DOCTOR Who has always been the most unpredictable show on television, and yet in casting a woman as the 13th Doctor it has gone and done something that is deeply predictable. So great was the sniping and complaining from some people about the Doctor always being a man, and so strong is the pressure for “diverse” casting in television, however stupid, that it was only a question of time before the producers gave into the pressure and cast a woman.

Jodie Whittaker may be perfectly fine in the role, who knows, but my concern is about what we have lost in casting a woman. There aren’t many places on television where boys can find a male hero who does not conform to all the usual, boring, violent, dumb male stereotypes. Now one of the few that did exist, the Doctor, has gone.

There is also no need for Doctor Who to prove its status as a promoter of equality and diversity. The show has pretty much been run by gay men for much of its time on television; its first producer was also a woman at a time when television was almost exclusively run by men; and the Doctor has always fought against the mantra of the Daleks and the Cybermen to conform or die. The programme has been a champion of difference and it did not need to go and do something as silly as casting a woman.

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Of course, I have to admit that, as a fan of Doctor Who at the height of its success in the 70s, I am resistant to change, but to me the decision to cast a woman looks like desperation rather than innovation. We are now a long way from the glory days of Russell T Davies and David Tennant when the show felt different to everything else on television. It has become tired, samey, confusing, and fewer people are watching, so what else could the incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall do but cast a woman? It's what happens when viewers are bored; the programme-makers try more and more desperately to attract their attention.

There is also a danger, particularly in a genre like science-fiction that is still mostly watched by men, that we start to see the male hero as a problem, as somehow conservative or regressive. But the Doctor as a man - an eccentric, courageous, intelligent man - was anything but. And remember this: boys need heroes too.