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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 June 2016 at 4:24pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I have two questions for anyone who would like to answer them.

1.) Would you like to see a female play the Doctor?
2.) Would you like to see an American play the Doctor?

I'll answer my second question first. Despite being an alien, there is something "British" about the Doctor (and the actors who've played him have certainly been British). I would not be opposed to the right American actor playing him.

And that leads me to my second answer: yes, I'd be happy to see a female play the Doctor, provided it's Gillian Anderson. ;)

I have a third question: would a female and/or American actor playing the Doctor attract new fans? It might alienate existing and long-term fans, but could it gain a new audience?

Over to you.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 June 2016 at 4:49pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

No to both.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 29 June 2016 at 6:47pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

1. No. What's the point? If you want a series with a Time Lady lead, do a spin-off with Romana.
2. No. The lead character is quintessentially British. Though there is no 'in story' reason for the Doctor to be any earthly nationality, it is part of the show's fabric and its charm. 
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 4:10am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

1. You have to weigh the pros and cons of letting a female play the Doctor (which sounds terribly sexist in the 21st century, I know, sorry). How would it benefit the series? How might it harm the series? I'm not sure.
Playing Devil's advocate, the only things I can think of as positive would be that it would widen the pool of potentially great actors who could play the role. It would also reinforce the idea that the Doctor is an alien - something that has possibly been diluted since the series came back with the younger, more romantic Doctors (?). But nothing that really makes me desperate for such a drastic experiment to take place.

2. From what we have seen, there is no reason why the Doctor could not develop an American accent and mannerisms but, again, how would that benefit the series? I really like what Peter Martin said about the Doctor being a quintessentially British character and that being part of the show's fabric and charm.

I always feel fortunate that while I've been viewing Doctor Who for as long as I can remember, there have only been two actors that I have really not liked in the role. But Doctors are like buses, you just wait for the next one to come along.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

In terms of a woman playing the Doctor, it becomes a bit like scraps from the table again, doesn't it? I mean, if we want, say, Dame Helen Mirren, why not create a kickass character of her own. Why do stunt casting?

Aside from the obvious crass and commercial reasons, I mean.

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 30 June 2016 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

No to both.
We have a female `The Master` let`s leave it at that!

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 01 July 2016 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

If the Doctor regenerates into a female, I'll stop watching until the character is a male again. And I'd prefer to stick with British actors in the role.
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Joseph Greathouse
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Posted: 01 July 2016 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

1. Sure. I have yet to see a convincing argument as to "why not?"

2. The British thing works for me, another American on TV would likely bore me.

3. Yes, I believe a female doctor would bring in some new fans.  Chances are it would bring in more new fans than the ones that would leave over a female doctor. 
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 01 July 2016 at 4:09pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

1.) The show -- thanks, Moffat! -- has established several times that a
Time Lord can change genders and (apparent*) race. But while The
Doctor could become a different race or sex in another incarnation, the
drawback is that I don't see how the show doesn't wind up becoming
about how everyone views The Doctor differently now. The Doctor is
written as a white male, politically, in the sense of how strangers react
to him. A Doctor who is suddenly treated differently could prove
interesting but it wouldn't be the Doctor.

2.) An American *could* play The Doctor in the way an American
played Spike on BUFFY or Bridget Jones. Tennant adopted an English
accent, as well. If the question is whether the Doctor could sound and
"act" American, then, no, that wouldn't really work either.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 01 July 2016 at 6:26pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

1. The Doctor is one of the few male characters on TV who can be a positive
male role model...solving problems most often with wit, resolve, and
cleverness over violence. Why would you want to take that away?

2. No thanks.
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 01 July 2016 at 11:33pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Just for fun:


50 years of American WHO
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 July 2016 at 6:52am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Cute. Goes on too long, and casts Burgess Meredith from the wrong part of his career, but cute.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 July 2016 at 5:39pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Hey. maybe as a last hurrah, Moffet can reveal the Doctor has really been River Song all along!
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 02 July 2016 at 6:19pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I have yet to see a convincing argument as to "why not"?
------------------------------------------------------------ ----------
This seems very similar to William Goldman's story about Hollywood's approach to adaptations being not 'what can we keep?' but instead 'what can we change?'

If you are dealing with an established character, the onus is on the person proposing the change to argue 'why' and not on anyone else to argue 'why not?'
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 July 2016 at 6:47pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I have yet to see a convincing argument as to "why not"?

Peter summed it up pretty well, but I want to add one more thought: I am opposed to these kinds of shenanigans because they are LAZY.

It's HARD to come up with new and innovative things to do with characters that have been around for decades and even centuries. Superman, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, The Doctor. What hasn't been done a hundred times over?

So how to get people TALKING again. (And remember what Oscar Wilde supposedly said -- the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.) How to stir the hornet's nest? How about by destroying the hornet's nest? Blast it to shards and say BEHOLD! SEE WHAT I HAVE WROUGHT!

It's always easier -- and lazier -- to tear something down than to expand in logical ways what already exists.

