May 29th, 2013
Doctor Who: An Alternative History of 11 American Female Doctors is rather good…
Second Doctor: Virginia Mayo (1966 – 1969)
It started as a sort of sexist joke in a production meeting about how often women change their clothes, but the concept of regenerating a new body when the old one was damaged was to become a core concept in the Doctor Who mythos. When Eve Arden stepped out of the Tardis for the last time, former vaudeville turned screen star Virginia Mayo sauntered in.
You could not possibly have two more different women. Arden relied on a quirky poise, while the vivacious Mayo tended to use her undeniable physical beauty combined with a slightly off-putting style of humor to manipulate her surroundings. She had a tendency to cater to ditzy dame stereotypes, but used her appearance as a somewhat helpless damsel to secretly save the day out from under threats.
She's most fondly remembered from an incredible performance in "The Silver Pyramid," where she took on Eric Kleig (Richard Attenborough) as he snidely accused her gender as incapable of logic while he sought to resurrect the Cybermen from their frozen tombs. The line, "Logic, Mr. Kleig, is just another kind of madness in the hands of a fool," is widely considered one of the best lines ever spoken on the show.
Jef With One F, the author of that post, did a similar recasting exercise featuring male Doctors earlier this year. That article included the single best casting idea of them all.1 How great would Alan Alda have been in the role?
Fun as they are, there's one very important point that neither piece covers. If the Doctor was an American (so to speak), what familiar-but-outdated shape would the TARDIS have got stuck in so it could prompt all those 'bigger on the inside' reactions? Did early-mid 20th century America even have police phone boxes?
[Via feeling listless]
- Yes, even better than Steve Martin and Robert Downey Jr. Though I must confess that part of my objection to the latter casting is based on the notion that it's just not fair to let one man be Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes and The Doctor. ↩