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Published on February 15th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

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The Thatcher Patrol

The Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy starred in The Happiness PatrolAnti-Thatcher characters inserted in 1980s Doctor Who? Left wing scriptwriters incorporating policitally subversive messages? They call this NEWS?!

Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy has apparently “revealed” that Doctor Who in the 1980s was staffed by socialists wanting to give 1980s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The fact that this was entirely obvious to any of the 4 million viewers seems to have been completely ignored, with the scheduling of Doctor Who being broadcast opposite Coronation Street given as a reason why this was “ignored” by the press.

“The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn’t shout about it,” said McCoy.

“Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered.”

The Happiness Patrol is the most obvious of these – it features Sheila Hancock as Helen A, the dictatorial leader of a world in which unhappiness is outlawed.

Script editor Andrew Cartmel (1987-1989) confirmed to The Times that he had intended from the start to include an anti-Tory message.

“My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government,” said Cartmel. “I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show.”

Bafflingly, no one seems to have taken any notice of Aliens of London, The Christmas Invasion, Rise of the Cybermen, The Sound of Drums, Torchwood: Children of Earth and their own (quite clear) messages about the current style of corporate, PR managed government. Yet these tones are there for all to see…

A BBC spokesperson said at the weekend:

“We’re baffled by these claims. The BBC’s impartiality rules applied just as strongly then as they do to programmes now.”

Doctor Who has been holding up a mirror to society since it began – I’m at a loss to explain how this could be described as news.

The only news here is that the press is constantly complicit in backing goverments beyond their sell-by date by refusing to hold them truly accountable for policy decisions that benefit business and the rich in favour of the people that voted them into power.

Meanwhile, if you thought David Tennant was around a lot at Christmas, get ready for the United Kingdom General Eclection later this year – as one of Labour’s celebrity supporters, there is every chance that he might turn up in broadcasts to endorse the current government…

Non-Story Update

The mini media storm that has surrounded this non-story has resulted in BBC Two’s supposedly serious Newsnight show covering it in tonights edition at 10:30pm…

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About the Author

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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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