‘We’re more than just a stereotype’ – Why a black Doctor matters to me

By Miranda Ashitey

Everyone has their “Doctor”. Even if you don’t particularly like Doctor Who, there has to be a Doctor that you either remember or identify with. As a “Xennial” (born in the early 1980s), my “Doctor” is Sylvester McCoy. You know… funny hat, funky jumper, umbrella with the question mark handle, companion also moonlighting as a CBBC presenter… Sylvester McCoy is MY Doctor. Or at least he WAS. Enter stage left Jo Martin, the first black Doctor Who.

Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as a first-generation African immigrant, born in South London, tomboyish, not quite sure of her sexuality, I was always a bit of an odd bod because I didn’t do or gravitate towards stereotypical “black” things. I’d rather watch “Lost In Space” over “Love and Basketball” (Hey! It had Joey from Friends in it and Apollo 440 did the theme tune!) Sci-Fi wasn’t really something black girls were expected to be openly enthusiastic about. But I carried on regardless.

But going back to Jo Martin. The Doctor. The Black Doctor. The female Doctor. The BLACK FEMALE Doctor. Of course she can be the Doctor. I mean, she’s already in Holby City as a neurologist, so doctoring is already in her bag. Or TARDIS. Her unassuming confidence, her lack of black stereotypes, her articulation, her locks, her outfit… Totally loving the outfit! Anything remotely edging towards patterns resembling kente cloth is always going to be a massive plus for me! To be watching a show that has been going on for over fifty years and to have the main character look like me is something I didn’t realistically think would happen. At least, not in my lifetime. An alien Time Lord with two hearts? Totally believable. One that can change gender AND ethnicity?! You what?!?

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

When Jo first came on screen as Ruth Clayton, I thought, “Oh, a strong female black character. Let’s see how long SHE lasts in this episode”. After what happened to the awesome Grace (Like Graham and Ryan, STILL not over it!), I wasn’t holding much hope. Once it was revealed that Ruth was indeed the Doctor, a part of me did think, “Is this canon? Are they going to doctor-bait me like they did with David Morrissey?” So once it was quickly confirmed that a) it IS canon, b) she isn’t another version of the Doctor, c) I didn’t imagine it and d) they were going with another female Doctor, I could sleep soundly.

I always say that representation matters. Being able to see or hear someone and think, “They’re just like me” means the universe. It can be a friend to support you. The teacher you can learn from. The comfort blanket you can snuggle with. The parent you can depend on. Having a black Doctor Who shows that sci-fi CAN and SHOULD be for black people. We’re more than a stereotype. We’re more than having more melanin. We are fans, we are here to stay and a black Doctor shows we belong. For years, I had to watch characters in shows I loved that didn’t look like me but try to identify with. Now, I don’t have to. Not with Jo Martin. MY Doctor.

What do you think of Jo Martin as the Doctor? Let us know @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

23 Stories to Revisit on Doctor Who’s 56th Anniversary

The 23rd of November marks the 56th anniversary of Doctor Who – a milestone it wouldn’t be close to reaching without the passion and devotion of its incredible fan base. Over the years we’ve been treated to a number of specials that specifically celebrate each anniversary – all of which are obvious choices to re-watch each November. 

This year we decided to ask 23 contributors to share with us a story that sums up the magic of the show, no matter how unique or controversial. The results showed us that actually, it isn’t the big celebratory, spectaculars that capture what we love about Doctor Who. In fact, it’s the smaller and more personal stories full of life lessons and heart.

Surprisingly, hardly anyone picked the same story as another. The diversity of options and opinions shows that Doctor Who truly has something for everyone. So, if you’re having trouble picking a DVD from your shelf this anniversary, look no further than these 23 stories special chosen by female, trans and non-binary fans.

An Unearthly Child – @0hmyst4rs


It wouldn’t be a Doctor Who anniversary if you didn’t watch the very first episode, would  it? The magic begins in 1963 as two teachers follow their student into a Junkyard to discover more about her, unaware the truth is bigger than they could ever have imagined. The relationship between the characters are wonderfully unique, these brief and chaotic encounters eventually blossoming into a magical TARDIS team. Full of black and white charm and 60’s vibes that makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew, this story is a special one for us all – the very beginning!

The Five Doctors – @Tardis_monkey


The Five Doctors’ was the first-ever Doctor Who story I watched as a kid. It was the most fantastical story with five actors playing The Doctor, a menagerie of companions and a whole load of classic villains. What more could you want from a Doctor Who story that celebrates not only its history, but was in aid of a brilliant cause: Children in Need. It opened up so many doors to the world of Doctor Who and I have never looked back. Thank you, Terrance Dicks and happy anniversary Doctor Who.

Hell Bent – @Clara_paige


I love Hell Bent! It’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it packs in so much of what works in Doctor Who. Before Jodie took to the TARDIS, Clara Oswald assumed the role of the Doctor and flew off to have adventures in her own right. What could be more inspiring?

Flatline – @vranouk


From the tiny TARDIS to the iconic “goodness had nothing to do with it” closing line, Flatline is a work of genius that joyfully subverts nearly every rule in the Doctor Who playbook. It manages to turn a very simple concept – The Doctor is trapped and the companion has to get them out – into a thoughtful exploration of Doctor Who itself. The casual horror of the Boneless walking, the joy with which Clara calls herself the Doctor, ‘local knowledge’ Rigsy, the visual gag of the Doctor moving the tiny TARDIS Addams Family-style: all of these are stand-out moments in a near-flawless episode. But perhaps most importantly of all, Flatline is a story about the Doctor and the consequences of being around them. For 45 brilliant minutes, the roles of the Doctor and Clara are reversed, and she is confronted with the impossible choices the Doctor makes every day. Years before the Thirteenth Doctor, it was an absolute joy to watch.

The Husbands of River Song – @FaceofBoaz


I love The Husbands of River Song because it gives us a glimpse into both how The Doctor sees the Companion role, and how a Companion behaves without The Doctor around (as far as she knows). While it’s all great fun, there is still a hurt that permeates – River doesn’t need The Doctor or care about him at all. The eventual revelation that she truly loves him and the counter revelation that he truly loves her is one of the most feel-good resolutions of an episode. Especially knowing that this is River’s last true interaction with the Doctor, it gives us a nice bow on their relationship, echoing her words from The Wedding of River Song – “I can’t let you die without knowing you are loved . . . and by no one more than me.” Watching relationships play out in often unorthodox fashions is one of my favourite elements of Doctor Who, and this episode is one of the best representations of that aspect of the show.

The Woman Who Fell to Earth – @Niamhmakennedy


“We’re all capable of the most incredible change”

After Jodie was announced as the 13th Doctor, I couldn’t watch any of her trailers, or appearances in character, without crying. Bit weird, I’m aware. Turns out I was going through a personal experience just as monumental as the casting, to me, at least. Gender has never quite sat right with me. I didn’t know why, but being a ‘woman’ or ‘man’ felt restrictive and gross. Watching 13 bound onto the TV, improvising her way through saving the world, not only comfortable but rejoicing in her new body and personality while also not giving a frick that it happened to be a woman’s one, showed me the possibilities open to me if I did the same. A few months later, I came out as non-binary, and I’ve never been happier. (And yes, I cried all through the episode. It was awesome.)

Genesis of the Daleks – @abitmeddlesome


Genesis of the Daleks is a story that captivates by the title alone. As the audience, we’ve seen the Daleks but were never given an origin. It begins with the Doctor and his friends dropped into a war to end all wars between two races: the Thals and the Kaleds. We watch as a mad scientist creates the Doctor’s most fearsome foes. Among the chaos, our hero is faced with a terrible choice: with his foreknowledge, does he allow these creatures to evolve knowing what they will become, or does he obliterate an entire race at their birth?

