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Published on May 28th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

BBC Rejects ‘Doctor Who’ Racism Claims

The BBC has dismissed claims made by a group of academics (desperate for funding to justify their positions? Who knows…) that Doctor Who is – steel yourselves here – “thunderingly racist”.

I know, right!?

Waris Hussein directed the first Doctor Who storyThe man above is Waris Hussein. In an age when if you weren’t white, middle class and part of the same club, you didn’t work in TV, he directed the first Doctor Who serial.

Yet the show – over its 50 years – has been accused of:

  • Failure to cast a black or Asian actor as the Doctor.
  • Casting white actors in ethnic roles such as John Bennett (Li H’sen Chang in The Talons of Weng Chiang).
  • Doing nothing to increase understanding of the Holocaust.
  • Harking back to the ‘racial and class nostalgia’ of the British Imperialism with Peter Davison’s cricketing motif.
  • Primitive cultures portrayed as ‘savages.’

And no, I am not making any of this up.

Compiled by Australian academic Lindy Orthia, the book apparently concludes:

‘The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist.’

I mean, do you have that problem? You’ll notice how easy it is to defend against these baseless accusations – that have littered the mainstream media in the past few days – without even mentioning the modern era.

To be honest, we weren’t going to dignify this non-story with any coverage as it is clearly an attempt by publishers to generate publicity for their book, Doctor Who And Race.

It has been pointed out to me by one of our contributors that the story originates with the Daily Mail. As such, and as with the furor surrounding the John Nathan-Turner biography, there is every chance that the comments, arguments and statements have been taken considerably out of context by the originating professionally employed newspaper writer (I naturally hesitate to use the term “journalist”).

I’m not sure what this means for the quote above, but I’ve decided that we will include the book in our reviews pages as soon as it can be purchased and analyzed.

I will say this, however: on two occasions now publishers and authors have ignored our requests for details on forthcoming, independently produced works, and opportunities to chat with the authors. Simply by responding to an email message this sort of press-spun, misrepresented nonsense can be avoided. This isn’t about resources, it’s about spending 10 minutes contacting a Doctor Who website with three quarters of a million monthly page views and making sure your book is fairly represented.

However, the BBC has now reacted to the claims made against Doctor Who – which most of fandom agrees are without foundation or, indeed, logic, so we thought it only right to discuss it. The BBC says:

“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].”

“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.”

Needless to say, we won’t be reviewing the book. Cynical marketing beyond words. (See above)

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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+.



103 Responses to BBC Rejects ‘Doctor Who’ Racism Claims


  1. I am a Yank. I am also part Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and part Native American. I know racism. I have experienced it first hand. DOCTOR WHO is not racist. The accusations leveled against the show are incredibly stupid!

  2. avatar GlassworX says:

    People who see racism everywhere are usually more racist than those they accuse.

  3. avatar Tazmon L'vis Sims (Taz) says:

    Wow!!!!! This is so sad, I was complaining just the other day how American television could learn something by how diverse BBC America is only to find out that I had no idea how a show that I have loved for over 36 years could be so racist, as a black male I had no idea how I had allowed such a racist show to exist on my watch……oh wait it might just be because sometimes people will just find something to complain about and playing the race card or the sexist card, gets great headlines…..Thank you Doctor Who, because from your very inception I have believed that if I were in the right place at the right time I could travel through time and space with the Doctor


    • well said my good sir , well said

  4. avatar Kain says:

    Two word: River Song.


    • Alex Kingston is white. Sure, she kicks ass, but she doesn’t really contribute to a more racially diverse cast.


      • I wonder if Cain is referring to Mels, played by actress Nina Toussaint-White.


  5. ….with little understanding of what racism actually is.

  6. avatar Bob James says:

    Very well said and true. There tends to be a reaction that answers extremism with extremism with this issue, and neither extreme is remotely correct or right. Add a dose of paranoia to the mix, and people are finding offense where none has been inflicted. Some of these “academics” need to get out more, see the world, encounter different people in different contexts and cultures. Racism is still very much alive, and very much an issue, but more progress is being made in the war against it, and we are in a much better place to actually identify and deal with now than ever before. And so many say we SciFi/Fantasy fans are the ones not living in the real world……….

    • avatar Rehn says:

      Sorry I disagree racism is very much dead except in small biggoted communities in all the different races and mainly in the media but i can assure in america atleast rcism is almost completely dead..america in large has become colorblind….hell even our nerdom is overflowing with different races because it just doesnt matter anymore

      • avatar Farplanet says:

        It’s not dead, not at all. The town I live in has a high Hispanic population because nearby towns made every effort to make it impossible for immigrants to live there. I will agree that it’s gotten much better since Dr.King was making speeches, but it’s hardly dead. Ever heard of white privilege? It’s the idea that a white person can be late for work or enjoy fried chicken, and not have others attribute it to their race.

