Some Doctor Who fans have protested to the BBC over a recent episode’s ‘inappropriate’ and ‘anti-male’ inclusion of a transgender character.
The first of three episodes starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Doctor and his companion Donna Noble premiered last month.
The couple reunited after previously appearing in the franchise for four seasons between 2005 and 2010.
The episode, named The Star Beast, also introduced viewers to Donna’s daughter Rose, played by Yasmin Finney from Heartstopper.
While many fans of the long-running show commended showrunner Russell T. Davies for include transsexual Rose and her connected plot, some objected and protested to the national network.
The BBC has now revealed it received 144 complaints from viewers, whose main issue with the episode was it being ‘anti-male’ and having an ‘inappropriate inclusion of a transgender character’.
However, these figures represented just a small percentage of the population who turned in, with more than 7.6 million people viewing the programme.
Ahead of it hitting screens, Russell anticipated backlash and said he knew there were some people ‘full of absolute hate, and venom, and destruction and violence who would like to see that sort of thing wiped off the screen entirely’.
Addressing those who held those ideals, he declared at a press event before the episode’s release: ‘Shame on you and good luck to you in your lonely lives.’
The episode also introduced Meep (played by Miriam Margolyes), who corrected the Doctor when they assumed the extraterrestrial’s pronouns and instead reminded them that they just used the definite article, the Meep.
Later in the episode, the Doctor disclosed their gender identification as ‘male and female and neither and more.’
Soon after tuning in one fan wrote on social media that they were ‘in tears as Russell T. Davies eviscerates the concept of binary gender’.
Someone else shared on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Okay that Doctor Who, slay. The non-binary representation on BBC on was so wonderful to see in a time of such hatred from both the government and larger society towards the LGBTQIA+ community! Thank you Doctor Who.’
Russell also previously said that homophobia and transphobia happened when it was something ‘you’ve never seen before’.
‘You can temper that reaction and change it when you introduce these images to people happily and normally and calmly when they’re young. Then it just becomes normal.’
Meanwhile, during a recent TV appearance, David was seen wearing a Tardis pin badge in the colours of the transgender flag.
Asked about the badge, the proceeds from which go to LGBT+ homeless charity the Albert Kennedy Trust, he told Attitude: ‘It’s just something that I think is rather lovely and important and suits what Doctor Who is all about.’
The final Doctor Who special, The Giggle, airs on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One.