Deconstructing Clara Who. A Female Doctor Made Possible by an Impossible Girl

Jared Aronoff


This paper explores the ways in which the role of the Doctor Who companion has been historically shaped by precedents that dictate the ways that female characters function within the narrative, and how these traits were self-reflexively critiqued by recent companion Clara Oswald. The companion is traditionally relegated to the role of a sidekick, with normative ideals perpetuated by the serial nature of the long-running series. These dictate the characterization of the companion, along with the expression of their sexuality and agency, thus restrictively defining the exclusive space in which female characters are allowed to occupy within Doctor Who. Where other characters had been unsuccessful, Clara succeeds in challenging this role by operating within the hegemonies of the companion narrative to deconstruct them, claiming agency where other companions were unable to, and departing the show having essentially become the Doctor herself – paving the way for the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the first female incarnation of the Time Lord.


Doctor Who; companion; Clara Oswald; self-reflexive feminist critiques; television

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/7627


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