Breaking into the boy’s club: Doctor Who and the gendering of TV production

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


The notion of authorship in the new Doctor Who is tied up with the current marketplace, the reach of a global transmedia brand, the reputation of the BBC and—inevitably—the status and personae of those seen to be in creative control of the series. TV authorship now consists of, as Jonathan Gray terms it ‘the author function as a discursive entity’ which is ‘used by the industry to communicate messages about these texts to audiences’ (2010, 113). This paper examines such mobilisation and the ‘messages’ it conveys in relation to a range of personnel associated with post-2005 Doctor Who. Current showrunner Steven Moffat has increasingly been publicly criticised for not doing more to include women writers and directors during his tenure as showrunner. This paper therefore examines the role of female writers, directors, producers and executives on the series, looking at gendered constructions of key roles (and their specific relation to fandom in the post-2005 series), and at the way the recent production history of the series has persistently sidelined women in favour of ‘fanboy’ creatives. This is especially interesting in terms of the publicity surrounding the appointment of female writers and directors for 2015’s season 9, clearly in response to criticism. Doctor Who is a high profile example indicative of well-documented gender inequalities in the UK television industry and of the way the industry seems slow to address such inequalities.
Period19 May 2016
Event titleDoing Women’s Film and Television History III: Structures of Feeling
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • Gender
  • Doctor Who
  • UK television industry
  • screenwriting
  • directing
  • showrunning