jodie whittaker doctor who

Inspirational female TV characters

To mark the day dedicated to celebrating female independence and commemorating the struggle for women’s rights, we have put together a list of some of the most inspirational female TV characters whose admirable traits make them exceptional examples of femininity. 

The Doctor, Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who


“I know exactly who I am. I’m The Doctor. Sorting out fair play across the universe. Now please. Get off this planet while you still have a choice.”

BBC’s Doctor Who made history in 2018 with its first ever female Doctor, and we were so here for it. As one of the longest-running sci-fi series, we already knew the Doctor to be a powerful and wise character, but having a female actress embody these characteristics in the latest series was such an important progression for British telly. And Jodie Whittaker did a wonderful job, emphasising the time traveller's quirky sense of humour and strength, as well as a more empathtic side. We can't wait to see more of her in the next series!

Monica Geller, Friends
Channel 5 

friends monica and rachel


"Now, I need you to be careful and efficient. And remember: If I am harsh with you, it's only because you're doing it wrong."

When people declare their favourite Friends character, it’s not often you hear someone jumping to claim the highly-strung and sometimes bossy Monica Geller. However, here’s why we think she’s actually the best character of them all, and a great female example. She always puts her friends’ interests before her own (remember when she let Rachel move in with her without batting an eyelid?), she's brutally honest, and is ambitious in both her career and her desire to always be the best. She is ever happy to play the host and, without her, the gang would quite literally starve. And finally, she put herself and her needs first when she left Richard, after realising they both wanted different things from life. Monica, we salute you!

DS Ellie Miller, Broadchurch

olivia colman as ellie in broadchurch


“I had to work so hard to get into CID, so bloody hard…And because I was new, because I was a woman, I fought all the battles you now benefit from.”

We knew we’d love Olivia Colman’s Ellie Miller from the very first episode of Broadchurch, when she set the record straight on why rape victims should never be treated as liars. And throughout the series she further proved herself as the ultimate inspirational female character. Not only is she a strong single parent but she's incredibly down to earth and relatable. Plus, let's be honest, she's also sometimes a little terrifying...which is exactly why we love her.  

Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish

black-ish rainbow johnson


"I save lives." 

Rainbow Johnson played by the talented Tracee Ellis Ross is not only one of the coolest mums on TV, she is also one incredibly hard-working award-winning anesthesiologist who isn't afraid to speak her mind. Her brilliant pearls of wisdom when it comes to parenting, her vibrant personality and her honesty in talking about problems that women face today, makes her absolutely fitting for this list. We cannot wait for the new season! 

Eleven, Stranger Things

stranger things season 2 poster


Kali: They cannot save you.

Eleven: No. But I can save them.

Eleven may be one of the quietest characters on Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, but her loyalty and strength are what really speak volumes. Throughout the first two seasons we watched Eleven take back control from the man who used her for his own personal gain, transforming from a timid young girl into a courageous heroine. Oh, and did we mention she has superpowers? Which she uses to stand up to bullies and fight monsters? We needn’t say anything more really.

Geraldine Granger, Vicar of Dibley

“Oh dear. You were expecting a bloke? Beard, Bible, bad breath?”

When a small village called Dibley was appointed a new vicar by the bishop, the locals were shocked to discover it was a woman. However, it wasn't long before both the townspeople of Dibley and the audience watching from home fell in love with Geraldine Granger’s (Dawn French) quick wit and undeniable charm. Her character broke all the stereotypes associated with religious authority figures when she first appeared on screens in 1994. Vicars were so often assumed to be humourless and sexless, yet Geraldine was progressive, self-assured and absolutely bloomin' hilarious. We simply couldn’t miss her off the list.

Let us know who your favourite female characters are by tweeting us at @freesat_tv!

Looking for more strong and inspirational characters? You'll love Mrs. America and it's all-star cast of powerful women fighting for and against women's rights in 1970s America. Find out what new TV is coming up for you to enjoy on Freesat, and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to be kept in the loop about what's on.