Sunday, February 14, 2010

Doctor Who vs Margaret Thatcher!

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Sylvester McCoy has revealed that BBC scriptwriters and producers including John Nathan-Turner and Andrew Cartmel wrote 'anti-Thatcher' propaganda into Doctor Who in an attempt to 'overthrow' Margarate Thatcher and the Tory government in the 1980s!

“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.

“We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. At the time Doctor Who used satire to put political messages out there in the way they used to do in places like Czechoslovakia. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered. Those who wanted to see the messages saw them; others, including one producer, didn’t.”

Andrew Cartmel, the show’s script editor during the late 1980s, confirmed its deliberate anti-Thatcher slant.

He said last week that John Nathan-Turner, who produced the show throughout the 1980s, had asked him during his job interview what he hoped to achieve in the post.

“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.”

He assembled a number of “angry young writers” to produce storylines that they hoped would foment anti-Thatcher dissent. They included Ben Aaronovitch, son of the late Marxist intellectual Sam Aaronovitch, and Rona Munro, who went on to become a scriptwriter for Ken Loach, the socialist film-maker.

Under Cartmel’s direction, Thatcher was caricatured as Helen A, the wide-eyed tyrannical ruler of a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha.

The extra-terrestrial character, played by Sheila Hancock, outlawed unhappiness and remarked “I like your initiative, your enterprise” as her secret police rounded up dissidents.

The Doctor persuaded “the drones”, who toiled in the factories and mines, to down tools and rise up in revolt, an echo of the miners’ strikes and printers’ disputes during Thatcher’s first two terms in office.

Click here to read the full story.

Both the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant and ex-executive Doctor Who producer Russell T Davies have recently expressed their views on David Cameron and the current Conservative party with Davies saying that the Tories would 'dismantle' the BBC if they came into power and Tennant telling Doctor Who Magazine that David Cameron would be a 'terrifying' prospect as Prime Minister.

Thanks to News Guy for the heads-up!


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