The 13th Doctor, Our Reaction.

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock (how painful), you’ll have heard about the announcement of the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. That’s right, the first female Doctor has been cast! Read our thoughts below…

Beth

I became a Doctor Who fan at 8 years old in 2006. I fell in love with The Doctor and Rose as they travelled through space and time having exciting adventures. On the playground I would always be Rose Tyler, and as the years passed I was Martha and then Donna too. I never played The Doctor because the Doctor was never a woman, and I suppose it never crossed my mind that a woman could be a time lord too. As Doctor Who history has gone on, the role of the companion has been portrayed as just as important, and in some cases even more important than the role of The Doctor themselves. In terms of female representation, this is brilliant and has given young girls idols to look up to for generations. But it’s still. Not. Enough.

I’ve been deeply integrated into the world of Doctor Who and its fandom for some time now, particularly in the last few years. It’s given me hundreds of friends, memories and achievements and is my biggest love. But most of the time, I still don’t really ~fit. I’m rarely looked at as a ‘real fan’, or have particular labels stuck to me as a ‘female fan’ of the show. I feel left out. I feel pushed out. I feel like I don’t belong. No matter my efforts with this blog, my commitment to the fandom and my friends, I still feel something missing.

Until it was announced that the 13th Doctor would be played by a woman.

Just like that, I belonged. I finally have a place. A female actress is playing The Doctor, who for over 50 years has been played by a man. I feel accepted. I feel like I belong. To know that a woman will be playing a character who for so long has been male immediately made me feel like I was as important as all the male fans, the male actors and the male crew on the show. Of course not everyone needs something like this to know that they can be a hero, or to know their worth, but for me, it means everything. I have hope that hundreds of young girls and women will have their lives changed by this. No matter your opinion on the Doctor being female, you cannot deny that it is an incredible moment in not only Doctor Who history, but history itself. It will bring hope, it will bring change and it will bring joy. I can finally see myself in the main character of my favourite TV show, and it was the change I never knew I needed.


Hattie

Doctor Who has been a big part of my life since I was 9 years old, and along with it the Doctor and whoever the companion may be. Despite the Doctor himself being the centre of the show, I was gravitated towards each of these companions, from Rose Tyler to Bill Potts. It was these women that I wanted to be on the playground and in real life, never the Doctor. Perhaps it was the way that the companions always felt kinder and more human than the Doctor, or maybe it was simply because the Doctor never felt accessible for me. He never felt relatable because he was a man. Growing up, I could never see myself in him while he darted across the television screen, saving the world in his wild and wonderful ways.

When I was a teenager, I started to consider the possibility of the Doctor being a woman. Was it possible? Is this how Time Lords and Ladies worked? However, once Missy appeared on our screens in series 8 I realised that the idea of a female doctor could no longer be dismissed by fans. It was possible.

When I heard the news of the new Doctor being a female, my heart jumped. I was suddenly 9 years old again, playing Rose Tyler on the playground because my male peers had already claimed the role of the Doctor because ‘they were boys and it made sense’. I was suddenly 11 again, and dreaming of becoming a real life Doctor just like Martha Jones, because that idea felt far more accessible than pretending to be a Time Lord, travelling throughout time and space. I was taken back to the time when all I wanted was Donna Noble’s dry humour and wit, because that was what shined and proved to be the most prevalent theme for me throughout the whole of series 4. Those bright and shining companions, that helped me grow and develop throughout my childhood and were my consistent role models.

I am delighted at the news Jodie Whittaker being announced as the next Doctor, because those little girls watching will no longer just have to relate to the female companions. They will no longer get tossed aside as playing the Doctor on the school playground. Most of all, they can dream of travelling throughout time and Space as a Time Lady themselves and never feel as if that idea is impossible.

Kezia

I think like many Doctor Who fans, I didn’t realise how much I’d wanted and needed a female Doctor until I saw Jodie Whittaker pull down that hood and smile gloriously towards the TARDIS. Honestly, my heart leapt and I started tearing up.

Even just from that scene I found her Doctor inspiring, which sounds silly to say but from a female Doctor Who fan not so much. Like all my fellow Time Ladies I’ve grown up with Doctor Who and I can’t tell you how much it would have meant to me to have seen a woman in the lead role when I was younger. I’ve spent years defending the women in the show – Rose was ‘too common’ (honestly a comment that was said), Martha was ‘too clingy and try hard’, Donna was ‘trying to be a lad with her humour’ and Amy was ‘a supermodel and nothing more’. As much as fans say they love the women in the show, they’ve always been inferior to the Doctor because the whole show is driven by that character, they are the hero. Sure, the companion is allowed to play that part for an episode or two but for (nearly) 54 years of the show’s history the lead has been played by a man.