      • avatar Kevin says:

        Sorry, but that is beyond wrong. Racism is very much alive and still in the world. I mean take a look at Georgia, a town in Georgia, up until this year, had segregated proms and you are trying to tell us that racism is dead? You sir must live under a rock if you think racism is dead.

      • avatar Heather says:

        That is one of the most naive things I have ever read. Racism isn’t anywhere CLOSE to being dead, ESPECIALLY in America. I can’t… I don’t even know how to fully respond to that, because that claim is beyond preposterous and completely beyond reason. I’m a white American, and even I know that sadly it’s still a huge part of our culture.

      • avatar Mike says:

        I live in the South of the USA and I have to disagree. I am constantly seeing and hearing instances of racism. It seems well and truly entrenched here. It has changed some and it is more against Hispanics, but there are still communities that block people of any other race or religion from staying in the area. Fandom is the one place that I have seen an openness.

        • avatar Bill Veris says:

          Let me guess what you are saying? Only Whites can be racist? That’s code for anti White!

      • avatar John Harwood says:

        America is colour blind? Are you fucking joking mate? I lived in America for 4 years from 2004 to 2008 and couldnt believe the racist attitudes and openly racist remarks I witnessed there. America is NOT colour blind. Race is still a big issue in America. I was even questioned why I would “want black friends” by seemingly intelligent people over there. Dream on, mate!

      • avatar Salieri says:

        I wish Rehn’s statement were true & that racism in America were almost completely dead, but sadly, its just more “politically correct”. I would love to see the day when I could agree with that statement!I just can’t hide behind a false sense of security because I see racism get the makeover time and time again, hiding beneath a new coat of paint until the paint begins to fade. Moreover, its not only whites who are racist. Doctor Who, however, repeatedly made the point that racism exists in the world. That’s a good thing. It doesn’t let people hide behind rhetoric and pretend. Racism sucks the life out of society and holds everyone of every color back. I am multi-ethnic, and glad I am. My eyes are not blinded by a false sense of ‘superiority’. Neither is anyone able to force upon my view of myself, any ‘inferiority’. There is only 1 race on Earth, the human race…except for the aliens…ok, there are many races. There are humans, Time Lords, Daleks, etc. Doctor Who Rocks!

  7. avatar c.a. lee says:

    This couldn’t be further from the truth than telling someone grass is in fact purple.
    95% of the time, the people who are screaming racist where it does not exist, are themselves the very thing they accuse others of.

    (read saul alinski”s rules for radicals on how to use this approach on non existent problems in order to further an agenda)

  8. avatar PJ says:

    I’m going to have to believe that this academe hasn’t watched it. I cannot speak for the classic episodes as I’ve only seen two, but in the current series, the show takes a very strong stand at promoting harmony, acceptance, tolerance, understanding, etc between races and species.

    • avatar mrjohnm says:

      Remember that in ’63, the U.K. was still reeling from the effects of WWII. The Nazis’ aim was to ‘exterminate’ anyone who did not fit their ideal image of the master race. This is the ultimate form of racism, and the Daleks, created as a metaphor of the Nazis, were pure racism. They are also the ultimate ‘bad guy’ in Dr. Who. So in a sense, Doctor Who is about fighting racism, not promoting it!

  9. avatar authorman94 says:

    Wasn’t there that period when it was almost likely when Patterson Joseph was going to be the Doctor? Not to mention how nearly everyone approved of it. Not to mention two black companions, a serial with a strong anti-racism message (Remembrance of the Daleks) and the Doctor’s love for all races (apart from the Daleks, but that’s kinda justified), and it’s hard to see where these people are coming from. Reminds me of the same people who accused rock & roll of being racist despite the most famous guitar player of all time being black (the talented Jimi Hendrix).

  10. avatar Hoosier Whovian says:

    I would read the book and review it, just to refute any improper claims. At the very least you can quantify to kasterborites the reasons why they should not waste any of their hard earned grotzits on this publication.

    I am working on a research project to show how Doctor Who can be used at the university level to introduce students to the value of what is refered to as ‘General Education’ courses. This the kind of book I would use in my research to illustrate the value of the program, if only to say “Some people just don’t understand what Doctor Who is all about.”

