Peter Davison, Doctor Who and the Heroics of Truth

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Peter Davison, Doctor Who and the Heroics of Truth

What our age mostly does is appro­pri­ate the cul­tural cre­ations of greater tal­ents and make them into some­thing other.

Mark Steyn

The com­ing of the SJW/​Ghostbusters Doc­tor has rad­i­cally changed some very ingrained habits of mine

I’ve not gone to the BBC site to check for updates. I’ve not vis­ited Big Fin­ish about upcom­ing new releases. I’ve not done my weekly check of Ama­zon which offers excel­lent pric­ing on Bigfin­ish items if you don’t mind wait­ing a few months or more to get them nor checked Big Fin­ish to see what new releases I should be look­ing out for.

In fact I have not both­ered to watch a sin­gle episode of the series on demand, in repeats, via the VHS tapes that I started record­ing in 1981 nor lis­tened to any other Big Fin­ish episodes I own. I haven’t even touched the ones I hadn’t heard or opened yet and I’m still debat­ing if I’m even going to bother to lis­ten to the end of the boxed set I was in the mid­dle of because I’m sim­ply no longer inter­ested in the char­ac­ter called “The Doctor”

So given that lack of inter­est while I was away at the Catholic Mar­ket­ing Net­work Con­fer­ence (still wear­ing and bear­ing 4th Doc­tor Scarfs because they are MY trade­mark now) I had heard absolutely noth­ing con­cern­ing the series. So imag­ine my sur­prise when the 3rd sen­tence out of my youngest son’s mouth when I walked though the door just after mid­night Sun­day morn­ing after a week in Chicago was the news that at least one liv­ing Doc­tor, Peter Davi­son, not only gets why Jodi Whitaker as the Doc­tor is a mis­take, but was will­ing to say so in pub­lic in front of a bunch of fans:

Peter Davi­son said she is a “ter­rific actress” but that he has doubts that she is right for the role.

He said before an appear­ance at Comic-​Con in San Diego: “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys who I think Doc­tor Who is vitally impor­tant for.”

The vet­eran actor then com­mented: “So I feel a bit sad about that, but I under­stand the argu­ment that you need to open it up.”

As you might guess it didn’t take long for the coun­ter­punches to come, led by 6th Doc­tor Colin Baker.

“They’ve had 50 years of hav­ing a role model. So sorry Peter, you’re talk­ing rub­bish there – absolute rub­bish,” the father of five said. “Well, you don’t have to be of a gen­der of some­one to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as people?”

Given his gen­der the use of “They’ve” is a tad odd in this con­text but in one sense Mr. Baker is right, one can be a role model regard­less of gen­der, but the Doc­tor wasn’t a “role model” for boys, he was a HERO and it is the nature of men to desire and aspire to be a hero.

River Song: I posed as his nurse. Took me a week.
12th Doc­tor: To fall in love?
River Song: It’s the eas­i­est lie you can tell a man. They’ll auto­mat­i­cally believe any story they’re the hero of.

Doc­tor Who the Hus­bands of River Song 2015

To under­stand why this is impor­tant con­sider this spec­tac­u­lar piece from the Markkula Cen­ter for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara Uni­ver­sity on what a hero was

The term “hero” comes from the ancient Greeks. For them, a hero was a mor­tal who had done some­thing so far beyond the nor­mal scope of human expe­ri­ence that he left an immor­tal mem­ory behind him when he died, and thus received wor­ship like that due the gods. Many of these first heroes were great bene­fac­tors of humankind: Her­cules, the mon­ster killer; Ascle­pius, the first doc­tor; Diony­sus, the cre­ator of Greek fra­ter­ni­ties. But peo­ple who had com­mit­ted unthink­able crimes were also called heroes; Oedi­pus and Medea, for exam­ple, received divine wor­ship after their deaths as well. Orig­i­nally, heroes were not nec­es­sar­ily good, but they were always extra­or­di­nary; to be a hero was to expand people’s sense of what was pos­si­ble for a human being.

What a hero is

Today, it is much harder to detach the con­cept of hero­ism from moral­ity; we only call heroes those whom we admire and wish to emu­late. But still the con­cept retains that orig­i­nal link to pos­si­bil­ity. We need heroes first and fore­most because our heroes help define the lim­its of our aspi­ra­tions. We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals — things like courage, honor, and jus­tice — largely define us. Our heroes are sym­bols for us of all the qual­i­ties we would like to pos­sess and all the ambi­tions we would like to sat­isfy. A per­son who chooses Mar­tin Luther King or Susan B. Anthony as a hero is going to have a very dif­fer­ent sense of what human excel­lence involves than some­one who chooses, say, Paris Hilton, or the rap­per 50 Cent.

