This panel on the past and future of female Doctors may have been poorly named, considering that Jodie Whittaker has already been cast as the Thirteenth Doctor, but the conversations were great. Raven Oak moderated, and the panel consisted of Eric Gjovaag, Mark Dando, and Denise Nilsson.
Eric Gjovaag got the conversation off to a productive start with a brief video showing fan appearances of female Doctors, starting with a clip featuring Barbara Benedetti. (More info on these films is available on director Ryan K. Johnson’s website.) That way, the panel and audience started out with a lot to chew on. The video also had a moment from The Curse of Fatal Death and some other works I can’t recall off the top of my head.
The audience conversation was lively, energetic, and thoughtful. A sampling of some of the questions and comments:
- There’s a generation gap in fan reaction. People who grew up with Classic Who may find this quite a departure. On the other hand, the younger generation seems ready.
- Some of these videos continually referenced the fact that the Doctor was a woman. If the new show does that, it won’t turn out well.
- Some of this came up when Missy appeared as the latest incarnation of the Master. While it’s true that the Master has always been a complete ham, there was some discomfort about having her gender and sexuality continually referenced.
- Someone popped his head in and got the audience roaring with laughter by asking: “Will she get equal compensation?” GOOD QUESTION.
- Someone proposed Idris Elba as the fourteenth Doctor. I agree.
We finished up with a look at the publicity photo of Jodie Whittaker’s costume (below), described on a UK news site as “navy culottes with yellow braces.” Apparently that’s in fashion in Europe. Folks spent some time speculating on whether the rainbow ribbon on her shirt might have come from an earlier Doctor or companion, like Dodo (who was filmed during the black and white era). Panelist Mark Dando expressed dismay at the photo: “But what have they done to the police box?” (It’s darker blue and one panel looks black.)
Denise Nilsson finished out the session by expressing optimism for the series, saying, “It’s still the TARDIS, still the Doctor.”