Xenophobia is an ugly thing. With the news that the BBC will be appointing a new Doctor Who showrunner and a new lead to replace Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker for 2023, Joe Michael Straczynski has thrown his hat in the ring for the former. A long time Doctor Who fan and acclaimed creator of TV shows such as Babylon 5 and Sense 8, as well as screenwriter of Thor and Changeling, he is willing to a) take a pay cut and b) relocate to Cardiff, where Doctor Who is filmed to take up the role.
But some throw disdain at the idea that anyone other than a Brit should be the showrunner of a show like Doctor Who, no matter how much they love, admire, and have a career influenced by the show. At one point Doctor Who was shown in more countries than any other BBC show, and it found cult fame in the US on PBS, before more wide stream US appeal courtesy of David Tennant and Matt Smith. But some voices claim Britishness of the show so much in a way they believe it could never be captured by a Yank. Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, even pitched to write the show, only to be told by the BBC that the show had never been written by a non-Brit and if they were to start, they wouldn't start with him.
But in the face of such recalcitrance, might it be worth reminding folk that the co-creator of Doctor Who, and its first showrunner, Sydney Newman was Canadian? And a proper Canadian to boot. And as names such as Jed Mercurio, Michaela Coel, Sarah Dollard, Toby Whithouse, Mark Gatiss, Pete McTighe, Kate Herron, and more are proffered for Doctor Who, Joe Michael Straczynski is a worthy addition to that feast of choice. But there is also missing a very important name, Ted Lasso.
The second season of Ted Lasso has been a little disappointing compared to the glorious fish-out-of-water first season, where American optimism and can-do spirit clashed riotously with down-beat pessimistic British can't-do-so-why-bother spirit. Especially that utterly awful Christmas episode which did Love Actually not once, not twice, but three times. By the second season, everyone at Richmond FC had converted to the Ted Lasso way of seeing the world, that they had to introduce a psychiatrist to see past that simplistic worldview to create any such opposition to it. Even as the team Richmond FC have produced failure after failure. Despite the optimism, despite the truths being revealed, it is getting clearer and clearer that Ted Lasso is a terrible couch. And you can "believe" all you want, if you don't get the goals, the club is going to go under.
So what can you do to save Ted Lasso as a TV show? Take a note from the glorious double-punch TV shows that were Twenty Twelve and W1A. The first, starring Hugh Bonneville was a fake TV documentary looking at the people producing the 2012 Olympic games in London, focused on the failure of management, of meeting culture, and of PR, narrated by the aforementioned David Tennant. After that show finished, we got W1A, with Hugh Bonneville's character failing upwards to work for the BBC, still narrated by Tennant, accompanied by 2012's Jessica Hynes, and a brief return for Olivia Colman. And there is no reason why Ted Lasso cannot do the same. Jump from being the manager of Richmond FC (after getting relegated again) to another job which he is also clearly unsuited for, out of his depth, and unfamiliar with. Ted Lasso, in the third season of his own show at least, should become the showrunner of Doctor Who. Picked by the BBC Director-General in an attempt to doom the show because it has become too expensive and a constant political sore point for the corporation. The Producers meets W1A, set in Cardiff, with Ted Lasso coming to terms with Daleks, inappropriate sexual conduct on set, and the Welsh. And that is what the TV show should then be about for the next two years. Not casting Ted Lasso or whoever this Jason Sudeikis guy is, but instead Ted casting Roy Kent as The Doctor. "Exterminate!" "Grrrrrr…."
So who's with me? Ted Lass-Who anyone? If nothing else, it should give the toxic fanbase something to actually complain about.