What a great Christmas for women on TV.
In Dr Who, Steven Moffat managed to change the gun-carrying, space-ship-driving female character into simply a womb, suitable for carrying life. If Dr Who can really no longer save races from destruction as he doesn’t have a woman’s strength, this hopefully means we can look forward to a female Dr Who? I doubt it somehow.
Then Michael McIntyre’s BBC special couldn’t find a single woman to say something funny. Kylie and Pixie looked fetching in their pretty dresses. And the usually-brilliant Miranda Hart played a simpering romantic fool – which was funny, because she doesn’t look like Barbie and … Oh wait, that was it. Not one funny word from anyone who wasn’t male and white. And that much-hyped return of Rob Brydon to stand-up – oh it was funny. He threatened Carol Vorderman with sexual violence, and then – the laughter – reduced Holly Valance to a couple of holes.
To top it off on the BBC, Sherlock then reduced Irene Adler – one of the great early-feminist pop-characters – to a pawn in the men’s game. (If you want to read more about this, I recommend this post on Another Angry Woman and won’t try to rewrite this as it’s brilliant).
Over on ITV in Downton Abbey, Lady Mary suddenly went off her equal-match Sir Richard (who the writers had to make extra-mean as everyone realised he was much more fun than simpering Matthew) to become a loving-wife to Matthew. Gone was her chance to build something, to enter a partnership. She instead chose true-love, which should be enough of an aim on it’s own for any woman of course.
What has happened to women on TV? Was this a recession-Christmas-nostalgia thing – back to the good old days when women high-kicked behind the male-stars? Whatever it was, I really hope it is a Christmas-thing.
I hope when Dr Who replaces Amy this year, they find another strong side-kick not just a walking-womb. I hope that the BBC starts to think about diversity on it’s prime-time panel shows. I hope drama-writers can think of one or two genuinely interesting and well-developed female characters. But I have a horrible feeling these are dreams rather than new years resolutions.