This weekend, the BBC unveiled the identity of the 13th Doctor, and as with all Doctor Who castings, there was inevitable complaining—some more than usual however, because the 13th Doctor is Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor. Yesterday the BBC released its official response to the complaints, and it’s basically, “It’s canon, so deal with it.”
As a public broadcaster, part of the BBC’s duty is to issue formal responses to complaints from the viewing public after a certain number of complaints about a given subject have been submitted. This can range from everything as minor as complaints about sound levels in drama shows to allegations of political bias in news coverage—and, sometimes, it can concern people angry at something that’s happened in Doctor Who, like the time back in 2010 when the BBC had to assure people that the show does not have an anti-redhead agenda after Matt Smith’s newly-regenerated Doctor appeared to some as dismissive of redheads when lamenting that he wasn’t one (yes, really).
Its latest complaint response is in a slightly different manner, however, addressing displeasure that, after 54 years of men playing the role, the next incarnation of the Doctor will be female. The BBC’s response is short and polite, but it’s basically a reminder to fans that a), this is a TV show about a shapeshifting alien from a planet of shapeshifting aliens and b), Doctor Who has clearly established the canonicity of a Time Lord’s ability to regenerate into either male or female forms:
Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.
The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.
They even added a bonus reminder that hey, Jodie Whittaker is a damn good actor:
As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.
We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.
So there you have it: Jodie’s getting the TARDIS key, and that’s quite all right with the BBC. If only it were all right with everyone else.