  11. avatar d says:

    Oh goodie! Another useless academic, desperate to find something a topic that hasn’t had papers written on it a hundred times over…

    …and how the Hell is a show racist (or in any other way bad) if it does “nothing to increase understanding of the Holocaust.”? I can’t really name any show like that that wasn’t a documentary on the given topic.

    Seriosly… how can people like this wake up, look in the mirror and not vomit their lungs out?


    • Well, I can think of a few shows (like Band of Brothers, who more than brushed the topic in the last few episodes), but yeah, it’s absolute nonsense. Just like the “there is no [insert ethnic minority here] on this show. As if it would help anyone to include a black person just so they can have a token black person. Boggles the mind, really.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      The Holocaust thing baffled me too. Because surely it’d be far more disrespectful to have an Alien Time-traveler show up in Auschwitz . You may as well condemn Masterchef for never mentioning the plight of the Native Americans. It’s ridiculous.

      • avatar mrjohnm says:

        I seem to recall a news story claiming that surviving family members of passengers of the Titanic were appalled at the Christmas special about the Titanic. Just imagine how a story about the Auschwitz would affect those who lost family members during the Holocaust, despite the show’s intent.

  12. avatar Hoosier Whovian says:

    The first ‘black’ companion was Sharon in Doctor Who Weekly. I understand that the BBC had to write off on that decision by the editor, (correct me if I am mistaken) so the BBC didn’t have a problem even in the late 1970′s with the Doctor having a non-white companion.

  13. avatar Aly says:

    Hubby (who is Asian-American) and I were lamenting the fact that Hollywood could learn a lot from the UK in terms of diversity in casting, but refuses. There are also far more female directors working in the U.K than there are in the U.S, particularly in film and TV. It’s too bad Mr. Hussein didn’t focus his considerable time and energy on the blatant racism and sexism in Hollywood. But then, I guess that wouldn’t garner as much attention.

    • avatar hhSonja says:

      Erm, as I understand this article, the book is not by Mr. Hussein, but compiled by Lindy Orthia. Mr. Hussein’s picture is there as evidence to prove that the show is not racist, with him being the director of “An Unearthly Child” in 1963.

      • avatar Aly says:

        Right. Sorry. This is what happens when I comment before coffee. ;)


    • Just to be clear, this paper wasn’t written by Waris Hussein. They have him at the top of the article because he is a shining example of how Doctor Who – in 1963, the same year Kennedy was shot – broke the white male racism of the time by hiring Mr. Hussein to direct “An Unearthly Child” – the first Doctor Who episode.
      To say Doctor Who is racist is to say Apple is anti-capitalist or to say Stalin hated communism. The fundamental nature of Doctor Who is one of a hero (the Doctor) who is willing to die to save ANY THINKING CREATURE, regardless of race (or gender, religious beliefs etc…)
      Way back in the 60′s and 70′s there was a smaller amount of diversity, but that was TV in those days. Doctor Who has always pushed the boundaries of what they could show. The only topics regarding equality that they haven’t touched on are the sexual ones, and that is because the show is very non-sexual. They don’t talk about characters being gay because they don’t talk about characters being straight either. Or even having sex at all. It just isn’t part of the show.
      And I’m fairly confident they will cast either a person of color, or a woman – or both – as the doctor in the future. Matt Smith’s been at the helm for several years now. Who knows what may happen next!


      • Oh, and I forgot about Captain Jack. So even homosexuality (or, more likely, bi-sexuality) is a-OK. And how many same-sex couples have there been? I even seem to remember a same-sex interracial couple in one of Tenant’s episodes. Can anyone verify that for me? Thanks to Russ for reminding me of Captain Jack.

        • avatar Awesomesauce says:

          Lady Vestra and Jenny, I’m pretty sure they’re an interracial same-sex couple :)

          • avatar Helen Speed says:

            Interspecies same-sex couple. There was also Donna’s husband and the drilling engineer.

        • avatar Kate says:

          How about Branigan Kincade? He was a cat person, that’s pretty interracial. There was an old lesbian couple in that episode as well. There was a gay couple in A Good Man Goes to War, and a bunch of interracial couples within storylines. Both of the guys Donna married were black!

          • avatar Thomasom says:

            *spoiler* There was also (in the Matt Smith era) Canton Delaware, who was discharged from the FBI for wanting to marry a black man. It’s a throwaway comment at the end, but it’s still there.

    • avatar Abbey says:

      I’m not sure you read the article properly, it was NOT Mr Hussein who wrote these claims, it was Lindy Orthia. Mr Hussein directed the first Doctor Who serial.

