Dyspraxia, Diversity, And Doctor Who

About 10 years ago I first got in to Doctor Who. I’m not sure exactly when it was, or who my first doctor was. I’m not sure if it Was Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant, but I do remember that the first season I watched religiously was the season that started with the episode with the Adipose. To anyone actually obsessed with Doctor Who my rather limited knowledge of stuff, and the fact I’ve only really watched the New Who episodes is probably frustrating.

However, I do love the show and can talk about my favourite episodes from various seasons. Though recently I’d become rather disenchanted with Doctor Who. Somewhere in the time of Matt Smith’s doctor I stopped enjoying it quite as much. The story lines got too convoluted, too like they were trying to be clever for clevers sake, so that the writers could show off just how smart they were. I switched off from the show.

This new season was different. It was the only one I’ve actually found myself looking forward to in recent years, and there were two main reasons for that. The first was that the new Doctor was a woman (about bloody time), and that the new sidekick was dyspraxic, which was fitting that it aired right at the end of dyspraxia awareness week.

I’ve talked a lot about my opinions on representation in the media before, usually in regard to LGBT representation. I think having good representation is ridiculously important, but actually seeing it a TV show that I’d watched since I was about 12 was something else. Sitting down to watch the first episode of the first season completely blew my mind. The Doctor was a woman, and she was kicking ass! There was a dyspraxic sidekick, and they were actually talking about it! I could relate to him! Even my mum joked, “Hey look, it’s Sophie.” There were so many Yorkshire accents!

At 23 seeing this representation matters so much to me. I love the way that they’re tackling Ryan’s dyspraxia, the fact that they bring it in so well. Little things, such as his inability to ride a bike (something I can do, so long as there aren’t any tight turns), or his step dad saying “Are you going to blame it on your dyspraxia again. As usual,” when he messes up. If I had a pound for every time someone told me “you can’t just blame it on your dyspraxia” I’d probably be rich. Or I’d have bought a horse.

If seeing this representation matters to me so much at 23 I can’t even begin to think how much it would have meant to me at 12. I’d have seen a woman being awesome and kicking ass and being ridiculously smart and science orientated. Maybe I’d have decided to do something with my love of science, space, and science fiction. (Though I will admit I idolised Matt Smith’s doctor, though mostly because I wanted his bow ties and to be able to kiss Amy Pond).

So far, I’ve been impressed with this season of Doctor Who, even though currently I’m only 3 episodes in. They’ve handled dyspraxia, had a minor LGBT character, tackled racism, and had a female Doctor kicking ass. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season is going to bring.

Sophie x


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