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Some more thoughts on Dr Who.

There’s been quite an uproar about the new Doctor, and a variety of reactions – including some things that made me flinch.

First of all – the Doctor is an alien that totally changes appearance when regenerating, and while keeping knowledge and experience, also changes character quite a bit. So I’m firmly in the “there’s no reason this could not include a gender change” camp.

That also seems to have been the idea of the original creator Sydney Newman, as several articles have stated over the years, like this one. Or this one. That was back in 1986, by the way – so the idea of having the Doctor regenerate as a woman is not new at all.

But what really stuck in my head was a tweet (which I have unfortunately not saved, or bookmarked, or whatever) that more or less said “if you are starting to watch Dr Who because of a woman lead now, you’re just as pathetic as those who stop watching it because of it”.

And oh, I’ve mulled that over and over again, coming to the conclusion that this is so wrong. On so many levels.

There is no law that makes someone keep liking something that has changed – and a regeneration in Dr Who always means a change. Just like a new showrunner. Or a new companion. There’s also no law that makes someone keep liking something for years and years – people change, too. I remember being totally in love with Monty Python’s Flying Circus when I was younger, and utterly amused by The Young Ones. I actually fell off the couch laughing once when I was introduced to them at my guest-parent’s home in lovely Broadstairs in Britain. Many years later, we got the DVD, and it was mostly just too absurd for me. I still enjoy the weird and absurd humour of both MPFC and The Young Ones, but only when I’m in the right mood, and only in rather small doses. Those series, obviously, have not changed – but I did. And that is fine; just like some friendships or relationships are fading from our lives, some books lose their personal importance over the years, our taste in clothing changes, old hobbies are given up and new ones are taken up, these things come and fade and new things replace them.

So if somebody is not feeling like a female Doctor will be their thing – it’s a perfectly valid personal decision, and nobody should be saying anything against it. Personally, I’d say it would be nice to give the new thing a chance, but if it doesn’t work – fine. Stopping to watch something one has fallen out of love with is not pathetic at all; on the contrary, I’d say that going on to watch a series that you have stopped enjoying, just because it was The Thing years earlier, is pathetic. So it irks me, this “if you are stopping because of a female Doctor”.

The other half of that tweet, though, irks me even more. I’d assume that the creator of the tweet likes the show. Now… if you like something, shouldn’t you be delighted about people discovering it? About new potential fans? More folks giving it a look and deciding that they might like it?

I have stopped watching because I wasn’t happy with what Moffat did as a showrunner. Does that mean, following that logic, that I’m not allowed to watch the new season with a different lead writer?

It’s not that there is a finite amount of Dr Who available, and having more people discover and watch it would take away from those who already love it. Calling those who consider a first look at the series, or a second one because a female lead sounds intriguing to them, pathetic (or any other names), does a disservice to the makers of the show (because people might just reconsider). It also casts a very, very bad light on the fans of the series. I would not want to belong to a fanbase that is so… weird… about who is allowed to start or stop watching something, and why.

So… if someone is getting interested into Dr Who because of the new Doctor – lovely. If someone is getting interested because of the new writer – lovely. If someone is getting interested because a black cat crossed the street and then caught a mouse? In my view, there’s no reason not to welcome anybody to something new that I love. After all, the worst that can happen is that they find out they don’t like it after all (and maybe think me a bit weird for liking it). Best case I have someone new to share my interest with, talk about related stuff, and enjoy the thing we now both like. And that’s a nice thing for everybody.

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2 Responses to Some more thoughts on Dr Who.

  1. Harma says:

    My only problem lately was the sound. As soon a it started to get exiting, someone thought it neccesary to add some “this is exiting”-sound, like the sound of a machine or a low music sound that was almost louder than the dialogue. I decided to wait untill Netflix shows it with subtitles.

  2. Heather says:

    That’s been cited as a growing BBC problem. The ‘in thing’ is mumbling dialogue in a monotone with hands in front of mouth or with the actor’s face out of shot so no one has a clue what anyone is saying. It’s possibly due to the feeling that it adds to the drama by making everyone have to concentrate even more (it doesn’t) or that everyone has pin-point bat-worthy hearing and are all sat in silence, watching alone, without distraction, with the volume so loud that it can be heard a street away.

    ‘Jamaica Inn’ and ‘SS-GB’ were particularly bad, especially as everything happened in the dark too. Watch ‘I, Claudius’ with Brian Blessed to see how it should be done.

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