And how the con­cept has been per­verted over the years

A cou­ple years ago the admin­is­tra­tors of the Bar­ron Prize for Young Heroes polled Amer­i­can teenagers and found only half could name a per­sonal hero. Super­man and Spi­der­man were named twice as often as Gandhi, Mar­tin Luther King, or Lin­coln. It is clear that our media make it all too easy for us to con­fuse celebrity with excel­lence; of the stu­dents who gave an answer, more than half named an ath­lete, a movie star, or a musi­cian. One in ten named win­ners on Amer­i­can Idol as heroes.

Gangsta rap is a dis­as­ter for hero­ism. Just this week, direc­tor Spike Lee lamented the fact that, while his gen­er­a­tion grew up idol­iz­ing great civil rights lead­ers, today young peo­ple in his com­mu­nity aspire to become pimps and strip­pers. Surely no one wants their chil­dren to get their role mod­els from Gangsta rap and a hyper mate­ri­al­is­tic, misog­y­nis­tic hiphop cul­ture, but our com­mu­ni­ties are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to make alter­na­tive role mod­els take hold.

In a age where there are so few male role model the con­cept of being a hero is impor­tant even in, as Greg Hodge at the Huff­in­g­ton Post notes every­day life

You must empower us to fully devote to you and here’s how you do it.

One word: HERO. It’s that sim­ple. Men want to be heroes. Men project that need and desire onto women in order for them to live out their hero fan­tasies. Cer­tainly, as men, we all go about it in dif­fer­ent ways — we are all very dif­fer­ent peo­ple — but we share this one unquench­able desire. Let your man be a hero every now and then, even if he is not feel­ing that heroic, even if you have to act. Remem­ber, it’s that fleet­ing expres­sion, that look of trust and admi­ra­tion, that pass­ing ges­ture, those few words that make us feel like your heroes.

So much is sat­is­fied in men if you empower them to feel like heroes. You will reap the benefits.

To expand on this, think of how the rise of law­less­ness and crime in com­mu­ni­ties par­al­leled the rise of sin­gle moth­er­hood and absent fathers. The first Hero a young boy has IS his father and when that hero is gone he searches else­where, As the strong father fig­ures recede in west­ern cul­ture it becomes vital that there be a hero for boys who can be defined by a speech like this

Win­ning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not try­ing to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat some­one, or because I hate some­one, or because, because I want to blame some­one. It’s not because it’s fun and God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do, because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind. It’s just that. Just kind. If I run away today, good peo­ple will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there’s no point in any of this at all, but it’s the best I can do, so I’m going to do it. And I will stand here doing it till it kills me. You’re going to die too, some day. How will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand, is where I fall. Stand with me

That’s why the Doc­tor was so impor­tant, Colin Baker remarks not with­stand­ing boys need more than “role mod­els”, they need HEROES they can aspire to be, Heroes who will face their fear at the cost of their lives, who will dan­gle from a cable to save worlds, who will give that last bit of anti-​toxin to their friend rather than keep it for them­selves, who will absorb ener­gies to save a young girl just at the start of life or radi­a­tion to save an old man at the end of his years. It’s no coin­ci­dence that Colin Baker him­self did not agree to a proper regen­er­a­tion story until his doc­tor was given a proper heroic ending.

No mat­ter how much the SJW war­rior class feels oth­er­wise, no mat­ter how “estab­lished” the con­cept of time Lords switch­ing gen­der is (and for the record it was only “estab­lished” because the show run­ner about to depart choose to estab­lish it) these boys look­ing for heroes under­stand that no mat­ter what face he car­ries the Doc­tor is One Sin­gle Per­son and no mat­ter how much the media cul­ture, the hol­ly­wood cul­ture, the LGBT cul­ture and the BBC cul­ture wants to pre­tend oth­er­wise, Jodi Whitaker’s “doc­tor” will not be a “role model” or an inspi­ra­tional hero for boys because while the Rus­sell Davies of the world are pre­dom­i­nant in those cul­tures, out there in the actual world for every Rus­sel T there are 100 or more boys who, while they might aspire to win or save a 35 year old woman they do not aspire to BE one. Until the cast­ing of Ms. Whitaker those boys could see them­selves as the Doc­tor, now even if the role goes to a man after Ms. Whitaker they can not.

