Monday, 6 May 2013

Feature Article - Has Doctor Who Become 'Too Sexy'? Part One: In Context

Recent comments from Waris Hussein and Carole Anne Ford have prompted discussion on a subject that I feel many fans of classic & new Who alike have been thinking about for a while, but didn't like to address (for fear of 'rocking the boat'). Has Doctor Who become too sexy?

In a three part series I'm going to take a look at this argument as a fan of both old and new Who. There is no winner to the argument, I will simply take a look at various examples, attitudes and other circumstances to give a balanced view on the matter. I'd like to point out at this point that me being a red blooded male, it would be easy to get carried away on the various, shall we say, 'characteristics' of the assorted companions, as well as scenes, encounters etc. However, that's for another time and away from the public domain I might add.

Firstly, lets take a look at why Doctor Who has possibly become just a little bit sexier than 50 years ago. Well to address Hussein's comments in context, lets start from the very beginning.

1963, a year when the internet was non existent, computers where the size of my considerably large living room and teenage girls magazines promoted not the latest topless pictures of Justin Beiber and providing answers to a readers email consulting agony Aunt Britney whether she was or was not ready to mate, or not, or maybe. Nope, the cross stitch pattern of the week and a page featuring readers poems about ponies and pushbikes was the highlight of a teenage girls week. The differences regarding a young male's reading used the exact same formula I might add, with 'Boys Own' providing blueprints to build a twin transistor for 48/- and an exclusive interview with racing hero Jim Clark. Rather than today's reading providing the worlds 'Top 100 Totty List'.

Where am I going with this? Well, the above aims to point out that the difference's not just in TV production & writing from 1963 to now, but the changes in how society in general has been transformed by huge media coverage, changes in attitudes towards sexual matters, the list of how the world and its inhabitants have changed since Doctor Who's first broadcast almost 50 years ago is never ending.

If you were to ask your Nan what she thought of there being a lesbian couple featuring in a TV show, let alone a family show broadcast at 6pm on a Saturday evening, a large percent would either frown or show their objections openly. Don't get me wrong, we all love our Nan's, but we must accept that people in general find it very hard to throw away the ways of old, simply because we're all taught certain values in our youth and all tend to carry those values through the rest of our lives. The world has changed in such a way that matters regarding sexuality, attitudes towards sex in general, even religion are much more openly discussed and tolerated. Suffice to say, such matters were not for discussion at a the family dinner table in 1963.

I'm not here to argue whether the above opinions are right or wrong, I'm here to say how it was and now is. This hopefully puts my point across that from 1963, right over a 50 year period, Doctor Who has adapted to its surroundings and people who worked on the show then are bound to have their own personal opinions on how changes in society are reflected in Doctor Who 2013. After all, people are able to adapt to a certain point, but we're not chalkboard's that can be wiped completely, there is always a core of beliefs and views that can never be changed once imprinted onto the mind.

'Heavy petting' in Doctor Who today certainly reflects that the times have changed, the comments from Waris Hussein are his own views and I'm sure he's not alone in them either and quite right too. After all if we all thought the same, then what would we talk about?

So that's the science part out of the way, in Part 2, I'll be taking a look at those ever so naughty and those who are just terribly nice. It's the Doctors sexy companions!