‘Doctor Who’ continues gender course correction, hires first female writer in years
There has been a rising tide of backlash against sci-fi favorite “Doctor Who” for years now. Complaints have centered around the show ostensibly being about the journeys of female companions, yet with little to no actual women with boots on the ground in production. This leads to all kinds of problems, the least of which is sexist comments by showrunner Steven Moffat about the roles of women as characters and fans.
When you’ve got Neil Gaiman nicely pointing out the skewed gender dynamics behind the camera, you know you’ve reached backlash zeitgeist.
With that in mind, CultBox announced Catherine Tregenna has been hired by “Doctor Who” to write an episode for Series 9. This makes Tregenna first female writer on the show in six years, and the first period during Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. Her writing credentials are impeccable. Tregenna’s most instantly recognizable credit to Americans audiences will be her work on for “Torchwood.”
Perhaps this announcement shouldn't be a surprise. A show as massive as “Doctor Who,” is slow to change direction. Yet signs of movement towards a brighter tomorrow — one where 51% of the world’s population wasn’t regulated to companions or femme fatales — began with Series 8. Shedding her MacGuffin status, Clara turned out to have a personality of steel under that bubbly exterior, giving Twelve what for and winking at the female tropes. The Doctor himself removed “companion” from the lexicon. Hell, the reveal of Missy was even tacit backtracking on the stance that Time Lords are gender binary.
Behind the scenes, Rachel Talalay was brought on board to direct two episodes of Series 8 — “Dark Water” and “Death In Heaven” — making her the first female director on the show since 2010.
While we don’t yet know which episode Tregenna will pen, we can hope her addition to the writer’s pool will wedge open the door for more talented women.