Thursday 23 November 2023

Look Who's 60: Part 3

Here are the final 20 names in my list of lgbt+ contributors to the “Doctor Who” franchise.

41) Scott Handcock (b.1984). Writer, director and producer. Handcock began as a Production Runner of the “Doctor Who Confidential” behind-the-scenes series (2007-8), then as Production Secretary on the series proper from “A Christmas Carol” (2010) to “The Wedding of River Song” (2011). He directed all of the Big Finish audio adventures of the spin-off series “Class” (see Patrick Ness, no.50 below). During the covid pandemic lockdown Handcock was an audio editor on the “Doctor Who Lockdown! Doctors Assembled” webcast. In 2022 Handcock joined Bad Wolf, the production company making the 2024 series onwards, as Script Editor. He also created and hosted the lgbt+ podcast “From Queer to Eternity” in which he interviewed several people who have worked on the “Doctor Who” franchise.

42) Ryan Sampson (b.1985). Actor. Played the young prodigy Luke Rattigan in the 2-part story “The Sontaran Stratagem” and “The Poison Sky” (2008). He has also played other characters in a handful of Big Finish audio adventures.

43) Gino Gamecho (b.1988). Actor (now Gino Fetscher). While studying at Cardiff University Gamecho played one of the acolytes of Luke Rattigan (see Ryan Sampson, no.42) in “The Sontaran Stratagem” and “The Poison Sky”, and later had a bit part in “The Doctor’s Daughter” (2008). Eight months after filming was completed in 2007 Dino was voted Mr. Gay UK 2008.

44) David Ames (b.1983). Actor. Appeared in the only “Doctor Who” Easter special, “Planet of the Dead” (2009). He went on to play other characters for several Big Finish audio adventures.

45) Ian Gelder (b.1949). Actor. Played Mr. Dekker throughout the “Torchwood” series “Children of Earth” (2009). In “Doctor Who” he appeared in “Can You Hear Me?” (2020), and voiced the Remnants, floating cloth-like beings, in “The Ghost Monument” (2018).

46) Peter Hoar (b.1969). Director of “A Good Man Goes to War” (2011). He is scheduled to direct at least one episode in the 2025 series.

47) Sir Ian McKellen (b.1939). Actor and lgbt+ icon. Voiced the Great Intelligence in the 2012 Christmas Special “The Snowmen”.

48) Bethany Black (b.1978). Actor. The first out transgender actor in “Doctor Who”. She played a genetically created human called 474 in “Sleep No More” (2015).

49) Christel Dee (b.1992). Founder and presenter of “Doctor Who: The Fan Show” on the “Doctor Who” YouTube channel 2015-19. In series 4 (2017) she hosted the discussion “Lgbtq in the Worlds of Doctor Who” (shown below), which included Waris Hussein (no.1 on this list).

50) Patrick Ness (b.1971). Creator, writer, and executive producer of the failed (so bad that it wasn’t even good) “Doctor Who” spin-off series “Class” (2016).

51) Juno Dawson (b.1981). Writer. The first out transgender writer for the Big Finish audio adventures, starting from 2017. She was also scheduled to write episodes for the cancelled series 2 of the spin-off “Class”. Dawson wrote the first new adventure novel of Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor. She was the lead writer of “Doctor Who: Redacted”, an audio serial broadcast by BBC Sounds in 2022.

52) Pearl Mackie (b.1987). Actor. Played Bill Potts, the Doctor’s first out lesbian companion during season 10 of the revival era (2017).

53) Rebecca Root (b.1969). Actor. Out transgender actor who has appeared in three Big Finish audio adventures (2017-20).

54) Alan Cumming (b.1965). Actor. Played the gay King James I of Great Britain in “Witchfinder” (2018). Despite being Scottish, as was King James, Cumming didn’t speak with a Scottish accent, but one which was very strange and laughable.

55) Alan Flanagan. Writer of two Big Finish audio adventures (2018 and 2020). He has also appeared as a contestant on the popular BBC quiz show “Only Connect” (2020-21) in which he mentioned his connection to “Doctor Who”.

56) Roberta Ingranata (b.1986). Artist for nine “Doctor Who” comic books published by Titan Comics (2019-23), including installments of the multi-media series “Doom’s Day” (2023).

57) Jasmin Finney (b.2003). Actor.  The second out transgender actor to play a major character in the television series (the other being Bethany Black, no.48 above). She will be introduced in the 60th anniversary specials to be broadcast from this coming Saturday, playing Rose Noble, daughter of the Doctor’s former companion Donna in “The Star Beast” (2023) (see also Miriam Margolyes, no.59 below). Russell T. Davies (no.37 in the previous list) has hinted that the character may return in future episodes.

58) Miriam Margolyes (b.1941). Actor. Familiar to fans of the Harry Potter franchise. Margolyes provides the voice of Beep the Meep, the eponymous “Star Beast” in the first of the 60th anniversary specials (2023).

59) Neil Patrick Harris (b.1973). Actor. Former child actor who came out as an adult and became a gay icon. In the third 60th anniversary special, “The Giggle” (2023), Harris plays the Celestial Toymaker, a character who appeared way back in the 1964 story of the same name.

60) Ncuti Gatwa (b.1992). Actor. It is most appropriate that the 60th and most recent name that can be added on this 60th anniversary lgbt+ celebration list is the Doctor himself. Gatwa will play the 15th Doctor from the 2023 Christmas special onwards. Not only is he the first openly gay actor to play the Doctor, but also the first black actor to play him (if we disregard the flashes of young black actors who are alleged to be the Doctor in “The Timeless Children”, 2020).

That concludes my list of 60 lgbt+ contributors to the Whoniverse. There are a few more I could have included, some of them I’ve mentioned in passing, but I’ll just give some others a name-check – John Sessions, Stephen Jeffery-Poulter, Eric Lindsay, Tom Allen, Rob Eltringham, Carl Levey, and Andrew Hayden-Smith.

One final lgbt link. David Tennant, the 10th Doctor, returns to play the 14th Doctor in the 60th anniversary specials. David Tennant’s birth name was David McDonald. When he became an actor he couldn’t use his real name because a member of Equity, the actor’s union, was already using that name, and no two living Equity members can use the same name (the same reason Russell T. Davies added the “T” to his name). When deciding on a stage name David chose the name Tennant from Neil Tennant, the gay half of the UK pop duo The Pet Shop Boys. David later changed his name legally to David Tennant (to comply with the US actor’s guild).

If you’re a fan of “Doctor Who”, I hope you enjoy the 60th anniversary specials and don’t forget to celebrate both the classic and modern eras. Perhaps you could celebrate by watching some of the episodes I’ve mentioned in this list and celebrate the lgbt+ contributors at the same time.

Who knows – will there be a 70th anniversary?

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