Friday, 21 July 2017

Dr Who and the BBC - oh and gender equality

So the BBC is in hot water over giving the Dr Who job to a woman, 

well it seems to have its supporters too but lots of diehard complainers. They're also getting a tough time about having all their top personality spots filled by males and the pay inequalities between genders.
Now I am firmly in favour of everyone getting equal treatment and remuneration, based on talent not cronyism and certainly not gender bias, but I'm sure the 'political correctness machine' has gone mad sometimes and organisations, employers, boards of governors etc feel pressured to act in certain ways just to appease the idiot politicians who dream up the rules. Even if it might mean making appointments which aren't appropriate, as long as they tick the boxes.
I was talking with Linda from across the road about it the other day when P came home. He caught what we were talking about and muttered 'disgusting' then went into the kitchen to find a biscuit. He came back and I asked him what he meant. He said, "Only joking, you were talking about Dr Who I believe, I think a woman in the role is ok actually and I say that as one who has watched it on and off since a kid. But that doesn't mean I think women should automatically be considered for all roles just because of equal rights. They should only be considered if the integrity of the character in the story as conceived by its author is maintained."
I told him that was a mouth full. Linda nodded and asked him to translate, I wished I'd said that.
He said, "Well for instance I don't think they should consider a woman James Bond because it isn't in keeping with Ian Fleming's story, it was written at a certain time and shouldn't be meddled with. But the Doctor is different because his 'story' allows for him to regenerate in different guises so why shouldn't one be a woman."
Linda argued, "But there were women spies and are now, why not have a female Bond?"
"Not the same circumstances," maintained my husband. "They can't just go re-writing the works of internationally acclaimed authors to pander to current political correctness. I mean why not re-make Moby Dick next time with a woman at the helm, or Jane Eyre with a man in the part or any number of Shakespeare's characters with genders transposed? It's just not on." Then he raised his eyebrows and smiled at Linda as if to say he rested his case, then he turned and went upstairs without giving either of us a chance to respond.
"He's not really a chauvinist," I assured Linda with a smile. I think she knew, she's known us long enough, P does have an annoyingly crisp way of saying things sometimes though.
At least we all agreed on Dr Who.

Have a fun weekend.


Simon said...

I think a lady Dr is a great idea but I would point out that the James Bond in the films has always been a very different character to the Bond in the books who was a snobbish, sadistic xenophobe. Sean Connery's Bond was closest to the character in the books but even he was considerably softened for the films. There have been sex change Shakespeare stories, a female Prospero(Helen Mirren) and several female Hamlets. Moby Dick has been adapted as science fiction and other genres and some of these films didn't even feature a whale so there is no reason why the Captain couldn't be changed to a woman. Basically films and television have always taken considerable liberties with their source material so changing the sex of a major character isn't that big a leap.

Roz said...

Hi Hermione, the world has gone far too PC mad IMO. I'm with P on Bond.


Leigh Smith said...

I can't imagine a female Bond - a character like that but not with the name. After all Halle Barry pretty much kept up with JB in one of the movies.

Hands63 said...

All this PC nonsense is out of control. Leave well enough alone. I can't comment on Dr.Who as I have never seen an episode in all the years it's been on. On this side of the pond it's on quite a bit. But, as a Star Trek fan I'm still disturbed that they had to incorporate the new Sulu character as a gay man. Why?
Just to satisfy the PC nation of today.
Same principle applies to remaking shows of yesteryear with all black casts. Why?
When will it all stop?

Rosie Jones said...

Will the new Doctor Who be a Time Lady?
Rosie xx

ronnie said...

Simon - Thanks and you certainly know your movies and literature! I think my husband's basic point was that an authors' work shouldn't be meddled with just to satisfy political correctness of the day.

Roz - My opinion as well. Thanks.

SG - It wouldn't be the same. Thanks.

Hands -Out of control indeed. I didn't know that the new Sulu as a gay man. Thanks.

Rosie - Good question and one I asked P. Will be interesting. To be honest I don't watch it now. Thanks.


Hermione said...

"any number of Shakespeare's characters with genders transposed" I thought that was interesting as, in Shakespeare's day, female roles were always played by men or boys.