      • avatar Alyata says:

        I absolutely LOVE Doctor Who! I have watched every episode I can get my hands on and I agree they could use different races in some episodes but COME ON! Doctor who is not racist, they just put people who fit the parts into the parts. The Doctor has to be male and british and honestly I can’t really see a mexican doctor. My whole family loves this show and I’m from minnesota so I have A LOT of relatives. By the way I’m only 15.

    • avatar Caleb says:

      i have been watching more UK shows now then in america thanks BBC

      • avatar Alyata says:

        British shows are better than almost all american shows

  14. avatar Edhie says:

    How can it be racist? its the only show where u can see Black Queen Elizabeth. Accusing Racism just to sell books, that’s really pathetic.

    • avatar David (A people of Hong Kong, which love UK and is a Die Hard Whovian) says:

      Finally there is someone which remembered her.
      A Black Queen Elizabeth… make me think that the queen has been genetically enhanced with DNA since black skin can have higher resistance against ultraviolet light… and perhaps even cosmic radiations.

  15. avatar Russ says:

    Just some leftie idiot who insist’s on being offended on somebody else’s behalf, and not even bothered to ask minorities if they are actually offended. This is a show that has said “hey it’s ok to be gay” captain jack, and I’m sure Noel Clarke and Freema Agyeman would not have signed up to a racist show. I just can’t get my head around how anyone can find this institution racist, it’s as if the idiot just plucked a show out the air to pick on with no knowledge of what they are talking about, a show that has openly used gay characters as well as in its spin off’s and actors of all ethnic backgrounds. Just carry on doing what your doing Dr who and here’s to the next 50 years of great stories.

    • avatar tbennett says:

      Trust me, Russ, this isn’t about being a leftie. Many Who fans are. This person is just an idiot.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Well said, tbennett……………

  16. avatar Ron says:

    Perspective is called for here. The authors cannot be referring to the current run of Dr Who from 2005 onward. To do so would be academically dishonest. However, sit down with the shows from the start and the authors have a point. They were also sexist by today’s standards. But it is not proper to judge those early shows by today’s standards. Times and people change. Those old shows are history now and should properly be seen from the perspective of the times they were made. To do otherwise is simply a device to sell a book…
    As for an Englishman playing the part of Li H’sen Chang; Hamlet was a Dane. Would anyone forbid the Royal Shakespeare Company from ever putting on the play again unless a Dane played the title role ?

    • avatar Artlog says:

      Good point – the standard used by this person would mean “The Cosby Show” was racist because it mainly featured only black actors. Some people will do anything to get their 15 minutes of fame.

    • avatar mrjohnm says:

      And when you state that we have to judge the show by the standards of the time It was made, you realize what these ‘academics’ have not! They make me ashamed to be an academic.


  17. I grew up watching Doctor Who all my life and there is not an ounce of racism in any of the series and in fact would defend the diversity of any and human races as well as alien. This sounds like some one looking to make a name for themselves as well as getting their 15 minutes of fame. I fully support BBC on this!


  18. Racist? The main character is a non-human! How less racist could you get? :P

  19. avatar Liz says:

    I dunno, I always felt like both Martha and Mickey were under-appreciated by the doctor, and then when they did the farewells and they were suddenly, inexplicably married? Cause they’re both black? Cheap. I love the show, and it is very progressive in many ways but those two things never sat right with me.

    • avatar Elizabeth says:

      I always thought it made a heck of a lot of sense that they would get married. Just think about it, how hard would it be for either of them to marry someone who didn’t share the same sorts of experiences. They have a LOT in common, the color of their skin not even being in the top ten.

    • avatar calliarcale says:

      I could see them getting married, actually, on the basis that traveling with the Doctor exposes to such strange and amazing experiences that probably only another ex-companion would understand you properly. But it was awfully abrupt; I think it was just because those actors were available, and they didn’t have enough time to show separate stories for them. Making them married may have been a sort of consolation prize for Mickey fans who felt he got an awfully raw deal with Rose abandoning him repeatedly.

    • avatar Jenny says:

      I thought the same at first, that they got married because they were both black. Then I realized that they were perfect together. Both had had their hearts broken because of Rose and Ten. They both traveled in the TARDIS, where they felt second best, and they both left of their own decision. Because of their experiences, they both learned combat and dedicated their lives to protecting the earth. They both experienced alternate versions of earth’s history that no one else remembered. Seriously, who else, of any color, would understand them?

  20. avatar vortexter says:

    Umm, aren’t the Dalek’s an illustration of ultimate prejudice and a thinly veiled allegory of the dangers of Nazism and the holocaust? Isn’t that why the Doctor fights them all the time? Are these people real???

