Saving Doctor Who without trashing Jodie Whittaker or Chris Chibnall’s work

Saving Doctor Who without trashing Jodie Whittaker or Chris Chibnall's work 2

So this conversation about Doctor Who seems to be extending. Fans are quite involved and full of ideas. A recurring theme with long term fans is how the show will recover from some irreversible changes that happened when Jodie Whittaker was the Doctor.

Most suggestions seem to center around retconning her into oblivion or reversing or simply ignoring new facts introduced. Tempting as it may seem to rip out a page from a book or scribble all over it, it is realistically unlikely to happen. Not to mention erasing three series and an entire Doctor is a lot of hate.

I got interested in some conversations on how the story could be continued to make the show better rather than seem even more inconsistent by trying to fix whatever has already been shown. Unsurprisingly, most of the ideas I found interesting involve David Tennant returning as the 14th Doctor, but they probably would work with any new Doctor too. Posting some of the ideas worth mentioning here.

Use the opportunity to create a spin-off

Clearly, there are a lot of people invested in Doctors reflecting diversity. While they aren’t a traditional audience, the show has left plenty of room for them to happen. A new season or special could begin with David Tennant (or another white male Doctor) waking up in another Tardis that isn’t a police box and finds himself in a parallel universe where the Doctor is supposed to be a woman. Solving the confusion and getting both Doctors safely in their own universes could launch a spin-off where the Doctor character is always played by a woman. In the meanwhile Jodie has spent years in this dimension.

It would also help resolve the collapse of the timeline caused by the Fugitive Doctor, who inexplicably has a TARDIS (appearing like a police box) that should not have existed before the First Doctor (who stole it and then its chameleon circuit was damaged, freezing it in that form). So her TARDIS implies that she came after the First Doctor, which makes no sense, since all subsequent Doctors are accounted for by the canon of the show and the Doctor doesn’t remember her.

As long as the actual show isn’t tampered with, most people I spoke to seemed to think the fandom would welcome something like this.

Another Doctor from this universe

Jodie could turn out to be a regeneration of Jenna who doesn’t have much of a past and thus acted so differently from other Doctors. Or another female Time Lord or Time Lady who escaped the mess at Gallifrey and believing the Doctor to be dead, took his place, but he turns out to be alive.

Both ideas would explain why the other Doctors never appeared in her episodes. And also her strange beliefs about the Timeless Children and so on from being informed by the wrong sources.

(I mean, really, do we want time traveling to be transferable by DNA when River Song was Amy Pond’s daughter? I almost quit the show after her sexually inappropriate behaviour with the Doctor already. I still don’t like Matt Smith as much as Peter Capaldi, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, but this after we believed she got over the Matt Smith Doctor and was finally loyal to Rory who waited two thousand years for her? Surely that bit needs to be walked back? For that matter, do we really need the Doctor to be a product of abuse or one who conveniently has no memories of being black?)

Find some proper reason for gender change

The pointless gender change is a problem. If Time Lords are genderless aliens who can regenerate into either gender like a lottery, there is no explanation other than sexism for why they didn’t so far. Social Justice warriors probably like it like that to reflect real world prejudices and so on, but it will kill the show.

And it doesn’t really work. Where do the genes for creating men come from in a woman? Where do the Y chromosomes go when it is a woman? But worse, Time Lords have parents. It is like a pretty big non-consensual sex change imposition.

If women must be kept in the regeneration plan, there at least has to be a reason for that choice. Or that Time Lords have a prefered gender they usually change into unless there is a reason that was present when Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor chose a form.

David Tennant’s Metacrisis Doctor

A possibility is for Donna to start regaining her memories from her time in the TARDIS requiring the Doctor to try another fix for the Metacrisis problem, and the process results in some kind of stable form with memories for Donna (resolving that tragedy) and the two Doctors merging back into the David Tennant form to help the show get some stability.

It was one grave injustice Russell T Davies left behind. Donna Noble had evolved over the season and become a legitimate hero and erasing all her memories to return her to the previous insecure time and believing herself to be no one special is so unfair to her.

I just want you to know, there are worlds out there, safe in the sky because of her. That there are people living in the light and singing songs of Donna Noble, a thousand million light years away. They will never forget her while she can never remember.

The Doctor, Journey’s End, Season 3, Episode 13

And perhaps fixing the meta crisis Donna and Doctor would be a good way for the Doctor to regenerate into the 14th Doctor with the David Tennant face, fixing Donna so she doesn’t have to be erased and leaving only one Doctor behind.

Another possibility for the Metacrisis Doctor is that he dies and regenerates anyway into a Time Lord body, either getting the regenerations Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor should have had, or resulting in a spin-off.

Jodie Whittaker should have a better ending/arc than what she is getting

With just one episode left, it doesn’t seem likely that Jodie Whittaker will endear herself to long term fans by the time her run concludes. One thing that will help ratings will be that this last episode should have a big viewership of the fans who do like her seasons as well as fans who don’t, but want to see who she regenerates into.

Perhaps she could be involved in the specials under Russell T Davies and better writers to benefit from the effortless energy David Tennant (who is also her friend), Matt Smith and so on bring to the role, so that she has something far more appropriate to act to in terms of script as well as co-actors. She is an experienced actress and surely this would instinctively help performance.

Everyone is acting as directed, but no one owning the role, making the whole thing rather like a script reading than the characters becoming real and enacting the story. Previous Doctors have brought a lot of themselves and uninhibited immersing into the role. Maybe she just needs to see it happen to realize it can be done. Or the presence of male Doctors may make it okay to be a female Doctor rather than a wannabe male stereotype who can’t express emotions or a timid woman.

She’s unlikely to be anyone’s favourite Doctor, but whether it is Chris Chibnall at fault or her, even those who hate her would probably prefer to see her acting integrated into the show as it moves on rather than be the hostile stand-off of opinions it is right now.

If we see it from her perspective, she wasn’t a fan of the show. She was told to have her own interpretation, she did it. The people who should have told her where she falls off the edge of the character description didn’t bother to do it and she is facing some pretty vicious backlash (though deserved). I doubt even as a non-fan of the show she took on the job just to do a spectacularly bad job. It is probably easy for us to see how the scenes come together to tell an unflattering story, but while shooting them and following the script, it may not be as easy to know. She simply didn’t have the support she should have had.

Because the problem isn’t just Jodie Whittaker. Pretty much everyone is poorly written and acts like they are in a limbo.

What do you think it would take to save the show? What could be kept, what would need to be worked around? How?

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