Doctor Who has often been noted as one of the most progressive shows out there, taking strong stances supporting issues such as anti-racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and gender equality. But is the show ready to “make another leap” and cast a trans Doctor? Captain Jack actor John Barrowman thinks so.
“I’d love to see a transgender Doctor,” Barrowman told Metro. I think that would be awesome,” adding that he’d also love to see “androgynous, gender non-specific person” take the lead on the show as a future 14th Doctor.
Barrowman’s voice carries some authority among fans. While Matthew Waterhouse, who played 1980s companion Adric, has the distinction of being the first openly gay actor to take a leading role in the show, Barrowman was the first to actually play a prominent LGBTQ+ character, the omnisexual Jack, who first appeared on the show in 2005.
Describing the character as “unapologetic about his sexuality,” Barrowman points out that Doctor Who has “had LGBTQ+ representation on the TARDIS” beyond Jack for a long time, highlighting Pearl Mackie, who played lesbian character Bill Potts during Peter Capaldi’s last season. Many fans were disappointed that Mackie wasn’t retained by the show after Capaldi left, feeling she had injected new life into Doctor Who after several lackluster seasons under former showrunner Steven Moffat. And Captain Jack was so popular he was given his own series, Torchwood, which ran for four seasons. “So yeah, we’ve had them, why not have a Doctor the same?” Barrowman asked.
Jodie Whittaker took over the role of the Doctor from Peter Capaldi in 2017, becoming the first official female Doctor in the show’s 58-year history.
“They made a huge leap and it worked for them,” Barrowman said, “and then [it’s] time for them to make another leap.”
Who’s next for Doctor Who?
However, while Barrowman may have his own ideas about the future of the show, it’s by no means confirmed that incumbent Doctor Jodie Whittaker is bowing out just yet, despite the rumors that say the next series may be her last.
Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end eventually, and both the press and fans alike have already begun speculating on who will next step into the TARDIS. Even former showrunner Russell T. Davies has got in on the act, supporting LGBTQ+ actor Olly Alexander, who recently starred in Davies’ AIDs drama It’s A Sin.
Many were disappointed that an actor of color wasn’t cast both in 2013 and 2017, and while she isn’t believed to be in the running, Whoopi Goldberg has already thrown her name into the ring!
Names “officially” said to be in the frame include I May Destroy You actress Michaela Coel, The IT Crowd‘s Richard Ayoade, and Jo Martin, who has already been appearing in the series as a previous incarnation of the Doctor. Other names in the mix include Game of Thrones veteran Natalie Dormer, Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer, and Kris Marshall, star of the British TV shows My Family and Death in Paradise.
Who’s next? Well, at risk of using a cliche, time will tell.
Doctor Who will return to BBC One in the UK and BBC America in the US later this year with the show’s 13th season, Jodie Whittaker’s third. British audiences, meanwhile, can get their dose of John Barrowman in the currently airing Dancing on Ice on ITV.