Don’t Like The New Doctor Who: Would You Quit Fandom?

Kasterborous Doctor Who podKastHello, dear listener, and welcome to this week’s podKast in which we cover some of the latest Doctor Who Series 8 news and ask the question: if Doctor Who changed drastically (such as casting a woman Doctor or canning the TARDIS), would you quit fandom?

It’s an interesting question, prompted by the actions of a fellow writer recently.

As ever, we’re looking forward to hearing back from you on this topic and everything else we cover this week, so feel free to comment below, tweet us or email.

Sadly there is no Brian Terranova this week, who was sadly caught out with some time travelling freedom fighting on Peladon. Fortunately, Christian Cawley and James McLean are on hand to take your hand and guide you through some exciting, pre-new series news items.

Just to remind you: Doctor Who is on air next month.

Yes, I thought you would like that 🙂 Here’s something else you might like – press play to begin!


Kasterborous PodKast Series 4 Episode 21 Shownotes

The Kasterborous PodKast theme tune is arranged by Russell Hugo. In case you were wondering.

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43 thoughts on “Don’t Like The New Doctor Who: Would You Quit Fandom?

  1. Would I quit because I did not like a Doctor? No, I would just wait for the next. A female Doctor? I would not stick around as that would not be the Doctor. It is the moral decline in Doctor Who that is making many want to leave, not a change of male actors playing the Doctor.

  2. I hated, yes hated, most of Matt Smith’s run as Dr. I still watched. But out if habit. I’d never stop watching just not liking

  3. i already stuck it out with tennant and eccleston, so i know full well what it’s like to stay with the show when i hate the doctor on screen… thankfully i was rewarded with smith and capaldi…

  4. No, I wouldn’t quit, I would just stop watching until it got better. If they cast a woman i would watch a few and see if I liked it. My initial reaction is that gender identity is key to how one views one self and sees the universe. I don’t think that it is so easily change without severe ramifications. I would rather see a new property about a female timelord.

    Frankly, the only thing I have quit is listening to this podcast. (I still get the email updates) The negativity isn’t interesting to me. Not criticism, just the snarkiness. I guess that is what listeners want, but doesn’t work for me.

    Here’s an example: A few shows ago during recommendations Brian Terranova suggested Star Gate. How is a recommendation to shit all over someone else’s choice, as one of you did? That isn’t witty, clever or dark humor. It’s just mean-spirited venting of spleen. Sorry, but that was way over the top.

    I might try you again when the show starts up, but clearly during the off season with nothing new to cut up you turn your knives on anything handy.

    If that is what your listeners like/want they should try Fox News here in the US, it will certainly entertain them in the same way

    1. Re Stargate: we presume, or at least I do, that listeners are well aware we’re very good friends, we poke fun at each other’s choices and acknowledge that we have differences in opinion as much as a bonding of subject (Doctor Who). I don’t like Stargate, never have, and our Podkast is an informal affair where we will tease each other, especially me, as that’s what I do. A lot. Would I do it to a stranger? No. Would I do it to a friend I’ve worked on a near-weekly basis for three years who knows I don’t really have a mean bone in my body, just a loud mouth? Well, of course.

      Would I suggest people don’t watch Stargate? No. Watch it: make up your own opinion.

      The big difference between Fox News and ourselves is Fox News is a leading news service, people go to it for informed opinion on affairs of all sorts. We’re merely entertainment. Depending on one’s preference will define whether you find it ‘entertaining’. I can’t speak for that, only stand by what we do, which is be honest.

        1. Sadly, they do. There is a study that shows people who watch Fox News are less informed than people who watch no news at all.

  5. Yep. I would quit if it was a woman (stupid concept made up in passing by the new series) or if it was someone of a completely different ethnicity. We’re INUNDATED with politically correct BS in this world today. I don’t need it from my favorite TV show, too.

    1. “stupid concept made up in passing by the new series”

      What you no doubt mean is

      “stupid concept made up in passing by Tom Baker on Nationwide”

      Q: What sort of person’s going to take over from you? Can you reveal who it’s going to be and how you’re going to be written out?