Demons of the Punjab – @NatalieRobyn812


Demons is probably not the first episode that would come to mind when you think of a Doctor Who anniversary rewatch, but for me, it’s a perfect example of a type of story that Doctor Who does so well, yet you’d never really think about it. It’s all about the darkest side of human nature, think about stories such as the Caves of Androzani or Planet of the Ood or Oxygen. But what Demons does differently is provide us with a strong emotional connection to the story and the characters that it has, which leads up to a devastating conclusion. It’s just another case of the show being extraordinarily good at forming a connection with characters we barely know. And yet, it ends perfectly like Doctor Who, with the idea and theme of hope always being there.

Dimensions in Time – @JDenchen


I’ve chosen this story as my entry into essential viewing for 56 years of Doctor Who, not just as it means so much to me on a personal level, but as I genuinely believe there is something for all fans here. If you look past the obvious lack of plot and shoehorned addition of EastEnders, which in fairness are huge things to look past, it has all surviving Doctors of the time, bundles of companion cameos, the madness of the JNT era (after all this was his last story in charge of the show) and the charm of 90s television. This story serves more as a celebration of the series rather than a plot-driven piece.

As far as John Nathan-Turner and David Roden were concerned this was the final legitimate Doctor Who story. I believe it celebrates the series in such a way, not with the plot, or cameos, or Doctors, or references, but the ambition.  I believe the same ambition went into bringing the show back and the eventual casting of the first female Doctor Jodie Whittaker. This story is one of those people either love or loathe, and hating it isn’t fair. Don’t take it seriously. Watch it for its comedic and bizarre nature and it’ll make for great viewing. This is why I think it’s perfect viewing to celebrate 56 years of Doctor Who. I’m not saying Dimensions in Time is “Heaven Sent” drama, but that its uniqueness will make a fun viewing.

Boom Town – @HarryLikesSuits


Boom Town may seem like an odd choice of an episode to pick out as one to watch to celebrate Doctor Who’s anniversary, but it’s a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, has great moments for everybody in the TARDIS team, and that allows the viewer to simply enjoy themselves. After all, who could forget Margret the Slitheen’s dinner date with the Doctor? Or the TARDIS defeating her by turning her into an egg? No, it isn’t the most profound story that Doctor Who has ever had, but it’s pure fun – and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what the show is supposed to be?

The Green Death – @IreneWildthyme


The Green Death is to me, a perfect Doctor Who story. Love, environmental justice and fighting for what you believe in. Giant maggots in Llanfairfach lead The Doctor to BOSS and Jo Grant to Professor Clifford Jones, Biologist, expert of fungus, who she would marry by the end of the story. An ending Jo deserved and an adventure that has been long explored throughout the Who universe and continues to thrive, particularly through Big Finish. Mike Yates undercover, Metebelis 3 and The Doctor’s many disguises are all memorable, the most poignant being the subtle exit of The Doctor in Bessie after toasting the happy couple never fails to make one shed a tear. It is truly the end of an era for Pertwee fans but also the beginning of new adventures for The Doctor, Jo and UNIT. That is why this will forever be one of my favourite stories.

Love and Monsters – @strange_cherry


I don’t know any episode as misunderstood as “Love and Monsters”. I know most of you probably cringed when you saw this name in this list. “What is this… thing is doing here? I am here to celebrate Doctor Who!” Indeed you are. But is it not a great way to celebrate Doctor Who than to watch again an hommage to its fans?

 L.I.N.D.A. is the most accurate representation of Doctor Who fans you can find… and it comes from the show itself! A group of people with various backgrounds, various hobbies, but united by one passion: The Doctor. Friends sharing many fond moments, even if they have nothing more in common than this Gallifreyan folk. If it is not the quintessence of the fandom, I don’t know what is.

The Doctors Wife – @christawolf94


For me, one of the stories that is a perfect illustration of everything worth loving about Doctor Who is The Doctor’s Wife, Neil Gaiman’s first and best contribution to the show. By focusing on the TARDIS and giving her a voice, it changes how we see the show: not just the story a madman (or madwoman) with a box, but the story of two very close friends exploring the universe together. Even when the Doctor hasn’t got any human companions around, they’re never really alone. The TARDIS will always be there, ready to go on another adventure.

Journeys End – @jodieewhittaker


As someone who grew up with the Tenth Doctor and his companions by my side, who fell in love with Russell T Davies’s new version of a very old show, there is no better episode that sums up my love for Doctor Who than Journey’s End. It has threat on the largest scale (the literal destruction of the universe), it has buckets of emotion (who doesn’t cry throughout the final fifteen minutes?) and, most importantly is has the friendships that make Doctor Who the show that is. Nothing celebrates this show, and particularly its revival, better than the display of family in the scene where everyone is towing the Earth back home and it’s the perfect episode to sum up the era of my childhood.

The Holy Terror (Big Finish) – @mumford_98


Listening to The Holy Terror for the first time was an incredibly unique experience. I love the DWM 6 comics and their breezy, fun feel and Holy Terror is able to capture the dynamic between the two leads while still feeling unique thanks to the high concept setting and mesmerizing score. The episode plays with character archetypes ranging from dark fantasy to Shakespeare plays to biblical stories. This gives it an almost theatrical feel and managing to deconstruct said tropes in a way that is both funny and also plays into the ultimate narrative scope of the story; one that’s both powerful and puts much of the story in an entirely new context. The full story manages to be a piece on trauma, parenthood, hierarchy & tradition, the ethics of fiction and a humanistic perspective on the concept of godhood.

Twice Upon a Time – @timelesbians


Twice Upon A Time remembers the First Doctor in a beautifully written story of self-discovery and new beginnings. A perfect anniversary watch, it honours old companions and new alike, honours those who fought for our country, and introduces Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth, the first female aligned Doctor, after a lead up to just who she will be and what she will represent. The Twelfth Doctor meets himself in his first incarnation, both of them refusing a change, and follows their journey as they accompany each other in a story of self-contemplation to wrap up Capaldi’s time on the show. It is heart-warming and heart-breaking, powerful and brilliant, and encompasses everything Doctor Who is truly about.

Vincent and the Doctor – @brittanyplus


 Vincent and the Doctor is one of the most quintessential episodes of Doctor Who. Very few episodes capture the heart and warmth of the show, while also reminding the audience that not everything can change. I believe it’s perfect for an anniversary rewatch because it captures the show’s essence. It will leave you feeling warm but heartbroken, just like all the best of Doctor Who should.

Fear Her – @Safarox8


Although it’s not my favourite, Fear Her will always have a special place in my heart because it was, oddly, the first Doctor Who I ever saw. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t properly discover the show for a few more years and was delighted when I came across the episode once again (“Oh, so *that* was Doctor Who!”). I love the humour and warmth it radiates while dealing with the heavy, and to me, personally meaningful topic of family trauma. That’s what I love about the show; even the most unlikely of stories can make a lasting impression.

Aliens of London/World War Three – @AlexFacemelter


 Aliens of London and World War Three as one full story is, in my opinion, one of the most authentic interpretations of Doctor Who I’ve ever seen. The Doctor is portrayed more realistically than ever, the alien plot is creative but chillingly realistic, the arc of each character is phenomenal, and the dialogue is beautifully written. The Doctor’s reactions are so truly in character, he wants to experience and be in the middle of history and nothing could be more exciting than watching humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life. The character arcs of Jackie, Mickey, and Harriet Jones are realistic and wonderfully clever.

The pinnacle of the story is the Doctor. If the Doctor was a real person, I can bet he would be a lot like he’s shown here. The way he stands unafraid of the aliens and the way he bluffs them and the way he analyzes the fake alien in the hospital room, all of it is perfectly Doctor Who. You may be worried about the fart jokes, and while I hate them with a seething passion, I still think this story is one of the best that Doctor Who has to offer. That’s how good this story is. So if you want to watch some Doctor Who to celebrate its anniversary, I can wholeheartedly recommend this story. It is, in a word, fantastic.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs – @Jessicatzen


Invasion of the Dinosaurs has everything a classic Doctor Who story should have – a big goofy looking monster, UNIT, and a bit of excitement. The best part, I think, is that it’s a true test of loyalty for some of the Doctor’s friends, and without spoiling anything, the Doctor and Benton make a really good duo!