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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 02 July 2016 at 11:42pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I've argued previously that the first four Doctors felt like they were cast
to be The Doctor as if the series started fresh with them and there
hadn't been any other Doctors (they often were written and acted this
way, as well). After Tom Bakers, the Doctors started to be cast as
reactions to past Doctors. The meek, mild Davison as reaction to Baker
or fhe brash, rude Colin Baker in reaction to Davison and so on.

That tends to be the problem with the suggestion of a female or
American Doctor, it is a reaction to what we've seen before, We spent
far too long with Capaldi exploring the idea of fhe whether the Doctor is
a "good man."

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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 2:52am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I was discussing this thread with my wife and I could see her eyes rolling back in to her head (never a good sign when that happens - it's like something from The Exorcist the way she does it). She then asked me: "So, you and the other people saying 'no' to the idea ... all men by any chance?" Uh-oh, thinks I, scrolling up the page to see that is indeed the case.
"Yes, thought so," says the missus, "You're talking about a being from another world who has already been old, young, thin, fat, tall, short ... that's fine, but when it comes to changes in the trouser department you suddenly can't cope?" She smiled sadly at me and added: "Could you have been any more shocked when the cosmic-hobo became a dandy, or he a wild-eyed bohemian? And what about all the people who thought a Northerner in leather jacket was too far away from the frock-coated posh-boy image they had in their heads? You're a science fiction fan, you should be open to all sorts of strange and wonderful ideas."
So, I asked her, what about an American Doctor then?
"NO!"


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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 6:49am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

"So, you and the other people saying 'no' to the idea ... all men by any chance?"

sigh

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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

1.) Would you like to see a female play the Doctor?

2.) Would you like to see an American play the Doctor?

My response to both questions is no.

There were a few American actors I would have liked seeing play The Doctor at one time. The video in the link included them. If The Doctor were to ever become female. I'd obviously watch to see what happened. As long as it was a short term deal than fine. The story would have to justify the change of sex. At the end of the story The Doctor who have to be returned to being a man.

Edited by Anthony J Lombardi on 03 July 2016 at 1:41pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

We`ve had one,Joanna Lumley in a Comic Relief sketch,ok not official but we`ve had one,now can we move on?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

We`ve had one,Joanna Lumley in a Comic Relief sketch,ok not official but we`ve had one,now can we move on?

Sadly, there are some WHO fans who debate with great ferocity whether "The Curse of Fatal Death" was canon or not!!

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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

The doors to the TARDIS swing open and a stoutly built bearded gentleman (played by Brian Blessed) ambles into the control room. The Doctor rushes across to embrace him and the two look at one another with tears in their eyes. Eventually the bearded man says: "Grandfather, you kept your word...you came back."

"Yes, Susan," replies the Doctor. "And your husband, David, how is he?"

"Funny you should mention that, Grandfather. David mysteriously vanished after I regenerated into this incarnation. I just can't understand it..."
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

There is something in this debate of the hoary old question of whether Wonder Woman is gay. Whether, in fact, all the women on Paradise Island are Lesbians.

When I started working on WONDER WOMAN, and at the time was still ocassionally drifting thru chat rooms, I was often set upon by readers who insisted Diana MUST be a Lesbian. Coming to sexual maturity on an island populated entirely by women would make this inevitable.

There was a great deal of sexual naievete in this thinking. The argument was frequently made that thousands of years on that island would have led the Amazons to seek sexual release with each other. Echoes here of the old nonsense that homosexuality is LEARNED. (That kind of antique "thinking" drives much homophobia even today.)

Since the ones making the demands were universally male, I would respond by asking how long they thought they'd need to spend on an island with their buds before they started getting busy with them. Across the board the response was a considerable amount of harumphing and cries of "That's different."

Of course it is. Lesbians are HOT, right boys? Gay men are just ICKY! (In fact, let's go beat some up, to prove how butch we are!)

I sense no small amount of that fifth grade mentality in this question. Making the Doctor a woman would be SO HOT! The further ramifications are not considered.

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 03 July 2016 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Hmmmm,as the first Doctors were not traditionally good looking and over 50,maybe if they cast an eccentric female of a certain age like Miriam Margolyes,maybe that would shut the fanboys up!
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 04 July 2016 at 12:24pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Miriam Margolyes as the Doctor? Don't say things like that, Bill, or you'll bring me round to the idea of a female incarnation. You're right though, if the producers ever did hit the panic button and cast a woman in the role then the only way I can think it would work would be with an actress of a certain age. I'd hate to see the Doctor become Buffy or Xena. Sorry to mention my wife again, but she's also a Science Fiction fan (we met at a Star Trek convention) and she often complains that all the women in Sci-Fi these days are 'kick-ass lady ninja types'.

As for whether a hypothetical lady Doctor would be a lesbian or not - I'd rather not know. But then again, I never needed to know if the male Doctors were getting any or not. As a parent one thing that dismays me about 21st century Doctor Who is that there is far too much sex and innuendo for a kids show (even if it's a kids show for kids from 8 to 80). I fear that the show that gave us Amy and Rory indulging in kinky Roman/Policewoman roleplay would be unable to resist exploring the sexuality of a female Doctor - another good reason for not going there.
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