      A: No. The answer to that is No, but even if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.

      Q: What kind of person do you think it should be? A departure from yourself, a mad professor?

      A: Well you’re making an assumption that it’s going to be a man.

      1. Larry has a point – the new series, particularly under Moffat has pushed the woman/gender issue a lot more. I am aware of Tom’s comments though.

        1. Moffat has stated publicly “I am aware that Helen Mirren has stated it is time a woman was cast, well all I can say to her is i think it’s about time we let a man play The Queen!”

          so, Moffat has made it clear that there won’t be a female Doctor on his watch. pushing equality however is something that should be done but not at the expense of beloved characters I don’t feel.

  6. Would I quit? No. I love this show, why would I leave it? The thing I theoretically don’t like will just change in a few months or years anyway.
    About a female Doctor: I would love a female Doctor-like character on the show. Someone like Romana. The role of the Doctor himself…well, shouldn’t the best person be cast as the role, regardless of race, age, gender, etc.?

  7. No. I know I wouldn’t, because I have kept watching when there has been a doctor I didn’t like.
    I’ve also kept “watching” when the franchise changed almost beyond recognition in 2005 (which in retrospect, it didn’t really)

  8. I’d just skip the show until the next regeneration. So far though, the casting has been 12 (13) for 12 (13) so fortunately i haven’t had to.

  9. Of course not! If they cast a woman, then I would keep watching to see how doctor who might change because of it, say, will they still have mainly female companions (because, of all the doctors companions I’ll bet 90% of the females follow him because he’s hot.) or male. I though Donna was rather whiny, but I still kept watching.

  10. I wouldn’t quit if they cast a female or a black Doctor, but if the character (or the actor) didn’t do it for me, I’d probably lose interest, much as I did when Colin Baker took over. (I actually know Colin and don’t blame him as such), but I agree about losing the Police box – I think that could and probably SHOULD have the Chameleon Circuit fixed and change a little bit as long as it reverts back to the Police Box for most of the time.

  11. I’d stop watching if they switched sexes – but I also wouldn’t watch a new series of Buffy The Vampire Slayer if she came back as a bloke. Same difference, I love them both because they are what they are.

  12. Fandom is a nitpicky thing, for some fans.

    I’ve stuck by “Doctor Who” all these years because of the notion of Regeneration.

    I’ve stuck by “Star Wars” to see how the story would evolve.

    I’ve stuck with “Star Trek” to see Strange New Worlds.

    I simply can’t stand “Stargate”, completely wacky TV show.

  13. I couldn’t watch a female Doctor, that wouldn’t be the Doctor to me BUT I’d love the return of a strong female counter part like Romana as a companion and just like Sarah Jane i’d watch ANY spin off series. i though SJA and Torchwood we well worth watching.

    After Tom Baker left, I didn’t really like the following three Doctors as much but i Kept watching. because the concept still worked for me. the Seventh Doctor would have been great if Sylvester McCoy had be a better actor at the time, but i did enjoy his time.

    I’ve actually liked all the new Doctors, including the eighths brief time and I’m actually thinking that Capaldi will be one of the best Doctors ever.

    Still, being of fan of anything will bring a subjective view and in all honesty I guess I like to identify with the Doctor, the thing you get do a Kid, the “that could be me if only I…”, at my age that’ll evaporate if the lead changes gender I think.

  14. I continued to watch despite never caring for Matt Smith’s Doctor: I just didn’t bother wasting my money on the box sets. Although I don’t support the idea of casting a woman in a role that for 50 years has been played by a man, I’d probably watch the first episode just to be fair.

    After that? The element of curiosity removed, I imagine I would probably switch off!

  15. It would take a lot for me to drop Doctor Who because unlike some folks I don’t overthink it (“moral decline”? WTF? This isn’t the Billy Graham Show). Some eras I’ve liked better than others, and some Doctors I’ve liked better than others (except for Blink I didn’t care much for Series 3 of the revival, and I found quite a bit of Davison’s era hard to sit through). The thing about Doctor Who is it doesn’t work like other shows. If you don’t like the actor chosen to be the Doctor, just be patient and they’ll change eventually. Likewise, if Clara Oswald really doesn’t float your boat, they’ll have another companion before long.

