Growing up, Doctor Who Magazine was our most important source for information, facts and behind-the-scenes gossip from the show. We would desperately scramble to our local newsagents or supermarket every month to pick up a copy and spend hours pouring over the wonderful contents. Inside those pages featured a well-loved feature named ‘The Time Team.’ A group of four fans, they watched each episode of Doctor Who in order and gave their commentary on the adventures. They laughed, they cried… they heckled! And so did we alongside them.
Roll on 2018 and the format of this brilliant project needed a refresh, so long-time DWM contributor and journalist Benjamin Cook decided to bring it back with a bang! To gain fresh opinions on our beloved show, he sought out a diverse team of 12 fans, all with different experiences of Doctor Who.
So, drumroll please… we can finally reveal that The Time Ladies are part of this brand new Time Team! It’s been a super exciting journey and something that we’re extremely proud of. We hope you enjoy how inclusive the team is as well as our comments and insights into character, theme and story. There truly is something for everyone. So who else is joining us in the line up?
Get to know the new Time Team as they answer our most loved question;
‘Who is your favourite female Doctor Who character?‘
Beth’s enthusiasm for Doctor Who is infectious, and her love for the show simply radiates from her! Fresh to classic Doctor Who, she brings new perspective and insight into aspects you may never have considered before. Particularly passionate about the representation of female characters, she has a great eye for interesting discussion points within the Time Team gang which we can’t wait for you to read. Constantly on the go with new ideas, projects and campaigns, her creativity as one half of The Time Ladies knows no bounds!
Beth’s favourite female character is…
‘Picking a favourite female character is really hard for me, because my mind changes all the time! Rose was my first companion and I related to her hugely growing up. She was a well rounded character with good and bad sides and an icon for young girls. I think Rose Tyler is my personal favourite but Martha Jones is the best female character. The way she develops and learns over the course of the series as well as her bravery and dedication in saving The Doctor and countless other people is astounding! I also have a soft spot for Barbara Wright who is an incredibly witty, strong-willed woman to look up to.’
(Written by Kez because Beth isn’t that vain)
Kezia’s sparkle never fails to brighten a room, and even her most passionate opinion is portrayed eloquently. She’ll make you change your mind on something you’ve never even thought about! The only one in the team to have watched ALL of the show, she’s the resident expert when it comes to classic Doctor Who. As our readers will know she is also the other half of The Time Ladies and puts her passion and energy into helping create a space for female Doctor Who fans.
Kez thinks this is the most difficult question of all to answer. ‘I love them because they’re all different. Leela for being fierce yet gentle at heart, Jo for her loyalty and sense of fun (and fashion!), Sarah Jane for her bravery and always speaking her mind, Rose for being the most real, Martha for being incredibly strong and true to herself and Donna, because I wish I could know someone like her to simultaneously make me cackle and also be a friend through anything (literally, planets in the sky anything). I guess I kind of cheated but when you speak about them all the live long day like we do on The Time Ladies it’s near on impossible to speak about just one!’
(Written by Beth because Kez isn’t that vain either)
Antoinette Belle is a photographer, YouTuber and poetry enthusiast. Her passion and confidence will astound you and, damn does this girl have opinions. On her favourite female character:
‘Rose is love, Rose is life, and the ONLY instance in which I’m moderately ok with a lot of Mary-Sue-esque characterisation. She was young, angry and compassionate – having that kind of multidimensional, fleshed-out character in a female lead was SO important for me to see growing up, particularly in her refusal to dampen her opinions in tough situations. also Billie Piper is hot (what I can I say, I’m shallow).’
Christel recently became Doctor Who’s Digital Marketing Manager at BBC Studios. Previously, she fronted (and was the assistant producer of) Doctor Who: The Fan Show after her videos were spotted on collab channel, FiveWhoFans. As well as being a member of Time Team, she writes regular cosplay articles for DWM.
‘It’s really hard to choose a favourite, but I’ve written about Ace in DWM before and she’s such a brilliant character: fierce and strong but also deep down she’s quite sensitive, and loyal to the end.’
Claudia is a YouTuber, feminist and writer amongst many other talents. Her wit and wisdom are a credit to the Time Team and her passion for Doctor Who is easy to see! Her favourite female character from the show is Martha Jones but says ‘I genuinely love every RTD companion so much!’ Hashtag relatable. After pausing to think, she says:
‘I think Martha’s majorly underrated because she came after Rose, but those two amazing companions don’t need to be in competition! I can’t help but have an extra soft spot for Martha, because I think people sometimes overlook the strength of Martha’s arc! Martha makes the choice to leave the TARDIS on her own terms in order to pursue her own goals, refusing to be in anyone’s shadow. That’s a fantastic message to young women, and everyone else! Martha was the most independent and dependable companion of the Nu Who era, and the one I’d most like by my side in a crisis! Martha didn’t mess about, she got things done!’ Well, we told you she had wit and wisdom!
