Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Get Over Yourselves

Now, I realise that it's been a while since anything was last posted on this here blog (around Crimble time, in fact), and for that I apologise. It's not that I haven't had anything on my mind, you understand, it's just that (a) a lot of other people have said the same things that I wanted to say, so I'd just be adding to the noise; (b) I've been busy with my podcast and The Unbelievables, not to mention life, work and all the other stuff that comes with being an adult.

But this week (actually since Sunday), I find myself unable to hold my tongue, as it were.

Jodie Whittaker, the 13th Doctor.

I've always enjoyed the television show Doctor Who, ever since I was a young boy. I started  to watch it during the Pertwee era and continued to do so more or less up until it ended (or so we thought) with Sylvester McCoy (an actor whose work I had admired since his days on Vision On, Tiswas and Jigsaw). I knew people who were uber-fans or Whovians as they are usually called, and was aware that their fandom wasn't just a like of Who; it was borderline obsessive. So I knew that although I liked and enjoyed watching the show, to me that's just what it was: a show. One that I happened to like quite a bit.

In 1991 I moved to the USA. Even as I write this, many years later, it seems almost unimaginable to me that the person that experienced all of the experiences I did in the USA was actually ME. It just seems like some sort of long, convoluted crazy movie that had a bittersweet ending. I can't imagine myself embarking on an 18-year voyage of that magnitude now, even though I know full well I already did it once. But I digress.

I was unaware of the resurrection of the Doctor Who series until around 2004, when I was flicking through the channels on my cable system and a programme on BBC America called Torchwood caught my eye. Of course, once I started watching, it became apparent that it was linked to Who, and in fact the title is itself an anagram of Doctor Who.

When I came back in 2010 and realised that not only was Doctor Who alive and well but that I'd already missed Doctors 8 and 9 (Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston respectively) and we were now on Doctor number 10, played by David Tennant. I watched a few of the episodes and I liked them, though stepping straight into this new format when the last I'd seen was a McCoy episode was a bit of a shock - in the old days, a story was presented in several weekly serial-type half-hour segments, a bit like watching Flash Gordon or  The Lone Ranger in weekly instalments at the pictures - now, the episodes are 40 to 50 minutes long and a single story is started and finished in the same episode or is stretched over maybe two or occasionally three.

Now we have been for the past few months embroiled in speculation as to who the new Doctor would be, since it was announced last year that Doctor number 12 Peter Capaldi would be leaving (or regenerating) in the 2017 Christmas episode.

Many names were mooted, Tom Ellis, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Kris Marshall, all of whom I could imagine doing a sterling turn as the Doctor. There were rumblings afoot that they might be choosing a female Doctor, and a few names popped up there too - Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Helen Mirren...

Indeed the storylines seemed to suggest a change was in the offing. The appearance of the character Missy (Michelle Gomez), later to be revealed as The Mistress, a regeneration of The Master in a female body, gave credence to the suggestion that Time Lords can be 'gender-fluid', if you will.

So it was no surprise to me when it was announced on Sunday just after Roger Federer's world-beating 8th Wimbledon title that the new Doctor will indeed be portrayed by a woman, Broadchurch's Jodie Whittaker. I'm sure she'll do great in the role.

But here's what gets me.

Over the years, the uberfans, the Whovians, have become more and more vocal in their opinions. At first they just liked to discuss their favourite episodes, dress up as Daleks and Cybermen  or Tom Baker. Now they critique the writing and the storylines, harshly criticising showrunner Steven Moffat and coming in their pants at the mention of the name Russell T. Davies.

"Oh the Davies era was SO much better! Moffat is an idiot! Bring back Terry Nation! etc.etc."

And of course, this being 2017, they've all got laptops and internet access so they feel it is beholden unto them to foist their opinions about every little obscure piece of  Who trivia on us, the humble public, by way of YouTube. I'm serious. You go to YouTube and watch an episode or a clip of Dr. Who and you'll get suggestions of related videos, most of which will consist of some Whovian (usually a fat American dude with a bad beard and strange hat) ranting about how they'll be so glad when Steven Moffat  leaves.

And yes, most of these overly vocal nob-ends are American. I'm sorry, I'm fine with American people watching Dr. Who, but not sorry, you weren't there first time around and you have not got the slightest idea what you're ranting about.

Anyway - back to what my main point was, it's now been revealed that the Doctor will regenerate in the Christmas episode and become a woman. And the goddamn Twitterverse is up in arms about it.

According to today's papers, a lot of male Whovians have taken to social media to vent their ire about the BBC putting a woman in a male role.

One dull person wrote: "The Doctor is a Time LORD. Repeat, Time LORD. Not Time LADY."

To that particular idiot I say: "Doctor Who is FICTIONAL, repeat FICTIONAL. Not REAL."

Another plonker tweeted to the effect that they wouldn't watch it with a female lead. To them I say - fine, who needs so-called 'fans' like you?

To say that I am more and more these days perplexed that in 2017 we still have sexism (and racism) is an understatement. I remember the '80s, when we had Boy George and Marilyn, AIDS and Live Aid, and we thought people were finally waking up and smelling the coffee. But apparently, when it comes to geekery, it's still a boy's club. Think about the backlash against the Wonder Woman movie. Or Elektra. Or the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, which, let's face it, was pretty funny.

Let me put it this way. If you're OK with a 2000-year old alien flying round the Universe in a blue box, why does it matter what gender they are? Here's the thing: I've never seen the Doctor go the loo, and he rarely eats anything onscreen - who knows if he even HAS genitalia? He's an alien, after all.

One person tweeted to the effect that they didn't want to see a load of bras lying about the TARDIS. Because what, there are Jockey shorts and undershirts strewn about the place now?

Maybe it's the idea of a WOMAN saving the Universe rather than a guy that these people cannot handle. Ah, now. We've hit the nail on the head, haven't we, in these Trumpesque times? Perhaps that's why Trump ran for President. Not because of Hillary's policies, but he just didn't want to see bras and panties slung over the back of the sofas in the Oval Office.

Let's let you see what's going down, courtesy of BossLevel8.

Good luck, Jodie. As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I say, you're gonna do great.

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