for reading.