- Transgender actress Yasmin Finney brings representation to Doctor Who, receiving praise for her role as the new character, Rose.
- Despite the positive reception, the BBC received 144 complaints about the “inappropriate inclusion” of a transgender character.
- The backlash highlights the challenges faced by TV shows in including diversity, but it won’t deter future efforts to bring representation to the forefront.
Doctor Who teased a new Rose ahead of the first David Tennant-starring 60th anniversary specials, and revealed early on that the new character with a familiar name would be played by transgender actress Yasmin Finney. While the inclusion of the character, who, like Finney is transgender and very central to the events of the episode entitled “The Star Beast,” was praised by many, the BBC revealed that not everyone was happy about Russell T Davies’ inclusive casting.
According to Deadline, Doctor Who’s return received 144 complaints specifically aimed at Finney’s Rose; not a huge number when considering the millions who tuned in to see Tennant reunite with Catherine Tate’s Donna, but significant for their content. As per the report, the complainants were unimpressed with Doctor Who having the “inappropriate inclusion of [a] transgender character.” Others cited the “anti-male” attitude of the character as the reason for their anger.
In “The Star Beast,” The Doctor and Donna face Beep the Meep, a creature that seems harmless enough at first, until its true nature is revealed, along with a plan to destroy the Earth. Well this is a Doctor Who adventure after all. Throughout the episode, Rose, the daughter of Donna, is seen being taunted for her gender, and her grandmother frequently struggles to note her correct gender. In true Russell T Davies style, the final act sees Rose’s non-binary gender identity playing a part in helping the Doctor and Donna defeat the Meep.
The complaints received by the BBC prove once again how hard it can be for a TV show or movie to include diversity in its casting and character decisions without drawing backlash from a small but vocal portion of the fan base. However, that will not prevent shows like Doctor Who from continuing to bring representation to the fore where possible in the future.
Doctor Who’s Yasmin Finney Shared Her Thoughts on the Show’s Inclusion.
Having already made a name for herself as part of the Netflix series Heartstopper, Yasmin Finney has certainly played her part in bringing trans representation to the small screen. Taking on a prominent role in a huge franchise like Doctor Who, Finney believes that her significant casting is something that is crucial for young members of the LGBTQ+ community to see. She told the BBC:
“It was so surreal to me, because obviously ‘Doctor Who’ is huge, and I remember watching ‘Doctor Who’ when I was growing up years ago, especially the bride episode, David Tennant and Catherine Tate. And I just felt, like, lucky enough to be seen as a trans person in something so huge as ‘Doctor Who,’ and I just felt lucky that like, I would be Catherine Tate’s daughter. In a way, that’s just insane, I mean, she’s an icon, and I love her. I think representation is so important, and if I had Rose growing up, it would be a completely different story, I think. I think representation is what we need and what the younger generation needs to feel like they can do it to. You know?”
It is unclear whether Finney’s Rose will return in any long-term capacity in Doctor Who’s new season, but there is little doubt that Russell T Davies will not shy away from continuing to be as inclusive of all genders, races and orientations where possible.
You can view the original article HERE.