The idea of a female Doctor has been tossed about for some time over the years but never really gained any sort of traction until recent years, especially with the regeneration following the David Tennant era as the Tenth Doctor. When the time came to cast the Eleventh Doctor, had the time actually come for the Doctor to become female? It seemed closer than ever as even the great Dame Helen Mirren went on record as saying she’d love to play the Doctor.
While the thought of a single regeneration being female still seems to be a far-off possibility at this point, the thought of what it would be like if Planet Earth was celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who as being entirely female was debated recently on Twitter the other night by AlasdairStuart of Scifind. With eerily similar looks and descriptions to the current eleven male Doctors, this is a great journey through a very different time and space continuum well worth discussion and debate. Personally, while I could see all of these as possibilities and I know Miranda Hart can do no wrong in my book, I found the choice of Honor Blackman, Penelope Keith and Suranne Jones brilliant.
The Third Doctor – Honor Blackman
- Fresh off her success with the Avengers, Blackman took the show in a very different, far more physical direction than Jacques. Her Doctor was an action heroine, the stories filled with car chases, explosions and fist fights. Many fans welcomed this with open arms, whilst many more felt the show had become The Avengers with occasional aliens. Despite this, her run was extremely successful and is notable for a series of appearances by Vanessa Redgrave as the Mistress.
The Fourth Doctor – Penelope Keith
- The show returned to the controversy that had defined it’s casting of Joyce Grenfell with Blackman’s replacement. Penelope Keith was best known as a comic actress, and to make matters worse was in line for a leading role in The Good Life, a highly favoured sitcom being put together for the following year. In an immensely controversial move, Keith was awarded both roles and, in doing so, became the
face of BBC TV for close to a decade. Her run as the Doctor was, and still is, regarded as the definitive version of the character by many fans, mixing her naturally arch, upper class comic timing with a tremendous flamboyance, laconic wit and theatricality. She attacked the role with a gusto not seen since the Grenfell years and proved such a success that jokes were dropped into The Good Life, hinting, strongly, that Margo and the Doctor were one and the same. However, behind the scenes, Keith freely admitted that the double duty and newfound celebrity was taking its toll and, ultimately, she asked to leave both shows. By the time she regenerated at the end of Logopolis (And a cheeky final line was dropped into The Good Life about Jerry and Margo popping out to Joddrell Bank for a picnic), she had played the role far longer than any of her predecessors. That record remains intact today and Keith was recently attracted back to the role for a new range of audio dramas.
The Ninth Doctor – Suranne Jones
- The 9th Doctor had everything to prove and the first trailers for the show demonstrated the exact level of bravado needed. Footage of Jones, in jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket, sprinting away from an explosion were intercut with a monologue in the TARDIS control room where she not only trailed the show but made it clear just how dangerous things would be. Despite being around for just one season, Jones’ take on the Doctor is regarded by many new fans as the definitive one; her combination of Northern flamboyance and desperate, desperate need to atone for the sins of the Time War make it an electrifying season, with her chemistry with Rose and Captain Jack pushing these 13 episodes into contention for one of the greatest seasons in the show’s history.
A complete list of all eleven female doctors can be found over at Scifind. Time to discuss amongst yourselves. Would love to hear thoughts on these eleven and maybe suggestions of your own.