OPINION: A female Doctor Who strikes a blow for little girls, and boys, everywhere

WHEN I was six, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a Jedi knight.

She told me that girls couldn’t be Jedis.

Joke’s on her – Star Wars brought us Rey in The Force Awakens and Ahsoka Tano in the TV series The Clone Wars.

I’ve loved science fiction for as long as I can remember.

But the genre has never been exactly overflowing with female role models.

Aside from Star Trek‘s Uhura, the fearsome Ripley in Alien, and The X Files‘ Dana Scully, the best it could offer were Princess Leia and the occasional companion on Doctor Who.

But my mum said Doctor Who was too scary for a six-year-old.

So during sleepovers at my Aunty’s I’d sit next to my Uncle and revel in screaming daleks, and sonic screwdrivers.

I’ve encouraged (forced) my own kids to enjoy sci-fi.

Thankfully for my 12-year-old daughter, shows like Firefly, Star Trek, The 100, Falling Skies and Stranger Things all feature fully realised female characters that pass the Bechdel test.

Before today’s announcement that the new Doctor Who is Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker, some fans were in a flap over the prospect of a female Doctor.

Twitter user @TechnicallyRon turned these comments into brilliantly suggested episode titles, including – ‘nobody wants a Tardis full of bras’ and ‘political correctness should not exist in space’.

But is it being politically correct to cast a character, who can regenerate into any sex, accent or nationality, as a woman?

Or is it just a natural progression?

I predict that Ms Whittaker will be subject to a level of criticism never directed towards companions like Amy Pond, Rose Tyler or Clara Oswald.

But she should ignore that, because finally we have a woman who isn’t a companion, she is the Doctor.

She is in control of her own destiny, she is the cleverest person in the galaxy and she’ll be saving Universes.

This is good for our sons as well as our daughters.

To them, the all-powerful Doctor has only ever be a man. But now they can see that a woman is capable of being more than a companion.

She doesn’t need saving, she isn’t a plot point, or a means to emotional catharsis.

She’s the Doctor.