As the new Tardis team is announced for season 11 of Doctor Who, Dan Struthers and Evlyn Forsyth-Muris debate whether the show should keep regenerating or face maximum extermination…
First of all, I want to make it clear that my argument to axe Doctor Who has nothing to do with Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Doctor. I think this is one of the best decisions from the last five years of Nu-Who, but you can’t breathe life into something that is already dead. Obviously this is a hyperbole for dramatic effect, but something feels like it’s been missing from the show since fan favourite David Tennant handed over the Tardis key to his successor. It’s missing that spark that made fans proud to be a ‘Whovian’.
When hearing that Chris Chibnall would be taking over as showrunner, the general consensus seemed to be a ‘meh’ rather than one of excitement. Chibnall is a fine writer but the BBC have chosen to go with a safe and bankable presence, having acted as a showrunner and writer for Broadchurch, rather than recruiting fresh blood and giving the show the shot in the arm it so desperately needs. Let us not forget that Russell T. Davies, who brought the show back in 2005, was primarily known for his gay drama Queer as Folk. Many people thought this was a terrible choice but his take on the show was fresh while building on the original formula, making the show the worldwide success it is today.
For every bit of good that casting the first female Doctor did, recent news that Bradley Walsh will be her companion has undone this progress. Walsh, best known for his giggling ts on daytime TV when someone says the word ‘sausage’ or ‘fanny’, feels like the odd one out when looking at the otherwise young and diverse cast. By no means should his age, sex or ethnicity be anything to pick him out on, but it feels inevitable that he will be the goofy sidekick making dad jokes before ultimately being paired up as love interest to Whittaker’s Doctor, who is almost half his age in real life.
As much as I love Doctor Who, I cannot help but feel that it should take a lesson from the classic series in the 80s, which due to lack of interest was put to sleep for a while. Axing Doctor Who and bringing it back in five or ten years’ time may sound like sacrilege but this could be the best thing that has happened to the show following the fairly lukewarm series of late. After all, you never realise how much you love something until you lose it – Dan Struthers
Doctor Who is set to return to our screens this Christmas for the farewell of 12th doctor, Peter Capaldi. After a few decent but somewhat bland series’, some people are suggesting it’s time for the show to be axed. Whilst I think we can all agree that Moffat is long overdue to leave after seven years as show-runner, I do believe that to get rid of the show is far too hasty. There are big changes coming to the new series, which is set to air in autumn 2018; not only a new Doctor but a new gender of Doctor. Despite a lot of backlash, I think Chibnall made the right call. Jodie Whittaker is a great actor and she did a marvellous job in Broadchurch. I for one am certain she will bring something new and exciting to the role.
The 13th Doctor won’t be alone however, and will be joined by not one but three new companions, played by Bradley Walsh (Graham), Tosin Cole (Ryan) and Mandip Gill (Yasmin). Although the casting of Bradley Walsh is certainly interesting we shouldn’t judge the casting director’s choice – they saw the audition and we didn’t, so let’s wait and see! I am also very pleased that the diversity in the show didn’t stop with a female doctor: we now have two people of colour occupying spaces in the Tardis. Doctor Who is ultimately a family show and it’s wonderful to have a good representation for all the kids watching.
Chibnall has already breathed so much life into the show and he’s only aired one minute of Doctor Who: the reveal of Jodie Whittaker! One of the best things about Doctor Who is the blossoming of characters as they are shown all manner of amazing things, combined with how they deal with the strain it has on their own lives, something Chibnall has already done in writing Amy and Rory’s penultimate story ‘the Power of Three’.
So far we have had a long run with little change, but the show should regenerate not just with each new doctor but with each new series and episode. It’s a part of our culture, history and so many people’s childhoods; to give up on it without giving it the opportunity of a fresh start would be not only a waste but a disservice to all the children for whom this might be their first series. – Evlyn Forsyth-Muris