The Night of the Doctor - regeneration

McGann: BBC “Missed a Trick” by Not Casting Female Doctor

Paul McGann reckons the BBC ‘missed a trick’ by not casting a woman as the Doctor.

In comments made during an appearance before the Cambridge Union Society, Paul joined the now-not-inconsiderable number of people who think it’s about time for the programme to opt for a female lead.

Looking very much at home in the grand surroundings (those fine leather armchairs would go nicely in his version of the TARDIS) he told the audience he’d have gone for Tilda Swinton or Diana Quick in the role, suggesting they could both bring brilliant qualities to ‘one of the greatest characters ever written’.

In other news, Paul said he fancies a role in HBO hit Game of Thrones, if for no other reason that it would guarantee him a pension.

Whatever your views on the female Doctor debate, it does feel as though the ground is shifting on this issue. Rather like gay marriage being legislated for or a Brit winning Wimbledon, some things are so difficult to imagine ever coming to pass as to be pretty much unthinkable until one day they just… happen. And we all carry on with our lives and, eventually, most of us will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Whether we’re quite at that point yet is a tough one to call. There are perfectly valid arguments on both sides, of course. Steven Moffat has talked about the time not feeling right and said it has been female fans who have been the ones most strongly urging against a female Doctor (that one opens up a whole other debate of its own…). The showrunner has also said it’s about picking the right actor for the part, and that ‘when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen’.

Colin Baker thinks there should a woman in the role, but that timidity on the BBC’s part is stopping it from happening. Peter Davison is among who have argued that the role is essentially a male one, and that it would be ‘a bit odd’ to go against that.

What do you think? Do you have a strong view, for or against a female Doctor? Are you open to being persuaded? Would Paul’s choices have made for a good Doctor? Who would be your choice for the first woman in the role?

(Via Cambridge News.)


Jonathan has followed the Doctor's adventures since the late Pertwee era, and he isn't about to stop now. A charity worker from Hull, he enjoys following Hull City's fortunes, listening to Bruce Springsteen and collecting all manner of Doctor Who ephemera. He blogs about Doctor Who merchandise at

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