Elizabeth A. Allen and Jonah Akos got together recently to geek out about one of their favorite additions to Doctor Who: Ruth Clayton, a.k.a. the Fugitive Doctor. Played by Jo Martin, “Ruth Doctor” became the first Black Doctor in the show’s history. She appeared in two episodes of Season 12, “Fugitive of the Judoon” and “The Timeless Children,” generating polarized responses from viewers. Elizabeth and Jonah talked about Ruth Doctor’s characterization, her significance to the show and fandom, and her possible future.
Elizabeth is a white, queer, nonbinary writer and editor. Jonah is a Black, nonbinary trans man. Their identities shape their experiences with Doctor Who and with Ruth Doctor in particular.
Jonah: Let’s start with what we enjoyed about her.
Elizabeth: Yeah, let’s! I really love how Ruth Doctor was so quickly and deftly characterized.
Jonah: I think that was a great way to start — focusing on her POV for quite a bit of time. It helps you feel like she truly exists in the world. Even before knowing who she was, I liked her because she felt empathetic, but also confident in herself.
Elizabeth: Her happiness with her husband and the people she said “hi” to really grounded her. They also gave a perfect illustration of one of the Doctor’s best traits
: At the best, the Doctor really CONNECTS with people. They CARE. They make friends.
Jonah: I also liked that she got to have a love interest. Allowing an older, dark-skinned Black woman to have love at all is rare. To show them as able and worthy of it.
Elizabeth: Yeah, I’m glad that she had some romance too! The snippets of domestic life and normalcy make Ruth a much more approachable Doctor than any other I’ve encountered.Read More »