A recent study by Directors UK reports that women directed none of last season’s Doctor Who episodes. This is not entirely shocking news. After all, men tend to dominate the directing sphere. Kathryn Bigelow was, famously, the first (and thus far, only) woman to win and Oscar for directing The Hurt Locker… and that was in 2009. Not like, 1951.
Still, does it matter? We want the best, most capable people directing our beloved Doctor Who. Who cares if most, or all, of the show’s directors are men?
The answer lies inherent in the question. By saying that only the best, most capable people were selected (who all happened to be men), we are suggesting that there were no women who were as good or capable as the men selected. Therefore, the trend suggests that women directors are less good and capable… which we do not believe. Right?
We’re not about to boycott one of our favorite shows. Or even suggest it. That would be blasphemy.
After all, plenty of shows are not only directed by men, but also written by, produced by, and starring them. Let’s not pretend Doctor Who is the first (or last) show to experience this problem. Nor can we expect Doctor Who to fix a trend that is decades (if not centuries) in the making.
But, we should let Doctor Who producers know we expect more from one of the smartest, coolest, nerdiest, and most progressive shows on TV.
Likely this comes down to a blend of:
- (1) there being more male than female directors out there,
- (2) Doctor Who having perhaps a disproportionately larger male vs. female audience (questionable, but possible), and
- (3) coincidence.
By letting producers know these stats disappoint us, it puts gender diversity on the list of “things to consider when picking next season’s directors.”
What do you think? Should we care that all of the episodes were directed by men? What should Dr. Who producers do, if anything?