Should the new Doctor Who be vegan?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
"Change, my dear," uttered the Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker, as he replaced Peter Davison in the role at the end of 1984's The Caze of Androzani, "And not a moment too soon."
Doctor Who is all about change as the Time Lord can regenerate and change faces - and for the first time in the show's 54-year history, change gender.
The Twelfth Doctor will become the Thirteenth when Jodie Whittaker takes over the role from Peter Capaldi, who is leaving in the Christmas special, Twice Upon A Time.
Animal rights organisation PETA has asked for the new Time Lord to be given a new diet and regenerate into a vegan.
In a letter to new showrunner Chris Chibnall, who takes over from Steven Moffat when he exits at Christmas, PETA director Elisa Allen writes: "Animals, like humans, are smart and sensitive and feel pain.
"But in the meat, egg, and dairy industries, they’re crammed into windowless sheds, torn away from their mothers, forcibly impregnated, mutilated, and sent to an early death – and many are slaughtered while they’re still conscious."
The organisation has appealed to the Doctor's heroism by arguing a vegan diet is "infinitely kinder to animals", and it is also one of the best ways to protect planet Earth due to animal agriculture being a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions.
She adds: "Considering all the benefits that eating vegan has for a person’s heart, it’d be doubly beneficial for the Doctor!"
The Doctor has previously been a vegetarian in the series. The aforementioned Colin Baker's Doctor switched from meat after 1985's The Two Doctors, appearing alongside Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, after his companions were almost killed by a species who viewed humans as food animals.
The revival of the long-running series also revived his diet, with the Time Lord often seen eating dead animals or wearing dead animals’ skins in his three previous incarnations (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith), according to the Conversation. Eccleston wore a leather jacket, and was seen to order steak and chips at a restaurant; Tennant expressed how much he enjoyed hotdogs; and Smith was known to combine fish fingers and custard as a dish.
Capaldi, however, has not been seen to eat meat onscreen as the Twelfth Doctor, and even rebuked his former companion, Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman) for showing disgust at the farming of human body parts by an alien, saying: “You weren’t a vegetarian the last time I looked.”
Doctor Who returns on Christmas Day in 'Twice Upon A Time', where Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor meets the First Doctor (played by David Bradley) before regenerating into Jodie Whittaker.