Sunday, 26 May 2013

That Was The Week That Was 26.5.13

News doing the rounds today that our beloved programme is "thunderingly racist". This derives from a new book on Doctor Who and race, written by a bunch of academics who have a bit too much time on their hands. Now the classic series did reflect the BBC of its time, when few actors from ethnic minorities could land plum television roles, and you had situations like John Bennett playing the Chinese magician Li H'sen Chang. I would argue that whilst none of this is right, Doctor Who was not alone in this. There is such a thing as historical and socio-political context. Davison's cricketing apparel is cited as reinforcing stereotypes of Empire and colonialism - cricket being the personification of racism and class division apparently. JNT put Davison in a period cricketers costume purely because Doctors always wore non-contemporary dress, and he was a fan of the game. It was a gimmick and nothing more.
The fact that there hasn't been a black actor playing the Doctor is also mentioned. I have no problems with a black actor playing a future incarnation of the Doctor - so long as he (or indeed she) is a damned good actor. What I don't want to see is tokenism - a black actor or a female one chosen just because there hasn't been one before.
The Doctor's attitude towards Martha and Mickey is also raised. The Ninth Doctor is downright rude towards Mickey - but we see that this is all a bluff and he is different with him when Rose isn't around. The Tenth is cold towards Martha not because of her ethnicity - but because he is in mourning for Rose, and he would have acted like this with whoever the next companion turned out to be. If the producers were racist, why have a black companion at all? Why bring her back in the following series, and include her in Torchwood series 2?
The last time we see Martha and Mickey, they are both strong, empowered characters - thanks totally to the influence of the Doctor in their lives. (The fact that they are gun-toting freelance monster hunters is an entirely different matter, not necessarily to do with race. Rose toted an even bigger gun).
Please note, I haven't read the book (and I don't think I want to) and am only commenting on the reported arguments. Hopefully the volume is more balanced than what has been written about in the press.

Anywho, on to other things. Except that there is not a lot happening at present. No Who on the box, and no Who in production. Matt Smith is in the US filming Ryan Gosling's How To Catch A Monster. He caught up with his old co-star Arthur Darvill in New York, with JLC in tow. Darvill is now appearing on Broadway in the musical "Once". The above pic was tweeted earlier in the week by AD.
Another interesting twitpic I saw this week (via Tardis Newsroom) was this:

I've been wondering when we were going to get a glimpse of Billie Piper. I assume those side-burns belong to Tennant. Big question is, of course, whose is the wallet? Did Smith get sent to sit at a table by himself?

Lastly, tomorrow sees no less than four Doctor Who DVD releases. That's if you buy things the old fashioned way in "shops". The two Peter Cushing Dalek movies (remastered) are released - individually or in a box set. The Series 7 Part 2 box set is also out, the rest of us finally catching up with the US Blu-ray on-line purchasers. And then there is the Inferno Special Edition to look forward to.
DWM 461 will also be hitting the shops this coming week.

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