Race and gender swapping is a current hot trend in Hollywood when it comes to popular genre movies and TV shows. And for a long while, certain fans have been wondering why there can't be a female Time Lord in Doctor Who. Sweeping political correctness to the side, and declaring himself a staunch feminist, former Doctor Who, the 71-year old Sylvester McCoy says The Time Lord can never be female. And he has his reasons why it would never work.
For years now, there has been a quite vocal faction of the Doctor Who fan base who want to see The Time Lord, who has been appearing in male form for more than 50 years, switch it up a bit. There is, after all, nothing in the lore that says the good doctor can't be a woman. But Sylvester McCoy, who played the 7th iteration of the Doctor from 1987-1989, thinks doing that will ruin the relationship between the Time Lord and his assistant, and likens the idea to turning James Bond into a woman, which will never happen (probably). He had this to say to The Daily Mirror.
"I'm a feminist and recognize there are still glass ceilings in place for many women, but where would we draw the line? A Mr. Marple instead of Miss Marple? A Tarzanette? I'm sorry, but no - Doctor Who is a male character, just like James Bond. If they changed it to be politically correct then it would ruin the dynamics between the doctor and the assistant, which is a popular part of the show."
Sylvester McCoy played the Time Lord in Doctor Who during it's initial run, before it was rebooted in 2005. Since that time, four other male actors have followed him in playing the character. And it's a trend he wants to see continue. While some will certainly agree with his statements, one has to wonder where the line is drawn, and if the line gets drawn at all. Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig make a good case for why a female 'James Bond' should be able to exist. But like Spy, is it really so bad if new characters are created instead of changing old ones?
It's really a matter of the audience deciding the gender fate of a character like Doctor Who. If there is interest, and the idea proves to generate money, you can bet the studio will gravitate towards it. Though, as it stands, audiences will likely be more drawn to the male protagonist in a show like Doctor Who. And Sylvester McCoy makes a strong case when discussing the relationship between the doctor and his assistant. He is a bumbler aided by a companion who is much smarter than he is. Can a show exist where a woman in power is seen being helped by a man much stronger and smarter than she is? No. That would not fly at all.
Peter Davison, who played the 5th Time Lord, made a similar argument when speaking with ABC. To swap the gender roles of Doctor Who and his assistant would be setting up a tired stereotype that would certain rankle most feminists, and probably wouldn't sit well with viewers. He explains the following.
It seems to me if you reverse that, if you have an uncertain, fallible female Doctor with a really strong male companion, you've got more of a stereotype than anything else.
One way this might work is if the assistant remained a woman. According to current Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, the Time Lord isn't a man or woman. He isn't a real being as we understand humans, he just simply exists. But giving that entity a female skin still might not play to that idea, because viewers will always look at the person playing the role, not the true internal being of self found in a fictional character. No one associated with the series has ever ruled out Doctor Who being a woman. But it certainly won't happen for awhile. As Doctor Who Season 9 gets ready for its premiere on September 19, Peter Capaldi has made it clear that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. What do you think of Sylvester McCoy comments?