    In terms of introducing a female Doctor, I would be disappointed because it would violate so much of what has been established in the show, plus it would mean I’d have to accept the fact that Romana could turn into a bloke too, which would probably ruin that character forever for me, retroactively and into the future. Which would be a shame as I want to hear more from Juliet Landau’s endearing new incarnations but I’d never listen or watch another Romana story again because I wouldn’t be able to get it out of my mind that one of her incarnations could be played by Brian Blessed or Graham Norton (I actually used to use Rolf Harris as the example, but obviously that doesn’t work anymore). But even then, it depends on how it’s done. If it’s not a natural regeneration but something influenced by someone else and it’s recognized as not being normal (see “Night of the Doctor”) and if it’s established as being only temporary (i.e. no longer than a two or three parter) then I’d go for it. But if they change genders just to be politically correct, I’d be hard-pressed to want to keep watching. Casting a black actor wouldn’t bug me. I’d like to see the guy who played the Shopkeeper in Sarah Jane come back as the Doctor.

    One thing that would probably make me drop, if not fandom, at least the show, would be if a US network took it over. I don’t mind BBC America facilitating US filming and promotion, but Doctor Who at its core has to remain British with a British cast (guest stars from elsewhere no problem), filmed in Britain (except for the occasional excursion) and with the British mentality.

  16. Having watched the show religiously during JP and TB, I didn’t quite take to PD’s Doctor (probably distracted by the results of puberty) or CB’s or SMc’s, so I gradually stopped watching but I didn’t consider it “giving up on” the show.

    My attitude just gradually changed from outright worship to take it or leave it.
    I can’t think of anything that would make me take a principled stand on ditching the show. I wouldn’t stop watching if the Doctor became a woman. Because that would just be silly even if I’m not keen on the idea.

    But I suspect that, if the Doctor did become a woman, I would already have been gradually falling out of love with the show for some time. I think that there isn’t a chance in hell of the Doctor becoming a woman and that all the chatter about it is just that – chatter by easily bored people. No prominent actor or director or producer is ever going to come out and say that it’s a silly idea because they don’t want to be tarred as a sexist. I think the only way it will happen is if the show loses its way and it’s seen as a last desperate throw of the dice to revive a sinking ship (or do I mean refloat?). It’s a sort of 1989 decision.

    Regarding Peter Capaldi’s age, James, please note that “55 is pretty damn old” does not fall gently on the ears of those of us who are increasingly keeping our weary eyes on that big five-oh on the far horizon. Also, we accepted the casting of Peter Kay and Kylie and Lee Evans because it might attract a new demographic to DW. Maybe PC will do the same. There must be some people out there who aren’t turned on by actors old enough to be their children.

    James was quite right about Tom’s “Go away” at the end of EDEN. Makes the hairs stand up on my neck just as much as his bellowed “But what’s it for?” at the Pirate Captain. Sigh, oh for the days when Doctors could actually do shouty acting.

    Finally, Christian, regarding the War Doctor book, I thought that it was already agreed that “The Skaro Degradation” was the generally accepted description of the first line of the TV Movie.