  21. avatar jana says:

    What I don’t get is why the Holocaust is even mentioned at all. Unless it’s for documentary purposes or for movies that take place at the time, people honestly do not want to touch it (whether out of discomfort or, God forbid, outright denial) and I don’t blame them. Heck, I was slightly unnerved by the episode Let’s Kill Hitler but I wasn’t about to call BBC out on it. It was a brilliant demonstration of the Hitler’s Time Travel Exemption Act trope.

  22. avatar Matt Frost says:

    OK, “doing nothing to increase understanding of the Holocaust” seems an odd accusation to level at a show which repeatedly features villains bent on destroying the inferior for the sake of genetic purity. The Daleks, for one, and the Sontarans, for another. I realize the Sontarans are a bit of a caricature. But why are we so horrified to see Daleks working for Churchill? Further, a show in which the “human” costs of genocide are so constantly referred to in the Doctor’s own character—and in “A Town Called Mercy,” by contrast with a character far more clearly reminiscent of WWII Germany. And then there’s Saxon/The Master. And the list could go on quite a bit farther!

    Without ever sympathizing with evil, Doctor Who manages quite thoroughly to touch the moral issues involved in understanding the Holocaust and its associated phenomena—on both sides. As far as I’m concerned, for every time it touches the issues in a shallow and caricatured fashion, it manages somewhere else to do it with depth and sensitivity. For all the demonizing moments in which we sympathize totally with the oppressed, there are other moments where we can grasp the humanity of an oppressor—even identify with them up until we are shown what we have done. And in the new series, the Doctor himself is very often the best example of how we are to wrestle with what we have done to others. He’s a “good white” in a sea of “bad whites”—but he’s no less white for all his sensitivity. He’s a kind and often a good man in a sea of evil men—but he’s no less male and patriarchal.

    So: of course Doctor Who is racist. Everything in our cultures is. Its writers are, its actors are, its directors are, its producers are, and its audiences are. At its worst, it plays badly with stereotypes, and blithely flaunts its casual possession of cultural dominance. At its best, it adds well-considered nuance to the moral problems of race, gender, and ethnic conflicts. That adds up to: the show itself is a “good white,” and good for what it is, but also no better on the whole.

  23. avatar lilypad says:

    Please this person is just trying to gain some attention, it is ridiculous that they would say that Doctor who is racist GET A LIFE!!

  24. avatar Andrew Dick says:

    A whole book on this?! That’s shocking. Someone at the BBC should take action against them, sue the hell out of them. Who are these writers, actual fans?

  25. avatar mair says:

    He has also never been ginger.

  26. avatar MoominTroll says:

    What a load of absolute rubbish – Dr who is great and I have seen lots of different colours and Aliens in the mix, not all played by a white person painted black but my a mix of people of all shapes and sizes. The holocaust accusation, well that is just sad and frankly I do not want to be subjected to this on Who and as for the stuck in time comment – well the world was very much like that when shot. Go find another show to call racist, try Friends for example..

  27. avatar Kelsey says:

    Okay, first off, Doctor Who in NO way portrays Primitave Cultures as “savages”.

    The Silurians, also known as Earth Reptiles, Eocenes, Homo reptilia and Psionosauropodomorpha, were a species of Earth reptile.

    They are cited as one of the first living civilizations on planet Earth. Technologically advanced, they lived alongside their aquatic cousins, the Sea Devils. The Silurians made many advancements unknown to even humans.

    ■They had cryogenic technology which they used to preserve their civilisation when they believed the Earth was in danger. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians) These had alarms for when the colony was threatened, (TV: The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood) though many were faulty and relied on nearby energy sources such as a nuclear reactor. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians).
    ■They could use gravity bubbles to travel to and from the surface. (TV: The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood) They also had mechanical airships, which Bernice used and found to be of high quality. (PROSE: St Anthony’s Fire)
    ■They had some holographic technology. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice)
    ■They could modify the atmosphere, increasing the temperature in certain areas. (PROSE: Blood Heat)
    ■They had the ability to disperse the Van Allen belt, which would have left Earth defenceless against cosmic radiation in an atempt to exterminate humanity, and unknowingly, almost every species of warm blooded creature. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
    ■They could create force fields to trap an entire village, controlling the amount of light that got in (effectively making it night). (TV: The Hungry Earth)
    ■They also had wrist devices. (TV: Warriors of the Deep)

    More info on them here: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Silurian

    Proof.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      No-one said that the Silurians were a primitive culture.

