The Original Doctor Who Series Was Supposed To Have A Female Doctor

Doctor Who


What do you call a female Doctor? Yeah, it’s a trick question. The answer, of course, is Doctor. How long have the writers and creators of Doctor Who been discussing the possibility of a female Time Lord taking her place in the TARDIS? A long, long time. Nearly three decades to be precise. And why, 12 Doctors in, has a woman yet to be cast? There are as many opinions on that subject as there are Doctor Who fans.

That said, had one of the show’s original creators had his way, we’d have seen Ms. Who on screen ahead of Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, and even Sylvester McCoy. Way back in 1986, when the show was on its sixth Doctor, Who co-creator Sydney Newman penned a letter concerning the future of the series:

“At a later stage, Dr Who would be metamorphosed into a woman,” he wrote. “This requires some considerable thought—mainly because I want to avoid a flashy Hollywood ‘Wonder Woman’ because this kind of hero(ine) has no flaws—and a character with no flaws is a bore.”

Take that, Diana Prince! (We wonder how Newman would feel about Hollywood’s plans to co-opt the show sometime in the near future.) So what about now? When Peter Capaldi ends his run as chief time-and-space-traveller, will a female Doctor take over? Steven Moffat, the man currently in charge of the successful relaunched series, says he doesn’t do his casting based on gender: “It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman. A person will pop into the showrunner’s head and they’ll think. ‘Oh my God, what if it was that person?’ And when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen.”

“I don’t know why I’m the one who gets the grief for this,” he added. “I’m the one who put the dialogue into the show to say it can happen.”

Of course, we have seen a woman helm the TARDIS…

…and the show has plenty of excellent female characters—companions whom the Doctor could not have survived so long without. Still, it’d be great if a person, who was a woman, would “pop into a showrunner’s head” one day soon.