Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 7/9/17 12:08 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
I think it's a daring idea to write a comedy version of "Doctor Who" where the Doctor is kinda crap. Making the Doctor a woman is another daring idea. Those are two solid premises for an episode of "Doctor Who Unbound". Either premise could be developed into a very good story. But trying to do them both in the same story was a terrible mistake.
Imagine what this story might have been like with a male Doctor. He's living on Earth, but he's in hiding, trying to pass himself off as a human. He works at a Sainsbury's, he goes out to the pub with his mates, and generally behaves in a very un-Doctorish way. And the Time Lords are looking for him, and there's an alien plot to assassinate Princess Anne when she ceremonially opens the Sainsbury's car park. I think that's what this story was supposed to be like. I don't think that version of the story would be terribly good, but it wouldn't have been offensive.
Unfortunately, by doing all that and then also making the Doctor a woman, the story inevitably becomes (or at least is read as being) a commentary on gender politics in modern society. This story was never meant to be a commentary on gender politics, and if you try to read it that way, it's hugely offensive. In the male-version of the story, the Doctor is shit because he's getting drunk to avoid facing up to his situation. In the femaie version, the Doctor is shit because she's a woman, and the drinking is just a symptom. That was definitely not the intention, but that is absolutely how it comes across. And it doesn't help that the previous Doctor, a man, is totally disgusted that he has been replaced by a woman. And then throw in the idea that changing sex is a "punishment" for suicide. Everything about this story ends up pushing the idea that being a woman is either shameful or merely unfortunate.
And the tragedy of it is that Arabella Weir never gets the credit she deserves for being a very good Doctor.