COMMENT:

For years, I've wanted to be a

Doctor Who

fan, I grew up totally enthralled with fantasy and sci-fi, and it really seemed like the show for me but I just couldn't fully invest.

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Now, for the first time in my lifetime, that's changed and it's all thanks to a bit of diversity - done the right way.

I've dipped in and out of the franchise a couple times. I tuned in for David Tennant's run as the tenth doctor - mostly to see if Billie Piper was a better actor than she was a pop star, and also because of River Song, being the total badass that she is.

I tuned in for Matt Smith's run as the eleventh doctor but that was largely just because I had crushes on both Smith and Karen Gillian. And I watched a bit of Peter Capaldi's run as the twelfth doctor, only because his companion Bill Potts was the series' first openly queer woman of colour.

Until now, The Doctor has always regenerated into a white male - usually on the older end of the scale. And of the many companions The Doctor has had over the years, only a few have been people of colour.

Now though, we have a young female Doctor - excellently played by Jodie Whittaker who seems to have picked up on her predecessors' quirks seamlessly- and her companions, one of whom is a Pakistani police woman, another is a young black man with dyspraxia, and another is an older white man with an open mind a thirst for adventure.

Unlike other series and franchises which seem to just be ticking diversity boxes, Doctor Who has really wrapped itself around these new characters in a way which acknowledges their importance and relevance, but doesn't feel exploitative.

The key here isn't just the characters and actors, it's the writing. Doctor Who now has writers of colour for the first time in the show's 55-year history and two female guest writers. It also has an equal male/female director split and 10 of 11 editors are female.

You can tell. Whittaker's Doctor adjusting to female life is funny but natural, The Doctor's personality doesn't change simply because their gender does, nor does their sense of style, their values or their sexual preferences.

Most writers' first instinct with a female character is to sexualise her, but many have assumed The Doctor to be asexual up until now, and that hasn't changed with Whittaker - rightfully so.

Similarly, companions Yasmin and Ryan aren't shoved into the usual stereotypical boxes of repressed young Muslim woman and wannabe gangster. Yasmin is headstrong and unafraid of danger, and Ryan is first seen learning how to ride a bike, of all things.

With this new team on and behind the camera, we've explored race relations in a surprisingly poignant way thanks to the now famous Rosa Parks episode, in which Yasmin and Ryan - and as a result everyone around them (and all of us watching) - were forced to confront the past and the issues they still face today.

We've explored gender and identity, and even some subtext for the trans community - and really for all of us - in which The Doctor examines what it means to embrace change and self-discovery, what it's like making the choices - big and small - that will reshape who you want to be, and the importance of a good support network while you do so.

But on top of all that the show hasn't lost its essence as a funny, quirky, slightly mad space adventure, with themes of love, unity and simply doing the right thing.

While finally being able to enjoy a show may not seem like a big deal, what it really means is we have proof that diversity has power, and not only do I get to be a part of this fandom, I get to be a part of this piece of history.