The Doctor character in the BBC’s Doctor Who has successfully changed sex. Well you can do these things as a Time Lord (but not if you are an Earth-bound spy called James Bond as some too pro-diversity types are also advocating). And pretty good Jodie Whittaker is too in the Doctor role – with her Christopher Ecclestone-like Northern English tones and quirkily stroppy attitude. She took over from the excellent, if traditional, male and pale Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Aided and abetted by new sidekicks including comedian/actor/compere Bradley Walsh, she boldly ventures forth. Actually, there are perhaps too many English accents on this sci-fi show…in the name of being pro-diversity, the odd French, American or Indian accent would not go amiss.

New Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker (centre) with her sidekicks (left to right) Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh and Sharon D Clarke. Courtesy: BBC

At least the script appears to be a bit more intelligible and smoother flowing than episodes have been in the recent past. One began to wonder if seven to nine year olds (the show’s target audience) really could track what was going on. While the CGI effects and production values are so much better than the wonky sets than that Dr Who series of the 1970s, that era’s easy-to-understand yet clever storylines and character actors including Tom Baker, John Pertwee et al are yet to be bettered.  Still, the new version can be genuinely scary – the last episode had strangulating scarves, and dangerous-looking adversary robots with laser guns. Mind you, their aim was appalling. The Daleks, which our Jodie will no doubt have to face at some point, will be much better shots.

Update 22 October 2018: Having previously been criticised over a too pro-diversity attempt at rewriting history (the Dr Who episode in question had a British soldier of Afro-Caribbean descent fighting the Zulus which never actually happened) the producers of the BBC production have again come under fire, this time for a clumsily told, if well meaning, attempt to educate the young about the evil of racism. The successive episode to the one mentioned above had the Doctor and her team travelling back to the 1950s Alabama, USA to witness what Rosa Parks et al had to suffer in the racially segregated Southern states. While it did face accusations of being “preachy”, most of the moans about the episode were over its lack of historical accuracy and excitement rather than over the scenario itself. As it was, many fans said they liked the episode. While this was the first official Dr Who jab against racism, in fact the Doctor’s primary foe, the Daleks, were always meant to be an allegory of the Nazis with their evil ideas of racial superiority and repression.