Monday, 17 July 2017

13th Doctor. Reaction. And Reaction to the Reaction

Auntie Beeb chose to tell us who the next Doctor is going to be. For some reason it was after the tennis - one could maybe assume thats because there's a big weekend audience glued to the googlebox already. A cynic might suggest this was a date chosen to steal the limelight from Game of Thrones Series Season 7 premier. I'd be very surprised indeed if both assumptions weren't true.

What do we know about the 13th Doctor? Well not a lot. There was something of a nonsense of a teaser...

...and then after seemingly endless internet speculation Auntie dropped this:


And we finally get to see that they've cast Jodie Whittaker. She's done a fair bit of telly, you might know her from Broadchurch. Or more likely if you're a nerd you know her from Attack the Block or Black Mirror. She's a competent actress and it doesn't seem a bad call. I mean lets consider Capaldi - if we'd judged him on, say, Local Hero and Thick of It we'd be saying pretty much the same thing, right?

My first reaction? Well, why not? We can't really say anything about her portrayal of the doctor from that little teaser. Like any new doctor, lets see how she does. I've no opinion as to the Doctors gender, I really don't care - Whittaker wasn't on my radar as a potential Doctor but she seems a good fit. Had I been restricting myself to a woman for the role I'd love to have seen Hayley Atwell. As ever, there are the 'is this person a good fit?' thoughts, but I can remember regenerations going as far back as Tom Baker becoming Peter Davison, and there's nothing new there. Every actor stepping in to such an iconic role faces such concerns, this shouldn't be different. 

I scanned through Twitter for anger at this and really I didn't see much. I'm seeing a hell of a lot more whining about 'manbabies' and 'misogynerds' than people complaining about the new Doctor. As always seems to be the case said accusations take on their own momentum and very soon aren't even questioned. Few seem to be put out by this. There are some questioning why a being that's been a bloke 12 times suddenly isn't, suggesting that this seems out of character. And I get that - its a fair point, but they're being roundly (and unfairly) hammered for daring to say so. There are a few saying that the casting choice is pandering to feminists and the like, and yeah, I get why they're saying it - the crowing and gloating we're seeing online about this could certainly give that impression. But that seems awfully unfair to Whittaker - she's an excellent acting record and deserves to be judged on her performance rather than her gender. It seems monstrously unfair to turn her into some political champion - let her get on with playing the role.

The thing that bothers me most is the anger directed at presumed haters - countless tweets ranting at aforementioned 'manbabys'. And the assumptions that anyone voicing more or less exactly the same concerns about the new Doctor that we always see can be written off as woman haters, sexists, etc. Nerds just being nerds are being yelled at for it again - the same old thing really, people coming in to nerd culture and contemptuously pushing the nerds aside.

Doctors come and go. Nerds being hated for being nerds? Sadly, that still hasn't changed.