Fans have been discussing the prospect of a female incarnation of The Doctor for some time now given the fact that we know Gallifreyans can change sex with regeneration, that we’ve seen evidence of this happening, and with all of Steven Moffat’s winking on the matter.
Peter Davison, on the other hand, believes that The Doctor should not be a woman.
In addition to the fact that he believes that a Time Lord should remain the sex or gender they were born into on Gallifrey — and that statement in itself is a whole Time War in the making — the actor who played the fifth Doctor seems to also think that the current Doctor and Companion dynamic wouldn’t work if the genders of the characters were reversed.
What is meant by the current Doctor and Companion dynamic is that you have an uncertain and fallible male Doctor and a strong female Companion. Davison is of the opinion that a gender reversal would equal the creation of a “stereotype.”
But there are other ways to look at this.
For instance, why do the sex and genders of Doctor and Companion even have to be reversed? Why can’t a female Doctor be with a female Companion? Why can’t fallibility be considered vulnerability — which each Doctor in the modern era to some extent has already portrayed — and, in turn, be seen as a strength: as something fearful being expressed openly and honestly?
And then there is another possibility. Let’s say we have another form of reverse. What if we had a female Doctor who was coming to terms with who and what she is now, and a male Companion who appears to be “strong” — and what “strong” actually is in this context is another matter entirely, but let’s just say it’s emotional strength — but in reality he is hiding behind bravado and accepted terms of behaviour. Perhaps The Doctor shows him that there are other forms of strength, and that asking for help is not a weakness: as anyone who isn’t a Dalek in the universe — and even the Daleks probably aren’t completely exempt from this — needs help sometimes.
Of course, you can always change the formula: to a Doctor that knows exactly what she’s doing, with moments of ethical dilemmas, and a Companion of either gender who is learning from her. Or they can all learn together. The Doctor is a complex being of varying emotions who already knows that there is great diversity in the universe and has probably experienced a lot of it: not the least of which being due to how Time Lord society may work with regards to gender roles.
Perhaps when it comes down to it, it is the modern dynamic of Doctor and Companion has to change: and just think of how many new stories can come from exploring that, playing with assumptions, and where you can take them.
All that said, I would love to see a spin-off series about Jenny The Doctor’s daughter: played either by Peter Davison’s daughter Georgia Moffett, or someone else. I’ve written some fanfiction on that. Tell us what you think.