  28. avatar Aaron Joy says:

    Somebody give this guy some funding. He needs it for the pscyhology sessions he REALLY needs. What garbage. But, then, if not furthering understanding the holocaust is a cause for racism … anyone want to start a list of how many shows have failed to teach holocaust history and thus are racist? Though, I find it interesting he includes Judaism as a race, but ignores the two black co-stars on the show recently …. let alone gay Captain Jack! But, hey, having a gay character who spins off to his own series doesn’t trump the wearing of cricket outfits! Let alone the show has been produced by two gay men! Are either one of them Jewish, though?????

  29. avatar Al says:

    The BBC goofed – Mickey was a companion before Martha. Anyway – certainly there were a few moments where, reflecting the times, dialogue and such reflected things we don’t care for today. The N-word is uttered during The Celestial Toymaker (during a recitation of the original version of “Eeny-meeny-miney-moe”. The Doctor references primitive “red Indians” in one of the first episode in a way we wouldn’t today. And, yeah, they did miscalculate when it came to casting Talons of Weng-Chiang when they had access to actors like Burt Kwouk and the like. But to paint the whole series with a brush of racism is ridiculous. I hope these so-called academics took a look at other shows. What about The Avengers and its infamous “no coloureds” advisory in its show bible? I doubt you’ll find anything like that in official Doctor Who documents.

  30. avatar Chris says:

    I think this quote from the 8th Doctor is appropriate: “I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there.”

  31. avatar dr jon says:

    What rubbish I can’t understant that a show like dr who come across as racist, I have watched the show from boy to man and i have never heard anyone think it racist. Doe’s the person who wrote this even watch dr who? And the dr has only been a white man when he has regenerated is it’s proberly just his character. I liked to watch the tv show shaft,but a white guy in the role would not suit the character,that’s like having kojac with a full head of hair.

  32. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    Flipping ‘eck. Doctor Who’s hardly ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ in space…..

  33. avatar Tazmon L'vis Sims (Taz) says:

    I commented earlier and have grown increasingly more agitated by the claims. “Doctor Who” by it’s very nature can not be racist, he is an alien from another World who travels through time and space dealing with other “Races” to merely make this a black and white issue is too miss the true nature of what “Doctor Who” strives too achieve and that is tolerance and getting too the fundamental truth of what drives our nature. The Doctor is one of those rare character who has been shown to make mistakes in his dealing with other “races” and had to deal with the repercussions of those actions (The “Pandorica Opens” “A Good Man Goes To War” being some that pop to mind) and it’s inclusion of individuals from different Races, Creeds, Religions and Sexual Orientation should be applauded not degraded in how they handle complex issues that confront our society today. You are not allowed too label this show, because in the words of 10….”It is Defended”

  34. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Considering that the Doctor believes in the vast diversity of the universe and fights to protect it all the time, the show can hardly be said to be racist. The Daleks are an allegory on racism and fascism and ethnic cleansing at its worst, and the Doctor is always opposed to them.

  35. avatar Al says:

    I think anyone who thinks the show is racist needs to be sat down in front of a TV and shown The God Complex. Rita. A devout Muslim, whose faith is celebrated in the episode, along the way creating a character who many feel should have become a companion. And let’s not forget Rani in The Sarah Jane Adventures and her family (her dad a teacher, her mum a small business owner), an Asian was a regular on Torchwood (and same character appeared in the 2005 season). We’ve seen two black woman so far as Brigadiers in UNIT – including Bambera who was introduced way back in 1989. Here’s a good one – especially in the UK you often see the Scots and the Welsh made the butt of jokes (elsewhere too). Now look at Jamie, the Seventh Doctor (who adopted a Scottish accent) and all the Welsh characters we’ve seen since 2005. Racism isn’t just addressed to people of different skin colour — but Doctor Who has done fine by the Scots and Welsh as far as I can tell, and we’ve had two Scots cast as the Doctor and one as a companion so far.

    I could go on — I’m actually interested in reading this book now because I’m curious how far off the mark they’ll end up!

  36. avatar iank says:

    What a bunch of arseholes. Time they were forced to get proper jobs and live in the real world for a while. Nothing worse than preening would-be intellectuals talking crap. We should start a campaign to get them fired from whatever poor suckers of institutions have them on staff.

  37. avatar iank says:

    Actually that’s a solid idea. Can we find out where this sleazoids work and send mass complaints? We might just get them booted out on their backside and maybe next time they’ll think twice before talking garbage.