    1. ‎I’ve not heard the podcast as yet, so was interested to read Doc who’s comment re 55 being ‘pretty darn old’ mentioned in the podcast. Well, I can tell you I am 51 and when you get to this age, you do NOT feel ‘pretty darn old’ guys. I feel 35. That said, I was, as you have worked out, 6 when I saw the 2nd Dr regenerate on my Birthday. I happy followed an ‘old man’ for the next 5 years along with a slightly young man. Age never came into it. Its what he stood for that hooked me. I hated matcho gun wielding hero’s (well apart form Hannible Hayes & Kid Curry, who never shot anyone) but as a 6 year old through to my teens and onwards, all hero’s were older, then in the mid eighties it changed for some reason with all hero’s. There always had to be a kid in shows, who was darn annoying. This younger hero for younger audience is frankly rot. Kids don’t care. Same with accents. Looks at tv history from 50’s to 70’s and the hero was always older. On another note, when Davison became the Dr I disliked this incarnation only being a few years younger than myself. All the things that made the Dr THE Dr had been watered down. Now a days all the Dr’s are younger than me! Well, apart for this up and coming one, which I look forward to. As for a female Dr? I quote my wife ”a female Dr? Why? What for? That’s just plain silly. The character is a man and to change the sex would just be plain wrong. Why can’t they leave things alone”. Yep, I agree, a silly move that would serve no purpose, but to alienate quite a lot of the viewers me thinks?‎

      1. I should clarify the “55 is pretty damn old” was in reference to children, and as children anything past 30 is getting on. I’m personally closer to 40 than I’d like and I don’t know about you, but I loathe realising I’ve past the age of 90% of my fictional heroes.

        I wasn’t saying 55 IS old, just simply to a kid, anything with a few grey hairs is, and that’s hardly surprising. You don’t realise how quickly the years past when you’re ten!

        1. I tend to find that children see grown ups as grown ups. They only differentiate between thirty something and fifty something when other grown ups draw their attention to it.

          It’s like what adults call plot holes. Kids fill them with imagination. Adults often lose that and want to have everything explained for them 🙂

          1. I sort of agree. I recall seeing my teachers and I had two classifications: old teachers and teachers. If you had grey hair you were an old teacher, if you were not grey you were a teacher. Whether you were 22 or 39 made no impact. In fact, it was a shock when I got older and found out the teachers age as my brain had got to the point where it created criterias. To realise my geography teacher was 22 when he started stunned me: he was a teacher, not someone with an age!

            But that is essentially my point: while I don’t think kids think 55 is old and 48 is not, or 70 is REALLY old and 62 isn’t that bad, I do think “wrinkles” or “grey/white hair” naturally is seen as old, because we teach that in society we create that distinction, usually starting with grandma and grandpa.

  17. I’ll stay loyal no matter what they do. Old Doctor? young Doctor? Non white Doctor? No problem. Female Doctor, ok by Sydney Newman Ok by me. Doctor as a floating jellyfish? If it makes sense in the narrative fine.

    Change the TARDIS into a giant pumpkin? Yeah I can handle that. Dress up the Doctor as a clown and have him strangle his companion…..ok bad choice there.

    I prefer the show itself to the fandom side anyway, with many fans so reactionary as to be blind to the radical changes the show has periodically made over the years that become part and parcel of the mythos. Contemporary fans loathed Deadly Assassin. One of the key episodes to cement Time Lord lore by legendary Robert Holmes. Where are those haters now?

    In a show where anything is possible the last thing we need is ‘rules’. If you want that go for Star Trek where they have in essence been making the same show since 1966. Captain. Hierarchy. Federation. Exploration. Conflict. Rinse and repeat. I actually like Star Trek but my heart is with Who.

    Doctor Who as a series is not afraid to embrace change and neither should its fans.

  18. Great podcast as usual. Unfortunately, being an isolated fan whose only conversations are held on this website, the following is a highly excessive sprawl of text, but thanks for the space!

    Doctor Who is one of the most flexible and extensive ongoing storytelling “system” in popular culture and that is one of the main reasons that it appeals to me. However, it needs to still retain some subjective feeling (i.e., for me) of being “Doctor Who”. It isn’t much of a bother when canon is contradicted (as it is commonly done), but it is when the show strays too far that it becomes indistinguishable from every other show out there. I have three tangentially-related points I would enjoy hearing other’s thoughts about:

    1) Another thing I have loved about the series is how fandom and peripheral creators (e.g., Virgin New Adventures, Big Finish) have taken the core of the show and explored it, while slowly adding small new pieces to the canon for future people to play with. This relates to my biggest gripe with Moffat’s tenure over the series. While all producers have left their stamp here and there, Moffat’s scripts sometimes feel as though he is trying to indirectly “homestead” or claim ownership/authorship of the entire series. In particular, multiple reboots of the “universe”, having his character (Clara) be responsible for nearly every major event in the history of the series (including the Doctor stealing the Tardis in the first place), to writing plots that are a bit too similar to previous novels in the 90s (e.g., Alien Bodies, the Room with no Doors). It feels that he has to write his name on top of all of these other stories thousands of people (and possibly more, depending how you count them) have contributed to over the years. That being said, Moffat is not the devil and can write very good stories if he has some oversight, it’s just something that has lessened my appetite for the televised show.