Actor, singer and student, Dan exudes talent just like his sister Claudia! He has a massive passion for Doctor Who and Marvel, and his loveable character will make him a Time Team favourite. His favourite female Who character is Sarah Jane Smith.
‘Especially her Sarah Jane Adventures era. She taught an entire generation that an action hero can be any gender, any age and that you can still save the day and be a darn cool person without using weapons or violence!’
A long time Doctor Who fan, BBC journalist Gerard Groves has a love for all things arty and sci-fi. He famously interviewed Christopher Eccleston on his part in The A Word and shared his experience of living with autism with the actor – it’s a fantastically touching and personal piece. As an avid content creator and video maker, Gerard is always making things he’s passionate about. His answer on his favourite female character was hard to decide on!
‘My favourite female character has got to be Donna! It used to be Rose for the longest time, but I have such a newfound appreciation for Donna recently!’
You’ve probably heard a lot of Jake through his famous Doctor Who impression work on YouTube and recordings of the tenth Doctor for Big Finish. An incredible talent and kind hearted guy, Jake’s opinions on the show are a joy to read as he gives a new opinion on classic Doctor Who he hasn’t seen before. Jake will probably be a movie star by next year, so read him in The Time Team while you can! On his favourite female character:
‘I think I’d have to say Sarah Jane Smith. She was a badass who’s uplifted multiple generations of female fans.
I also think it’s cool that, in her own show, we had a middle-aged (not a young, Hollywood pretty) female lead. Also K-9.’
Luke is a YouTuber, writer and director! He’s got an exciting film in post production; The Drowning Of Arthur Braxton. Bringing his in depth knowledge of film and TV as well as his hilarious opinions, there’s a whole new behind the scenes world for him to teach us. Luke agrees with lots of the Time Team when asked about his favourite character:
‘My favourite would be Martha because I think she’s a fantastic mirror of The Doctor and in many ways even better than him. Obviously my first thought is always going to be Rose for sentimentality but from a character point of view? It’s Martha.’
A man of many talents, Miles is an actor, illustrator and writer currently studying animation. An avid TV fan, he knows ALL things pop culture and how Doctor Who fits into the world around us. Jodie Whittaker’s casting has brought his interest in the show back to life and he can’t wait for series 11.
‘I think my favourites are close between Rose and Martha (who I’ve come to appreciate more recently)
Rose’s “feminine” traits are never painted as a weakness but rather as a strength. Her compassion and sense of justice are consistent throughout the plot, while we watch her come to realise the vastness and heavy duties she has found herself adopting over the course of her journey. She’s so human and I think that’s what makes her one of (if not the) best written characters on the show.
Martha, is almost perfect for the role of a companion from the outset and her willing to help others is made apparent from her introduction as a trainee doctor (which is a brilliant parallel). I love her journey to discover her own personal worth, and how she struggles mostly with self doubt from the start before learning that she’s “good”. Her wisdom about the doctor is also done very well, with her acknowledgment of the potential danger the doctor can bring.’
Zainab is a smart, fierce pharmacy student at King’s College London. As well as knowing a thing or two about medicine, she’s also a black belt in karate, so remind us not to disagree with her! We loved hearing her perspective on character and story, and we know you will too. She’s got a fabulous answer on her favourite female character:
‘My favourite female character in Doctor Who would have to be Sarah-Jane Smith. The fact that she had her own adventures on Planet Earth and made a life for herself with Luke that resembled something normal really showed me as a kid that I could go and have adventures too. Life around us can hold some really cool adventures and being a kid who feels stuck on Earth shouldn’t stop you from having them! I think Sarah-Jane really got me to believe in myself as a kid because she believed in the kids around her.’
As well as the exciting new team there’s a brand new format. This time, The Time Team watch episodes and stories based on themes instead of watching the show in order. This change has been brilliant to compare Doctors and stories over the 54 years of the show. From the astounding to the terrible, the funny and the scary, we’ve watched it.
The Time Team will feature in every issue of Doctor Who Magazine, starting with issue 525 on sale Thursday 3rd of May. Make sure you pick up a copy and join us for exciting opinions in space and time…!
All Time Team pictures taken by Rebecca Need-Menear, find her work here.