Dear Steven Moffat,
I’m not really sure how to start this, as I’ve never written fanmail before. I don’t even know the PO BOX – should I call you Mr Moffat? Mozzie? You seem like a nice chap, so I’m going for the informal chat-at-the-pub-with-a-pint-of-cider type of talk. I’m going to be honest and straight with you, Mr Moff – I haven’t always been your biggest fan. (Un)fortunately, I happen to be one of those feminists who have had a bit of gripe with some of the female characters you have created, or commented upon, in both of the series you are showrunning, but namely Doctor Who.
When you took over the helm from Russell T Davies back in 2009 I was initially thrilled, but this excitement soon turned to upsetting disappointment. Time and time again I found that your female characters were underdeveloped or frighteningly unrealistic. It was a bit off-putting, Moff, and really tested my faith in Doctor Who. But this latest series, 7B, has really impressed me, and I’m over the moon to consider myself a fully-fledged obsessive-nut-job Whovian once more. Clara, Madame Vastra and Jenny have convinced me that female companions in Doctor Who don’t have to just be wooden objects, and in terms of storytelling, this series is back at sublime levels.
So now that you’ve got the companions and the story sorted, I have to tell you from one mate to another, Steven: I really really really really really really hope that the next Doctor you’ve chosen turns out to be a woman.
Let me explain. A lot of people are really against the doctor being a woman, for some mental reason. My family, boyfriend and friends have all chalked up arguments why the Doctor can only, nay, must only be male. By far the most common of these reasons is simply “tradition” – that there has always been a white, male doctor, so there should only be a white, male doctor.
I think that that’s a bit of a crap excuse, don’t you, Moff? “Tradition”, in many respects, doesn’t mean “heritage” or “pride” for me, so much as “laziness” or “complacency” or “fear of the new”. We are all creatures of habit, and I get that. But shouldn’t we mix things up a bit, just once in a while? Say “sod the bloody established system” and just do something new?
Now, I get that the Who Fandom is a little bit like an elderly suspicious neighbour sucking its teeth, or a vicious toddler expecting a new unwelcome baby sibling – if something new pops out of the woodwork that they disagree with, it can cause endless tutting/screaming/tantrums in the form of internet storms that can launch a thousand online forums. For some people, opinions never change; I still dislike River Song, as I find her contrived and her catchphrases irritating.
But, as I should know, we Whovians are capable of incredible flexibility: I despised the first two incarnations of Clara/Oswin – I found them as annoying as River Song. I found them so annoying I thought I would have to stop watching the show. I’m glad I didn’t, because in the most recent version of Clara, you’ve created a wonderful female character who is funny, realistic, and can hold her own. She is now my favourite new-who companion, and I have you to thank for that.
So, maybe this new doctor might turn out to be my favourite too. I’ve heard that Peter Capaldi and Daniel Rigby are contenders, and as they are both superb actors, perhaps I’ll still be content if we have a male doctor this time around. After all, I’ve sprung this on you some mere hours before the official news release – but if by some miraculous and possibly timey-wimey intervention you read this post in time, perhaps you could put off tomorrow’s announcement and search for a female Doctor, or at least give it a stab the next time round.
Human women have been allowed to be doctors for quite a while now; how’s about we let a Galifreyan Time Lady in the TARDIS do the same, Moff?
Yours with great fan-lady-Whovian respect,