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Doctor Who: Back in Black?

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With the 11th Doctor Matt Smith's replacement looking increasingly likely to be another white bloke it feels like a slight letdown after wild speculation about Helen Mirren and Miranda Hart.

It was always unlikely to be anyone of that high a profile, whether male or female, but I can't help feeling disappointed that show runner Steven Moffat hasn't chosen to shake things up little.

I'm not so concerned with the sense of continuity, although after eleven flips of the gender coin it seems strange that the Timelord only grew boobs on the twelfth attempt, unless you count Colin Baker.

What is far more important is that the Doctor remains a British archetype rather than conform to any preconceived physical form. He has been many shades of British eccentric; a tea drinking, jelly baby munching dandy, draped in cricket whites, tweeds and Edwardian velvet.

Perhaps this time, on the basis of a fairly representative one in 12 chance, the Doctor could regenerate as a Black or Asian British archetype. If you can't imagine an Asian Doctor then you clearly have never used the NHS.

Personally I favour a man with the presence of Don Warrington (or just Don Warrington), a figure who could embody the Windrush Generation, dressed Zoot Suit and trilby with a time faded West Indian accent.

A cricket nut with a bat strapped to his back should the chance of game arise or just the need to smash up some Dalek technology. Yes it's a stereotype, but no less than Christopher Ecelston's gruff talking northern Timelord.

The revived series has been a mixed bag when it comes to representing contemporary Britain with the dreary Martha and Mickey dragging on whilst the excellent Amara Karan and Yasmin Bannerman were killed off far too early.

These examples get to the core of the Doctor dilemma, a well-cast and well-written character is far more important than ethnicity or gender. Colour-blind casting is an important part of breaking down barriers, developing talent and challenging perceptions but more importantly would allow for a Doctor by merit not by preconception.

I've argued before that this time traveller's story is in fact the story of post-war Britain and on this basis gender and race are clearly part of that narrative. What I would find inconceivable is if the Doctor turned up as an All American Quarterback or Crocodile Dundee figure, now that really would political correctness gone mad*.

*trademarked of the Daily Express.

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