What has Chris Chibnall done to our fandom?

7 thoughts on “What has Chris Chibnall done to our fandom?”

  1. This is a great piece. Personally, I’m looking forward to Jodie Whittaker. A year ago I was against a female Doctor, but Missy and Moffat have began to slowly win me round. I’m still not 100% sold though. I have concerns over darker moments. I just can’t see Whittaker interact with, say Davros for example, like Capaldi did in season nine, to the same effect. I think meeting old companions could be tricky too. However, the show is about change and if it doesn’t work, I’m sure it won’t be long until the Doctor is back to his more familiar self. I don’t consider you a sexist at all for preferring a male Doctor, I would have too, but I’m naturally fascinated to see where the character goes from here, while as I said, having some doubts.

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    1. I’m happy for you that you’re looking forward to Jodie, and I’m happy for everyone who was delighted about Jodie’s casting. I really want to like this change, and I am genuinely interested in seeing what Chibnall does with a female Doctor, but I’m just worried, justifiably I think, that it won’t feel like the same character for me. And the Doctor feeling like the Doctor is a deal-breaker for my investment in the show.

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  2. Very well reasoned and eloquent, I agree with you utterly. My initial response was to feel exactly as I did when I heard the Brexit vote result – despair. I am not sexist, I love female leads in TV and film and agree that they need (and are getting) better representation in these areas. But the Doctor is a man, and there is nothing wrong with that. Being a man is not bad, although some people make out that it is. I have heard people say that it would have been an ‘outrage’ if the 13th Doctor had been cast as another man – I wonder if they would really have said that if the actor cast was black, or Asian – races that need representation in TV and film just as badly, if not more, than women. In all though, I agree with something a friend of mine said about the casting – it’s boring, it’s predictable, it’s like when someone gets a tattoo to be ‘different’ and ‘on the edge’ even though everyone has tattoos. I want to see female representation, but it would be much more original, interesting and exciting if this was achieved through creating an entirely new heroic lead for a woman to play in an entirely new show – rather than shoe-horning her into an established property – which just comes across as lazy.

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    1. I definitely agree that the way to go about achieving better female representation in TV and film is to create new, interesting female leads rather than turning established male characters into women – which always pisses fans of those franchises off. It’s also interesting that the people pushing this sort of thing seem to think female leads can only be good if the characters were popular male characters first – it’s like they don’t think great female lead characters can be created from scratch. On that note I was really excited to hear that Big Finish are making a series about the Doctor’s daughter, Jenny, played by Georgia Moffett (I still think she should have had a TV spinoff though). That’s the right way to do it.

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  3. “it’s just an example of the hate and bile that’s suddenly consumed this fandom.” DW fandom has always been a venomous, toxic place. There’s nothing sudden about it for someone who saw all the hatred spewed back in the 1980s and ’90s in fanzines, fan club newsletters, DW Magazine, progressing to Usenet and the rest of online; it’s quite amazing how a whole new generation of fans made it a terrible place to be without knowing anything about the psychopathy of old fandom. There’s nothing sudden about being a fan having hatred directed against you when you didn’t much like modern DW until Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.

    Anyway, female Doctor. As a youngster, I was against it. Even as I grew up and was a feminist, I wanted the Doctor male, because he was a unique sort of male (despite his massive ego). Now as a middle-aged fan, who’s witnessed a lot of screaming lunacy and has seen a lot of things that have changed my unbending young opinions and maybe even mellowed my views, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Many years ago, I saw the fan films with Barbara Benedetti as the Doctor (which I think Jay Leslie before me was trying to say), and liked her, and that was during the period when I didn’t want to see a woman play the Doctor, so maybe if we find it within ourselves to unbend a little…?

    Maybe I unbent because I loved Capaldi as the Doctor and didn’t want to see some “hot,” “sexy,” young Tennant-wannabe sex-object take over again — glad to see they went somewhere else entirely.

    “We’re not going to abide being made to feel like we’re not welcome in this fandom anymore by the show.” Welcome to the feeling. I hated RTD’s revival, found Smith appealing but not great, then ended up embracing Capaldi. However, fandom and the media tried to make me feel like a piece of garbage, and I kept reading rumblings that the BBC wanted a sexy young boytoy back to make everything soap opera popular again. It feels unpleasantly as if Capaldi got no support, and it was beyond exhausting, so he got out when he could, despite loving the show. All that “Tennant was the BEST THING EVER, and only he should be the Doctor, and Capaldi’s BAD!!” trash made me feel as if I’m not the intended or desired audience.

    Chibnall’s a former nutcase fanboy who allegedly gained some maturity with his professional work (although you could’ve fooled me from his “Torchwood” work, for example), and it’s my great hope that the former crazed fan has no contact with fandom at all, due to knowing exactly what fans can be like. I won’t be watching his DW possibly ever, which I decided almost as soon as I heard he’d be taking over, but not because he chose Jodie Whittaker — more because I thought his past work was very much nothing that interested me, and I went through that already with RTD.

    Pardon this long reply.

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    1. I’ll take your word for it that the fandom has always been as nasty a place as it is now (I can imagine the ’90s were particularly bad), but I’ve noticed it’s definitely gotten worse since I started watching, which was only around 2010-2011. I think the casting of a female Doctor has definitely brought out a lot more nastiness that wasn’t there even in the years beforehand, especially since it’s come at the same time as the high point of “woke” or “unproblematic” culture on social media among the younger section of the fandom.


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