The TV Movie – @bexpls


The TV Movie is one of the first Classic DW stories I watched, and it’s one of my absolute favourites. It’s one of only two televised Eighth Doctor stories, and both of them are amazing, but that isn’t a reason to watch it. As a Doctor Who story, the TV Movie really shines for me because of how different it is, completely unique from the Classic and NuWho runs. It’s one of the best introduction stories to a Doctor and a great exit for the Seventh Doctor, whose scenes are superb. While I adore the Big Finish audios and BBC Books’s Eighth Doctor Adventures series (which people wanting to experience more of the DW Extended Universe should look into by the way), it really does make you wish the Eighth Doctor had more televised stories, because Paul McGann is honestly a delight. It’s a perfect anniversary-celebration story because it highlights the fantastic, often under-appreciated Eighth Doctor in one of his, including all the books, audios, and comics, best stories ever.

Resolution – @FetinSmiles


For me, Resolution is the perfect episode to watch for the anniversary; it’s dramatic, tense, and nostalgic. For the first time in series 11, we find The Doctor faced against a monster from her past. What better way to end the Thirteenth Doctor’s first series than by having to stop a Dalek invasion from happening on Earth? There’s a real sense of danger, especially for viewers who know the history between The Doctor and the Daleks. The Team (Gang? Fam??) work brilliantly together, and the episode leaves us wanting to see what they will get up to next in series 12.

Listen – @lookingfortelos


I got into Who in 2014. Series 8 was the first time I watched live. Also, sad coincidence, 2014 was when my life took a stark downturn. Depression is bad, especially when it’s been brewing for a long time and feeds on your issues with sexuality and gender. And I think that’s why this season of Who in particular stuck with me: not just because it’s really good (although, it is), but also because it was the one that was most helpful to me, personally. “Listen” is a story about how the whole canon of Who, all the mysteries and the lore and the cleverness, ultimately are irrelevant, because what truly matters is that it can be present, in the end, to comfort a crying child. It’s a ghost story where the ghosts are the characters’ own pasts and neuroses, and where they have to find beauty and balance in their inner turmoil. And as someone who was very afraid for a very long time, being told by the Doctor that it was alright – that was invaluable.

Happy 56th anniversary of Doctor Who everybody! 

Which episodes will you watch to celebrate? Tweet us @thetimeladies_

Halloween from Behind the Sofa

By Bronte Henwood

We’ve reached that time of year where we’re all looking for a fright. It’s October – the height of the spooky season, and Halloween is coming! We all love to feel the tingle of fear that something is behind us or will jump out from behind a corner. When looking for a scare, what better place to look than Doctor Who?

Since returning to our screens in 2005, Doctor Who has continued to bring us stories of friendship and fun – but also, fear. In many episodes, there is something to make you want to cover your eyes, particularly in most fan-favourite stories.

Resolution (2019)

Sometimes it comes in the form of a monster, alien or creature. The ones that don’t look particularly nice and make it clear they want to cause harm from the moment they appear on the screen. This fear is something the audience can share with the characters under threat in the story. This is what makes Doctor Who stand out from classic shows that just put in scares *because they can*. As a family centred show, it provides us with the perfect combination of fun and frightening thrills, making it perfect for everyone to watch together. Not a lot of shows in the science fiction genre are able to create stories that can make audiences of all ages laugh and gasp at the same time.

One monster that has scared audiences for generations are The Daleks; one of the most iconic villains from the show. From their metal exteriors to their slimy interior selves, the Daleks have both thrilled and terrified children ever since they first appeared on screen in 1963. Sometimes it’s the suspense of not knowing what they’re going to do next, other times it is their endless killing sprees that haunt us. Bringing them back for the New Who era meant that adults and children alike could experience The Daleks in a whole new way, with updated graphics and designs to enhance the shocks and scares. They have always seemed like the furthest thing from human, which is what makes them worth fearing.

Fear can also be present in the things that the audience never get the answer to. Midnight is, in my opinion, one of the most haunting episodes to come out of the modern era of Doctor Who so far. Not because of the characters, time or place it is set, but because of the creature that has no face; only knocks. You don’t know when it’s coming, you don’t know how or why. All you know is that it wants you and it will get what it wants in the end. While the Doctor tried to find a probable cause of the creature’s existence and what it wanted, the audience is left wondering. To many of us, not knowing something is the worst kind of fear. It’s something that we usually have no control over and cannot change. That is why it’s scary, why we fear it, and why it’s so effective when used in a great Doctor Who story. After all, not everything worth fearing lives under the bed.

The Doctor and Clara investigate the unknown in Listen (2014)

Because it’s Doctor Who though, there is, of course, an episode that explores our fear of what is hiding under our beds. Like Midnight, it begins with a creature that the audience doesn’t know anything about. Playing again and again on that fear of the unknown that anyone of any age will understand. The Doctor is questioning if we’re ever really alone, a concept terrifying to even think about. The episode explores the possibilities that when we wake up from our nightmares, someone is waiting there in the dark – a dream that seemingly everyone has had. Mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary, the story is truly some of the scariest Doctor Who there is.

Fear comes in all different shapes and sizes. While traditional jump scares and the odd gory death are more traditionally scary, the fear of forgetting can also send chills down everyone’s spines. This is where the Silence come in. As soon as you turn away, you’ll forget you’ve ever seen the huge, terrifying creatures. It’s the type of scary that’s hard to run away from (because you literally cannot get away from them).

The Silence terrified audiences during the 11th Doctor’s era.

The Weeping Angels also tap into our nightmares similarly by moving as soon as anyone looks away or blinks. The cruelty in being sent back to another time to live out your life is petrifying in itself, but the fact that merely blinking could cause this makes them one of the most genius creations in Doctor Who history.

Doctor Who brings people many things, making it a place for everyone to find something they like. Some might prefer to be caught off guard and jump out of their seats, while others may prefer horrific creatures, blood and gore.

The Weeping Angels first appeared in Blink (2007)

I love the combination of things that Doctor Who can bring to its audience. Being on the edge of your seat and fearing for the characters while pondering the underlying meaning of each episode is truly something special that connects people of all ages across the world.

Have you found the thing that makes your heart race and hairs stand on end? Let us know your scariest Doctor Who monsters, villains or moments @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Art by Fetin Sardaneh


Demonology and The Doctor: Demons of the Punjab review by Diksha Bhugra

There is no doubt that the Punjab of 1947 was populated with far more than its fair share of demons, and did not need any alien assassins to help with the bloodshed. And yet, I was afraid that might be where the plotline of Demons of the Punjab was headed. But the writers of Doctor Who have yet again managed to pleasantly surprise me and I could not be more relieved. Not only has Vinay Patel managed to depict the atrocities of Partition through a heartbreakingly poignant script, but also introduced us to one of the most compassionate species of the Who universe, the Thijarians.

Team TARDIS lands in 1947 Punjab to witness the wedding of Yasmin’s grandmother, Umbreen. Only Umbreen isn’t getting married to Yaz’s Muslim grandfather, but a Hindu man – Prem, that she has never told her granddaughter about before. Yaz is filled with confusion and injured feelings for having been kept in the dark about such a crucial fact. But in walking away from his murder at the end of the episode, Yaz shows the inner strength and maturity of her character. Perhaps Prem’s sacrifice and her newfound understanding of love might act as inspiration for her somewhere down the line as she travels with the Doctor. But more importantly, she finally understands her heritage and the importance of the distinctiveness of her identity in modern-day Sheffield. This all harps back to the ‘demons’ that had ‘cursed’ the days and the land her grandmother had escaped from.

Perhaps the most striking part of this predominantly historical episode, apart from the stunning set location, is the dynamic and shifting definition of the ‘demon’. Umbreen’s mother, in the characteristically superstitious words of a rustic Punjabi woman, is the first to call the alien a demon. But while the Thijarians, in the beginning, seem like the perfect cooking pot of all the villainous ingredients of a typical Doctor Who episode, it is somewhere else that the true evil lies. Even the Thijarians are only there to witness the consequences of that evil.

