Is there anything that says The Doctor must be a man? I would love to see The Doctor come back as a ginger girl, and my friend tells me he thinks The Doctor cannot change gender. Is this true? If so where does it say that?

  • 2
    I was wondering this too. Especially since River regenerated as a female both times.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 21:14
  • Olivia Coleman gets my vote. Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 10:54
  • 3
    Interesting article in todays Guardian: theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2014/nov/03/… - Most likely contains spoilers as well !
    – Pat Dobson
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 12:58
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    Apparently yes. Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 15:37
  • 4
    You may be interested in the result of the poll taken by the Dr Who Appreciation Society, dwasonline.co.uk At Sunday 16th July, 20:10 local UK time Excited (33%), Positive (10%), Cautiously optimistic (14%), Doubtful (5%), Disappointed (38%)
    – user66716
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 19:09

12 Answers 12


There's no reason that the Doctor would have to be a man upon regeneration, in-universe. Regeneration can cause various changes, including skin colour, outward species, and sex. The Corsair is/was a Time Lord/Lady who has changed gender from male to female. It's actually worth pointing out that in the charity comedic spoof of Doctor Who, Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death, the Doctor actually regenerates into a female at one point. The spoof, while produced by the BBC, is still technically outside canon, so as of this writing, there has not been an official female Doctor Who actor.

  • 3
    The spoof was written by Me Moffett as well. Sooooo. There is that. Also, Tom Baker when he left the role wished luck referring to "he or she". Though apparently he was joking (he was such a tease). Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:05
  • Not sure. Of all the Time Lord regenerations in canon (also Romana, The Master etc) not one of them involved a sex change. So it must be a rare occurrence, if it happens at all. Although the Corsair was said to be a woman at times, it wasn't said whether it was the regenerations that caused it. Maybe the Corsair was unhappy with his/her gender and underwent sexual reassignment surgery. Who knows...
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 11:12
  • 1
    @MrLister neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/57377998882/… The method of Corsair's change was that it was via regeneration.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 19:25
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    We now have a time lord who changed genders during regeneration
    – JoeyD473
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 16:07
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    The Master has also changed genders, from male to female, during his most recent regeneration. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:47

When David Tennant (10th) regenerated into Matt Smith (11th), he thought he was a girl because of his hair. This suggests that he can be a girl.

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    He also thought he might be a dog suggesting the Doctor could regenerate as an animal. Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 17:57
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    @phantom42: I think Ross is claiming that the newly-regenerated Doctor believed himself to be a girl. Disclaimer: I'm also unfamiliar with Doctor Who, but the answer seems perfectly clear to me.
    – jwodder
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 18:37
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    @phantom42: He initially thought he had regenerated as a female because of his hair. Then he quickly realized he was male and made a self-referential joke about being a dog.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 19:20
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    I think this is more due to a state of confusion from regeneration rather than possibility.
    – Jason
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 2:15
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    @Ross: To be fair, many things that happen in Doctor Who are assumed to be impossible until they are proven to be not so. The Doctor claimed it was impossible to travel to a different universe (dimension) in the TARDIS, yet it then happened for visiting Rose; and in The Doctor's Wife. The Doctor is an expert at seeming like he understands how something is happening while he is internally still figuring out what on earth is going on. So his assumption about being a girl could have been impossible (but it provably just happened) or possible; you can't say for sure.
    – Flater
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 10:48


The Thirteenth Doctor will be Jodie Whittaker, a woman. This was announced earlier today by the BBC after the Wimbledon finals, and also on Twitter.

reveal name

  • I've replaced you screencaps with the video, but if you want, there's are high-res versions of them here and here. Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 16:18
  • That is a nice idea :D Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 19:06
  • @Rand you were just waiting for this to be announced weren't you? :p
    – Theyna
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 21:37
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    @Theyna No, Loong made me do it :-) I tried to encourage him to edit his own answer instead, but after he set a bounty I went ahead and posted a new answer after all.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 21:39
  • You may also find these gifs useful. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 16:14

In "The Night of the Doctor" mini-episode, as the 8th Doctor is dying, he is offered to choose what characteristics he will regenerate into.

… our elixir can trigger your regeneration, bring you back. Time Lord science is elevated here on Karn, the change doesn't have to be random. Fat or thin, young or old, man or woman?
(click to watch)

Since this states that the change is random, and since the Doctor has not become a woman (excluding Doctor-Donna) in all of his regenerations, it is unlikely that Time Lords can change gender by chance during a regeneration. However, this also confirms that a gender change remains possible, i.e. by harnessing the elevated Time Lord science on Karn.

Additionally, as seen in the Series 8 finale,

The Master appears to have regenerated into a female, "Missy", which shows that Time Lords can regenerate into other genders, although again, probably not naturally.

  • 4
    Dammit... shouldn't have read that spoiler! My fault...
    – Liath
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 9:52
  • In addition to the events of Dark Water, let not forget The Curse of Fatal Death! While it may have been a parody, Dark Water seems to have the roles of Missy and the Doctor reversed from the roles of the Master and the Doctor at the end of TCoFD. :)
    – Brian S
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 15:52
  • 1
    This should be accepted I think.
    – TGar
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 19:34

In Series 9, Episode 12 “Hell Bent”, we can see another Time Lord who regenerates from a male form into a female form. She mentions that her normal form is a woman and that she had been a man only once.

