Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies explains David Tennant’s new regeneration outfit. Doctor Who has been a long-running hit series for the BBC since the show’s reboot in 2005, with actors including Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, and, most recently, Jodie Whittaker inhabiting the famous Time Lord. The character, known simply as “The Doctor”, experiences a “regeneration” every few years, which essentially means the character will be taken over by a new actor. Once the Doctor undergoes their physical transformation, they usually emerge wearing the same clothes of the character’s previous incarnation. However, in the recent special “The Power of the Doctor,” Whittaker regenerated into Tennant, and he was immediately shown wearing different clothes.
Davies now explains why Tennant’s Doctor regenerated wearing a new outfit in Doctor Who‘s Centenary Special. Tennant is officially returning as the Fourteenth Doctor after portraying the Tenth Doctor from 2005 to 2010. In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine (via Radio Times), Davies shares the reason for the breaking the show’s established rule was to avoid the problematic implications of showing Tennant in women’s clothing. He explains:
“I was very certain that I didn’t want David to appear in Jodie’s costume. I think the notion of men dressing in ‘women’s clothes’, the notion of drag, is very delicate. I’m a huge fan of that culture and the dignity of that, it’s truly a valuable thing.”But it has to be done with immense thought and respect. With respect to Jodie and her Doctor, I think it can look like mockery when a straight man wears her clothes. To put a great big six-foot Scotsman into them looks like we’re taking the mickey.”
Davies Is Making Strategic Choices With Relaunch
Davies originally was the Doctor Who showrunner from its reboot in 2005 until 2009. He has officially taken the reins again, and his delicate approach to Tennant’s return is a smart one. While Whittaker’s performance and the show’s production value during her 2018-2022 run have been praised, her tenure also received criticism, upsetting Doctor Who fans with its changes to the story’s lore and less-than-impressive writing. Many have suspected that sexism was at the root of the negative reception, but nevertheless, Doctor Who ratings have been at an all-time low.
In avoiding mockery or insensitivity from audiences and media towards a man in “drag”, Davies, who also wrote Queer as Folk for the BBC in 1999, is protecting the identities of women and drag performers as well as the future of the show itself. Davies has a good point in assuming that Tennant in Whittaker’s clothing could have a negative impact on any potential future female actors playing the role in the future. Doctor Who has created a perfect formula with its regeneration concept that allows it to go on forever and has maintained a tremendous ability to reinvent itself. It would be limiting to associate a female Doctor with degrading humor.
What We Know About David Tennant’s Doctor Who Future
The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine reveals many teasing details about Tennant’s involvement in the series next year. Tennant, who has been very prolific since his original tenure as the Doctor, appearing in Broadchurch, Jessica Jones and most recently Inside Man on Netflix, will appear in three 60th anniversary specials in 2023 before actor Ncuti Gatwa takes over as the Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who season 14. What’s more, BBC has begun a partnership with Disney+, which means Doctor Who is officially moving to the platform, and future seasons will benefit from much bigger budgets. With Davies running the show again and the returns of Tennant and The Office‘s Catherine Tate, who played popular sidekick Donna Noble in season 4, Davies’ 60th Anniversary Special is bound to excite Doctor Who fans.
Source: Doctor Who Magazine (via Radio Times)