My Favourite Fictional Females (Blogging Competition)

Who here loves female heroines?

A blog post on some women that are AMAZING in the world of fiction.

When it comes to TV, my one crippling weakness is strong female representation. I am crazy for a heroine. More often than not, if a show lacks good female character, I’ll cut off all my ties with the franchise. And when a show ruins a female character – well, I’ll rant about it on my tumblr account for a good few years and become the ridiculously bitter old woman I am, hidden in my eighteen-year-old form. This post is just a quick lowdown on my ten favourite fictional women who I will defend until my deathbed. I don’t care if they’ve killed people. They will never stop being nigh-on godly in my eyes.

10. FLEABAG (BBC Three’s Fleabag)

Fleabag is relatively new on the comedy scene – all six episodes are now on iPlayer, whilst airing on a Sunday evening on BBC Two – but it is by far one of the funniest things on television possibly ever. The central character, known only as Fleabag, is the product of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s personal experience and imagination: written and played by the woman herself. I think the reason why I love Fleabag so much is the honesty of the portrayal – the risk with modern-day sitcoms is that they’re synthetic and forced, often playing with tropes but not directly subverting them for a fresher, modern outlook that shocks or surprises audiences. Fleabag is not one of these sitcoms. From breaking the fourth-wall with monologues told directly to camera (think Miranda, but not in an outwardly comical way), brutally honest depictions of grief juxtaposed with Fleabag’s ridiculous personality, and it’s totally no-nonsense depiction of female sexuality… Fleabag just seems to tick all the boxes for me. I hope there is more content on the horizon.

9. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (The CW’s Reign)

I’m not usually a fan of epic American drama serials, often preferring British brevity, but a love of costume drama and endless recommendations convinced me to watch Reign. Whilst Adelaide Kane’s portrayal of one of history’s most controversial monarchs can be quite wooden and one-dimensional, there is enough of the grit and determination of the teenage queen in her performance to pull off Mary convincingly. A brief knowledge of Scottish history foreshadows Mary’s inevitable demise, but her courage in the aftermath of the heartbreaking challenges she faces makes her a truly admirable character. The show isn’t particularly historically accurate or even convincing in places, but that’s all background noise in Reign. You stay for the warm dignity of Mary, her power and strength in a society that hugely condemned and overruled women, and perhaps the dresses. The dresses are definitely worth watching for.

8. ANNIE SAWYER (BBC Three’s Being Human)

Being Human is not a new show, but one that I’ve recently picked up thanks to Netflix and my burning Aidan Turner obsession. It began airing back in 2008 on BBC 3, the main premise being a ghost, a vampire and werewolf all live together – nothing possibly bad could happen there, right? Similarly to my attitude towards Reign, the supernatural genre is not one that I’d usually pick out; but the warmth and depth of this “dramedic” series instantly captivated me, in particular the ghostly Annie. It is prevalent from the beginning that amongst her incessant tea-making, her insistence in making people happy and her positively glowing soul that Annie is a character who refuses acknowledge her own self-worth. I’m not going to give away anything, but she’s endured events in her past that have left her cripplingly low in self-confidence. But, as she states, in death I have never felt more alive. Watching Annie develop as a person, form relationships, gain confidence… there is just something delightfully warming about that experience as a viewer. I cannot recommend this show highly enough.

7. JO PORTMAN (BBC One’s Spooks)

I bloody love Spooks and have done for over a year now. It’s sleek, fast-paced and full to the brim of action, boasting a cast full of incredible characters – including some damn good heroines. One of these heroines is Jo Portman, a junior case officer, who starts working at MI5 young and inexperienced and leaves it almost a completely different character, never defeated by the events that would have destroyed any other person. I think what is so refreshing about Jo is that she’s naïve and anxious to please, often leaving her in dire straits: but determination wins through in the end and she becomes an integral part of the Section D dynamic. She is a realistic hero, kick-ass but vulnerable, and if you’ve ever seen Spooks you’ll probably know how her story inevitably ends. All the same, I always felt I really connected with Jo. No matter how much I adore all the other characters in this amazing show, she will always be one of my favourites.

6. MOLLY DAWES (BBC One’s Our Girl)

I was a bit sceptical about BBC One’s army-based drama when it first aired, but that all quickly faded away within a couple of episodes thanks to the excellently portrayed lead, Private Molly Dawes. The pilot, serving as a prelude to the following series, captures Molly’s story from the very beginning: transforming her from eighteen-year-old delinquent and school drop-out to a strong, determined and intelligent army medic. The series itself conveys Molly’s first tour of Afghanistan and the trials and tribulations that come with it, particularly in regards to her relationship with fellow soldier Smurf and her boss Captain Charles James. Undoubtedly, Molly’s stubbornness and reluctance to accept what others see as the norm is what makes her one of my top heroines. No matter your background or your past, you can make such a difference to the world – you just have to trust yourself.

