John Barrowman is all about pushing boundaries and that’s what made him so perfect as Captain Jack on Doctor Who. Now that the Doctor has been a woman, Barrowman thinks the franchise should make another boundary-pushing jump by casting a trans Doctor in the future.
During an interview with Metro, Barrowman offered his thoughts on who should replace Jodie Whittaker during the Doctor’s next regeneration. “I’d love to see a transgender Doctor. I think that would be awesome,” he said, adding that it would be “really good” to see an “androgynous, gender non-specific person” in the role.
John Barrowman says it’s time for a transgender Doctor on Doctor Who
Barrowman has been part of the Doctor Who family since it returned to the air in 2005 and his character, Captain Jack, was a huge step forward for representation on the show. “He didn’t care who he slept with really, and he was unapologetic about his sexuality.” He noted that Captain Jack was known on set as being “omnisexual”, a fitting term for an omniscient character like Captain Jack.
Since 2005 there have been several key moments for inclusion and diversity on the show, including the decision to hire Whittaker as the first female Doctor. “They made a huge leap and it worked for them,” Barrowman continued, “and then [it’s] time for them to make another leap.”
The timing of Barrowman’s thoughts isn’t random. Whittaker is set to star in season 13, which is due later this year, and season 13 marks her third year as the Doctor. In recent years, many beloved Doctors have regenerated (i.e. turned into new versions of themselves) after three seasons with the show.
Whether Whittaker leaves the show or not is a moot point because dreamcasting new Doctors is a national pastime for fans who have come to see regenerations as event television. Showrunners will certainly have big shoes to fill when casting the next Doctor, whenever the time comes.