Why we're ready for a female Doctor on Doctor Who (and 14 actresses who could play her)

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Apr 29, 2019, 7:20 AM EDT (Updated)

We've just now seen a new actor take up the mantle of the Doctor, and we're all the way in for the Capaldi era, but talk among fans has already turned, as it does, to where we go from here ... and some of it has centered on interesting new directions. Just last week, BBC chief of TV Danny Cohen revealed that he wanted to have a female Doctor in the TARDIS in Doctor Who's near future — sooner rather than later. When asked if he could possibly envisage such a thing, his answer was, “I hope so.” Just last year, Dame Helen Mirren said that it was “well over time to have a female Doctor.” The concept is also wholeheartedly supported by Captain Jack Harkness himself, Arrow's John Barrowman, who has spoken up about the need to have a female Doctor on the show many, many times over.

It's certainly an intriguing thought. Since the creation of the show in 1963, all 12 incarnations of our beloved Time Lord (well, it’s actually 13 when you count John Hurt’s War Doctor) have been male, from William Hartnell to Peter Capaldi. Through 13 regenerations, not once has the Doctor changed gender, though it's been established in "The Doctor's Wife" that it's possible for Time Lords to do so in the process of regeneration. In a day and age when boundaries are falling left and right and the representation of women in pop culture has become a hot-button topic, taking this step would be a bold and imaginative way for Doctor Who to go. 

Yes, it would be a big change from the status quo. And, yes, many Doctor Who fans would likely initially balk at such a departure. But many fans also balked at the idea of a Doctor as young as Matt Smith, and whatever else one thinks of series 5-7, there's no denying that Smith gave us a heck of a run as the raggedy man in the big blue box. If it's handled well, and with the right actor in the role, it could freshly invigorate the franchise and open up a world of possible new storytelling dynamics.

Which leads us to our second question: Who actually has the timey-wimey qualities necessary to play the first female Doctor? We've put together a list of our picks below. Have a look, and then let us know your thoughts in the comments, or tweet at us at @syfywire!