On Sunday, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker will become the first woman to take on the role of the Doctor on the long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who. The backlash from small-minded trolls upset that a woman would be playing a role originated by men was swift, vehement and absurd. One typical response from a fan named Jamie Ghis (who's verified on Twitter for some mysterious reason) reads "Imagine one of your favourite shows but with someone of the opposite gender playing your favourite character(s). Hell." (Funny, my version of Hell is reading tweets from numbskulls like Jamie Ghis for eternity.)
Anyway, the BBC's complaints department responded to the backlash with a statement in which you can practically see the corporation's collective eyeroll. Imagine that this starts with a big sigh:
Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.
The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.
As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.
We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.
I would like to emphasize: "The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender."
When you get mad about sci-fi or fantasy characters not being the right gender or race or whatever, you sound like a ding-dong. This ain't historical fiction (and even then a little flexibility never hurt anybody).
Of course, the BBC can really only take the high road here if they pay Whittaker as much as they paid Peter Capaldi, which their track record indicates they will not. Now's their chance to put their money where their mouth is.