Editorial: The Power of the Doctor

The trailer has gotten the fanbase hyped, there are fan theories abound about what will happen in the seconds after regeneration, a spoiler image has appeared on apple tv, but were not remotely ready to say goodbye to the 13th Doctor.

This Sunday, the 13th Doctor regenerates, and with her leaves behind a legacy of hope and renewal that our world sorely needed during her time with us. The 90 minute special looks set to knock our socks off.

I spoke of shifting sands, and a world that felt different after Legend of the Sea Devils back in April. I still feel like this, and to hear/read Jodie’s own words, on her opinion on the #Thasmin storyline that has the Sapphic fanbase gripped to the screen, has filled my heart with pure joy.

For the dedicated fans who love her incarnation, the storyline around the feelings between Yaz and the Doctor has been the most affecting and joyous. Her Doctor has been a turning point in LGBT+ representation on mainstream TV.

She isn’t Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack, Gentleman Jack is after the watershed. It’s not the L Word, that’s for a niche audience on cable and satellite. This program is a before-the-watershed, global franchise that has lasted 60 years. The positive reach and impact will be felt for a long time.

She has finally been able to speak to the Doctor Who Magazine about the impact of the on screen romance on fans, stating that she felt moved by the positive reaction.

“What an honour, to be involved in a storyline like that, that reaches people.”

Jodie Whittaker- Doctor Who Magazine

There will always be the continued crowing from within our own community about wanting ‘better’ representation than a slow burn. But how would you define better considering the context in which they had to make Flux? I’ve watched the ten/rose era and I have plenty of criticisms of how the ‘love story’ was contrived and smacked you around the face with how obvious it was.

On the other hand, if you’re going to fall in love with your best friend, then it’s going to happen naturally over a long period of time, and most queer people will pick up on subtle clues before others. If the straight community think that a few grabby hands and a chippy tea on New Earth is all it takes, then I’m concerned for them.

But a happy ever after was never on the cards for any incarnation on Doctor Who. There’s some canon that even showrunners wont break.

However, this Doctor has gone one step further than any previous. She has told Yaz about her feelings, and this is no small thing, as the Doctor has never done that.

Ten, (the real one), got cut off. Eleven didn’t really mutter words of affection for his ‘wife’ as clear as the 13th Doctor did for Yaz in that engine room; but Thirteen got to flirt her socks off, take her on a date under the sea, declare her feelings then, as expected, break our hearts.

Though it’s not the end.

What most people missed from the end of Legend of The Sea Devils, was the fact that the ‘cliff hanger’ moment, wasn’t the teaser trailer, it was the Doctor and Yaz. It’s clear from the interviews that Yaz [and the Doctor obviously] will feature heavily in this final episode, the large amount of images of the other characters appearing is quite telling, considering how much they love to keep secrets.

The last scene between Yaz and the Doctor is likely to be a heart-breaking goodbye Mandip Gill described as “beautiful”. And once again we wait for that kiss, (a kiss that every other male Doctor got by the way), that seals the 13th Doctor as the one who – finally- broke all our hearts wide open.

She did however play the iconic titular character in such a way that could instantly put them all back together again, with her characteristic warmth and joyfulness.

Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill are incredible role models for actors to be able to usualise this kind of storyline on a massive show like Doctor Who, without avoiding the topic, without the usual noise of homophobia from the media, (I can imagine they’re a bit busy now looking at another important door); and in doing so, bringing us all along for the ride they created and nurtured for three seasons.

I have some faith that the wait will be worth it, even for a small bright shining moment. It will be full of tears, and we will cry, not just because it’s ending, but because we know it meant something to each of us.

Here’s some of her best bits.

Best bits

Doctor Who is on Sunday 23rd October, BBC 1 at 7.30pm.

Come back next week for our review of The Power of the Doctor. (After we’ve finished sobbing)

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