  38. avatar Gardienne says:

    In the Classic Era, there may be the very smallest, as in 1 part per billion, degree of justification to the criticism re casting a white actor as an Asian, but this is indicative of the culture of the TV industry at the time, case in point, casting David Carradine as the lead in Kung Fu. The stage version of West Side Story was ground breaking in that it cast Latinos as Puerto Ricans. I remember the complaints in the ’80s as to the lack of Black characters, but again, the industry was evolving at the time. And as the child of a Holocaust survivor, it never occurred to me to expect the program to further understanding of that part of history–or even complain about the lack of a Jewish companion (LOVED River’s ‘gay Gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the Handicapped’ line, though.)

    Certainly, the franchise has more than made up for these ‘shortcomings’ in the modern era, with Companions of Colour, inter-racial couples, and tolerance towards the LGBT community. So I don’t accept the racism label at all, much less50 years’ worth,

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      I always found the casting of John Wayne as Genghis Khan hilarious.

  39. avatar Ghoulsfools says:

    I love Doctor Who. The problem with is not that the show is racist, it’s just lack of inclusion. The show is amazing at bringing different races & alien species together. There is still a major problem with inclusion. Two black companions in 50 years is not what I would call the best proof of lack of racism. Neither is how the Doctor has only been played by white men. He is an alien who travels through space & time for goodness sakes. It shouldn’t take a lot to include different races & cultures as main characters.

  40. avatar STLShawn says:

    yes iank, i agree completely. If someone attacked me as a person i would be offended and probably go on the offense. I think we should all go on the offense as well. You can’t just start saying “sensationalized” things and expect to never be questioned.

    I’m still shaking my head at how silly this “academic paper” is. It’s shameful and the author needs to be questioned on this publicly.

  41. avatar deb weaver says:

    dr who is not racist. ive watched it from the first ever show at 6 years old and have never even seen any racial slurs or comments at all.

    those who think like this are stirrers of the most popular show on television.

    leave our doctor alone, the show is beneficial for many.

    deb weaver

  42. avatar Geoff says:

    News just in. Their tawdry little book is thunderingly shite….and I’m one of those looney lefties btw!

  43. avatar Pyro says:

    Cause you know, not addressing the holocaust definitely makes a tv show racist.
    With that logic than 90%+ of tv shows are racist then.
    This is one of the worst articles I’ve read.

    • avatar Caleb says:

      “Failure to cast a black or Asian actor as the Doctor.”
      well theirs only been 11 doctors and now that i think about it. I think it seems to me that most of them are singers while the actors where mostly white back 50 years ago


  44. rather than simply being dismissive, i respectfully suggest it would be more productive to engage with the allegations directly – read the book, see the arguments being made and THEN pass judgment.

    • avatar iank says:

      Uh no, I have no intention of validating this halfwit or adding to some snotty cow’s pay packet by paying for or reading deliberately inflammatory horseshit.

  45. avatar TonyS says:

    Blimey! Remind me never to criticise the programme. I agree with skinnyblackladdink. If you are going to criticise/disagree with the claims, find out exactly what they are!

    • avatar iank says:

      If you talk crap, expect crap in return. This is the snotty ranting of a halfwit would-be intellectual with a giant sized colonial chip on their shoulder.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Have you read it?

  46. avatar Grufaine says:

    I could understand someone making the claim that Talons of Weng-Chiang is racist. (I understand it was a different time, but the if the Twilight Zone could cast Asian actors in Asian roles in the sixties, Doctor Who certainly could have done it in the 70s)

    But the entire show? And “thunderingly?” No way.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      IIRC, there was a lack of Chinese actors, so the production team had to make do.

      • avatar Bill Veris says:

        Yeah exactly. That’s why his accusations are baseless! He’s a paraya and a scumbag who wants to bring hate on the White race!


  47. I think the newspaper which brought the original story might be the one who sensationalized the whole thing. So be angry at the newspaper. They most likely took lines of the study out of context. Remember the whole John Simm thing where that happened too.
    It’s totally okay to inspect doctor who for such tendencies. That dosn’t make people who watch the show nor the characters of the show racist and nobody is claiming that to be.
    So please calm down, everybody. We’re not the ones the study is aimed at anyway, so please ignore it.

  48. avatar John Shandler says:

    OK. Talons of Weng-Chiang. Great story, but the casting of John Bennett as Li H’sen Chang in the story is racist, unquestionably. Whether they meant this at the time is debatable, but it is.
    But the other points? Hilarious and cannot be taken seriously. I became an RE teacher because I abhor racism and prejudice and would not follow so avidly a show if I perceived any racism in it. Nonsense.

  49. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    Its amazing nobody else has called the show racist in the last 49 years, the reason, it isnt thats why. I dont think i have ever seen such a absurd statement by an academic. Its like saying Match of the Day is racist because its never had a black presenter and has never addressed the holocaust, also it plays to English stereotypes by playing football.