Is the demon really Manish who kills his own elder brother, Prem, for marrying a Muslim? Or is the demon inside every one of the mindless mob who is hell-bent on bloodshed? The villains of Partition weren’t always complete strangers. They were very often neighbours, friends and in Prem’s case, family. All the outside world within the episode seems like the enemy, and yet there is no escaping the fact that despite their actions, every single one of the mob is just a human being. In typical Doctor Who style, Demons of the Punjab makes you wonder who the true villain is, and whether they might deserve at least a part of our compassion.

By painting a picture of the oncoming violence and rioting impartially yet solemnly, the show remains respectful of the suffering of countless victims and fills my heart, quite like the Thijarians, with empathy for all those who died without being properly remembered. The Partition of India remained for a long time, an event consciously denied by many. Even for those who went through the confusion and terror of immigration, like my own grandparents did, it was something too traumatic to be shared. Forceful eviction and neighborhood violence are perhaps some of the less darker stories of the times. Partition was more of a civil war, both for and against identity, which cannot easily be depicted on screen. Demons of the Punjab, in that sense, has an even deeper meaning behind its title than most will see. In many ways, this honourable portrayal of such a huge tragedy seems like the final closing of a book that had been open for too long, both in its representation in Doctor Who and in the act of Graham reassuring Prem that he is a “good man”. It seems like the end of a long history of colonial resentment and the beginning of a relationship of newfound trust and respect.

In the midst of this implied violence, Umbreen and Prem’s wedding is one of the most emotional scenes of series 11 so far. It is also a real cultural treat. The Hindu and Muslim rituals blend beautifully into Doctor Who with the Doctor even officiating at the wedding, a golden marigold propped over one ear. Truth be told, they really couldn’t have found anyone better for the job. Traditionally, Hindu weddings are performed by a priest (pundit) or what the Hindus might call a ‘learned man’ and who, really, could be more learned than the Doctor?

The only hiccup for the episode, for me, occurs, when Prem and Umbreen share not just one, but two passionate kisses in the episode right in front of Umbreen’s mother. While this may appear normal on the 21st century television screen, it’s a decidely startling scene for someone like me who grew up in a relatively conservative family in India, aware that gestures of physical affection like this were seldom made in front of family members in the India of 1947. Perhaps the scene may be justified, seeing as how extraordinary the situation was, or maybe there was the need for dramatic impact. But the lack of any reaction whatsoever from the bride’s mother on this open intimacy remains an eyebrow-raising mystery to me.

But overall, the performances of Amita Suman (young Umbreen), Shaheen Khan (Umbreen’s mother), Shane Zaza (Prem) and Hamza Jeetooa (Manish) are exceptionally commendable not just for portraying the complexity of the emotions of their time, but also for managing to retain the distinctive South Asian body language and subtle speech gestures of native Punjabi and Urdu while delivering dialogues in English. The TARDIS translation is apparent throughout, making it a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

Also worth praising is the special score for this episode without which the true essence of the story’s setting would be lost. The Punjabi remix of the Who theme by Segun Akinola is as much a delight to the ears as a dagger to the heart. The deep, resonant notes of Indian classical music and soulful percussions of the tabla, the traditional Indian drums, tie the episode even more profoundly to a nostalgia for the homeland that is at the heart of the tragedy of Partition. It brings back forgotten as well as passed down memories of a time and place we all wish we could go back and save, if only we had a time machine.

This guest piece was written by Diksha Bhugra.

You can find her on Instagram @dikshabhugra and her blog: awriterscauldron.wordpress.com

The Spirit of Rosa by Samantha Harden

 “I have a duty of care.” These words spoken so often by the 12th Doctor are what immediately spring to mind when I reflect over this week’s episode of Who. So many, myself firmly included, have waited so long for this episode; not “Rosa” specifically, but any story which addresses the history and culture of people of color, written by someone who can authentically tell it, and this week after a grueling 55 year wait, Whovians of color finally got their first taste of what that could be. In the weeks leading up to “Rosa” I found myself nervous, but overwhelmingly optimistic in anticipation of this story, because, as the saying goes, after waiting all this time, it has to be good, right? Even so, when I finally found myself sitting down for a borderline religious viewing session, my stomach was gripped with nerves.

     Upon finishing it, I was a little baffled with myself; I definitely liked it, it was Doctor Who and therefore automatically enjoyable to me, but I didn’t feel the immediate warmth that floods over me with reckless abandon, as with so many instant favorites before it. My initial reaction was disappointment, three quarters with myself for not being uncomplicatedly enthused. See, I’d latched on to one part of the episode more strongly than the rest; the main conflict lies in the fact that Krasko and the TARDIS team believe that “nudging” history just enough so Rosa doesn’t commit her act of civil disobedience that day, would completely topple the Civil Rights Movement. “Parks won’t be asked to stand, she won’t protest, and your kind won’t get above themselves.”


     Growing up in the South, I’d spent a lot of time learning about the efforts of the NAACP and all of the work that went into organizing the Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement. As a bit of an organizational mess myself, I was always in awe of their tireless dedication in pursuit of equality, which is why I think this erroneous assumption hit me so hard. Even if Rosa hadn’t “sat her ground” that day, the Boycott would have eventually taken place. Tensions were incredibly high, many women had done what Rosa did that day before, but she made an excellent icon because she was a paragon of the Black community. This fact does not in any way make her less of an important figure however, in fact it is because of the activism she and other members of the NAACP did previous to that fateful December night that the Boycott was able to create such an impact, despite lasting over a year, through the hot Montgomery summer months. However upon a second viewing of the episode I was struck by this thought; even taking into account the writers’ knowledge of the work of the NAACP, the belief that Rosa was the key to the CRM doesn’t ring as outlandish for either our “Space Racist”, the TARDIS Team, or even the Doctor herself to have. So often people, even those in marginalized groups themselves, don’t realize or acknowledge all the thought, planning, and persistence that goes into the mere right of existing as an equal in a society structure that’s stacked against you.

     Hit with that thought my stomach unknotted, and though I had noticed it before, I was able to completely appreciate all of the earnest care that went into this story.  Aside from a single off color joke Yaz makes about using Ryan as a piñata (maybe not the best laugh to have in an episode where the threat of lynching is constantly hung above Ryan like Damocles’ Sword), Yaz and Ryan really do feel like old school mates reunited. I enjoyed their amiable banter in quiet moments as they allowed themselves to relax, alien threats less pressing, and the earth familiar and solid beneath their feet. The Doctor is wholly kind and encouraging, proving with every passing moment that after years of work she can now effortlessly be the best version of herself.


     Though as a Southern American I found the levity with which they all strode off the TARDIS more than a little alarming, in context it makes perfect sense; I doubt even Martha or Bill would be as concerned about visiting the comparatively more modern era of the American 50s. One would think that segregation doesn’t hold a candle to slavery, however the reality of the danger involved in such a trip for three quarters of young Black men could hardly be stated to be much less. The message still doesn’t seem to quite hit home with them though, as following their disturbing encounter, they still act with little regard for the basic rules around them (shocker, I know), at the risk of Ryan and Yaz’s safety.  The Doctor has never had to navigate the nuances of privilege before this series and I am so looking forward to the day when she does not possess the advantage of fair skin, opening the possibilities for some wonderfully intriguing storytelling. All the Doctor does is make waves, how will they operate when their non-compliance could derail history?

     More than anything else however, the great triumph of this episode comes down to Rosa herself. Her portrayal was so incredibly honest and heartfelt. Unlike so many larger than life historical figures before her, Rosa is wonderfully grounded and three dimensional; the smallest amount of time spent with her left me with a feeling of immense calm. Her quiet fierceness and kindness shines in every scene, her activism is neither forgotten nor overshadowed, opening the door for curious viewers to learn more and be inspired by her efforts*. Leaving this episode, you feel as if you’ve met the real Ms. Parks, and you are all the better for it.


As much as this episode is overdue, it is also extremely timely. Today when we’re faced with so much political chaos, with some scrambling to mask injustice with the guise of legality (as Blake said, “Law’s a law”), it is so very important to remember how far we’ve come in such a short span of time, and how far we have yet to go. It’s encouraging to know that her story will inspire a whole new generation of fans. In the end the message is clear; never let anyone silence you, go on with the spirit of Rosa.

