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Don't Shoot - He's British! parts two and three

More musings on Doctor Who and national identity from me have been published at John Connors's Time Lines blog. I've written an introduction with more ideas at The Event Library, and the posts themselves are available at part two and part three.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2016/09/13/dont-shoot-hes-british-parts-two-and-three.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 13th, 2016 10:13 pm (UTC)

Interesting! Particularly about the fourth Doctor being more imperialistic than is widely acknowledged - I'll have to think about that one. He certainly fits in with imperial society in Talons not raising an eyebrow about Litefoot senior's involvement with the punitive expedition to China. There possibly is a mid-twentieth century sense of British imperialism being relatively benign when compared to the totalitarianism of Magnus Greel, in a similar way to the way George Orwell, no imperialist, saw the British Empire as preferable to the Nazi Reich and Japanese Empire.

Regarding Oscar Wilde as an influence on Tom Baker, there are some photos of Wilde that make him look like the missing link between Pertwee and Baker, I'm thinking particularly of this one.

written by authors who had lived through or fought in the Second World War

I've been of the opinion for a while that there are a couple of key divides in Doctor Who. One is those who grew up before the programme was on versus those who grew up watching it. The other is those who lived through World War II versus those who did not. Very different takes on a lot of issues.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 14th, 2016 01:57 am (UTC)

I'm sure you are right about a faith in benign British imperialism. Hinchcliffe would have made the Doctor a more backward-looking figure if left to his own devices, in some ways anticipating the way Peter Davison Doctor's character could have developed. Oddly, I think there's something of Davison in that Wilde picture too - and Wilde himself defined himself as a rebel against the expectations of family and education, rather like the Doctor in the 1970s.

There are aspects of Pertwee which I could have explored - casting him imports someone whose career comes close to placing him in a classless space, and whose later fondness of recounting tales of his Huguenot ancestry suggests he liked being seen as an outsider, but who at the same time was very much an insider in the entertainment business, the son and brother of established theatre figures.

The division between writers who grew up before 1963 and those after is important, I agree; the number of commentators who couldn't process just how young Douglas Adams was and how important that was to his attitude to the programme, and to television in general, surprised me.