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04 September 2011 @ 01:37 pm
Doctor Who Debate  

Today's debate topic:

I seem to have mislaid my copy of John Tulloch & Manuel Alvarado's Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text (St. Martin's, 1984), but somewhere in there is a comment, originally made about Who Classic but possibly true of Who Lite Contemporary:

We will never see a female, black or working-class Doctor.


Current Location: Upstairs
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Daughter's tap shoes on the kitchen floor
girlspell: little pocket watchgirlspell on September 4th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
I don't watch Dr. Who very often, but being sci fi (or even fantasy)on TV, the hero alien has to be educated, strong, and in a human body that radiates authority. Translates in to a white male. Just about any culture would do that. Woman make up the majority of the earth's population, but they are universally under a males authority. In a black nation, the alien could be black, but always male. As for being working class, he has to know about the science around him. Not sweeping the streets. And nobody cares about a working class stiff. He doesn't have a masters. He can't get the girl in the end, because he won't be able to support her very well. That's what sci fi is in the movies and tv means. As far away from real life as possible. One reason we have entertainment.

In sci fi we create it from our perspective. If the woman is in it, she's the love interest. Or if she's educated (she must be beautiful) she and male pretend they don't like each other till the big climax. Even Wonder women needs the guy.
Ken: Winkken_schneyer on September 5th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Interesting analysis, Rachel!
girlspell: apple heartgirlspell on September 5th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Ha! I have yet to see a toilet scrubber lead the earth's rebellion against Alien invaders. No actor would play the part in the first place. Much less write a script about it....or a play, or a novel. Doesn't matter what his sexual preference is. No salacious sex with males, females, monkeys, squirrels, etc and calling it Torchwood, the 2nd generation is going to help it. In this case, you may try and take the guy out of the janitor. You can't take the janitor out of the guy.
Shauna RobertsShauna Roberts on September 4th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Maybe in twenty years? Maybe ten? "Straight white male" still seems to be the default human (and so by default Time Lord) in Western society. I'm sure they'll try a different type of doctor unless they end the show when his regenerations run out. After all, if people hate a female or black Doctor, the producers can have the doctor regenerate back into a white man.

Notice how the modern companions have all been working class or poor, except for the doctor, who was black. Captain Jack was the first bisexual companion. I think they're trying to keep the Doctor the same while giving the appearance of diversity with the companions.
Ken: Hmmmmmken_schneyer on September 5th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks, Shauna! I agree that the companions have been a much broader selection in the Reboot than in the Classic (although "bisexual" doesn't begin to describe Jack Harkness's taste...). In the old series, the closest we ever got to diversity was Tegan (an Australian) and Pirri (an American).
Terri-Lynne SmilesTerri-Lynne Smiles on September 4th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
It will depend upon the demographics of the ongoing viewers. The tenth and eleventh Doctors have made a splash with younger woman, thereby trending the viewership in that direction, I suspect. But I also suspect this demographic would be easily lured away if the Doctor is not an attractive, affluent, heterosexual male. So my answer? Not in the foreseeable future.
Ken: Hmmmmmken_schneyer on September 5th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
Hm! That's a good, market-based argument. I think Tulloch & Alvarado were after the cultural assumptions behind the program, but BBC in 1984 was at least a little different than BBC Wales in 2011. Yes: If it sells, they'll do it.
eaubry on September 5th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
This does not address the question of whether there ever will be a black or female Doctor, but the current show, specifically in this season, has finally established that there could be a black or female Doctor. In two separate episodes, we have seen (or heard of) examples of regenerations that resulted in a change of race or gender. The Corsair is known to have been both male and female, and River Song has been at least two different races. As much as those are minor details in the overall story, it strikes me that they represent a conscious decision to open that possibility for future castings of The Doctor. It may never happen, but I am far less inclined to rule it out now.

With respect to "Working Class," The Doctor's educational and occupational background are not variables in his regenerations. That said, The Ninth Doctor did a passable job of conveying a working class aesthetic. So did The Second Doctor, in a very different way.
Ken: Hmmmmmken_schneyer on September 5th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
Interesting! I'm not up on all the contemporary episodes, so I don't have all this data. I didn't know River Song was Gallifreyan, and I hadn't heard of the Corsair. (*Time out to check Wikipedia* Okay, got it. That's a clear foreshadowing of a John Varley sort that I hadn't seen in DW before. Fascinating.

I'll have to think about your analysis of the Troughton and Eccleston portrayals. I know that Troughton's Doctor is often referred to as a "tramp", but I always thought that had more to do with his clothing (and maybe his lack of physical courage) than anything else -- he always spoke, to my ear, like one of the intelligentsia. As for Eccleston, I'm not sure that a Northern accent and a leather jacket equate with a working class aesthetic -- but I'm willing to be persuaded. Certainly it's a commonplace that the higher one's socioeconomic level, the less pronounced one's regional accent tends to be (at least in the U.S.).

Icewolficewolf010 on September 14th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
Nine, perhaps because of his northern accent, always struck me as at least, if not working-class, at least lower-middle class.

But then, I'm an USAn, and I know a lot of my interpretation of British accents involves reading and watching a lot of "All Creatures Great and Small" as a kid.