[i]   In addition to being secretary for the NAACP, Rosa spent years dedicated to registering Black voters in the face of deliberately discriminatory registration laws 

Learn more about Rosa and the Civil Rights Movement

‘Before Rosa Parks there was Claudette Colvin’

Missed In History Podcast: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt 1

Missed In History Podcast: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott pt 2

Eyes On The Prize – (Part 1) Awakenings 1954–1956

Written by Sam, who you can follow on Twitter and Instagram.

What did you think of Rosa? Let us know by tweeting us @thetimeladies_ or emailing us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com

Companions in Color by Samantha Harden

From the moment I happened upon Matt Smith dipping fish fingers into custard on an iTunes promotion, I knew I would love Doctor Who. But I wasn’t prepared for how much. No other show has so often made me feel like the world might just be okay.

However it’s still a bit of a rarity to see myself represented on screen, and despite the show’s 55 year history it will only have its first writer of Color in the upcoming series 11. In a show that is so often in touch with relevant issues of our time, it’s disappointing and even hurtful when it fails to address the nuanced struggles of the marginalized groups and minorities who watch and adore it. Despite this lack of behind screen representation, the show has turned out several thought provoking characters of Color, although much is still missed in the overall picture.



Undervalued by Rose, the butt of the jokes in the TARDIS, Mickey was left with more than a little time to consider what the universe had to offer by the time Rose and the Doctor returned to the Powell estate. Despite being dubbed ‘Mickey the Idiot’ by the Doctor, he had skills, and assisting the TARDIS team in their shenanigans made him realize that maybe the simple life wasn’t for him after all. So. he took a deep breath and decided to retroactively accept the Doctor’s offer to join the crew, only to have it immediately made clear by Rose that his presence was anything but welcome.

He joined to learn; to explore and discover things within himself that he had only begun to scratch the surface of on his earth-bound gallops. But he was ignored, figuratively invisible as he held a button for half an hour because the Doctor literally forgot he was there. They mocked him as if he was at fault for following orders – but when the Doctor tells you to do something, you do it. He just doesn’t usually forget you exist in the middle of it. But like the ‘insignificant little power cell’ that ended up restoring the TARDIS in Rise of the Cybermen, he had infinite potential that with the right encouragement would save worlds. He realized this and, not unlike Martha decided to leave a vaguely toxic environment to stay where he could become his best self. When he returns in Army of Ghosts there is a change in his countenance. He’s confident, fiercer, harder and almost indistinguishable from his parallel self, Ricky. This new man is most certainly different. He fits so neatly into the box of performative masculinity often associated with Black men, and I wonder why his gentleness had to be sacrificed for it.



“But how does it travel in time? What makes it go?”

“Oh, let’s take the fun and mystery out of everything.
Martha you don’t want to know, it just does.”

Martha’s opening words on her first TARDIS trip prove her keen mind, but the Doctor is unreceptive to this. The curiosity and brilliance which he praised in countless others before her (a certain beautiful French aristocrat comes to mind), are seen as bothersome and fun-sucking here. Perhaps he is resistant to a companion who doesn’t see him as a magical anomaly, but acknowledges that there must be some logic behind the smoke and mirrors. I remember being taken aback the first time I witnessed it, confused as to why my Doctor, kind hero and encourager of curiosity and questions galore, would ever discourage constructive inquiry. If I, a Black woman of eighteen at the time, was wounded by his response, imagine the effect it could have on younger viewers of Color. Mickey wasn’t clever enough, but Martha was a killjoy; who must they become to be worthy of respect?

“If you don’t mind my saying, you seem a little familiar with him.
Best remember your place.”

Something else I found startling as a new Whovian was the overwhelming vitriol in the fandom directed at her character. Yes, many bristled at the thought of anyone new taking centre stage after the passion that Rose incited, but the more I saw, the more the general disdain looked much less wholesome. How dare this intelligent, (slightly) more age appropriate woman fancy the Doctor? What gave her the right? But whether or not she was liked, she taught the Doctor, viewers and the future writers of the show much more than they could have anticipated. The Doctor learned not to dismiss his companion’s worries as they walked through times that were not made for them, in a world whose prejudices they were all too familiar with. His failings with Martha became his triumphs with Bill.


“Oh I bet you are. I know your type.”

Unlike Mickey, Danny was actively pursued by Clara, removing the problematic notion that she was his prize. However, Danny was constantly assumed to possess the type of masculinity that Mickey aspired to, despite consistent evidence to the contrary. Clara uses this to her advantage to shade the Doctor’s perception of Danny when she’s lying (to both of them), characterizing him as over-protective to the point of being controlling.

Companions of Colour post
She meant no harm besides a days work in slight manipulation, and it certainly couldn’t have fallen on better ears than the Doctor’s who was hardly listening, but often what seem like fairly harmless white lies have had dangerous implications for Black men throughout history. You only have to type the name Emmett Till into a search browser to see one of the most horrific examples the ramifications of such a small lie can have. Throughout history, even to this day, White lies largely hold more power than Black truth. If Clara had been careless enough to spread these inaccuracies of Danny’s personality to others, and one day she didn’t come back home, Danny would most likely have found himself in a well of hot water, similar to that of Mickey in series one. He was the prime suspect in Rose’s disappearance for twelve months, but upon confronting Jackie, Rose and the Doctor with his justifiable anger, not only is he denied the dignity of an apology from Jackie or Rose, he is then called an idiot by the Doctor. Although Danny was an interesting example on the variations of masculinity, I would still be reluctant to say that Doctor Who has done particularly well in its treatment of Black men. I’m looking forward to series 11 in hopes that this changes with Ryan.



“Most people when they don’t understand something they frown. You…smile.”

most people when they don't understand
With that sentence Bill not only became the first companion of Color that was never at any point treated like a burden, but she also became the first from a very long line to be specifically chosen. Not just thrown together with the Doctor by chance and precarious circumstances, not a mystery to solve. On a sunny day in a comfortable office with no looming threat peeking ‘round the corner, the Doctor looked at Bill and said, ‘You. I want you.’

“My mum always said, ‘with some people, you can smell the wind in their clothes”

On a snowy Yuletide evening Bill sits in the Doctor’s office and invites him into her head, where she frequently converses with her late mother. You get the feeling that this isn’t a normal exchange for Bill. She utters the words with enough comfort in the Doctor’s presence, but her eyes briefly flit askance, indicating her lingering shyness. But he’d established a trustful relationship with her; she knows her thoughts are free to move and stretch in his company. The gentleness of this exchange strikes such a wonderful chord with me. The issue of freedom of expression in Black youth is a prevalent one. One discourse in particular discusses the whimsy of Willow and Jaden Smith, who are often mocked for their abstract blend of philosophical and scientific ideas, which are really just the product of an excellent education paired with ripe, creative minds. As Twitter user Son of Baldwin states:

‘Sometimes I think we hate Jaden and Willow Smith because they are free black
children and we don’t know what free black children look like.’

The Doctor gives Bill a similar education as her tutor, teaching her about the interconnectivity of the universe, never letting her forget that “…Everything rhymes.” So often Black children (people in general, really) are dismissed or called mad for having unique ideas, or possessing a slightly larger dose of oddity. Their Blackness is then called into question by those in and outside their community alike, the latter of which use the oft uttered micro-aggression ‘But you’re not really Black’. As a lifelong oddball myself, I found my heart pleasantly aching at the recognition of another ‘Free Black Child’ in a story I hold so dear.


