Michelle Gomez on playing ‘gender-switched’ Doctor Who villian
Michelle Gomez has spoken about playing a Doctor Who character that was previously male.
In the penultimate episode of the latest series of Doctor Who, the actress’s character Missy was revealed to be the female regeneration of villain The Master – who has always previously been male.
The series has toyed on several occasions with the idea that Timelords like the Doctor and the Master can change their gender when they regenerate – with the most substantial confirmation three years ago – but it was the first time a main character changed their gender.
In an interview with GT, the actress said: “The thing is is that with casting me and having this face, you never really know whether I’m a man or a woman anyway.
“You just pop a bit of red lipstick on me and I’m sort of Paul O’Grady’s love child.
Of the character’s gender, she said: “We still don’t know whether Missy is the Master or the Master is Missy or whether I actually do have an enormous… [looks down] or not.
“Maybe I am packing. We just don’t know do we, really? That’s something between my husband and I.”
However she sidestepped questions about what it meant for “raising of transgender issues”. Some critics had expressed concern that the show’s first major character to change gender was a villain.
She also expressed enthusiasm for the idea of men dressing up as Missy, saying: “I’ve never been more ready.”
It was noted that for many people, this would be the first time they were aware someone transitioning from one gender to another, and Missy embodied some of the negative ideas commonly held about trans women.
The revival of Doctor Who has been widely praised for its positive representation of LGB people, especially “omnisexual” Captain Jack Harkness.