Diversity in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 it has made strides in representing diversity on television.  Strides that can’t be said for many other television shows.  We open with episode one, “Rose” set in England, 2005, on a rare scene for television.  Rose is a working class woman who really is working class, not a dramatized version of this.  She lives in a small apartment with her single mother and wakes early every day to clock-in at her job in a department store.  She’s casual, dressing in clothes that certainly aren’t the height of fashion for the time, she isn’t dolled up in makeup only a professional could do, and what’s more; she isn’t the tiny waisted, long-legged pretty girl we’re used to seeing on TV.  Rose sets the pace for the growing diversity we’re about to be treated to in “Doctor Who”.

Not long after we get Captain Jack Harkness, the first openly pansexual in the history of “Doctor Who” who equally and openly shows attraction to men, women, aliens, and the non-gender conforming.  This was a huge leap for sexual and romantic diversity in “Doctor Who”, and one of the very first times queer people could see themselves in a character on television that wasn’t harmful.  

Next comes Martha, the first black companion on “Doctor Who”.  She’s intelligent and able to keep up with the Doctor’s rambling better, perhaps, than most other companions.  For people of colour, Martha is a big deal.  She’s a strong, woman of colour, in a leading role on one of the most popular television shows of all time.  With Martha, the television series continues to push forward for more diversity in their cast.

The next three companions, Donna, Amy, and Clara continue to portray strong female leads with diverse histories and personalities.  Along the way we meet a couple more sexually diverse characters, and characters from all different walks of life.  

Now we come to the most recent companion, Bill, who is both a woman of colour and openly gay.  She is one of the very first leading characters like this on television, a huge influence for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We finally have a leading character that many minorities can view themselves in in a positive way.

Soon we’ll be treated with something that came unexpected: a female Doctor.  Jodie Whittaker will soon take on the role of the Doctor and make history as the first female Doctor.  Many people are very excited about this.  We get a leading female, and also confirmation that Gallifreyans, or at least the Doctor, experience gender fluidity, which could be a nod toward the transgender community.

But when it comes to diversity, is it enough?  Though Doctor Who has done a great job positively representing different groups of people, we still are left itching for more.  Several groups who wish to see any kind of representation on television have been left out.  Doctor Who has come a long way, but I believe it can, and should, go much farther.  I hope that as the episodes continue to air we will continue to see a rise in representation in the cast.      

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Team Rose

As someone who was new to Doctor Who until this year, I didn’t think I would so quickly turn into one of those fan girls, but I have. One of the opinions I have realized that follows that is the favoritism of the companions. Although I have only seen three main companions, I have an opinion on who is my favorite and why. Although I have a favorite, it doesn’t mean that I do not also like other companions. In my opinion so far, Rose is my favorite companion. Not that I don’t like Martha a lot or appreciate what Donna brought to the table, but Rose has a special place in my heart. Maybe it is because she was my first companion, maybe it is because I love how even though she was an ‘average girl’ she could outsmart the Doctor and think of things he wouldn’t have, or maybe even because I adored the way she and the Doctor slowly fell for each other. Rose had passion, she was witty and sassy, she was smart, but most of all, she was brave. I am sure there will be other companions that I might come to like more than her, but I think she is a tough first to beat.

The Doctor and Rose and back together

Rose was not happy that the Doctor left her behind when he moved to another companion. Rose took a lot of time to find a way to meet the Doctor again. After a long time of planning, she came up with the best solution to make him come back for her. The plan that the Doctor cannot run away from. The one that the smart Rose made.
Rose started to look around London to find something that makes the Doctor to come back to her. After weeks of looking around the big city, London. She found the place that she was looking for. The place was the London Eye. She chose wisely. The London Eye is located by the Thames River and attract people from around the world. As much as she hated to hurt people, her love to the Doctor was unstoppable. Thus, she worked days and nights to find a way to make the London Eye attract the Doctor.
After few months of planning, she finally came up with the plan to make the Doctor leave the new companion to be forever with her. Rose “The entire world cannot stop me to get my baby back”. She said that from the bottom of her heart. Rose also loves to help people, so she made the plan to balance between both. On a quiet night in the big city London, the world was not expecting what love can make into one of the most visited place in the world. Rose sneaked into the London Eye and started digging a hole next to the Eye. She did that for two years, and no one found out about her plan.
After the two years of making the big hole by the London Eye, Rose made a hole as large as the London Eye. Her plan after that was to invite the Daleks to live in that hole and make the city unstable. Yeah, Rose made all that to make the Doctor come back to fight them all. Not only to fight them, but also to come to be with her again. Smart Rose knew that the Doctor cannot leave those Daleks to hurt the city of London.
Daleks started to scare people in London and made them leave the center of the city. The Daleks were all over the center of the city and people no longer live there. TO BE CONTINUED

Goodbye Rose

XD:

When I first started watching Doctor Who, and through most of the first two seasons, I was not a fan of Rose Tyler. I thought that she was too young to be traveling to the doctor. To me, she also seemed very juvenile and I thought that she was not mature enough to travel with the doctor. It seemed like she was travelling with the Doctor just to have something to do.

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It was not until her final episode, Doomsday, that I realized how much I liked her and would miss her in future episodes. I realized that some of my initial thoughts of her were incorrect. While Rose is pretty young to do the travelling that she does, she acts her age; so my original thought of her as juvenile may be a little harsh. She is having fun and making the most of her experiences, which should not be called juvenile. Rose’s original motive to travel may have been to have something to do, but we can see her change throughout her travels. She seems to become more mature, wiser, and care about the same things as the Doctor. Rose learns from the Doctor and really shows her growth as the episodes progress.