“Look! There’s Bill! Dead, dismembered, fed through a grinder and squeezed into a Cyberman, doomed to spend an eternal afterlife as a biomechanical psycho-zombie. It was hilarious! …Ripped out her heart, threw it into a bin and burnt it all away”

I honestly loved the series 10 finale. The crisp, eeriness of the cinematography and set, the chilling music, and the excellent dialogue that kept you rapt, though the plot is a slow, steady unfurl. But despite all of that, my stomach churns every time I hear those lines. The lucidity and grotesque violence in the description of her death are incredibly jarring. We don’t live in a particularly squeamish time; I myself enjoy a fair bit of action and non-gratuitous violence, but continuously seeing the apparent relish with which writers victimize Black and queer women, usually to deepen the pain of a White protagonist is exhausting. The Whoniverse now has an interesting track record of turning Black characters into Cybermen. There’s Danny Pink, and in Chris Chibnall’s Torchwood episode Cyberwoman not only is a Black woman (the girlfriend of a protagonist) the titular character, but she is also hyper sexualized in way that is almost comical, if blatant fetishization ever could be. However, this quite literal othering of Black characters didn’t slide firmly into place until Bill.

In The Doctor Falls, a small girl with afro-puffs vaguely reminiscent of a younger her, brings Bill a mirror and says, “Everyone’s too scared to talk to you, but I’m not.” Bill turns it over and sees not herself, but what they made her into. She is not a monster, she never could be, but the mirror is telling her otherwise.

“This won’t stop you feeling the pain, but it will stop you caring.”

The surgeon’s discomfiting words are staunchly reflective of the historical global oppression of people of Color, and the often implemented strategy of dehumanizing them to the point where they no longer cared about their suffering. As Frederick Douglass stated in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,

“I have found that to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one…he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.”

Unlike Oswin from Asylum of the Daleks, or Clara in The Witch’s Familiar, Bill did not have an elaborate world created in her mind to mask the pain, nor was willingly stepping into or even consciously aware of her alien exterior. She was killed; her insides violently wrenched from her, and remade into their image. The Doctor theorized that Bill’s time spent living under the Monks’ fascist regime taught her to hold onto herself, but she already knew how to do that. When you grow up hearing that you shouldn’t be who you are, you cling onto yourself a little tighter than most.


D: “Bill, I’m sorry but you can’t be angry anymore. A temper is a luxury you cannot-“

B: “Why can’t I?! Why can’t I be angry?! You left me alone for ten years! Don’t tell me I can’t be angry!”

D: “Because of that, that’s why. Because you’re a Cyberman.”

B: “People are always going to be afraid of me, aren’t they?”

Despite the violence of Missy’s words from the previous episode, it was this moment that pricked me the most from the finale. The Doctor, champion of rage, forbidding the righteous anger of a Black woman. ‘The Angry Black Woman’ is such a pervasive myth throughout history that it’s become its own problematic trope in media. From Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman reinforcing the idea within Black culture, to countless works using Black women’s anger as a gimmick or comic relief, it persists, reducing the outrage of a century’s brew of sexism, racism, as well as personal baggage into a punch line.

Once more humor becomes the socially acceptable tool to assuage the fear of those around, an irrational fear which ironically they have conjured themselves. Somehow The Doctor Falls manages to slip into a faux pas of metaphor; an attempt at a touching, bittersweet scene, becomes a work of Afro-surrealism gone wrong. Bill is shot, stripped of her agency, brutalized, othered and then told that she cannot afford the ‘luxury’ of her anger. However, when your very existence is called into question, and your life is at constant threat, anger is not a luxury. Harnessed properly it becomes a tool to ensure your progress and eventual triumph. But Bill’s anger never is harnessed, until the Doctor, persistently in the form of a White man, tells her to direct it at an obstacle he sees fit to be removed.


To Moffat’s credit, and my immense relief, Bill was not wasted and fridged like so many queer women and women of Color before her, but was instead restored with a warmth and beauty that brought tears to my own eyes. It was wonderful to see her character get an ending she deserved, her months of studying the universe with the Doctor a precursor of the infinite adventures to come, and an easy way back into the narrative should a future writer ever want to bring her back. And yet, I couldn’t help being struck by one last troubling thought. In a world where White women’s tears have repeatedly been a rallying cry to violence against people of Color, and the tears from women of Color are dismissed, it was Heather’s tears, not her own that saved her. Perhaps it’s intentionally left for the audience to interpret whether the tear she cries in the closing scene of World Enough and Time is nothing but an echo of her former self shown for our benefit, or one of Heather’s tears. But regardless, it holds no power. It doesn’t save her, it merely illustrates the depth of her suffering.

With series 11 approaching, I am so recklessly optimistic for the future of this show I adore. I know that with each passing day, we get closer to a world where everyone will be able to see themselves in these mirrors of media we make for ourselves. I’m crossing my hearts that it’s soon.

Written by Sam who you can follow on Twitter and Instagram
Her new project ‘Sam & Am’s Tea Party’ Podcast you can find on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Women in our history books: But where are they in Doctor Who? by Emma Jones

The Doctor Who historical has been around since the very beginning of the show, with the very first story,  An Unearthly Child being set in the pre-historic era. Since then there have been many episodes which deal with historical figures and events, something which the revived show has continued.


 The last historical episode that featured a woman as the primary character however, was Agatha Christie back in series four with The Unicorn and the Wasp, nearly ten years ago. Before that, Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw and Madame Du Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace both in 2006. That’s it. We’ve had just three in the last 13 years. The underrepresentation of women in Doctor Who historicals probably reflects the underrepresentation of women in society as a whole. With women’s voices largely having been forgotten or ignored, having accurate stories about them becomes vastly more difficult.

It’s a shame. There are so many women from history who would be amazing to see in Doctor Who, how about Rosalind Franklin or Ada Lovelace? With Jodie Whittaker’s arrival as the ‘first female Doctor,’ many people think that it’s high time for an episode with the Suffragettes for example, which personally I would adore. Maybe she can finally get her laser spanner back from Emmeline Pankhurst! But for now such figures have been overlooked, or like Boudicca have only been used in the expanded universe.


Despite glimpses of historical women in the Moffat era, such as with the devious and strong-willed Queen Elizabeth I in The Day of the Doctor, and Queen Nefertiti in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, there haven’t been any episodes solely focused on women from history. The celebrity historical itself has fallen by the wayside since 2014’s Robot of Sherwood, which was questionable at best seeing as the figure in question was fictional.

The past can serve as a real source of inspiration for young people watching the show. Seeing the achievements of real women from history is so valuable, and something that couldn’t happen nearly as well if these things were done by fictional characters in an episode set in the future. Knowing that there were great women who challenged oppression, or made wondrous scientific discoveries can make those things acceptable and achievable to children watching today. Titles like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls are flying off the shelves, so why can’t we see that on screen?

But the historical episode can be tricky to pull off… In new Doctor Who the celebrity can often be portrayed as how the popular consciousness has already constructed them, rather than being an accurate depiction and the lack of criticism given to them can be damaging. Is it right to have the Doctor (famously a champion against injustice), having a fun romp with Agatha Christie even though she allegedly had troubling attitudes about race? Does not challenging this mean the celebrity is a one-note representation of the real person and becomes a caricature? There is also the argument that if we judge every historical person by modern attitudes they would surely all fall short in at least one regard, but we should still question the choices made.

Furthermore, by not having the past differ in any meaningful way from the present (as we saw in The Shakespeare Code); does it almost negate the reason for going in the first place? Could it be actively harmful when historical racism is flippantly ignored? (Even more so when our main character, the Doctor, is doing it). Thin Ice showed that we can put the past in a negative light, and how needed it is to show the audience that our values have, (or not, depending on the context) changed as a society.

When the most popular dramas aired today are pure historicals featuring women – The Crown and Victoria, Doctor Who should actively try creating compelling stories about forgotten or lesser-known incredible women. Let’s make the past feel like an accurate representation rather than just a setting in the present.

What do you think? Should we even see the return of the ‘celebrity historical’? And if so, which women would you like to appear in Series 11 and beyond?

This guest post was written by Emma Jones, find her other post here. Follow her on Twitter: @milkwithginseng

Thoughts on Regeneration: A Trans Perspective by Emma Jones

Doctor Who has been in my life since I was eight years old when I first watched Rose in 2005. As I started to struggle with gender identity and finally realised I was transgender around the time Matt Smith became the Doctor, the show became an escape. Then it introduced the concept of gender swapping regenerations which it expanded on over the years till the culmination of the Thirteenth Doctor, and it helped me understand myself better.

