We can all be The Doctor now
After almost 60 years, Doctor Who has gained hordes of fans all over the world, but times of fandom are changing. Gone are the days of small meetups and scrounging library shelves for episode novelizations; the fans who dedicated themselves to these practices are now running the show. Nowadays you can access the entire back catalogue of Doctor Who online, with every moment sparking fan art, podcasts, blogs and videos. There’s so much Doctor Who content to consume that it’s almost a full time job. But this doesn’t deter viewers.The passion and dedication has been there from the very beginning, and now the fans are the future of the show.
Fans have been creating Doctor Who for years. Every showrunner for the revived series– Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall–had a passion for the show before landing the dream job. Even previous Doctors David Tennant and Peter Capaldi attributed their choice of acting career to wanting to play The Doctor. The franchise, with its age and stature, has gained so many long-term dedicated fans that it is probably not a stretch to say we own it; we’re making it, supporting it and keeping it alive. It makes sense then, that the show now reflects its audience both in front of and behind the camera.
We’re already beginning to see the current team opening up the doors for people of all backgrounds to write, direct and star in the show. More female writers have penned stories in the past two series than the total of women who had ever previously written for Doctor Who. BAME actors, writers and directors are taking lead roles in making the show. The influx of new voices working on Doctor Who has rejuvenated the fandom and has left room for everyone, from any background, to feel welcome. With these exciting steps to include different cultures and viewpoints, there’s never been a better time to meet The Doctor and her friends and actively encourage these efforts to continue.
The current set of episodes have been pushing inclusion further than ever before, even using the tagline ‘Space for all’ throughout the marketing campaign. As the episodes air, more and more fans are jumping aboard the TARDIS and showcasing their talents through creations and reactions. The people who love Doctor Who use their passion to spark conversation around important subjects and create content for fellow fans to enjoy. In such a dark world, it’s incredible that this show still inspires and comforts so many. Feeling welcomed and by a world where anyone can be the hero is becoming integral to a much wider variety of people, and a whole new generation of creatives who will, thanks to the show, follow their dreams.
As Doctor Who finishes up its 12th series, it’s easy to notice a theme; the episodes this year have continually pushed messages of hope, most recently during an episode named ‘Can You Hear Me?’ based around mental health. As two immortal gods try to feed off of humanity’s pain, the Doctor tells them: ‘You’re wrong about humans. They’re not pathetic, they’re magnificent. They live with their fears, doubts, guilt. They face them down every day and they prevail. That’s not weakness -that’s strength.” Giving its viewers strength is what Doctor Who does best. It’s hard to feel alone with a set of characters and a show that offers us a place to belong.
The Doctor Who universe is encouraging us to be a creative, inclusive community. Whether we’re watching, creating content, or aspiring to work on it; Doctor Who is ours. The show and the fanbase is regenerating for the better–and we’re all welcome on the TARDIS.