But now an international group of academics has branded the heroic Time Lord ‘thunderingly racist’.
The Doctor’s new foes claim that his dismissive attitude towards black companions, his contempt for ‘primitive’ people, and even his passion for cricket are all proof of a reactionary ‘whiteness’ pervading his adventures.
Their concerns are published in a new book, Doctor Who And Race, which says the BBC programme is based in attitudes ‘that continue to subjugate people of colour’.
But fans dismiss such criticisms as ‘groundless’ and ‘ridiculous’.
One of the more bizarre theories is offered by Amit Gupta, an American professor, who argues that Peter Davison’s cricket-loving incarnation of the character in the Eighties was thinly disguised nostalgia for the British Empire. He wrote: ‘[He] portrayed the amateur English cricketer of the late 19th Century when the game was characterised by both racial and class distinctions.
‘Cricket also had a role in maintaining the status of British imperialism through the exercise of soft power as it was successfully inculcated by the colonial elites. Davison’s cricketing Doctor once again saw the BBC using Who to promote a racial and class nostalgia that had already outlived its validity.’
Several of the 23 contributors to the book lament the failure to cast a black or Asian actor as the Doctor. And in earlier series, white actors were cast as other ethnicities. Singled out for criticism is a 1977 storyline, The Talons Of Weng- Chiang, set in Victorian times and featuring the white actor John Bennett as a Chinese villain…..
Read the full article at Mail Online.
BBC denies ‘Doctor Who’ racism allegations
The BBC has responded to comments that Doctor Who is ‘thunderously racist’.
A new collection of essays titled ‘Doctor Who and Race’ claims that the sci-fi programme is racist for failing to cast a black or Asian actor as the Time Lord and accuses the title character of being dismissive of black companions.
The BBC has responded to the accusations – which fans have branded “ridiculous” and “groundless” – denying any racism and pointing out the “diverse casting” of the series.
It said: “Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast. Freema Agyeman became the first black companion and Noel Clarke starred in a major role for five years [Mickey Smith].”
The essays also blast the programme for its ‘outdated attitudes’ amid suggestions that primitive cultures are portrayed as ‘savages’.
The anthology’s editor Lindy Orthia said: “The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist.”
The BBC added that characters are cast based on their acting ability and not their ethnicity.
A spokesperson said: “Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who is colour-blind. It is always about the best actors for the roles.”
via Digital Spy.