In the process of winding down from the most excellent Torchwood: Miracle Day, John Barrowman, aka Captain Jack Harkness, made an interesting suggestion for the next Doctor Who.
“I think a female Doctor might work,” he told a group in Glasgow, “you never know. The audience might not like that, but I know a lot of young girls and women would love that. Listen, if Captain Jack can be an omni-sexual time agent and assistant to the Doctor, why can’t we have a female Doctor?”
Barrowman even has someone in mind to play the role: Catherine Tate. (Hello, girls.)
Before any Whovians have a heart attack, I should clarify that the Captain’s comments are not in response to news that Matt Smith is leaving. While Smith said last year that he had his sights set on only two series of the show, he recently signed on for a third, and the Eleventh Doctor may be cruising time and space in the TARDIS for years to come. Barrowman was just being, well, Barrowman, stirring the pot as he is prone to do. In fact, he had a casting suggestion besides Tate: “Put me in a dress and I’ll be the female Doctor.”
Barrowman as Zara in “La Cage aux Folles”
Oh, John, you’re adorable even in drag.
Barrowman is not the first to suggest a woman Doctor. In fact, the show’s creator, Sydney Newman, suggested that the BBC change the character’s gender to revive the show after a drastic drop in ratings in the ’80s. The BBC decided to play safe and hired a male, Sylvester McCoy‚ and the show continued to decline until it was taken off the air until its 2005 revival.
I can’t help wondering what woman could succeed as the Doctor. Granted, I adore Catherine Tate. But she played the quite memorable role of companion Donna Noble. Recasting her as the Doctor would be iffy, at best.
In the ’80s, one of the names tossed about by Whovians was Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous). In fact, Lumley played an incarnation of the Doctor in a parody for Comic Relief, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.
I fear, however, that Lumley, at 65, might not be up to the manic physicality of the role at this point. Although vodka would help.
Emma Thompson certainly has the energy and comic sensibility to be the Doctor and would doubtless have great fun with the part if she took it on.
Thompson might be too much of a known quantity for the series, however. As much as I’d love to see her in the role, I don’t know that she’s quite right.
Obviously, I need some help brainstorming. Tell me: Would you like to see a woman Doctor Who? If so, who should be Who?