Monday, 15 February 2010

Political Who

The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that the Doctor has been using his power to meddle in UK politics...

Left-wing script writers infiltrated Doctor Who to give it anti-Thatcher plot lines in the late 1980s in a failed attempt "to overthrow the Government" Sylvester McCoy has claimed.

McCoy, now 66, who took over as the Doctor three months after Thatcher's third election victory in 1987, said they brought politics into the show "deliberately" but "very quietly". He said: "We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered," he told the Sunday Times.

One three-part programme, The Happiness Patrol, featured a transparent caricature of Thatcher.

Sheila Hancock played Helen A, a big-haired despotic ruler of a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha, whose subjects – called "drones" – worked in factories. The Doctor calls on the drones to down their tools and revolt, an obvious reference to industrial disputes like the miners' strike.

Also a spin-off children's novel, Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma, published under licence by the BBC in 1987, featured a villain called Rehctaht - Thatcher backwards.

I've also seen interviews with the script editor at the time, who aparently when asked what he wanted to achieve when auditioning for the job, said he wanted to bring down the government, and McCoy, where he's stated that he took on Thatcher in roleplay as an advisory in his audition.

The fact that its taken this story twenty years to hit the press reflects the sad lack of interest in the Classic series before it was cancelled, and the fact that its not much of a story. New Who is full of so many political, moral and cultural references that I guess it's only a matter of time before someone does a Phd thesis on the good Doctor's effect on polictics and our society. Or perhaps someone's done it already?


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