Peter Davison is wrong about a female Doctor Who, but he’s not being sexist – so stop saying he is

fifth doctor peter davison jodie whittaker female doctor sexism thirteenth doctor bbc one colin baker misogyny

Davison said “if I feel any doubts about it, it’s the loss of a role model for boys, who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for”; in the past, he’s said that he thinks a female Doctor with a male companion might mean “you’ve got more of a stereotype than anything else”. Essentially, Davison considers the Doctor a good example of a non-traditional, non-stereotypical male role model. 

The character is, broadly speaking, counter to a lot of the facets of toxic masculinity and patriarchy; he’s openly emotional, driven by curiosity, intellectual rather than violent. Referring to, say, the various male superheroes of cinema – all of whom, when you break it down, solve their problems with their fists – is rather missing the point a bit. It’s perhaps the only coherent and cogent argument against a female Doctor that isn’t actually a sexist one – one that can be argued from a feminist perspective.

Yeah, this was a difficult one, in hindsight. Especially that title – it’s much too confrontational. Should be something closer to “wait, hang on, slow down”, but I was rather cynically trying to play to multiple crowds at once, getting clicks and shares from both pro and anti-female Doctor crowds. And, I suppose, both pro and anti-sexism crowds. It’s less than ideal, but hey, I don’t get paid a lot for these if they don’t hit 10 000 views. (Actually, that said, I’m almost certain I pitched the more tentative “he’s not necessarily being sexist”, but still.)

Anyway, so. Basically, as I’m sure some will remember, a few different newspapers took a quote Peter Davison gave out of context, and essentially tried to paint him as an out-of-touch old guy in an attempt to get a few extra clicks. This apparently went exceedingly well, because lots of people felt the need to jump in and explain how wrong he was, etc etc. Eventually he left twitter because it got so out of control.

Now, far be it from me to think he needed defending as such – though again I suspect there was a slightly cynical attempt to, I don’t know, befriend him or something going on on some levels of my thinking – but I do find his actual objection to a female Doctor, on the basis of a male role model thing, actually quite interesting. At least, that was how I interpreted it; I was almost certain I’d seen a quote to that effect from him making it more explicit, but I couldn’t place it in the end. Which was a nuisance.

Anyway, though, yeah. So this was just an article basically to the effect of, you know, back off a bit, he said he thinks it’s a good idea, but expressed a brief caveat. (Which I suspect he wouldn’t have bothered with if he realised this would grow beyond a quiet convention interview.) In the grand scheme of things, there are probably quite a few other things to critique.

(Though it would be a pretty fair accusation to level at me that there are definitely other more important things to defend, and I’d accept that.)

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Forget about The Mash Report or The Nightly Show – The Last Leg has already perfected the late-night satire format

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A few nights ago, BBC Two debuted their own offering – The Mash Report, a satirical news show which teamed rising comedian Nish Kumar with the Onion-esque website The Daily Mash. The programme boldly proclaims, “In the era of Theresa May, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Donald Trump, the jokes will surely write themselves” – and then proves that, actually, they probably do need someone to write the jokes. Any jokes, really, would do.

So, I normally dislike writing about comedy, and I think this is why – the first series of The Mash Report wound me up no end, since despite expecting quite a lot from it, it seemed to just flounder. But then, that’s so subjective; I can decry it as much as I want, but certainly some people seemed to like it.

Anyway. I’ve not re-read the above since writing it; I suspect it doesn’t actually do a particularly good job of laying out its arguments. In the time since, anyway, I’ve become much less enamoured with The Last Leg anyway; brilliant though it in many ways is, I started to go through a phase of not responding massively well to geopolitical jokes anyway. Things felt just a little too heavy to make light of.

The second season of The Mash Report, or the bits of it that I watched, turned out to be a fair amount funnier. So I suppose it was just a case of settling into their groove.

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