Casual Queerness and Desire Lines in Doctor Who

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Season 11 of post-2005 Doctor Who brought not only the first female Doctor, but also episodes featuring Rosa Parks, a pregnant man, a British Asian female companion discovering her grandmother's history, the Doctor wearing rainbows, as well as the first episode with both a female writer and a female director since the 1980s (11.8). Diversity of all kinds was highlighted in the publicity before, and during, the season's run, and the series featured in a BBC trailer for new drama titled ‘welcome to the revolution’. The opening episode of season 11 was stuffed full of statements of intent. Yet, as I noted in a blog for CST following 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth,' sustaining and exploring diversity in the complex and satisfying ways now expected by viewers of serial drama on TV is tricky. This chapter explores how introducing, and then developing, the Doctor as (nominally) female has repercussions for queering all identities represented in the series, and serves to unsettle dynamics established by the first 10 seasons, not least the presence of heterosexual romance (unrequited longing) within the TARDIS. Some of this queering is not overt, such as Thasmin, while other elements (like Alan Cumming's camp King James, or the multiple versions of family shown) announce themselves gleefully. The ‘Chibnall era’ is using the genre strategies of science fiction, if not always entirely effectively, to defamiliarise the familiar and to normalise the novel.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDoctor Who - New Dawn
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on the Jodie Whittaker era
EditorsBrigid Cherry, Matthew Hills, Andrew O'Day
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
ISBN (Print) 978-1-5261-5187-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Science Fiction
  • queerbaiting
  • queer theory
  • television industry
  • television studies
  • diversity


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