After dealing with his own identity crisis, the Twelfth Doctor says, ‘…you look at me, and you can’t see me’ and it immediately clicked. It allowed me to articulate my feelings about how it hurt to be misgendered, to feel like and know you’re a girl but have everyone look at you and think and refer to you as a boy. Not too long afterwards I began my gender transition.

Copy of Blog Title – Untitled Design

It’s July 16th, 2017 and my heart is beating fast. I’m nervously refreshing Twitter in anticipation of the announcement of the Thirteenth Doctor. I didn’t particularly want to know, but as a British person I knew that it’d spoiled as soon as I set foot out the door, so I decided to take the initiative. As the mysterious figure pulled their hood down to reveal Jodie Whittaker, I’m filled with wonder and joy and at the back of my mind; envy.

I was envious because while the Doctor gets to regenerate into a woman in an instant, painlessly and without incident, I’m not so lucky. Instead of a remarkable transformation, my ‘transition’ has been a slow, frustrating, expensive process.

Copy of Blog Title – Untitled Design (2).png

It’s December 25th, 2017. My eyes are wet after Peter Capaldi gives his beautiful and sad final speech, each long pause he gives makes me think ‘this it, she’s a-coming’. Like a lot of Doctor Who fans, I was apprehensive about how the regeneration would be handled. Would Chris Chibnall take a The Curse of Fatal Death type approach and make quips, or go another route and just not mention probably the biggest change in the show’s history. Then I went from crying to smiling in the space of a minute when they took the third option, having the Doctor be ecstatic, with that big grin and just two simple words. Not only was it just so perfectly crafted but as a trans woman, I felt I could relate to her feelings of excitement.

Despite the challenges of transitioning and having to deal with gender dysphoria, which for those that don’t know is a sense of discomfort as a result of your biological sex not matching your gender identity, trans people can sometimes experience the opposite: gender euphoria. Which is joy at seeing yourself as your real self in a mirror or a TARDIS monitor for example. Having the Doctor be thrilled seeing herself is such a powerful thing to see as someone who’s struggled with accepting their body.

Copy of Blog Title – Untitled Design (1)

While I think one possible reading of Thirteenth Doctor regeneration is that she is transgender, it is perhaps overanalysis two words and a smile. But regeneration in the new series always has been about how the Doctor approaches the construction of their self and their identity. Having the Doctor be the same person even if they express themselves in different ways in a different body is an excellent parallel for trans people’s lives.

As much as I want Thirteen to be a woman, I’d love in future for the show to explore the whole diverse and beautiful spectrum of identities. By having the Doctor referring to themselves as a man when in a male body and as a woman when in a female body can serve to reinforce cisnormative gender assumptions. For example, in regards to other Time Lords (like Missy), does her newfound empathy and acceptance of femininity support the notion of biological essentialism which argues that the differences between men and women come from nature? Having the Doctor rejecting binary pronouns and identity would make perfect sense for their character, seeing as actual human beings are already challenging binaries let’s have the Doctor break some more ‘rules’. They’re nothing if not a rebel.

Copy of Blog Title – Untitled Design (3).png

Doctor Who can often be an escape from something, from harsh realities. But that also means it’s an escape to something as well – to a place where gender and its associated stereotypes are irrelevant and where if you want to be a woman, you can. Regeneration isn’t just a convenient excuse to change actor, it’s a statement and a promise: Anyone can be the Doctor. That’s such a powerful message for trans people to hear, especially relevant in a media environment that is nearly devoid of any other stories that can even relate to trans experiences like Doctor Who has shown. The fact that young trans people can take inspiration from the new Doctor shows how important this show is, how significant this change is but also shows how much more work we need to do.

Written by Emma, who you can follow on Twitter here.

If you’d like to submit a guest post idea, email us at: thetimeladies@yahoo.com
(please bear in mind we might not be able to get back to you straight away.)

Jenny Colgan: The Christmas Invasion Q+A

Today marks the launch of 5 new Doctor Who target novelisations, featuring new series episodes for the first time! We spoke to Jenny Colgan about her Christmas Invasion novelisation, her favourite female Who character and more…

How does your version of The Christmas Invasion differ to the television episode?

We go a little deeper, both into how the Guinevere space programme works and meet some of the people behind that, as well as more into what life is really like for Jackie. If everyone is the hero of their own story, Jackie’s is utterly heartbreaking, certainly for the first couple of series. And Daniel Llewyllen gets a lot more screen time in the novel, I liked him a lot in the show.


How did you find writing an adaption of a pre-existing story?

Oh, brilliant! It was writing with all the difficult bits taken out! RTD is of course a genius and he’d done all the hard work for me. All I had to do was add a few ‘she saids’ onto his brilliant script (more or less :)).

How does writing for Doctor Who differ to writing your other novels?

Well you have a very clear set of physical characters and lots of established rules. But in a funny way that makes it more fun; you have to be more creative. I’ve been doing it for a while now, and I never lose the joy of someone standing at a TARDIS console.


Can you share your first memory of Doctor Who, and what is it that makes you love the show so much?

My first memory is of City of Death, seeing the second Romana’s face being drawn as a clock at the end of the episode and being immediately sucked in and fascinated by this amazing show. I must have been about 7 and I’ve loved it ever since.


What is your favourite female character in Doctor Who?

The Doctor!

Finally, could you tell us what having a female Doctor means to you?

It means this to me: it means absolutely nothing to my children (two boys and a girl). They shrugged their shoulders and will watch regardless and consider it no more extraordinary than their female doctor at the local GP practice. That’s what it means.


A massive thanks to Jenny for speaking to us about her book, the Target Collection is available now!

Talent in The TARDIS: the Actors of Tomorrow

Doctor Who has helped launch the careers of many actors. Matt Smith was barely known when cast as The Doctor, as was Karen Gillan at the time. Since their stints on Doctor Who both have taken on Hollywood and become well-known stars. The show also helped Billie Piper reestablish her career into acting and she is now one of the most critically acclaimed theatre actresses!

You may have forgotten or never realised some stars of the moment also had their time on the TARDIS, let us know your favourite rising star actress…

Gemma Chan
Probably best known for her role in Humans, Gemma also played Mia Bennett in the Tenth Doctor’s penultimate outing The Waters of Mars. Doctor Who was Gemma’s first job out of acting school and she’s since catapulted to fame in a number of shows and films. She has made appearances in Sherlock, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and the hit movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She’s set to appear in the upcoming film Mary Queen of Scots and has also been announced to be joining the cast of upcoming Marvel film Captain Marvel. Basically, she’s absolutely killin’ it.


Letitia Wright

Letitia appeared in Face the Raven playing literally two faced Anahson. Since playing the adorable character she has risen to fame in a number of roles. You can see her in cinemas now starring as Shuri in Marvel’s Black Panther and will reprise the role in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Letitia also has a part in the upcoming Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One based on the popular book by Ernist Cline… and we can already tell she’ll be everywhere this year. On the small screen she’s appeared in Humans, Black Mirror and also starred in the ‘Godfather of Doctor Who’ Russell T Davies’s series Cucumber and Banana. Go Letitia!


Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu played Martha’s sister Tish in series 3 and we always knew she was destined for more! In 2015 she was nominated as BAFTA’s Rising Star and has since starred in various stage, film and television roles. She is probably best known for breaking our hearts and making us weep as Kelly in the hugely popular episode of Black Mirror, San Junipero and playing Plumette in the live action Beauty in the Beast. Her next Disney role is in A Wrinkle In Time released this year alongside Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. We can’t wait to see what she does next!


Felicity Jones
Before she was best known as Jyn Erso in Rogue One, Felicity made a guest appearance in Doctor Who, The Unicorn and the Wasp as Robina Redmond alongside David Tennant and Catherine Tate. Before this, Felicity had been a child star, playing the lead in The Worst Witch and had a long running role in the radio drama The Archers. Soon after her Doctor Who role she scored herself an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for her role in The Theory of Everything and is set to become one of Britain’s best loved actors!