And what does that say to girls? That they’re not good enough? That they must always be resigned to play the sidekick? Because it certainly watches that way. We already know that there are Time Lords who are women and they are brilliant. Romana is one of my favourite characters in the entirety of the show and out performs the Doctor in so many ways, the manipulative, ultra-glam Rani and of course our favourite Master, Missy. So again, I question as to why those female Time Lords are only ever celebrated as companions rather than what the Doctor could be.

Basically, it’s not good enough.

So what is the Doctor? Kind, open-minded, eccentric, brilliant. All the things women and men can be. Let us think about what the Doctor would do, our hero. Would they care about this regeneration? Absolutely not. They would shake their hand to welcome them and say “still not ginger.”

We all feel extremely proud to be fans of a show which is taking such a brave and wonderful step forward in it’s history. We’ll be here every step of the way.

Look out tomorrow for our post on The Time Ladies press tour after the announcement of the 13th Doctor! We spoke on over 10 radio shows and had a television appearance, talk about girl power. Keep those eyes peeled.

Doctor Who? Is the Future Female?

So, we’re minutes away from the new Doctor. Want our feelings whilst you’re watching Wimbledon? Read on…

Beth:
What do I want in the 13th Doctor? A simple enough question, but my honest answer is that I don’t /really/ know. There’s one thing I do know though: I don’t want another white male. The Doctor has been played by the same white male between the ages of 25-70 for over 50 years now. We know he can regenerate into literally anyone, and have seen other time lords turn from men to women and people of colour on screen. It is 2017, a time for the future.

Diversity and equality are at the height of discussion in the media almost constantly now. There should be no issue in having an actor of a different gender or ethnicity play an alien over 2000 years old. If you still think that this is a problem: just imagine hundreds of children of all backgrounds, growing up and seeing themselves in the most popular hero on British television. Imagine what that could do for the future. Little girls believing they can save the universe and be the hero. Children of colour knowing they can have any opportunity they want. This show was created to educate and entertain. It has a DUTY. A show created by a woman and a man of colour that is based on change needs to finally catch up with the times.

Em:
The first doctor reveal I have memory of was Matt Smith. Whilst Chris to David was my first regeneration, Matt’s reveal in a documentary-esque TV special remains prominent in my memory because it was the first time I realised the true scope of Doctor Who, and how the changing of Doctors was a special event akin to a change of prime minister. Following said TV special I wrote and posted an extremely aggressive letter to the BBC about how Doctor Who was ruined, how could they, and that they had to bring David back RIGHT AWAY.

Change has never really been a concept that settled easily with me. I am through and through a creature of habit and comfort, change has always troubled me far more than it should. Which, of course, as a fan of Doctor Who meant that I was often left heartbroken at a change of companion, writer and of course Doctor. Despite this however, I also (begrudgingly) know that through change, greatness can be achieved.

I know this on a personal level: moving to University alone and finding my own way, starting new jobs and falling in love with the Eleventh doctor approximately three minutes into his first episode. I hope that the new doctor (and the new era) bring to the show everything that Doctor Who has always been: inspiring, humbling and full of hope. And I don’t know about you, but to me the future is looking very female.

Kez:
I always feel so nervous about who will be the next Doctor, I feel nervous for the show and mainly for that person who is suddenly responsible for one of the biggest heroes in television history.

Change is one of the most incredible things about Doctor Who and I think regeneration has been key to why our favourite show is still around today, nearly 54 years after it’s first transmission. I personally am terrible with change but even when it hasn’t felt right before, it has been needed and I recognise that.

Doctor Who has made such brilliant bold decisions and I think they need to stretch this to our hero, the lead part. I’m not sure if everyone is ready for a female Doctor, but in my opinion, they should be. Why can’t a woman be the lead? In a 2017 world of Wonder Woman and Supergirl, let’s pave the way and inspire young girls. We shouldn’t always be the companion.

My fear is, that a woman (at any time of her announcement, it could not be 13!) will get a really tough time. People won’t give her the time of day and that’s a scary feeling. Really, what does that say about our audience?

We need to be brave, forward thinking and above all – aren’t Time Lords above gender?

