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It's time

Viewers have an appointment with a new Doctor, writes Claire Brine

Change can leave us feeling apprehensive and full of dread

‘OH, brilliant!’ Two simple words which have already made TV history. They were spoken by the first female Doctor during last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special. And right now, it’s how countless fans are feeling, as they eagerly await the return of the BBC One sci-fi series tomorrow (Sunday 7 October).

Though very little has been revealed about the show’s upcoming plot lines, one subject that continues to make headlines is the casting of Jodie Whittaker in the title role. When it was announced last year that actor Peter Capaldi was stepping down as the Doctor and that he was going to regenerate as a female Time Lord, the public response was out of this world. Longstanding Doctor Who fans had something to say on the character development, of course. But so, too, did feminists, young girls and even people who had never watched the show before. It turns out that casting the first female Doctor was – and is – a big deal.

Carla tweeted: ‘I don’t even watch #DrWho and this made me choke up a little. I will def be tuning in.’ Simon added: ‘My nieces can grow up in a world with a good Wonder Woman, a female Jedi, female Ghostbusters and a female Dr Who.’

But while some viewers welcomed the arrival of a female Doctor, claiming it was about time that women took the lead in science fiction, others were not so happy.

‘Time LORD. I repeat the Doctor is a time LORD. Not a time LADY,’ said Luke on Twitter. And lifelong fan Wendy chipped in: ‘No disrespect to the actress chosen but the producers have brought my Doctor Who history and memories to an abrupt end.’

Clearly some people don’t like the change. But what does the actress at the heart of the controversy think?

‘I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,’ Jodie said when the news of her casting was announced. ‘Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.’

Change – for good and bad – can evoke a variety of feelings in us. Sometimes we feel ready and thrilled to begin a new chapter. At other times, the situation awaiting us can leave us feeling apprehensive and full of dread.

However we respond to change, life is full of it. We grow up – and grow older. We move home. We start new work. We meet people. We lose loved ones. The world shifts and evolves. We change our minds and our plans. Nothing lasts for ever.

Coping with an ever-changing life can be overwhelming. That’s why so many people find it helpful to rely on someone who will never let them down. The Bible tells us that Jesus – and his love for us – will never, ever change. It says: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8 New International Version).

Whatever the future may hold for us, Jesus offers to be with us in every uncertain circumstance. He can forgive our mistakes and guide us as we take our next steps. However we are feeling, we can turn to him – at any time.

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