Fan Expo 2016: Who Says We Need A Female Doctor? Not Alex Kingston (But Michelle Gomez Disagrees)
Friday marked a Fan Expo first as two Doctor Who icons arrived in Toronto for live Q&A panels in front of huge crowds of Whovians—some who’d driven more than eight hours to see them in person. The Doctor’s only wife and best frenemy did not disappoint. Both Alex Kingston (River Song) and Michelle Gomez (Missy, aka The Mistress) made the long car ride (or hot subway commute) into downtown Toronto worthwhile by being hilarious, charming, and just a tiny bit revealing about the future of Who. (Is Missy getting her own TARDIS next season? Quite possibly.)
The biggest surprise of the day however, was what Kingston said when she weighed in on the Who gender debate after being asked her if she’d like to see a female Doctor. “I don’t know if the Doctor could be any gender,” she told InnerSpace host Teddy Wilson. “I think that if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. He is a Gallifreyan male. I think that if you keep the doctor male, it gives the writers fantastic opportunities to create strong female characters to interact with the Doctor. I don’t think that women are necessarily missing out on Doctor Who. I’m of the particular opinion that the Doctor should stay male.”
Later that afternoon, Michelle Gomez was asked the same question at a Q&A moderated by Ajay Fry. Turns out she and Kingston don’t see eye to eye. “Yes,” said Gomez, asserting that the Doctor could absolutely be female—though she did add one qualification: “Not until it’s the right time, because as far as I’m concerned Peter Capaldi is one of the best Doctors. It’s going to take a woman with some large cajones to push him out of his top spot. I can’t see past Peter at the moment.”
Of course Gomez herself blazed the gender swapping trail on the long-running show as the first female incarnation of the Doctor’s fellow Time Lord, The Master. Asked how it felt to get that opportunity, the actor replied: “Phenomenal.”
“Firstly, it feels like ‘Why not?’ It amazes me in 2016 that we’re even discussing it as a sort of gender politics thing. The other thing is that it feels like it was about time to break out of the mould of whatever gender is meant to mean. Gender is just another way of boxing us in… Break the box. Smash the box. Be who you are.”
Our impression of Gomez—who after being asked what her favourite colour was answered “the rainbow”—is that she is always, 100 per cent of the time, being exactly who she is. And we love her for it.
— MichelleGomez (@MichelleGomez) September 3, 2016