Did we need a female Doctor Who? Do we need a black Bond?
Can we start by saying Jodie Whittaker is a superb Doctor Who? We can? Great. Because she is.
The main priority in casting a new Doctor Who should be, “Who will be the best person for the job?” but the fact that up until now the people asking the question had seemingly forgotten to consider women for the role meant that a female Doctor was way overdue. However, nine episodes in to her first series, anyone who wants to argue that Jodie Whittaker’s appointment was in any way an exercise in politically correct box-ticking can pretty much fuck right off. She was, obviously, simply, the best person for the job. She’s bloody great.
But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that her appointment is the end of some long road to victory. Until there is, roughly, a fifty-fifty ratio of male to female writers and directors, of camera crew and prop department staff and special effects experts, we have still got a long way to go. This seems to be something that Chris Chibnall is aware of. His first season as show runner brought in new writers to the show which included Malorie Blackman and Joy Wilkinson, and Jennifer Perrott and Sallie Aprahamian directed two episodes each. Hopefully the next season will see another move toward equal representation behind the camera.
And let’s be honest, Doctor Who isn’t the only tv show that could do with a shake up. Yes there were twelve(ish) doctors before there was a female one, but what is the ratio of male to female led detective shows? Where do they find all the white guys to fill up all the panel shows? How many black or asian presenters of Saturday night game shows have we seen? Why did Benedict Wong and Daniel Kaluuya and Cush Jumbo move to America to get better roles?
And it is worth saying, in some ways Doctor Who has been ahead of the curve. Since the relaunch in 2005, Doctor Who has done as much as any other prime time drama in presenting the spectrum of human sexuality in a positive way. If you don’t think too hard about the whole paving slab thing. Which you should never ever do.
So what am I saying? Things are better than they are but there is still a long way to go. A female Doctor Who is a good start but we need more female leads, and we need more female writers and directors too. And we need more representation generally, for everyone and anyone, everywhere.
So am I totally well up for Idris Elba as Bond? Errrrr… Kind of. Kind of.
You see the problem with James Bond is: James Bond is a prick. I would much, much rather have any other Idris Elba vehicle being given the same shooting and advertising budgets as a Bond movie than an Idris Elba Bond movie. That way it wouldn’t be boring waste of time in the way that only Bond movies can be. I don’t want to watch Idris Elba doing a ski chase then saying something disrespectful to a Romanian swimwear model. I want him to be in something good. Bond movies have wasted most of Daniel Craig’s best years, why should they get to ruin Idris Elba too? Stop stealing actors, Bond movies.
I mean, yeah, if you are going to go all out, reinvent the format, do something interesting, cast Riz Ahmed as Bond, get Kathryn Bigelow as director, then consider my interest piqued. But if it is just another film about a man running around with a gun, doing a car chase or two, occasionally fucking around with a speed boat or a helicopter or whatever, then sleeping around a bit, I’m out. If your Bond movie is just another examination of what you guess Jeremy Clarkson would consider cool then it doesn’t matter a great deal if you hire Idris Elba, it is still going to suck. It is going to suck because it is a Bond film and all Bond films suck. Three hundred of them and nobody seems to have noticed yet, but they are all pretty much the same. Good theme songs now and again, but complete bollocks apart from that. Overlong watch adverts, the lot of them.
Having said all that, if they do cast Idris Elba as Bond then I will probably go and see it, you know, because it would have Idris Elba in it. What can I say? I’m a stupid fickle contrary bastard. Soz and that.