Doctor Who and the Fragility of Life

Oh no, she’s a woman!

I couldn’t believe the audacity of BBC commissioned scriptwriters when they converted Doctor Who’s arch-nemesis, The Master, into a woman. There was only be one reason for such a dastardly act – to prepare the audience for a female Doctor Who.

As it transpired in 2014, Michele Gomez played the role, combining fun and evil. She was excellent.

But why was it time for a new female Timelord?

It was because countless numbers of Twitter users and media commentators made demands.

It was “about time”, the campaigners decried.

Sure enough, three years later, Peter Capaldi regenerated into Jodie Whittaker and my Doctor Who watching days were over.

Changing the lead character of a near sixty-year-old franchise from male to female not only accelerated the adventure series’ decline in ratings but injected energy into the birth of anti-woke broadcasters on YouTube.

YouTube became my Doctor Who substitute with the help of Nerdrotic, The Critical Drinker and Bowlestrek. I did not need to endure the socially corrected episodes of new Who.

What is clear, large entertainment corporations seem intent on altering long-lived franchises by changing genders, sexual preferences or ethnicity of central characters.

Such actions are not equality based. Alterations to backstory or canon alienate the fans who made the franchises successful and do a disservice to the groups of fellow humans that the corporations are trying to endear.

Same-sex couples, people of colour, and women in leading roles do not need to be shoehorned by bad writers into existing white male roles. Good writers need to create original stories and characters for diverse actors. If the writing is good, the audience shouldn’t notice gender or ethnicity etc. The viewer should become absorbed into the story.

But instead, today, the viewer is pulled out of the story because we need to see a lesbian kiss or a woman of colour take the white heterosexual male’s place.

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Love and Despair for the BBC

The BBC produces high-quality programming, from world-class news coverage to countless classic comedies and shows.

  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Missing and Julien Baptiste
  • Pride and Prejudice etc.
  • Fingerbobs

I better stop there.

The BBC was my best childhood friend, but in adulthood, it is more a love/hate relationship.

Last Christmas our household’s viewing was 90% from the BBC’s iPlayer.

But the BBC appears obligated to educate children, set a politically correct agenda, all while paying female presenters significantly less than male colleagues for similar work.

Does hypocrisy annoy people any more?

BBC hypocrisy is long-established. The BBC would edit films due to nudity – very frustrating as a boy in his early teens. Yet when the corporation produced a Dennis Potter play, there would be more nudity than you could shake a stick at.

The BBC has no right to enforce one particular moral compass on society. It can, however, because there are no financial consequences to any decision it takes.

With a guaranteed income from public taxes (the BBC license fee), it has the freedom to produce programmes despite the ratings. Sometimes this is a good thing – popularism would mean we all end up having to endure TV like Love Island.

But gender-based ideology and poor writing have destroyed Doctor Who. Not because of a female lead role, but because the TV industry has dragged a great idea out ad infinitum. There are no new plots, no original concepts and no classic scenes. The Doctor is dead, exhausted because the BBC has exploited the idea for decades.

The much-reported preachiness of seasons 11 to 12 have sealed the series’ fate – or it should have done. Remember, poor ratings don’t matter to the BBC.

Media’s Responsibility

Media has a responsibility to provide fuel for our imagination. While I have criticised the BBC for assuming the role of moral guardian, I support media provoking debate and forging opportunities, opening our minds to new ideas.

The media, however, need to recognise it’s a fine line between challenging the norm and telling us what the new standard should be.

Observers, myself included, have the sense that entertainment has woke signals inserted, not to add to the story but because it’s something directed by the boardroom. For example, the finale episode of Star Trek: Picard had two of the central female characters hold hands intimately in the final scenes. I’m not convinced showing intimacy between the two characters was done for any other reason than to raise a discussion point.

A surprise same-sex relationship serves only to divert the viewer’s attention from the dramatic final moments. The scene didn’t add to the story, nor did it seem contextual; it was ticking the box and did nothing to promote equality.

If the media got it right, they would open opportunities for all kinds of views and opinion. Instead, they try to erase histories and re-write the narrative to tick the equality box. All such actions achieve is to replace one form of alienation with another.

If it were not for the media, I would not fully understand the pain and hurt experienced by the gay community and the inequality they continue to endure. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to love someone and not be allowed to express it publicly or to be prevented by law from marrying.

I’m not homophobic, a misogynist or racist. I’m a contented white heterosexual who enjoys entertaining escapism without the brainwashing.

When I watch Luther, I’m not conscious of the lead actor’s colour. I’m mesmerised by Idris Elba and his performance. He’s bloody cool.

So, by all means, create the debate and raise the conversation level, but stop destroying original ideas and converting male characters into females. It’s lazy writing.

If the industry cares, create new and original diverse characters.

The Fragility of Life

When I reconstituted my blog, I sharpened the knives ready to tear into the woke agenda as projected by the first female Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker. However, why should any of us care?

If a franchise decides to abandon long-term fans in favour of new followers with a different outlook, let it be.

Nerdrotic and co. have made their point, and we all need to move on.

Coronavirus is sweeping the world, killing millions of people.

Children are dying from hunger or because they have no clean drinking water.

People are drowning in the sea as they attempt to reach a better life.

Life is fragile and all too brief. Isn’t there more critical matters in the world to be concerned about than a passing phase in global showbiz?

I divide the human race, not by colour, gender or sexuality, but by behaviour. How we treat one another is what defines us. We are all different and have the right to live our lives as ourselves, without harm to others.

We do not own the plot of ground on which we stand. We rent it.

As for Doctor Who, I say goodbye to the new and hello to the old. I have decades of classic Who to enjoy courtesy of BritBox.