As soon as Matt Smith announced he was hanging up his bow tie, speculation began about who would replace him. Some fans are hoping for a black Doctor or female Doctor, others are fearing the possibility and threatening on IMDB: “I’ll stop watching if The Doctor becomes a woman…”
Those fears are likely to intensify with the news that casting for the role is open to all.
“All actors, no matter their sex or race, will be considered. If they are good enough, the part is theirs,” and insider told the Sun.
The source is supported by a leaked email from BBC Worldwide:
This will give the new Doctor a chance to develop with the audience (apologies for this spoiler if you didn’t know).
The vitriol isn’t necessarily racist but based on the mistaken belief that the Doctor is human for all intents and purposes.
Despite having “white” skin the Doctor is not Caucasian, or European. Nor would “black” skin make him African. He is Gallifreyan. Furthermore, a sex change would not make him transgender. In all his incarnations, the Doctor is a Time Lord both inside and out.
The problem of assigning human concept to aliens was famously addressed on the Star Trek TOS episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” in which the Enterprise is drawn into a race war by Bele and Lokai, black and white aliens but on opposing sides. The difference goes unnoticed by the crew. It was a heavy-handed lesson about racism but it worked exactly because the aliens were otherworldly.
Look at it from the perspective of the Bugs from Starship Troopers. They might consider all primates the same race and therefore zoos a form of slavery. Furthermore, an alien species that reproduced exclusively with other species, might consider all humans homosexual!
The ability to transform into virtually anything has been established in several Doctor Who episodes:
“The Keeper of Traken” reveals Time Lords have the ability to possess other species. The Master avoids death by taking over the body of a Trakenite scientist named Tremas.
“The End of Time” exhibits a technological means to posses other lifeforms. The Master overwrites humanity with his own DNA to create the “Master race.”
“Destiny of the Daleks” demonstrates that Time Lady Romana has the ability to choose any form because she voluntarily regenerates, as opposed to the Doctor who involuntarily regenerates when dying.
“The Parting of Ways” points out that the Ninth Doctor also has the ability to regenerate into a non-humanoid form.
“I might never make sense again,” he tells to Rose. “I might have two heads, or no head. Imagine me with no head, ha! And don’t say that’s an improvement… But it’s a bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you’re going to end up with.”
“Let’s Kill Hitler” shows Time Lords do in fact change race. Amy Pond’s black friend, Mels, regenerates into River Song.
“The Doctor’s Wife” confirms that Time Lords can change sex. The Doctor tells Amy and Rory about another Time lord named Corsair.
“He didn’t feel like himself unless he had the tattoo… Or herself a couple of times,” the Doctor recounts. “Oo-hoo, she was a bad girl.”
There’s even an official Doctor Who parody that features a female Doctor.
So if you’re that against body transformation maybe you shouldn’t be watching Doctor Who in the first place.