Classic Who Racism?

Sci fi mega-blog io9 (what does that mean?) has released a list of classic Who stories for nuWho fans, and there are some good choices at hand.

Starting with a suggestion to check out season 26 – always a good idea as it has on the whole survived well and features an interesting Doctor-Companion dynamic in Ace (played by super lady Sophie Aldred) – the article moves on to the early Tom Baker era, recommends against any black and white Who until the colour stuff has been watched as well as avoiding anything longer than 4 parts.

However… call be dim, call me northern, call me bigoted: but what is this bit all about?

I was surprised when I interviewed Julie Gardner, executive producer of the new Who, and she mentioned that showrunner Russell T. Davies had given her a list of classic Who episodes to watch before they relaunched the show. The list was all Tom Baker, instead of the later stories I’d been expecting: "Pyramids Of Mars," "Talons Of Weng-Chiang" and "City Of Death." (I wouldn’t recommend "Talons Of Weng Chiang," though: the racial stereotyping is actually painful to watch.)

"Racial stereotyping"?!

What "racial stereotyping"? Is this the casting of an Englishman made up to resemble an asian (done as he was the best actor for the job, not to tick equality boxes?) or the use of Chinese actors as villains (part of the script, derived partially from fact but mostly pulp tales about the London underworld in the Victorian era). I don’t recall seeing that many oriental faces on television anywhere today, or indeed since.

Accusing a show of racism in the 1970s is one thing – when the self same show is evidently not racist, it is evident that the writer of the above passage is either a. mental, b. stupid or c. trying to look PC.


(PS there’s loads of grammatical errors in the piece too)

Christian Cawley

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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