    2) As a youth watching Doctor Who, I particularly latched on to the idea of an asexual, generally non-violent doctor (as much as I love Colin Baker, the latter point made it hard to stomach much of his run). It was unique compared to all of the other media available to me at the time. Thus, my fandom and perception of what the core of the show was, was largely defined by that. The modern era’s romantic subplots bothered me, and at first I thought it was out of the general principle. Strangely, I wasn’t that bothered by the first few seasons of McGann’s work on Big Finish. Instead, I’ve come to associate my discomfort with the televised show’s handling of sexuality with:

    a) (here comes something that’s been said too often, and more eloquently by others) A lack of well written, realistic, female characters that could support a relationship with a sexual doctor.

    b) (Full credit goes to the indomitable James Mclean on the recent podcast for the inspiration here.) The negative affect it has on the character of the doctor. Some of the weakest, most cringeworthy moments of the show have been related to poorly handled sexual, or romantic moments (e.g., Mickey’s constant shaming, Martha’s character devolving into Rose 2.0, etc.) with quite a few feeling quite creepy considering how poorly women are often written and the complete lack of women in the writing staff (River’s back story with the Doctor “Marrying” the baby of his companion and the forced/awkward/innuendo writing, Amy wanting to make out with herself-which is something I would expect on Tumblr or imagine Moffat recreating with action figures, Smith forcing a kiss on Jenny with the sonic screwdriver gag). The televised show can do romance well. Human Nature/Family of Blood, The first 60% of Love and Monsters, etc. Echoing what others have said, this is a reason why I feel that a woman doctor is a problematic idea right now. I have so little faith in the show runner’s to do something that wouldn’t end up being an offensive token gesture or gimmick. The desire for it could be largely symptomatic of the problems with gender on the show (Why can’t they hire even ONE woman writer?). River was Moffat’s version of a woman doctor and it was a disaster. Contrast her with either version of Romana and the terror rises.

    3) Finally, here is the moment in all of my 30 years of consuming Doctor Who media when I most seriously considered stopping cold turkey:

    The Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords was probably the lowest point for me as a doctor who fan. The overly hamfisted arc (e.g., Vote Saxon), the especially ridiculous Deus Ex Machina ending (Davies… again), and then… that terrible CG older, squat doctor in the tent. It is stuff like that which makes it impossible to share this fandom with my friends. They are not as forgiving and couldn’t even give a pass to the very fun, but slightly imperfect Day of the Doctor (due to the contrivances and slightly bonkers resolution).

    1. Thanks for the feedback and I share your need to find people to vent on all this internalised thinking of a popular TV show!

      The ‘homesteading” is a great image, I’ll take that! I do agree that Moffat’s era does play very heavy handed and arguably recklessly with major continuity re-writes. I think rather than affecting lore one didn’t write (adding Clara to his continuity, pushing River into a position who knows all the Doctor’s secrets and becoming his first wife, 9th Doctor being Hurt, Time War not being genocide etc etc) I’d like to see him look at aspects that are canon and expanding, as you say, Big Finish does this brilliantly. It’s not about being anal, it’s about taking an idea and exploring it further than simply trying to add a new idea to the concept.

      The Asexual Doctor I always liked for the same reason: heroes aren’t allowed to be asexual by and large, and the Doctor flaunting this mandatory expectation in fiction added to the show’s unique and quirky attitude. That’s not to say I have issue with a romantic Doctor at all, I just think it’s more interesting having him as not falling into that common archetype. I think its furthermore very hard to find characters you’d feel he’d genuinely connect with. I never saw that in River Song. The Doctor’s affinity has never been for cocky, over-confident types of person. I don’t feel his interest would be in challenge, but in resonance. She never resonated for me, she was abrasive.

