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Doctor Who breaks gender barriers

WARNING%3A+Embargoed+for+publication+until+00%3A00%3A01+on+18%2F09%2F2018+-+Programme+Name%3A+Doctor+Who+Series+11+-+TX%3A+n%2Fa+-+Episode%3A+n%2Fa+%28No.+1%29+-+Picture+Shows%3A+%2A%2AStrictly+Embargoed+until+18%2F09%2F2018+00%3A00%3A01%2A%2A+Graham+%28BRADLEY+WALSH%29%2C+Yaz+%28MANDIP+GILL%29%2C+The+Doctor+%28JODIE+WHITTAKER%29%2C+Ryan+%28TOSIN+COLE%29+-+%28C%29+BBC+%2F+BBC+Studios+-+Photographer%3A+Henrik+Knudsen
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Doctor Who breaks gender barriers

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/09/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 18/09/2018 00:00:01** Graham (BRADLEY WALSH), Yaz (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ryan (TOSIN COLE) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Henrik Knudsen

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/09/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 18/09/2018 00:00:01** Graham (BRADLEY WALSH), Yaz (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ryan (TOSIN COLE) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Henrik Knudsen

BBC / Sophie Mutevelian

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/09/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 18/09/2018 00:00:01** Graham (BRADLEY WALSH), Yaz (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ryan (TOSIN COLE) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Henrik Knudsen

BBC / Sophie Mutevelian

BBC / Sophie Mutevelian

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/09/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 18/09/2018 00:00:01** Graham (BRADLEY WALSH), Yaz (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ryan (TOSIN COLE) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Henrik Knudsen

Allie Schein, Memorial Contributing Writer

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This year, the TV show Doctor Who stepped out of their box and casted a female lead for the role of The Doctor, something that has never happened in the 55 year history of the program. However there is one question everyone has been asking: does she live up to the precedence set by the past 12 male Doctors?

Doctor Who is a classic British TV show that first aired Nov. 23, 1963 featuring an alien, known as a “Time Lord”, named The Doctor that can regenerate into a new body to live forever. The Doctor travels through all of time in space in his spaceship, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), making friends from all around the universe.  

Over the past 55 years, there has been 13 different incarnations of the beloved Timelord. Each incarnation of The Doctor has been male, until now. Jodie Whittaker is the first female to play the lead role in the show.

Whittaker’s Doctor first appears in season 11 of the rebooted version of the show (2005-present) with the first episode airing Oct 7 of this year. There have been six episodes in the new season so far and I am happy to say Whittaker might be one of my favorite incarnations of the character based on the first few episodes.

The Doctor is a beloved character and a crucial part of the plot as a whole, and Whittaker is the perfect choice to play the role; she brings a new spunk to the show old and new fans will love. Her costume choice is stunning and incorporates old and modern style that works so well considering the history of the show. My favorite part of her wardrobe is the small fanny pack (or “bum bag” as the Brits call it)  she utilizes.

Whittaker is also hilarious to watch; she perfectly demonstrates how confusing it would be if somebody suddenly swapped genders after living as a man for 1,500 years. She also brings up controversial subjects about women and often mentions how different she’s being treated.

Although Whittaker is a great Doctor, she is not without flaws. The actor hasn’t quite mastered demonstrating the Doctor’s complex emotions, seeing as she’s a 1,500 year old alien who has been through a tremendous amount of pain. In the past, the best person I’ve seen portray the Doctor and his complex personality is David Tennant, the tenth Doctor, and Whittaker is very close to portraying the Doctor as well as Tennant did in 2006.

The season as a whole so far has been wonderful. The Doctor usually only has one companion that rides along in the TARDIS, but this season three lucky people board the ship. Yasmin, played by Mandip Gill, Ryan, played by Tosin Cole, and Graham, played by Bradley Walsh, meet the Doctor in the first episode after a run-in with an alien called Tzim-Sha and decide to continue traveling with her through time and space, giving themselves the name “Team TARDIS.”

The most controversial episode so far is Rosa, the third episode of the season. Team TARDIS travels back to Montgomery, Al. in 1955 and meet Rosa Parks, encountering racial prejudice African-Americans faced during this era and since Ryan is of African decent, he faces a majority of the prejudice. The episode as a whole was fantastic in my opinion, as it brought up a discussion of racism. It even touches on racism in the 21st century.

The episode “Demons of Punjab” aired Nov. 11 also touches on issues in India during 1947. It brought up a conflict that was occuring in India at the time, the Partition of India and touches on Muslim and Hindu tensions, a part of history that is not talked about or well known.

Overall, season 11 has been the most educational, showing important events in history and touching on several racist and misogynistic problems, it even brings up LGBTQ+ issues in our world today.

Whittaker is still finding her place in the role as the Doctor, but she holds a lot a promise and I can see season 11 being one of the best seasons in the show’s history thus far.

Contact writer at [email protected]

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