As a Doctor Who fan, I get asked “I bet you’d love to be a companion, wouldn’t you?” And I always pause. Because, wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t I love to find that beautiful blue box? To step inside and discover it’s far bigger than it let’s on from the outside? To be able to go anywhere and everywhere in time and space? To live my life as a series of heroic adventures with interesting people and wonderful aliens? Wouldn’t I?
Well, I would like all that, but…no. As wonderful, amazing, and unique as the companions can be, I don’t want to be a companion. I want to be the Doctor. That’s who I relate to. No matter the actor in the role. And to be honest, it never occurred to me that there was any problem with that. I never thought, just because I’d never seen a woman play the Doctor onscreen, that I was any less Doctor. Some people are just Doctors. We know who we are.
So, it was no big deal to me when they announced the identity of the new Doctor, and I found out it was a woman, right? WRONG. A woman Doctor finally seeing a woman Doctor is a magical and emotional experience. It’s rather like having a mirror held up and realizing what you really look like. And liking what you see. This was how I learned about my new identity.
The night before the announcement video went out, I did the math and figured the news would be released at around 9:30 a.m. my time. When I woke up at 8:15 the next morning (I had to get to a podcast recording) and discovered the tennis match was over (more than an hour early), but the Doctor wasn’t revealed yet, I was suddenly very nervous.
At last, the video was posted online and with a shaky hand, I hit “play.” The slow build up drove me mad with nerves. Then, we see a close up of a hand. But whose hand? Then…an eye. It was hard to tell from the hand, but that was a woman’s eye, I wouldn’t let myself believe it before (didn’t want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed), but it must be. I’m not sure if my heart stopped or was beating so fast I couldn’t feel it anymore. My extremities were useless in that moment. My eyes were blurred with tears. And then. There she was. The Doctor. And the TARDIS had come to her.
It was a woman Doctor. It was a me! I had never actually seen one in an official capacity like that (no one had). And it was someone who’s face I knew 2 and a half seasons into Broadchurch. I’m just waiting for BBC America to air the rest. But I also recognized her because she’s the Doctor. I always recognize my Doctor.
And I know I’m not the only one. We are an army of Doctors. And we’ve found that beautiful blue box. We’re getting ready to step inside and discover it’s far bigger than it let’s on from the outside. And we’re ready to go anywhere and everywhere in time and space. To live our lives as a series of heroic adventures with interesting people and wonderful aliens. We just don’t need to be companions. We’re already the Doctor.