5. JENNY LEE (BBC One’s Call the Midwife)

Whilst not technically a “fictional female”, I couldn’t run through a list of my favourite TV women without crediting at least one member of the Call the Midwife cast. Each of the women is the wonderfully bittersweet and nostalgic vision of 1950s East End London deserves a mention on this list, but for obvious reasons, Jenny Lee is the one who made the cut. This mostly biographical portrayal of Jenny’s years spent as a midwife and nurse in one of London’s poorest districts could move even the soulless ones among us – trust me, it’s not a proper episode of Call the Midwife unless you’ve cried at least twice. Jenny obviously is at the heart of the production, it being her memoirs, but the realism of it makes it all the more watchable. She begins young and inexperienced and grows with every birth and death, whilst coping with her own heartbreaks that are really utterly heartbreaking. Despite its reputation as a show for the older generation, there’s nothing boring or aging about this little gem and I can guarantee you’ll fall in love with Jenny and the other nurses/nuns as much as I did.

4. DEMELZA CARNE (BBC One’s Poldark)

I could genuinely scream about how much I love Poldark all day, and even though Aidan Turner’s portrayal of the eponymous lead is undeniably a highlight, Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza is really worth talking about too. It is rapid character development at its best – Demelza visibly and verbally alters as a result of Ross Poldark’s influence on her life, turning from a poor, abused and uneducated child to what, at the time, would be considered a lady. Of course, class and money are not the most important ideals for a good and happy life, but Demelza truly begins to blossom due to the love and safety Ross provides for her, as well as her own clearly intelligent, caring and kind traits having a place to be appreciated and adored. She essentially saves him, but not just from “being alone”: Ross is left cold and bitter after being at war for so long and discovering his sweetheart is marrying his cousin, but Demelza reminds him of the goodness that is still in the world after heartbreak. And they do face a lot of heartbreak, as many couples in fiction inevitably do. But Demelza handles it with an inherently good and faithful heart and an unwavering unconditional love for her family. She is an admirable and beautiful character and one that I will never cease to adore.

3. ALEX DRAKE (BBC One’s Ashes to Ashes)

As I’ve mentioned before, Ashes to Ashes will ALWAYS be one of my favourite shows of all time and this is almost solely due to the brilliance of DI Alex Drake. She is a mouthy, bossy blue-eyeshadow wearing detective who has been thrown back in time to the eighties after being shot in the head – which sounds pretty zany, but it’s honestly one of the most gripping shows you will ever watch. As the show continues from series one to three the plots get deeper and darker, yet Alex’s faith in returning to the present day to be reunited with her daughter remains unwavering. She refuses to let the patriarchal policing system of the late twentieth century shatter her confidence or undermine her position, frequently reminding her colleagues of her position and power. The relationship between Alex and her “bullish” boss DCI Gene Hunt is constantly electric, sexual chemistry buzzing and tangible. It’s a quick paced, mysterious and often ambiguous police procedural drama, but it’s definitely no ordinary cop show and Alex is no ordinary cop. You find out the answers as she does, seeing this new yet old world through her eyes, alongside a questionable eighties-themed soundtrack in Hunt’s bright red Quattro. Alex Drake is the epitome of a Strong Female Character who for all her strengths undoubtedly still has her flaws, easily putting her up in my top three of this list.

2. ROS MYERS (BBC One’s Spooks)

This is the second Spooks female that has made it onto this list, but I just couldn’t not mention Ros Myers. I think it’s probably because Ros isn’t a necessarily nice person – she is bitter, cruel, calculating and often emotionally detached, particularly when she first joins Section D, but as she forms and breaks bonds with her colleagues these traits are stretched to their limit. With a penchant for the colour black, neat white-blonde bob and unbreakable methods of information retrieval, there is just something effortlessly cool about Ros that is impossible to dislike. That, and the fact she’s catty as hell and won’t take any shit from anyone. Despite appearing impenetrable from the outset, Ros’s vulnerabilities are ultimately what destroys the Ice Queen façade she masks herself with when in the company of her colleagues or those she’s fighting. She is not as disinterested as she puts across - when she does love, it’s an incredibly deep, dangerous bond that can and will end in catastrophe, which is what I believe destroys her in the end. Ros does not feel often but when she does it’s a savage, shattering whirlwind of emotion that causes her to make hasty decisions and tempt danger. Ros Myers does so much good in Spooks, but at the expense of herself, and when her final episode came around I could easily predict – yet it still surprised me – the way in which she would end.

1. ROSE TYLER (BBC One’s Doctor Who)

If there’s one fictional female on this list I truly and fully identify with, it’s got to be Rose Marion Tyler. Doctor Who – particularly the series one-four – is one of the most magical and beautiful television programmes ever produced, and this is partly down to the wonderfully crafted and inspiring females created to join the Doctor on his adventures. Rose Tyler is a normal nineteen-year-old girl from London, who has a normal job and a normal boyfriend and lives in a normal flat with her debatably normal mother: but as this ordinary and monotonous life begins to crumble round her after her job explodes, Rose is opened to the idea that life doesn’t have to just be the eat-work-sleep routine she’s so completely used to. In my opinion, there was no better way in reintroducing Who than with the realistic, selfish, kind, liberal, jealous and ultimately relatable female character, pulling a whole new audience into the show’s orbit as they watch her travel through time and space with a newly-regenerated and broken Doctor. As her life twists and turns and she grows closer to the Doctor, my love for Rose just seems to expand with every episode – she heals the Doctor in every way possible, and as he says in the series four finale as he gives Rose his doppelganger, I need you; that’s very me. And we all needed Rose, because she is the character that has made Doctor Who the worldwide phenomena it is today. She is the one who brought the show into the twenty-first century, and she will be the companion that every nineties kid will say was their favourite. 

 

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