Back in 2013 YouGov asked members of the British public if they thought it was important for the Doctor to be played by a male actor. It was a close run thing, but rather misleadingly they announced the result with the headline 'Doctor Who
Must Be A Man'.
The BBC played in safe in the end and replaced Matt Smith with Peter Capaldi. But there was never any doubt that the first woman Doctor would come sooner than later.
During Capaldi’s four years on the show the ground
was being prepared and the corporation now firmly believes that the public is ready for the change in
gender. But are they right? Already they've officially responded to a rush of complaints with a pre-prepared statement and some disgruntled fans have started an ill fated petition to reverse the decision.
Another poll conducted this week suggests that the general public are mostly indifferent to
the casting decision, and yet the media is always going to point out the extreme views on both sides of the debate - views that are not hard to find in the age of social media. The internet is a hotbed of reactions from the ecstatic to the apoplectic, and some pretty crazy arguments are doing the rounds.
Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.