We look forward to seeing all your reactions! Tweet us at @thetimeladies_ with them.

Time Ladies Support Time Ladies

As a feminist, I think it is absolutely the duty of every woman to support one another rather than tear each other down.

As a female Doctor Who fan, a minority in a fandom made up of predominantly men, I believe the same.

We live in a society that supports negativity between girls, that encourages competition and profits on female insecurities. If you follow this diet, you could look like Britney! If you talk quieter, if you swear less and use prettier words, boys will like you better! In everything a girl does, they are subsequently pitted against another girl.

It shocked me recently to realise that this even happens in Doctor Who.

With the eagerly anticipated arrival of Bill Potts in The Pilot, the most recent companion to join the TARDIS, I have realised that this happens more than ever. Like many fans, I have my favourite companion (to anybody that had been living under a rock for the past few years, it’s Rose Tyler) and I am absolutely thrilled whenever there is a reference of parallel made of her time in the show. Because that’s the beauty and also the hardest thing about being a fan of Doctor Who, it is ever changing and adapting, but it also means the show that you fell in love with when you first started watching will undoubtedly be a completely different show a few years down the line.

001

However, I would also say that this companion-pitting is not merely the fault of the fans alone. These storylines of companions meeting other companions and ultimately having a frosty and jealousy fuelled encounter is canon to the show. Think of Rose and Sarah Jane in School Reunion, even Martha’s entire character arc through series three, arguably even in the first-time River and Donna met in Silence in the Library. Though they come to put aside these issues, the subtext of girl-on-girl hate is still there. And this isn’t good enough for Doctor Who. And it unsettles me that this is the introduction many new, young fans might be getting into the Whoniverse.

I remember being no older than 10 years old, and stumbling across a fanfic on the Doctor Who Newsround forums (I was 10 and Newsround was my only source of information okay?) about Martha being twisted into a cruel and malicious character, resulting in the Doctor dumping her back on Earth and zooming off to defeat the laws of physics to get his true love Rose back from the parallel world. I don’t think I realised the impact of this way of thinking until I grew up, rewatched Martha’s series and got to grips with what her character was really about. That it is negative, toxic and ugly. That it is founded in the classic trope of girl on girl hate that fed us all growing up.

If the Doctor can be read as an allegorical figure for God himself, pit against nobody unless it is a morally flawed counterpart to prove his worth, can’t the same be said for the companion?

I say: celebrate any references you wish to celebrate. I cried my eyes out when I was on holiday back in 2011 and missed the moment when Rose reappeared in the TARDIS as a hologram to Matt Smith’s Eleven. In an era that felt so foreign, she was a welcome reminder of the past. I was shocked to see a somewhat angry backlash on twitter after The Pilot aired by some fans in relation to possible Clara references in the episode, and even more shocked that some fans seemed to miss the point of Bill’s introduction completely and obsessed over the most minute detail that could be related back to another companion.

Is this the power of retrospect? The thing that my generation in particular as fans of the show, didn’t worry about with the show’s revival in 2005 as it was our first introduction to the world of Who?

I remind myself that to some little girl out there, Bill Potts is going to be their Rose Tyler.

That to them, this is all brand new. To countless little girls Martha, Donna, Amy and Clara will be their Rose Tyler. And that isn’t to say you can’t dislike a companion, everybody has the right to an opinion, but dedicating your time to tearing down another woman even though she may be fictional is a toxic practice in which to partake.

Rose and Martha (1)

Whilst ten-year-old me was more than happy to imagine Rose ripping Martha’s hair out, twenty-year-old me is much happier imagining them braiding each other’s hair as they bond over a cuppa tea in the TARDIS. Clara helping Bill sew the badges on her jacket or Donna showing Amy the best way to cover up an errant grey hair when you’re ginger.

Girls supporting girls across time and space.

By Em.

Smith and Jones, Ten years on

Ten years ago today, Martha Jones joined the TARDIS. We review her introduction to the show to celebrate 10 years of our second favourite Doctor…

‘Dooooweeeeooooooooooooo!’ The titles roll, a new name shining from the vortex: ‘Freema Agyeman’. 10 years ago, this was a massive deal. The character of Martha Jones was the first ethnic minority companion in Doctor Who’s history (Mickey Smith had appeared previously, but not in the leading role). This made episode one of series three, Smith and Jones, an incredibly important story for the show.