  50. Liz Ten……….. Nothing else to say apart from these claims are complete toss.

  51. avatar DevaLoka says:

    I do not understand why Dr Who is blasted for not ‘addressing race’. Surely it is an entertainment programme not an infomercial. I do not watch a sci-fi drama to be told how to think. Also to use ‘examples’ from forty years ago is cheap and disingenuous. Try watching any TV from the ’60s and ’70s and you will notice that society and attitudes were completely different. It is funny to think that people in the future will no doubt look back on our time and likewise cringe.

  52. avatar Bill Veris says:

    I really hate this guy! He was given the role as a producer in an era when there wasn’t as many colored people around!

    He came from a country that hates gays (which he is one), and has had such a blessed life!

    It’s always a case of bashing Western culture any which way possible! Blast it as racist even if it’s baseless!

    He knows where to go if he doesn’t like the UK! This is an appalling attempt to knock anything good in Western culture. Non-Whites always try to use “the race card” to the hilt to get their way… But back in the own country they’d be bashing up Whites (and gays like him would be bashed!) HYPOCRITE BASTARD!

    IF HE COMPLAINS OF NOT SEEING NON-WHITE DOCTORS… IT’S REALLY SAYING HE’S RACIST AND ANTI WHITE!


    • Can you read?

      If so, you should re-read the article. Your comment is ill-judged and inaccurate.

      • avatar Bill Veris says:

        I don’t know what you mean, other websites have this story too. I didn’t get the crossed out sentences whether you are sarcastic or you agree with this contemptuous character? Well regardless my original comment still stands and you can think what you like even if you are a smart Allec. Think I am over the top? I read 3 articles about this guy Waris today. That’s why I have those views.

        I don’t know why people online act like smart alecs just because you dare have an opinion.


        • You’ve misread the article. Waris hasn’t said anything contemptuous, certainly not within the context of this article, which is about a group of academics who have published a book in which one of the conclusions is that Doctor Who is racist. Hussein was used – as pointed out by other commenters – as an illustration that such an assertion is flawed.

          I’m no “smart alec”; you’re welcome to your opinion, but unless you want to look like a moron it needs to be based on fact.

          However, if you can’t ascertain these very basic details from the article – the same details every other commenter has – then questions need to be asked of your ability to leave the house safely.

  53. avatar Ood1 says:

    Hi there, I love Dr Who, I’ve watched all the episodes and never thought about this series as being racist. In fact such episodes as Planet of the Ood clearly denounce racism.
    There’s only one thing that bugs me and I really do wonder if I’m the only one : I get it that Dr Who is, among other things, an educational show for kids to learn about history in a fun way, but please anyone tell me that you were as baffled as me about the episode Vicory of the Daleks in which W Churchill is represented as a flawless hero? I really hated the way the Doctor was soooo impressed by him. I don’t deny that he was an important figure, but he also had a darker side to him that has clearly been disregarded by the producers of the show. I may be off subject here but I would really appreciate someone else’s point of view on this, thanks! (ps : sorry, English is not my first language)

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Hello Ood1 :)

      You raise an interesting point: one I had not previously considered. I think the answer may be that Victory of the Daleks is principally an action story and that the characterisation takes second place.

      Vincent and the Doctor in the same season spends much more time drawing Vincent’s weaknesses and strengths. But from the (admittedly little) reading I have done on the subject, even that episode ignores some of Vincent’s less likeable traits. Apparently he could be difficult to get along with.

      It was good to read your comment and I hope to exchange more views with you :)

    • avatar mrjohnm says:

      Ood1,

      I am an English teacher and have students whose first language is English but can’t write as clearly as you do, so there is no reason for you to apologize!

      As for your question about Churchill, I believe the Doctor was a little too impressed with meeting him, but the ‘darker’ side you mention is obviously reflected by the way Churchill is so eager to use the Daleks to defeat the Nazis.

      I hope that helps!

      John.

      • avatar Ood1 says:

        Hello guys, thank you for your replies!

        I agree that one episode would be too short to pack in the complete portrait of a historical character, but there is a difference between a painter or a writer and a political figure whose decisions would have a much more important impact on populations.
        But it’s true – I did overlook the fact that the use of the Daleks hint to another side of him. So thanks for pointing that out!

  54. avatar mrjohnm says:

    Okay everyone, activate your sarcasm chips! The ‘cavemen’ in the very first adventure were actually English actors, not cavemen at all! I suppose that’s a case for racism!

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