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In Doomsday I really appreciated the bond that Rose and the Doctor had. They respected each other immensely, which is something I never noticed until she was gone. Rose was willing to give up her entire life, family, and friends in order to keep her new life with the Doctor. Not many people her age would be willing to do that. She has found where she belongs and is willing to die in order to stay with him. After she gets taken to the alternate universe, she says “Take me back!” which, to me, shows that she would have rather died helping the Doctor than to have to go on living without him.

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I also respect that their relationship was purely friendship. Rose never expected more from the Doctor than for him to respect her, travel with her, and be her friend. However, with the new companion, Martha, this is very different. She expects the Doctor to like her more than a friend and gets upset with him for taking her to the same place he took Rose. This made me extremely upset because the Doctor was still grieving over his loss of his best friend.

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When I think of Doomsday, instead of thinking about the Battle of Canary Wharf, I think about the intensity we see in Rose and the Doctor’s relationship. This episode finally made me see how great of a companion Rose was and I will always miss her.

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Pitting Women Against Each Other Part Two

In my previous post I discussed the issues with female representation in the episode School Reunion and I will now address the issues with S2E4 The Girl in the Fire Place.

In this episode the Doctor, Rose and Mickey find themselves on a broken down spaceship with windows that lead into France in the 1700s. What they later find out is that the ship’s crew is using human body parts to repair their ship and that the windows are all moments in Madam de Pompadour’s life since they need her brain as the final piece.

The first couple times the Doctor fleetingly meets Madam de Pompadour, otherwise known as Renette, she is a child. When he meets her a third time though she is a woman and she almost immediately kisses him and he is thrilled yelling out,

DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor, and I just snogged Madame de Pompadour. Ha, ha!

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Renette is set up as a love interest for the Doctor from the get go and since Rose had already been well established as a love interest, this forces the audience to pit these two women against each other.

Later on in the episode the Doctor and Renette have a short conversation where he goes into her mind in order to find out why the crew wants her. He becomes enamored with her and when she invites him to a party he accepts, seeming to forget about Rose and Mickey who are in grave danger. When Rose ask him why he would leave them in harm’s way his simple explanation is that he “invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early.”

The Doctor and Renette only get closer as the episode goes on and by the end he considers bringing her onto the TARDIS and making her his next companion. When he goes to the future to pick her up though he misses her by a few minutes making that impossible.

The issue with this episode is that it diminishes a strong woman in history by making her a love interest through lazy writing and cheap tricks. The Doctor is almost a thousand years old so meeting Renette would have been a tiny speck of his life to him. On top of that, he had only met her twice as a child for a few minutes before they are suddenly making out and running off to parties together. It’s a love story that makes no sense. Why create a love triangle that the writers never intended to follow through with?

It’s unfortunate that the writers of Doctor Who make almost every woman that meets the Doctor fall in love with him. An incomplete list of these women would be Rose, Sarah Jane, Renette, Martha, and Amy. Why can’t a woman want to travel with the Doctor simply because she loves adventure and wants to explore time and space?

Longing for Rose

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As we all watched the traumatic ending of Rose and the Doctor, I can’t help but wonder the effects Rose and the Doctor left on each other. It is very interesting to think about because we never really saw the relationship side to them. We saw Rose travel with the Doctor and help him out, but it was never on another connection level. However, we saw other ladies come into the Doctor’s live and Rose’s jealously towards that. It makes me wonder what the directors and writers had in mind while writing their characters.

We also see Rose confess her love to the Doctor when she is standing on the beach while the Doctor projects his image to Rose. Just when the Doctor is getting ready to tell her he loves her back, he disappears forever.

I think this part is one of the most important scenes between the two of them. It is the most deep the two characters have ever gotten with one another and then it all just ends. It leaves us wanting more to happen between them.

We never hear from Rose again, but we see how much Rose affected the Doctor. He is always saying, “Rose would know what to do if she were here.” It is very clear how important Rose was to the Doctor after she leaves him. We, as the audience, grew a connection with the characters for it to just all end. I think this is by far, the best scene we have watched in Doctor Who.

Rose Tyler. All the feels.:

 

New Who Romance

When Doctor Who rebooted in 2005, the Doctor’s first companion, Rose, became a love interest throughout her two seasons on the show.  This is a stark contrast to the majority of the companions from the original episodes of the show.  This change in the dynamic between the Doctor and companion did not receive wide praise from the fans of the old show.  I think that this change is out of character for the Doctor, but it makes the show more appealing to a greater audience, which is something that the program needed for its reboot.

The presentation of affection between the Doctor and Rose is very on the nose.  Rose clearly demonstrates her love and affection for the Doctor beyond just friendship.  The Doctor teases that he reciprocates feelings for Rose, but it is not nearly as obvious as it is for Rose.  We know that the Doctor has had romantic relationships in his past, but it’s through a character, not a relationship.  His granddaughter Susan is one of the original companions.  Susan is a symbol that the Doctor is a father, and that he has been intimate with another person in his past.

The Doctor’s relationship with Rose is a bit out of character when compared to his history of companions, but with the tone of the reboot, it isn’t out of context.  By the time the reboot was scheduled, the Whoniverse was worldwide.  The expectation of the reboot was to appeal to a global audience.  The romance between the Doctor and Rose appeals to a larger demographic of people, and it is congruent to television programs of the twenty-first century, specifically American television.  Romance is potent in American television programs, and American viewership is a tremendous portion of the viewers of the reboot, so the relationship between Rose and the Doctor was more familiar to American viewers.  Without the romance of the Doctor and his companion in the first two seasons of the reboot, the show may have fell flat and suffered problems similar to the ones they faced during the classic show’s demise in 1989.