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Home > Culture and Society

Doctor Who - Time Lord or Gaylord?

14 April 2006

Classic BBC programme 'Doctor Who' hits our screens again tomorrow, with David Tennant at the TARDIS helm and feisty Billy Piper doing her best to put a little gender-equality into the traditionally misogynist programme (bless her little cotton socks). And so we begin another thirteen exciting adventures across time and space in the best tea-time tradition - and who could possibly object to that?

Well, nobody, as long as you don't have anything against nepotistic discriminatory propaganda. Oh yes - we've noticed that some things don't seem quite right about the BBC's flagship sci-fi show. To put it bluntly, we have uncovered at the heart of Doctor Who one big, horrifying gay conspiracy.

It's common knowledge that Russell T Davies is gay; famously, he scored a big ratings success with 'Queer As Folk', a series that dared to admit not only that there are gay people in Manchester, but that there are *only* gay people in Manchester, and they're all horrible self-centred bastards. So perhaps Russell T was the obvious man to bring back 'Doctor Who', a programme which boasts a fan-base of which about 98% is gay. This in itself does not constitute a gay conspiracy; gay people have a right to be executive producers, science fiction programmes have a right to largely gay fan-bases (where would they be if they didn't?)

But when an executive producer's sexual preferences start to leak onto the screen, questions have to be asked. Okay, in 'Queer as Folk' a few homosexual shenanigans were to be expected, but was it appropriate for him to turn the Doctor into a relatively young and attractive man with closely cropped hair and a tight T-shirt? A Doctor whose companion Rose Tyler (aka Billie Piper, previously singer of camp and cheesy pop music *clearly* aimed at the gay market) told him 'you're so gay'? Or a Doctor who was forced to undress for a scene of gratuitously sweaty torture? (In the same episode as a Dalek was seen disassembling its balls in full graphic detail.) Can you imagine William Hartnell in a tight T-shirt, or undergoing bare-chested torture? If you can, you probably shouldn't.

As if that's not enough, after one series he has been forced to regenerate into an even younger, even more attractive man with a rather fey quiff. Is there no end to Russell T's exploitation?

But these are just hints at a mammoth, gay conspiracy bubbling away under the surface, like a big bubbling gay swamp on a slightly unconvincing alien planet. Look at the production team behind the new series: we wouldn't suggest that they're *all* gay, because we might get in trouble, but it does look a teensy bit like Russell T just walked into G-A-Y and picked a team at random. There are many experienced writers who wrote for 'Doctor Who' back in the eighties and continued to contribute to a credible series of books after the series was cancelled - but rather than call on their expertise, Russell T has passed them over in favour of younger, prettier and more homosexual writers. Only one of the writers in the first series was in fact heterosexual, the magnificently bearded Robert Shearman; his story, 'Dalek', was one of the highest rated in the series, but of all the writers in the first series, he is the only one not to have been asked back. Who has been asked to write instead? None other than Stephen Fry, arguably the ultimate gay.

Which all looks like rather good news for you if you're a young, pretty, gay wannabe writer. But wait! Because it would appear there is even more to this conspiracy than that. On closer inspection, it becomes clear that you shouldn't start counting your chickens unless you also happen to be Welsh. That's right: it's a Welsh conspiracy too. Back in the early eighties, Wales was responsible for some of the most disastrously short Cybermen in the show's history. But it would appear that Wales has been forgiven this blunder, for now it has a monopoly on alien invasions - as do all the actors and extras who live there. In real life, of course, Wales would be the last place aliens would bother invading. In 'Doctor Who' it now appears to be the first. Even when a more iconic setting is required, Cardiff is generally called on to double for London. Except for an episode set in Cardiff which was filmed in Swansea. Swansea looks nothing like Cardiff. Cardiff looks nothing like London, for that matter.

But perhaps there are other reasons why the 'Doctor Who' team shunned London. Or why London may in fact have shunned them. Because aside from all the homosexual and Welsh connections, one of the running themes of Russell T's reimagined 'Doctor Who' is a decidedly anti-Blairite political stance. Could he have been any more explicit than killing off the Prime Minister and blowing up Downing Street? Or showing the replacement Prime Minister to be a haggard wreck, a shadow of their former impressive self and a power-crazed autocrat who launched an unprovoked attack at an alien spacecraft known to have weapons of mass destruction? Most tellingly of all, the Daleks were seen to get religion - so it's obvious what they've become a metaphor for.

But speaking of religion, we've also noticed some slightly scary religious undertones to the programme. For the second year running, the good Doctor has been resurrected at Easter. The other Christian festival he was brought back to celebrate was Christmas. Doctor Who and Jesus - one and the same? We've certainly never seen them in the same room.

Before it starts to look as though everybody is implicated in this disgraceful conspiracy (and we haven't even got started on the Scientologists yet), we should perhaps look at the common linking factor in all of this: Russell T Davies himself. Yes, it is possible that what this really boils down to is a big Russell T Davies conspiracy. Russell T Davies is a gay, Welsh socialist - could it be that he's using the series to promote everything about himself, in the hope that the whole world will follow him in shunning Blair, becoming gay and being - er - Welsh? Somehow, this seems a more likely explanation even than the gay conspiracy (much as we like the idea), since Stephen 'ultimate gay' Fry's contribution to the second series was moved out of the way to make room for a different writer, one...er...Russell T Davies.

That doesn't quite explain the Christian conspiracy, except that it's quite clear from the way he's forcing his personality onto a hitherto innocent and unspoiled TV programme that Russell T Davies appears to think that he's God.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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