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Actor Peter Capaldi stars as “Doctor Who." Capaldi has announced that the next season of the show will be his last. (Source: MovieStillsDB)

Actor Peter Capaldi announced on Jan. 30 that the next season of popular BBC series “Doctor Who” will be his last.

Capaldi’s departure may be a quarrelsome topic among American and British websites, but the concern of who will play The Doctor next is a more contentious subject.

“Doctor Who” is a British sci-fi television show about a quirky time-traveling character named The Doctor. The show began in 1963 and has had major success with American audiences as well as British viewers.

Since the show’s inception over 50 years ago, The Doctor has been played by 14 actors, including Sir John Hurt, who passed away on Jan. 25. The 14 actors have all been white men from the United Kingdom.

With the show’s source material emerging from time-travel and forward-thinking morals, some have asked, “Will the next Doctor be another white man?”

“Many fans are hoping that a more progressive choice be made for the next Doctor, meaning someone of color or and/or not a male,” wrote Kyle Anderson of pop-culture website The Nerdist. “Hell, the most diverse thing about the casting thus far is that a few of them have been Scottish and not
English.”

For several years now, some fans and cast members have expressed interest in the possibility of The Doctor being played by a female.

Even those who formerly played prominent roles on the show are chiming in with their opinion of casting the next Doctor.

Actress Billie Piper played the character Rose Tyler when the show’s resurgence premiered in 2005. “I think it would be great [to have a female Doctor], given the spirit of the world at the moment,” Piper told BBC News. “I think it would be timely.”

Jenna Coleman, who played character Clara Oswald on the show from 2012–2015, was asked at San Diego Comic Con about her thoughts on a female Doctor.

“I think it’s absolutely possible,” Coleman said at the convention. “There’s absolutely no reason
why not.”

Discussion of race and gender is not new to “Doctor Who.” In 2013, the long-time enemy of The Doctor, The Master, was revealed to have changed from usually being depicted by a man to now being portrayed by a woman.

Many science-fiction fans have watched “Doctor Who” over the series’ entire run and have seen several other racial and gender stereotypes
shattered.

The Doctor usually travels with a companion, almost always female, who helps The Doctor restore order to the universe. In the show’s black-and-white days, the companions were helpless, frail figures who depended on The Doctor for
protection.

As the show continued on into the 1970’s, the companions became fierce heroines who fought alongside The Doctor for intergalactic peace.

The companions have differed from white women to African-American women and even a robotic dog named K-9. They traveled with The Doctor in the TARDIS, a time-traveling spaceship in the shape of a British police box, and helped establish peace throughout the universe.

Until a new Doctor is announced, many Whovians will await the show’s decision on which actor will take on the role.

No matter who plays The Doctor, audiences seem to agree that the show’s moral theme will continue: Anyone, regardless of race or gender, can be a hero.

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