Carey Mulligan
Blink is a fan favourite and one of the most acclaimed episodes of Doctor Who of all time. Carey Mulligan’s performance as Sally Sparrow was a instant hit and we still hear cries of ‘Give her a spin-off series!’ Her role in An Eduction saw her win a BAFTA for best actress as well as receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. Since her role in 2007 she’s also starred in Drive, The Great Gatsby and one of our favourite’s, Suffragette. She’s also had huge success in the West End and Broadway on stage. You can currently watch her in the drama Collateral on BBC2 alongside Billie Piper and John Simm, it’s great to watch her on the small screen again.


Karen Gillan
Karen played the long-serving Amy Pond for three years and since leaving Doctor Who has firmly made a name for herself across the pond (pun intended). After leaving she appeared in small indie films and guest roles on television before landing her own series Selfie on ABC. Her big break was when she became part of the Marvel universe as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, a massive feat for someone so recently trying to break Hollywood. Now firmly stateside, she recently starred in the new Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and we think she’s going to be more and more in demand, because who couldn’t love her? Karen has also taken to directing and writing with her first feature film The Party’s Just Beginning having had its premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival.


Have we missed one of your favourites out? Let us know on Twitter!


This post was contributed by one of our first guest writers Ellis, Give her a follow on Twitter and check out her blog here!

Memories of the Doctor Who Experience

On the 9th September 2017, The Doctor Who Experience closed its TARDIS doors for good. After 5 amazing years of interactive fun, the adventure finally ended and the Gallifrey Museum ‘destroyed’, leaving us heartbroken. A safe and wonderful space for Doctor Who fans has left us. Here are some of our personal memories as well as some we’ve collected from fans all over the world to celebrate the Doctor Who Experience and what it means to us!



My whole world came to a halt the moment I stepped foot on the TARDIS. Every dream I’ve ever had came true and my heart leapt in amazement and wonder. In fact, thanks to the Doctor Who Experience,  I’ve had the chance to see several TARDIS’s, travelled with The 11th and 12th Doctors saving the universe several times, witnessed my favourite monsters in the flesh and had the chance to walk like one too. I’ve spent hours pouring over the costumes of my favourite characters and monsters in the safe and welcoming home of Doctor Who.

Through the Doctor Who experience, I’ve visited the real TARDIS set and opened the doors for myself. I’ve met friends and found somewhere I belong. I can’t begin to describe the loss of this wonderful place to me, but I can thank it. Thank you Doctor Who Experience, for being everything we could ever hope for, and for bringing joy and happiness to so many.

One day you shall come back… Please?!


I first visited the Doctor Who Experience in early 2015. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was, I wanted to see the magic of my childhood come to life. I had never visited Cardiff before, and just walking through the centre of the city made me feel like I was secretly Gwen Cooper. There is something magical about that place. For a second, you can pretend that Doctor Who is real. That the TARDIS really is just parked around the corner, while he’s running across the city – saving the day.

The experience was brought to life and not just by the interactive experience, but by the people. It was a place where you felt surrounded by the people who understand you the best. Even if they are complete strangers, they are the ones who understand why your heart leaps at the sight of that blue box or when you get your first glimpse at the Tenth Doctor’s pinstriped suit.

I visited the Doctor Who Experience on the last day of its opening. A bittersweet feeling seemed to hang in the air, as everyone dashed about the experience, taking photographs with beloved TARDIS consoles and the outfits of our favourite heroes.

The Doctor Who Experience was not only a place to be surrounded by the props, costumes and set designs. It was a place to feel accepted and to feel proud of a show that has impacted each of our lives in unique ways.



What an amazing place to be. It’s like Cardiff turned into the capital city of the UK for Doctor Who fans! People flocking out of Cardiff Central Station in long scarves and bow ties from all corners of the globe to jump into taxis and of all places to ask for… the Doctor Who Experience? The taxi drivers must have been baffled!

It was a place to truly be yourself and know that everyone in that building was as full of excitable glee as you were. Even just making small talk could turn into potential friendship… and I’m not sure if that affect it had on people ever truly came to light. I really hope that the people who worked on that amazing experience know that what they made wasn’t just an adventure with the Doctor, it was a trip of the lifetime for friendships made stronger, confidence grown and even romances blossoming. Thank you for creating such a special place for fans; as long as we had it, it was our utopia.



I’ve got too many wonderful memories of the Doctor Who Experience to fit into one paragraph… but seeing the towering Pandorica prop is up there. I remember seeing it for the first time and being dazzled. Seeing these things in person only makes everything feel more… real. You could touch the patterned surface and slide your arms through the manacles of the chair.

I could almost feel the Doctor’s enemies surrounding me…. hear their voices; “the Pandorica is ready!” “… ready for what?” “Ready for you.”

To engage with the main, iconic prop from my favourite Doctor Who episode ever was really special.



I walked into the Experience in August 2015, dressed in uncomfortable business attire and with a heavy bag full of children’s books – I was visiting Roath Lock for work, not expecting the treat of an impromptu first visit to the DWE.

On the walkthrough I was surrounded by kids whose faces lit up with wonder and joy when they saw the Twelfth Doctor appear in a projection, asking them to help him save the day – and then realised my face was every bit as lit up as theirs. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I’d never made the trip to Cardiff to visit before. I felt like I’d been a bit lost, and had just arrived home.



What does it mean to me? Where you want to start? When I went t the Experience for the first time I had no idea what it would mean to me. I enjoyed myself, the tingle down my spine when I heard Romana’s voice for the first time, introducing me to my favourite Time Lord. I fell in love with the Experience and with the building. With Cardiff too, and did everything I could to move there in January.

It’s like the Doctor says about seeing the universe, seeing the DW Experience through someone else was always more exciting than seeing it on your own. In the end I saw it six times. My favourite visit included two American girls, one of which on seeing the First Doctor’s TARDIS burst into tears of joy that she’d be able to visit it at all.

It’s more than what people think it is, For me it’s a sanctuary, a safe haven. Just like I’ve always seen Doctor Who. For me, it will always be a place of wonder and inspiration and an absolute joy and I miss it more than I can put into words.”

Twitter Memories

‘Every time I watched the opening montage with Romana talking about The Doctor I would get goosebumps on my arms and tear up ever so slightly. It was such a powerful and moving montage that just showed why the show and fandom is so special to so many.’ – @Tom_Matt_Dix

Image-1 (1).png

@BethanAppleArt beautifully drew her favourite DWE memories!


‘Honestly the moment you stepped into the Gallifrey museum & the screen-used TARDIS set, years dropped off your life – you were a kid again. The tactile props, costumes and awesome gift shop were within walking distance from the studios, Millennium Centre and Mermaid Quay.’



‘I went a few years back and my favourite memory was definitely a Dalek looking right down at me, there was something about how big it was and its voice that was just really deeply chilling and I finally understood why everyone in the show is so scared of them!’

‘I remember the first time I saw the 80s console. That was magical for me… It’s like seeing something that seems so unrealistic ACTUALLY be real – that’s part of what made the DWE special. You got to see the magic face-to-face.’



‘My favourite memory of the Doctor Who Experience was actually the last day, and therefore the last time I went. It was Beth’s birthday, I was surrounded by Whovians I’d met online and we were all filled with childlike wonder.

We knew the Experience and how it worked, and it wasn’t long before we noticed additions on the last day. These additions included an extra Dalek on Skaro. Now, I’d had a hunch, but there was a moment when a Dalek came to life and my friend Em freaked out big time.

I’ve always considered myself a lover rather than a fighter, but when one of your friends is being harassed by the most evil being in the universe, you have to do something. I jokingly put my fists up to the Dalek, but it was unrelenting. I had no choice – people were in danger! I had to literally push the Dalek, with the very real chance of being exterminated. I pushed the Dalek slightly too hard, and whoever was ‘inside’ got their foot caught underneath the casing. It was the last day of DWE, and I had to apologise to a Dalek.’ – @GallifreyRchive

‘Dying next to my son’ – @Phoebeb69


Thank you for sharing your Doctor Who Experience memories with us, the spirit of that very special place will live on through the fans.