Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who.jpg

BBC drama chief says Doctor Who will feature a 'number' of scripts from female writers

Contributed by
Feb 28, 2018

If you were worried about a bunch of dudes putting words into the mouth of our first female star of Doctor Who, then this should help put your mind at ease a bit. To go along with a more diverse pilot in the TARDIS, the writers room is also shaking things up a bit, too.

According to BBC 1’s controller of drama commissioning, Piers Wenger (via Broadcast), a “number” of scripts for the upcoming Doctor Who series starring Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor will come from women, since "having a diverse team on that show feels appropriate, important and essential." It seems new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall really is shaking things up.

Progress is always slow, but it would appear progress is being made, which is exactly what 70-plus female writers are hoping to see, and the reason they penned an open letter to U.K. drama bosses complaining that they’ve failed to exercise equal hiring practices, and that most British television drama is “overwhelmingly written by men”.

Their open letter also refers to the fact that Doctor Who ran for five series since 2009 without having one episode written by a woman. And Digital Spy goes so far as to say that no female-written scripts were featured on the show between 2007 and 2015. 

Back in 2015, Who showrunner Steven Moffat addressed such concerns, saying, "Given that the human race works out at about 50 percent male / female, it should be 50 percent male / female on the show. Why isn't it? Part of the reason for that is historical – Doctor Who for a very long time was a boy's show. It's not anymore." He also noted that “most of the writers” who had turned down the opportunity to write for the show were female. 

This time around, though, Doctor Who’s eleventh series, the first to be led by a female star, will have an entirely new writing staff, which should be more diverse — if we are to believe Wenger, who worked as an executive producer on the show from 2010-2011.

If the BBC needs a representative example to follow, they need look no further than Titan Comics, which recently announced an all-female creative team behind their upcoming 13th Doctor series.