So you might be wondering why a Dane cares about Dr Who? It could be that I like a sci-fi drama. It could be because I want to learn about the cultural heritage that is my son’s. To be honest, before moving here I had never heard of the show. I didn’t know that the actor playing the main character changes every two, four, six etc. years. I tried to watch a few episodes but quickly decided it was not for me.
Why are you writing about it here then, you’re probably thinking now? Because from a professional point of view the latest announcement that the new Dr Who will be played by Jodie Whittaker is important. Not only to me but to hundreds of actors around the country. You see the acting industry is a hard one to crack at the best of times. But if you carry the double X chromosomes it’s even more difficult.
Did you know that there is a 70-30% split of roles for men versus roles for women? Yet every year more or less the same amount of actors of each sex enter this amazing, yet also overwhelming artistic path. Just think about that for a moment… If you are a woman you are up against the same about of people but for 40% fewer parts than your male friends in the industry. I won’t even start on what happens to that number as actresses get older.
Just look at this infographic published by the New York Film Academy a few years ago:
THE TRUE IMPORTANCE OF A FEMALE DR WHO
This is why the next Dr Who being a woman is important! To me and to many other fellow actors out there. Not because the BBC is being politically correct, as some have suggested (read: accused them of) by making this decision. Not from a feminist perspective (though of course, she can play this character as well as any man!) No, because it is simply not fair that in a world of equal (if not more?) women to men our gender is not represented properly in storytelling and women working in theatre, film and TV deserve more opportunities. It is time for change!
I took a break from the industry when I fell pregnant with Caspian because not only is it a difficult and competitive place when you are young and without a family to care for, it is an almost impossible task to balance motherhood and a career (especially in theatre where I primarily worked) without a very strong network as there is limited help when it comes to things like childcare, sick pay, security etc.
I do love that we are seeing more female led shows, more films starring women and that classics are being remade with roles now played by ladies. It gives me hope that I can return to acting even after a few years’ break and still find work.
What are your thoughts on the new Dr Who casting?