Sylvester McCoy blames ‘stupid sexism’ for concerns about female Doctor Who

Former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy has said “stupid sexism” was to blame for his concerns about Jodie Whittaker taking on the role of the Time Lord.

The Scottish, actor, who played the seventh incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running science fiction television series from 1987 to 1989, before a brief return in 1996, said he had not been sure about the Broadchurch actor taking over from Peter Capaldi when it was first announced.

He told the Radio Times: “It was stupid sexism. In a way. I thought, ‘Why change it?’

Doctor Who
Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor (Henrik Knudson/BBC/PA)

“But after five minutes she was the Doctor, as far as I was concerned.

“My only criticism now is the overuse of the sonic screwdriver; it makes it too easy for the Doctor to get out of trouble.

“I didn’t have one – I only had an umbrella – which is maybe why I’m not so keen on it!”

Addressing rumours that Whittaker is set to leave the show after the next series, and contemplating who should replace her, he said: “I’m always surprised by who they pick. It has to be someone with lots of character.

“It can’t be someone bland and beautiful, rather handsome and characterful. I was surprised when they got Matt Smith. He looked about 12, and yet he was brilliant!

Doctor Who
Matt Smith as the Doctor (Adrian Rogers/BBC/PA)

“One minute he looks 12, the next he looks 125. He has the perfect Doctor Who face. So, a surprise. A person of colour would be great.”

Discussing his own legacy as the Doctor, he said: “Some actors try to get away from Doctor Who once they’ve left. But you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well embrace it.

“You know, the money was terrible at the BBC in those days. I complained about it to someone and it became a tabloid headline: ‘Doctor Who complains about his wages.’

“A little later, the producer’s boyfriend came up to me and said, ‘The money’s not good, but think of it as fat dripping off a pig.’ He wasn’t wrong; it’s been dripping ever since.”

(Radio Times/PA)
(Radio Times/PA)

The full interview is in the Radio Times, out now.