ByIrish Whovian, writer at
Irish Whovian

It's weird when we see fandom represented in how the writers go about writing the script. Many times there are really annoying pastiches put into series that are just plain insulting. These are not really flattering to the people watching the show, in fact they appear to the viewer as more annoying than anything else. The annoying fanboy has appeared in Doctor Who as Malcolm Taylor, the person in my view the better fitted to being destroyed by Missy's disintegrating ray gun thing, than Osgood.Probably the most fan friendly characters that filled me with great joy was the character of Osgood.

Why do I like her?

Well as much as I love the current run of companions in Doctor Who, there have been very little female characters presented on the show that in my mind represent real slightly awkward but with an inner strength that would surprise you geek/nerd female on the show. Most of the women on the show are, dare I say very safe models of women. Osgood for me represented how real women feel sometimes. Yes we can be the Clara Oswald character of awesome at times that nothing seems to phase us, nor would we allow it to. However there is also a part of a woman that is expressed in the character of Osgood that can be, the fragile unsure character that might sometimes need to be coaxed out of their shell and do something amazing that shocks people around us. The best representation in the show of showing the complex emotional range of this type would be Donna Noble. And indeed she is considered a fan favourite because of this particular matter. As too a personal favourite companion of mine being series one Rose. The abecedarian Rose is very appealing in her first series, because she is our way into the world of the Doctor. Clara and Donna themselves can be seen as the successors to this particular type of character. However, we never visually see a character in the world of Doctor Who who represent the real looking everyday characters. Coming back to Rose, Rose is an interesting character in her change from normal looking character to this kind of well dressed character in season two. There was many a different type of female companion as well that has been seen throughout the course of the series run way back to when it all started in 1963 and during that time, especially during the tail end of the Terrence Dicks' run as head writer on Doctor Who. Here we might see a parallel in how women were treated in that end run of Jon Pertwee's Doctor and into Tom Baker's run as the Doctor. It is the same problem that the current head writer Steven Moffat has with female characters. That is, how to find the best way to characterise their female characters. Terrence had the problem that the women's liberation movement had started up, how did he solve this, by introducing characters such as Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith. Steven Moffat has yet to fully find his voice when crafting the perfect companion(although I have to admit, he came damn close with the Clara Oswald), however we see a glimpse of the ability he has to create really interesting female character in characters he has helped to craft and expand on, we see this in how he deals with expanding successfully on the story of Kate Lethbridge Stewart and it creating the character of Sally Sparrow and in ultimately creating the character of Osgood.

Osgood is the most interesting character that has been created for the simple fact that she is a real ordinary looking and sounding character with real worries and insecurities. The only other instance of this type of character being in existence in another programme being the excellent Molly Hooper. Both of these characters are people that the viewer can sympathise with. Saying that Steven Moffat cannot write female characters would be a fallacy. There are many other female characters like Nancy or Gretchen, that he created that are in their own right strong characters. I think that the problem is that when Steven creates secondary characters that are as interesting as the companions he creates, he doesn't know what to do with them. Often times this can lead to erroneous decisions on how to manage these characters, some great characters have been disposed of because of this.

The simple fact is, yes characters and companions like Clara Oswald are important in the world of Doctor Who, however I would argue that there also need to be recognition given to characters such as Osgood in Doctor Who and Molly Hooper in Sherlock. These type of women have been there throughout the run of Doctor Who. They can be found in both Russell T. Davis' run and in Steven Moffat's run of Doctor Who. Only in one particular time have we seen really an interesting secondary female character become an actual companion. When Freema Agyman turned up in the series finale of series two and was subsequently killed by Cybermen. Only to come back as a different character who was the cousin of the character that was killed in the series finale. Now, given that Steven has flatly pishposhes the theory that it was the Osgood Zygon that was killed on the plane (even though I maintain that the real Osgood wouldn't have just walked up to Missy at that point in the story, she wasn't that stupid in Day of the Doctor. Jeez Steven keep consistency with you characterisation please.) I would argue that AN Osgood could come back in the series. Maybe not the Osgood that we were used to (pity), but rather as her cousin. It has worked before, maybe it might again. Agreed, it's not as satisfying as the head writer recognising that he has an interesting character that he can work with, but it's possibly the best solution given to a rather crappy situation brought on with the demise of this very popular character. Or perhaps this is SteMo telling us that he is making Lee Evans' Malcolm a regular UNIT character(oh dear God no! Anything but that).

What I'm trying to say (in a rather roundabout way I know) is that characters like Osgood matter. They help us to reconnect with what women are, and that is not the lead strong leading one dimensional female character(even though there is nothing wrong with that representation of women either, and Clara Oswald is definably not one dimensional. Top marks there Steven), but rather the woman as a multi faceted gradually evolving character. Steven Moffat once said in 'Time of the Doctor' "We're all different people all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all people that you used to be." That thought expressed by Steven in that episode should be key to him understanding what he can do with those interesting secondary characters that he creates. Rather than kill them off, have them evolve. Take the one time that Steven got it right with the character of Molly Hooper. Steven created a strong female character who wasn't a conventional strong female character. When Steven created Osgood, he replicated this, unfortunately unlike what happened with Molly, he didn't realise that this also was true of Osgood and that she was a character worth saving and building on in the future. She is like Molly in a sense, she is a real character. If 'Death in Heaven' reintroduced us to the Molly Hooper character, Osgood then it also introduce us to Missy, the Irene Adler character if you will.

(Oh, and Steven, you're the guy who inadvertently brought back Amy and Rory as Cybermen so if you can do that so easily, you can bring back Osgood. Come on man, go to your mind palace you can think of a way to do it.)

Edt. Since I have started writing this post, I have seen 'Last Christmas', there were again three very interesting female secondary characters. We have Ashley("the uptight boss one") Bellows ("the Sexy one")Shona ("the Gobby one"). It was quite nice to see the older female character be seen as sexy (marks there to Steven for doing this). In this episode you get the ultimate example of what seems to be Steven's philosophy at this moment in time to the strong secondary female characters when he says in this line:

"The others were collateral damage"

Like it or not, this is what was said in the script. Whether this view will change over time by Steven in relation to these type of female characters, it remains to be seen. I disagree with the view however that Steven Moffat is a misogynist, look at 'Last Christmas' for goodness sake the women have active roles in the story throughout. and in fact the most funniest moment in the episode is Shona dancing to Slade. I will reiterate though that it is a simple thing that Steven does not know what to do with the interesting female characters that we are given. Let's just be glad that the interesting female characters were not killed off this time like in 'Death in Heaven'.


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