In this episode, The General (played by Ken Bones) regenerates into The Female General (played by T'nia Miller).

The regeneration scene is described in the script as follows:

All the technicians, shielding their eyes from a terrible golden glow in the centre of the room – a fountain of regeneration energy! Dashing through the door, Gastron – sees this.

GASTRON: (Into communicator) Med team to sector 52, Extraction Chamber Seven. Regeneration in progress.

The golden glow snaps off, a figure on the floor now struggling to sit up.

GASTRON (cont’d): Are you all right, sir. (Blinks at what he sees) Sorry, ma’am.

The General, sitting up, is now a rather younger woman. She’s a little groggy.

THE FEMALE GENERAL: Oh – back to normal, am I? Only time I’ve been a man, that last body. Dear Lord, how do you cope with all the ego?

  • This is the only canon answer I would accept. The other occurrences are not proof that it can happen via regeneration.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 18:12

This article seems to indicate not only is it possible to regenerate to a woman, but that it may actually happen.

Additionally some people have theorized that the events in The Angels Take Manhattan may lead to a regeneration to a female.


The answers here take care of the canon, indicating sex change is fair game, and that a Time Lord is not gender-bound.

Pyrodante's answer links to an article from the Daily Mail (Aug 2012) that suggests it's not inconceivable that we see a Doctor Her (or a Time Lady as they so eloquently put it).

My answer focuses on this article (Nov 2013), also from the Daily Mail, which suggests that such a thing is unlikely. The conveniently placed tl;dr at the top states:

Ex-Doctor Peter Davison insists the character should always be a man
'To have a female would be like having a female James Bond,' he says

However there was speculation that Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Moffett (stage name Davison) and wife of David Tennant could get the role, so the BBC has certainly considered that scenario, and has decided against it. At least for the time being.


In "Dark Water":

The Master is a woman!

Question answered.

  • 2
    At the very least, specify which episode since "latest episode" will change as soon as the next episode airs.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 13:41
  • 2
    Well I haven't seen any of Season 8, thanks for the spoiler tags :( :( :(
    – Stick
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 14:35

It can definitely happen, because in the Night of the Doctor, one of the regeneration elixirs that the Sisterhood of Karn offers him is one that would turn him into a woman. Plus, it's been revealed that Missy is in fact the Master! I mean, how weird but insanely awesome is that?


The Doctor : She was my mancrush.

Bill : I'm sorry ?

The Doctor : Yeah, I think she was a man, back then. I'm pretty sure I was, too.

According to the BBC, the Doctor is genderfluid.

Source: https://twitter.com/bbcdoctorwho/status/880119360567771136/photo/1


Personally, even though Moffat wrote in details that suggests he could regenerate into a woman, I think this has no basis in the logic of nature. I will explain.

There are two basic ways a species can reproduce, sexually or asexually. Since Time Lords appear to have two distinct sexes I can guess that naturally they reproduce sexually. (Any reproductions using technology are not important in this matter.) This would suggest then that they would retain this gender even through regeneration. Unless there was a need, by nature, to change the sex. There are species which change sex but it is always as demanded by nature or as a part of every member of that species lifespan, never at random.

This is why to me, it just doesn't make sense. If you used some kind of outside force to manipulate the regeneration into whatever you wanted, that's different. I understand Time Lords are special, But to me it's just never going to happen naturally unless you show me a clear need to the Time Lord species survival that some of them need to change gender.

  • 7
    Timelords are cheating death in a blatant phoenix metaphor with magic energy whose properties depend on the writer, and bouncing through time in police boxes. We're pretty far from evolutionary nature and selective traits.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 10:44
  • 4
    Also, your answer has just been definitively and canonically been invalidated.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 15:41
  • “Since Time Lords appear to have two distinct sexes I can guess that naturally they reproduce sexually... This would suggest then that they would retain this gender even through regeneration.” Why would it suggest that? Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 13:33

From what I'm seeing, it's not impossible, but if his natural gender is a man, I assume it's easier for his DNA to keep him a man, though he may at some point in time become a woman (it is random) so if it did happen it may only happen once or maybe even twice.

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    Seems like pure speculation to me, and the part about DNA could really benefit from at least some references. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 19:56
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    Going back into the mist of time (or timey wimey if you prefer) when John Pertwee was getting changed into Tom Baker he kept wandering behind a screen and coming back as different people. The Brigadier with UNIT was shaking his head and saying such things as "Try again Doctor" to all these personae such as a little fat man and a very old gent. At one point he came out as a somewhat curvy brunette in her twenties and said "This one?" , only to get the headshake again. Finally 'teeth and curls' appeared in the long scarf and hat and they both nodded. Clearly then he chooses to be male
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:35
  • 1
    @Danny3414 I thought he was only changing his costume, but being "teeth and curls" all the way through? Romana, on the other hand, did come back as a lot of different people before settling on Lalla Ward, but they were all women.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 11:14

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