      I agree we’ve had very few genuine romantic moments because the romances have always been a little too contrived, under-considered or too much like teenage boy writing (where you titter at naughty innuendo because actually looking for something deeper might be a bit embarrassing). Under-considered is key. Rory spends 2000 years watching after Amy, and the ramifications of that never play out – in fact, Amy challenges her love is more compared to that given she was willing to let Rory go because she couldn’t have children. I’m not sure that argument floats. It makes a dramatic and fun scene, but is it honest? Can anything be compared to that notion of 2000 years standing outside a box? Women characters are a problem for Doctor Who, either being lead to be charmed by the actress or under-written for comedy. Rose was a good female character, annoying as she was. Donna was very strong and honest again. Martha, while lacking anything definitive had a strong resolution both in TLOTTL and Doctor’s Daughter. The problem seems for all New Series is the female characters can only be strong in relation to the Doctor’s world – their strength HAS to pivot around that central character who remains their object of wonder.

      We need to do a podkast on TLOTTL. I personally enjoyed it, though I appreciate many did not (and there are many). The little Doctor didn’t do much for me, but I found the story did underpin a lot of the classic Master aspects. The Archangel network was VERY Master, as was having it turned against him. The Doctor’s return worked for me less as deux ex machina as it was saying – perhaps unsuccessfully – that a power used negatively to such extremes could be turned to be used positively to extremes, and that was the Master’s downfall. Whether or not this idea came across effectively is another matter – I’m not sure it did, I agree.

      Thank you for your commentary, I felt I should reply in kind!

      1. Interesting what you say about Rory, and what Moffat says too about him waiting 2000yrs omfor Amy. He doesnt. Its an Auton. If he’s an Auton, he is a facsimile connected to the Nestine conscience, NOT Rory. A human does not have a gun in his wrist.

        This really kept pissing me off when it was stated in the series that Rory waited he didn’t. To me was typical sloppy writing as was the ‘get out’ of the Pandoria and Zygons doubles running around without the original being hooked up to the machines as previously setup inTerror and some part of 50th! Just saying…

        1. I do agree was a bit of a cop out. It wasn’t Rory, but somehow, via the magic of the reset, it was sort of, as he remembers doing it… sometimes.

          I guess you could say if it thinks like Rory, acts like Rory and then somehow has its existence as a part of Rory, it is Rory.

          But yes, it was a mess with no attempt to reconcile, certainly amusing given so many people heralded Moffat’s era to be an escape for the weak sci-fi of RTD to something more serious, only to have the most magic wagicy of all resets to end series 5.

          Nevertheless, Rory says he remembers, so my point was on that fact, specifically his argument in Asylum of the Daleks.

      2. Thanks for the response James! Interesting points on Rory and TLOTTL. I would second that idea for a podcast discussion on TLOTTL (perhaps revisiting all of the series finales during the slow season?). I may have to revisit TLOTTL/SOD, since I haven’t watched them after they aired, although I have watched Utopia a few times and love Jacoby’s master.

  19. I think if Daniel Radcliffe were cast as the Doctor, I’d stop watching without hesitation. But fortunately the New Series teams have cast so brilliantly (5 times!) that they’re unlikely to make that kind of misstep.

  20. I seriously considered packing it in after Let’s Kill Hitler. I hated everything in that episode and it looked to me as though Doctor Who was heading down a path that I just didn’t want to be apart of. On another note, I’m pretty concerned about Capaldi’s voice/accent. I’ve heard that a lot of American viewers had trouble understanding his first lines in Time of The Doctor. Do American viewers have the option for subtitles?

  21. As for a woman Doctor- let’s see how the change of Thor to a woman plays out – it could be an interesting precursor; if it goes well and is accepted, would this make a change to a female Doctor more likely?

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