I listened to a debate over the female Dr. Who this morning on Frank Skinner's show on Absolute 60s (an internet radio station from London). I have never watched Dr. Who but think it's probably suitable to have a woman play this mercurial role, since the actor playing the Doctor changes frequently anyway.


Ella said...

When I think about politically correct questions like these, I have to admit to sounding a little stodgy. Having attended some English classes where Shakespeare and other authors were shoved down my throat with the goal of revisionist interpretation, I strictly refuse to attend any such productions. However, I do love to see how different actors play the same character.

So Ella Says

Red said...

Really a thought provoking idea, and I compliment the Dr. Who team for taking this brave step forward. My initial reaction was the same as P, but then I ask myself if I am just getting OLD! Where is the young guy who was at Woodstock, wore long hair, had a beard!
In our fantasy world of tv and movies, why should almost every lead be a male. Wonder Woman was a wonderful movie, and exceptionally positive for both girls and boys, besides adults. It is wonderful for young boys to see a woman as a leader and someone who wins, (much better than margaret Thatcher)
It took me a couple of days to reply to this, and yes, as the actor in the original Star Trek, George Takei is gay, why not the character Sulu. Why not a Jamie (or Janine) Bond, who has men chasing her, but unfortunately the man dies, and thus Jamie can have a new boyfriend in the next movie.
STEROTYPES be DAMNED! I even know men who are spanked, not just women.
bottoms up

Red said...

PS: I watch Dr. Who regularly.

Simon said...

I have noticed that people nearly always use the term "Political Correctness" in a sarcastic or disparaging way. I agree that sometimes it can appear ridiculous but I'm old enough to remember what things were like before we became more sensitive to language etc. I'm disabled and the terms that even polite people commonly used to describe the disabled in those days are now almost totally unacceptable thankfully. Similarly think of the numerous terms used to describe people from other ethnic groups which these days would be greeted with absolute horror which were in those days even used on television including children's tv. Women were similarly disparaged and referred to in offensive terms. I think what I'm trying to say is that before you decry political correctness you should consider why it was considered necessary and be thankful for the changes it has brought about.

ronnie said...

Hermione - I am totally happy that a women has been chosen as Dr Who, a long time coming. Thanks.

Ella - I know what you mean, I didn't like when we had to do Shakespeare at school but I don't mind going to see some plays. Thanks.

Red - Every lead shouldn't be a male, there are some wonderful female actors out there. P's basic point was that in his opinion an authors' work shouldn't be meddled with to suit the mood of the day. I haven't watched Dr Who for a while. Thanks.

Simon - I agree society has made a lot of changes for the better and totally approve. Political correctness' (sorry but it's the easiest way of saying it) can swing too far the other way in some cases and some people jump on it just to bolster their ratings or get them a vote, not genuine, I don't like those types. Just my opinion.

Thank you all for your comments on this gender business which has certainly provoked comment and points of view and I can relate to all of them. It was my husband's offhand opinion that started it all. What he was saying was that he doesn't believe an author's work should be tampered with just to suit the mood of the day. He doesn't mind women acting as men or men acting as women, he's got no problem with it at all, the first theatre he ever attended way back as a child was Dick Whittigton and yes you guessed it Dick was played by a girl.......but they hadn't tried to change the story, the story was still about Dick - male - but played by a girl. Fine. But re-writing stuff is a no-go, at least for P.


Katie said...

Hi Ronnie, :)

I think that I understand P's point here, and agree. When a certain character is an established part of a novel, or series of the same, changing the gender of the character in order to be politically correct, seems to undermine the stories as they were. There is nothing worse than going to the movies, after having read a book, and seeing a leading role being played by someone who does not match up with that of the book. A female Bond would be hard to wrap my head around.

On the other hand, a character like Dr. Who, played by a female, would be an interesting twist. That show has the flexibility, so to speak to invite such a change, IMHO. I think that that would be cool!

In this day and age, I often feel like a big deal is made out of every little thing, in the name of PC. I appreciate the simpler days of growing up when I did. Interesting post to think about. Thanks, Ronnie! Many hugs,

<3 Katie

ronnie said...

Katie - Yes you get it right that's what he was saying. No female Bond for me but yes a female playing The Doctor is cool and will be very interesting to see how she plays it. Thanks.