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Jul 24, 2017

On the forty-eighth edition of Reality Bomb, we have our biggest episode yet as Sage Young, Petra Mayer and Angelique Roche welcome Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor. We then talk with author Paul Condon about Jodie Whittaker's career highlights. And we talk about what it means to have a woman Doctor -- before and after the announcement of the new Doctor -- as we revisit the very first Reality Bomb segment from episode 001 with Lori Steuart, Felicity Brown and Heather Berberet. Also, author and BBC Radio presenter Matthew Sweet discusses the joys of the 1965 Dalek story The Chase in the Gallery of the Underrated. Plus: do you have feels about this season's finale? Help is here for you!

three and a half weeks ago

I am unbelievably excited to have a woman in the role of the doctor, but I was not particularly surprised by the announcement. Looking back at Capaldi’s run – in particular, his final season and the finale – the amount of conscious preparation Moffat put in to ensure a smooth transition from Twelve presenting as male to Thirteen presenting as female is pretty massive. However, I cannot help but see this regeneration as a failure as well. We’ve achieved this step forward by once again leaving behind women and men of colour. Britishness – because for all The Doctor is an alien rhetoric, the role is ultimately a seminal British icon – continues to be associated with whiteness. I could probably talk a lot about the implications of that, about colonialism and historical whitewashing and how the Britain of today is more multi-cultural than ever and this casting doesn’t represent that. But at the end of the day, I think the BBC did make a safe choice by rolling with the firmly established sci-fi movement of white leading ladies rather than cast a woman of colour.

And the reasoning behind that decision is stained with generations of systemic racism that all of us white liberal feminist men and women aren’t questioning because guess what, we’re kind of racist too. Yes, you have black friends and donate to the ACLU and believe that Black Lives Matter but it didn’t bother you that Star Wars’ most diverse film was also the one where they killed every single character because canon. And it’s okay that this show isn’t led by a black woman because the next one will be. Or the next one. Or the next one. And really, we should be happy that we’re making gains at all. Willful ignorance to the status quo – when the status quo excludes whole groups a presence – is racism, it’s just the subtle kind that’s easy to ignore in yourself.