The Year of the Woman

Series Nine of Doctor Who was, in a word, groundbreaking. The broadcast format changed. The tone shifted dramatically (pun intended, of course). The stories grew in intensity and weight. The performances from both principal and supporting casts expanded exponentially. The series as a whole felt cohesive, focused, and full of the thrills, adventure, and emotion that marks a stellar season for the program.

Over and above all these accolades, and in many ways directly feeding into them, was the rising strength of women involved in the program. Like most viewers, we were astounded by the immediately apparent acting prowess of Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, Alex Kingston, Ingrid Oliver, and Jemma Redgrave; the directorial eye of Rachel Talalay and Hettie MacDonald; and the exceptional first episode contributions of Sarah Dollard and Catherine Tregenna. As we sit back and absorb all we’ve been given, the question is raised: in 2015, why are we still surprised to see these wonderful things happen?

Joined by brilliant blogger and Gallifreyan aficionado Alyssa of Whovian Feminism, we sit for a long session to discuss what has been a banner year for women in Doctor Who. We discuss the legacy of the program, accusations and confirmed instances of misogyny and chauvinism, the roles and representation of women both on camera and behind it. It becomes immediately clear that this is an ‘iceberg’ topic too large to address in one episode, so even with continued talk about the Bechdel test and other related issues in the “GPR After Dark” extended time that follows, we know for certain that we’ll be coming back to the subject — hopefully with news to celebrate about further advances for women’s equality in Series 10.

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One Thought on “The Year of the Woman?”

  • Re: Roth.

    Now I feel like I have to defend him. He’s my favorite actor. Not one of. He’s it. He didn’t bring up playing the Doctor out of the blue. He did an AMA on Reddit (presumably as he’s currently very relevant anyway having just been in a Quentin Tarantino movie, as one of the titular Hateful Eight) and was asked if he’d play the Doctor and he said “Ok. If this is the casting director, I’m all for it.” That’s it.

    By coincidence, he’s been my number one pick to play the Doctor for a long time. He often plays edgy, but he can turn around and be adorable and cuddly like he was in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (which everyone should see, it’s amazing!), Meantime, and Four Rooms. I’m all for Doctor Roth.

    But I also want them to cast a woman and have no control over anything happening at the BBC anyway.

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