The Doctor of Doctor Who Was almost a Woman

The title character in Doctor Who has gone through eleven incarnations during the nearly half century the series has endured. All of them have been male. But apparently a female doctor was considered by the BBC in the 1980s:

Sydney Newman, who devised the long-running science-fiction show when he was head of BBC drama in the 1960s, was asked to help after the show suffered a slump in ratings in the 1980s and was taken off air temporarily.

He told Michael Grade, then the controller of BBC One, that the ailing series could only be saved by regenerating the Time Lord into a Time Lady.

Mr Newman criticised the direction the show had taken, but insisted that it could be revived by turning the lead character into a heroine.

Had the advice been accepted, actresses who could have been considered for the role include Frances de la Tour, Joanna Lumley and Dawn French.

What actress do you think would make a good Doctor?

Link via blastr | Image: BBC

Previously on Neatorama: Doctor Who

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I believe either the current incarnation, upon giving himself a very rushed examination after regenerating, felt his long-ish hair and exclaimed (with voice cracking) "I'm a girl!? ...No, no, not a girl."
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Yup, I realize that. I just think it would hurt ratings more than help. Having a male doctor and a female co-star is an effective combination. Think of the strong female roles that have appeared in the last few years of the show.

My guess is that a female audience would prefer a male in the role of the Doctor.

It's just funny how it's called "sexist", but I doubt a woman would have appealed to a female audience.

It is slightly different than Winston Churchill, but are you saying that Judi Dench COULDN'T play Winston Churchil? Sexist!

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You do realize that you are talking about a character that has a completely different body every time he (or she!) regenerates, right?

I mean, it's _slightly_ different than Winston Churchill.

(That said, Cate Blanchett was the best Bob Dylan in I'm Not There.)
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