After the familiar titles role, we haven’t got long to wait before being thrown into our new leading lady’s life. Not only are we introduced to Martha, but the rest of her middle class, explosive family. A concept that still resonates with us all today: good old family get togethers! Or terrible ones, as they mostly always seem to be. And within two minutes Martha meets The Doctor in the middle of the street. Taking off his tie and walking away, it is one of the more random introductions. In 2017, this scene is still exciting and different, and the first 2.5 minutes are fast-paced and packed with information about our new characters lives.

drwhosmithandjones8

Martha is a Doctor! Or at least she will be if she ever passes her exams. This is a far cry from the previous TARDIS girl, Rose Tyler, but a completely refreshing take. Even now after all this time, I find myself buzzing in my seat. An intelligent, strong woman of colour taking on a degree in medicine AND saving the world! 2017 Television could take a leaf from 2007 Doctor Who’s book. The importance of this character is vastly under-rated. She realises something is wrong almost straight away, ticking the first companion box. And smart, and funny. Two more boxes. Oh, and the rain is going up! We’re thrown straight into the adventure as the whole hospital ends up on the moon.

screen-shot-2013-01-31-at-12-28-06-am

Throwing Martha straight into a terrifying situation is almost like a test. Not only for her as a companion, but for us as viewers. Will she prove herself? Agreeing to venture outside, she ticks the next box: bravery. Freema absolutely shines, convincing us of every emotion. The drama is ramped up with space rhinos and a blood sucking old lady because it wouldn’t be Doctor who without a sentence as weird as that. The CGI and makeup teams must be applauded for what they’ve done here, even rivalling some shows that we have 10 years later!

Smith and Jones (2)

Martha and The Doctor get on like a house on fire, bouncing off each others’ intelligence. There’s even a ‘Run!’ moment for our new girl, channelling Rose two years earlier. And boy can she run! The classic chase scene, Doctor and companion hand in hand, villain close behind. This is almost a moment of acceptance, that the viewer knows this woman is here to stay. Together they slowly start to work out what is going on. There are aspects of an angry, bitter Doctor through his bubbly personality, the effects of saying goodbye to Rose apparent. Martha’s humanity in the situation shows the need for someone to bring some perspective and compassion into his life, proving he is better off with someone by his side. This development is pivotal for both characters and how they’ve changed in the years after this series. She is put in danger by him, making us wonder about how reckless he has become. After only just meeting The Doctor, Martha bravely stands up and risks her life for him and the rest of the hospital. Without a second thought, she saves him. And in return, he saves her. The pair secure our hearts straight away.

3x01-Smith-and-Jones-doctor-who-18623707-1600-900

After a day of saving the world, it’s back to family dramas for Martha Jones with Russell T Davies’ magic writing reminding us that she is just a normal woman. Any normal woman would want to escape from that. Which one of us would say no to getting away from our hectic lives? And still, Martha would turn down a trip to space for her exams. The old ‘it also travels in time’ trick works a treat, bringing the episode full circle in a fantastic timey-wimey way. Martha is truly an inspiration to young girls, dedicating herself to her profession, her family and being a strong, independent woman. A truly special introduction for our second favourite doctor, the episode screams 2007, yet still feels so modern. 10 years ago, we were introduced to Martha Jones, and it changed the world of Doctor Who forever.

3x01-Smith-and-Jones-doctor-who-18623344-1600-900

The legacy of ‘Rose’

image1.PNG

 

12 years ago today, Doctor Who exploded back onto our TV screens with a new Doctor, a new companion and a new lease of life. Its new contemporary setting, diverse characters and genius writing drew in thousands of new fans for the long running series. This is where some of us at The Time Ladies started our journey with The Doctor, so what does it mean to us?

Beth:

I wasn’t lucky enough to watch Rose when it first aired, but to this day it remains one of my favorite stories. Propelling Doctor Who into the 21st century, it had everything 8 year old me could want in a show. Killer shop window dummies, a time machine and an unexpected hero to save the day! But what drew me into this story the most was the family at its heart: The Tyler’s. 

Growing up on a council estate with just my mother, I related to Rose Tyler in most aspects of her life. I never fully realised the importance of having this representation, this family to look up to. They didn’t have money, a big house, or even a man to support them, but these two amazing women were the heart of the story. 

