Since I was a child, I have loved the adventures of “Doctor Who”, the longest running show ever and one of the BBC’s finest creations. For the uninitiated, it tells the tale of a ‘Time Lord’ from the planet of Gallifrey, who stole a time machine called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions in Space) which was supposed to change its form to blend in with its surroundings, but got stuck as a 1960’s police box, and how he travelled through time and space with various travelling companions he encountered.
Anyway, there is more to be read elsewhere on the history and background of Doctor Who, so I’ll simply keep this article focused on my thoughts on the latest incarnation.
Since the series was ‘rebooted’ by the BBC in 2005, I have to admit I’ve had my own personal ups and downs with it. With Russell T Davies at the helm, it was all going quite well, with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant portraying the Ninth and Tenth Doctors respectively – for those who are unaware, Time Lords have the ability to ‘regenerate’ themselves when they die, taking on a whole new form – with some very interesting storylines. I felt the series started to take a downward turn under the helm of lead writer Steven Moffat (with Matt Smith and then Peter Capaldi playing the lead) which was a shame as I had really enjoyed the stories he had written previously, namely “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances” and “Blink”.
Sadly, the downward spiral has continued further, and I’m really not sure how much longer this can last.
With Chris Chibnall taking up the mantle of lead writer – I’m only familiar with some writings for ‘Ashes To Ashes’, as well as co-creating Doctor Who spin-off “Torchwood”, and writing the brilliant “Broadchurch” for ITV – there was some hope that things could be revived.
However the first move was to get the Doctor to regenerate into a woman. Not strictly a first, after all his nemesis Time Lord “The Master” had regenerated into the female “Missy” already.
Unfortunately, it would appear that the BBC commissioners have focused far too much on diversity aspects in my opinion.
So in this latest series now, the hero Time Lord has regenerated into a ‘northern lass’ – notably Christopher Eccleston played the Doctor with a Northern accent, “lots of planets have a North!”, so that’s not a first.
Which ticks the ‘feminist’ box – for years boys had their hero in Doctor Who, now young girls can have their hero too.
Not just that, with the regeneration of a ‘Time Lord’ into a ‘Time Lady’, there goes the “transgender” box ticked. Whoomph! That’s a biggie! Gender fluidity, happens just like that!
We could probably overlook this though and just enjoy the show, if it wasn’t for the rest of the ensemble cast that was introduced in the first episode.
First of all we have young Ryan Sinclair, a young black lad who works in a warehouse, but dreams of becoming an engineer. Aww, perhaps should have tried harder at school? Oh, and just to tick the ‘victimhood’ card, he has some kind of disorder which affects his balance, which means he can’t ride a bike.
Then we meet his old school friend, a young Indian/Pakistani girl (not sure which, it is not made clear though her name is Yasmin Khan) who happens to be a police officer. And her boss was also seemingly of Pakistani heritage, but as this is set in Sheffield, and South Yorkshire police, pretty normal then it appears!
Next up is Ryan’s ‘nan’ Grace, a nurse, who has seemingly been raising him since his mother died and his father abandoned him (more victimhood). Grace is married to her second husband Graham (an ex-bus driver, played by Bradley Walsh), so ticks the ‘mixed-race relationship’ diversity box. As well as ticking the ‘token white bloke’ box too.
Sadly Grace doesn’t make it past the first episode of this series.
In conclusion, I must add that while certain aspects of this show left me cold, I appreciate that this was the first episode of a new series and new era, and as a Doctor Who fan, it is too early to make a full judgement. I will probably continue to watch just to see how this all develops.
But the early signs are there that Doctor Who has become the BBC’s flagship agenda-promoting show, pushing political-correctness and ‘diversity’ over good old-fashioned story-telling, where ‘propaganda’ becomes ‘entertainment’.
Let’s see how the pro-transgender movement jumps on this…