A Newcastle MP has praised the new female incarnation of Doctor Who, saying that giving the iconic role to a woman could encourage more girls to take up science. 

The Labour MP for Newcastle Central, Chi Onwurah, said she had taken note of the reaction to the airing of a trailer on Sunday that revealed the latest Doctor was Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker.

Ms Whittaker will play the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who. It will be the first time the Doctor has been a woman. 

Chi Onwurah said, “I want positive role models for women and girls, but I’m not sure if being a timelord is something attainable for most girls. I thought I wasn’t particularly bothered about it, but that changed when I saw the trailer.”

“Dr Who is an iconic person and having that embodied by a woman is incredibly powerful.”

“The reaction has made me realise how important it is. Some people are objecting to it not being realistic – as if being a woman could be the most unbelievable thing about the Doctor.”

The reactions to the announcement of a female Doctor have been mixed. Prime Minister Theresa May has welcomed the news while former Doctor Colin Baker said he was “over the moon that at last we have a female lead.”

Fans have viewed the clip revealing the Doctor’s identity over 16 million times online.  

While there have been many positive comments on social media, others have insisted that the part of Doctor Who was designed for a man, that the decision is “political correctness gone mad” and even that the new Doctor may have problems “parking the Tardis”. 

The controller of BBC drama, Piers Wenger, said, “To see the overwhelmingly positive response to the news that Jodie Whittaker will star as the 13th Doctor, and to know that the reveal has had 16 million views online so far is just incredible.”

Jodie Whittaker has told Doctor Who fans not to “be scared of my gender” saying, “Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

Chi Onwurah said that Tom Baker had been her favourite Doctor Who until now, but “I feel sure Jodie Whittaker is going to be my new favourite.”

“Also, I do think she will help attract more girls to science.”

(Featured image courtesy of Daniel Rhen, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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