Everyone in the playground could be Rose if they wanted, and everyone could relate to her. A young, single mother and a feisty shop girl could be heroes too! It showed us that even the most ordinary of people could be extraordinary. It showed us that you don’t need to be privileged to do something amazing. These characters helped shape young girls all over the world. 12 years later, I am now a 19 year old girl just like Rose once was at the beginning of this story. I work in a shop. I’ve got no A Levels. I’ve not even got the bronze in the under sevens gymnastics team. But thanks to Rose, I know I can be amazing too.

Jackie1.jpg

Em:

I remember watching Rose when I was eight years old. Like many people of my generation, I was unaware of the history of Doctor Who and like many things in my life back then, emulated the enthusiasm of my dad as I tuned into the first episode. I can’t tell you when or where it happened in that episode, but at some point Rose Tyler and all of her mascara managed to get into my head.

Rose felt brand new in more ways than sets that didn’t wobble and a Doctor with a northern accent. With retrospect, I realize that this was because of not the Doctor himself but because of Rose Tyler. Seeing a girl from a council estate travel the stars with the most incredible man in the universe changed me when I was eight years old and living in a council house myself. Back then of course, I didn’t understand the social connotations of living in a ‘council house’, all I knew is that when most of my friends walked one way home after school, I walked another. My house however was the fun place to be, mainly because it was near the park and my mum would spell out my friend’s names in alphabet spaghetti when they came over for tea.

I was proud of where I came from. And so was Rose.

The episode Rose for me firmly bedded Rose Tyler’s feet in the soil of planet Earth, where I would argue Russell T Davies set the tone for the rest of the series and the rest of his tenure as show runner. Often, Doctor Who gets criticized for not taking the Doctor away from Planet Earth despite having all of the universe at his disposal, but in this I would argue was the shows greatest strength. Humanity, wonder and all of time and space from the perspective of a girl that saved the galaxy in a Punk Fish hoody.

Rose as an episode will always be close to my heart, despite some of the cringe moments (PIZZA!) mainly because it introduced my favourite companion and my favourite era of the show. I can’t thank Russell enough for dreaming up Rose Tyler, and Billie for bringing her to life. The shop girl with the peroxide hair that changed my life, and the life of the Doctor, forever.

29ad1b48-9a90-4eef-8b3d-51b21f915b12.png
Kez:
My Dad had been a massive Doctor Who fan growing up, as had my Mum but I wasn’t saving the date to watch the new series, it was just a new show to watch on a Saturday night. I’d grown up with and adored the colourful, beautifully ridiculous and underrated Peter Cushing films but had no idea what to expect with this reboot.
From the moment Rose started I was spellbound. Like Em and Beth, Rose was someone I could relate to. I’d grown up in a council estate in London, worked in shops and had no idea what to do with my life past college. Rose was a spokesperson for an entire generation of girls looking for adventure in a world that expected nothing from them. 
Armed to face anything in her punkyfish hoodie and a whole lot of rimmel london max volume on those lashes, I rooted for her to save the earth, to be even more brilliant than this Doctor. And she was.
When Rose walked into that TARDIS I knew I was going to travel with her and the Doctor for every single minute of what they would share with us. Yes, I met the Doctor for the first time in that episode but I also found a hero in an ordinary Londoner, my Rose Tyler. 
And, most importantly, without this episode and it’s amazing introduction to Doctor Who, us Time Ladies wouldn’t even know each other. We hope young girls continue to be as inspired as we were. Happy 12th anniversary Rose! And thanks for changing our lives for the better.

from the rose to the river

‘run’ said the mad man,
grabbing hold of her hand.
and she did, the earth turned
she began to feel it.

‘you take a stand’ said the blonde girl,
the one with the wolf on her breath.
thoughts of chips and alien suns,
collide like meteors behind her eyes.

‘this is me getting out’ said the girl that came after,
the one that would never stand for coming after anyone again.
she took the universe he held in the palm of his hand,
and let the planets orbit her instead.

‘you can stop now’ the woman told him,
red hair against white dress.
she screams her pain at the deaf universe,
never knowing the stars sing her name as a lullaby.

‘goodnight’ said the girl from a fairy tale,
red lips, red nails, red hair slip
through his fingers. he dreams of stone angels
smiling apples, sunflowers, her.

‘and they are mine’ said the little girl
as she stamped her strong foot, making the stars tremble.
her last heartbeat lies pressed between,
the 101 places she got to see.

‘you don’t expect a sunset to admire you back’, she said
the enigma. the thorn in his side,
the twist in his tale, his longest
and most bittersweet goodbye.