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Doctor Who Creator Sydney Newman Had Plans for a Female Doctor


Would you have traded Sylvester McCoy for a female Doctor? Sydney Newman was for it…

Sydney Newman was certainly a man ahead of his time. The one-time head of BBC drama and co-creator of a little show called Doctor Who was campaigning for a female Doctor long before the topic became such a widely-discussed issue.

According to a letter found in the BBC archives (and brought to light in “The Last Chance Saloon,” a Doctor Who documentary included on the “Time and the Rani” episode DVD), Newman pitched the idea of regenerating the Doctor into a woman back in 1986 when Doctor Who was seriously struggling in the ratings during the Colin Baker era.

According to this Telegraph article, Newman proposed the idea to then head of BBC Controller Michael Grade, who asked Newman for advice on how to save the struggling show. Newman advised that Doctor Who bring Patrick Troughton back for a time (this was six months before Troughton’s death) to settle the show before transitioning to a female lead. Here are some excerpts from his pitch:

At a later stage Doctor Who should be metamorphosed into a woman. Don’t you agree that this is considerably more worthy of the BBC than Doctor Who’s presently largely socially valueless, escapist schlock? … This requires some considerable thought – mainly because I want to avoid a flashy, Hollywood Wonder Woman, because this kind of heroine with no flaws is a bore.

Read more . . .

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