Thus the Doc­tor, who was once a British insti­tu­tion, passes from the pan­theon of male heroes who will inspire those boys who will become men and becomes just another char­ac­ter on just another TV show.

Peter Davi­son gets this even if Colin Baker does not and he will doubt­less pay a price for it in media scorn (likely not enough to put him below Mr. Baker on the most pop­u­lar doc­tors list) and per­haps even lost income from work not offered and con­ven­tion invites unsent. The elite media in Eng­land and the US will doubt­less such a result as Mr. Davi­son and those like me who agree get­ting their come­up­pance It’s a final irony that the will­ing­ness of Mr. Davison’s to speak an hon­est truth against the grain is, dare we say it, heroic.

I sus­pect in those smug cel­e­bra­tions this those given by Mr. Hodge is well made

Don’t get me wrong — tak­ing men down a peg or two is nec­es­sary on occa­sion; my wife has needed to do just that over the years, and she does it very well. But remem­ber the stop but­ton, ladies — cut­ting us off at the knees is not help­ful to you. You don’t want to break us; if we are bro­ken, we don’t work.

I’ll give the last quote to Scott Lafarge the pro­fes­sor who wrote that piece on heroes I’ve quoted

the ideals to which we aspire do so much to deter­mine the ways in which we behave, we all have a vested inter­est in each per­son hav­ing heroes, and in the choice of heroes each of us makes.

The need for heroes is never more appar­ent than when they’re gone


This blog is a ven­ture in cap­i­tal­ism. You can help finance my writ­ers and myself by pick­ing up my new book Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) prayer is now avail­able at Amazon

A por­tion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hit­ting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term con­sider sub­scrib­ing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said if you can’t spare the money I’ll hap­pily accept your prayers.

What our age mostly does is appropriate the cultural creations of greater talents and make them into something other.

Mark Steyn

The coming of the SJW/Ghostbusters Doctor has radically changed some very ingrained habits of mine

I’ve not gone to the BBC site to check for updates. I’ve not visited Big Finish about upcoming new releases.  I’ve not done my weekly check of Amazon which offers excellent pricing on Bigfinish items if you don’t mind waiting a few months or more to get them nor checked Big Finish to see what new releases I should be looking out for.

In fact I have not bothered to watch a single episode of the series on demand, in repeats, via the VHS tapes that I started recording in 1981 nor listened to any other Big Finish episodes I own.  I haven’t even touched the ones I hadn’t heard or opened yet and I’m still debating if I’m even going to bother to listen to the end of the boxed set I was in the middle of because I’m simply no longer interested in the character called “The Doctor”

So given that lack of interest while I was away at the Catholic Marketing Network Conference (still wearing and bearing 4th Doctor Scarfs because they are MY trademark now) I had heard absolutely nothing concerning the series.  So imagine my surprise when the 3rd sentence out of my youngest son’s mouth when I walked though the door just after midnight Sunday morning after a week in Chicago was the news that at least one living Doctor, Peter Davison, not only gets why Jodi Whitaker as the Doctor is a mistake, but was willing to say so in public in front of a bunch of fans:

Peter Davison said she is a “terrific actress” but that he has doubts that she is right for the role.

He said before an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego: “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for.”

The veteran actor then commented: “So I feel a bit sad about that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up.”

As you might guess it didn’t take long for the counterpunches to come, led by 6th Doctor Colin Baker.

“They’ve had 50 years of having a role model. So sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there – absolute rubbish,” the father of five said. “Well, you don’t have to be of a gender of someone to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as people?”

Given his gender the use of “They’ve” is a tad odd in this context but in one sense Mr. Baker is right, one can be a role model regardless of gender, but the Doctor wasn’t a “role model” for boys, he was a HERO and it is the nature of men to desire and aspire to be a hero.

River Song:   I posed as his nurse. Took me a week.
12th Doctor:   To fall in love?
River Song: It’s the easiest lie you can tell a man. They’ll automatically believe any story they’re the hero of.

Doctor Who the Husbands of River Song 2015

To understand why this is important consider this spectacular piece from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University on what a hero was

The term “hero” comes from the ancient Greeks. For them, a hero was a mortal who had done something so far beyond the normal scope of human experience that he left an immortal memory behind him when he died, and thus received worship like that due the gods. Many of these first heroes were great benefactors of humankind: Hercules, the monster killer; Asclepius, the first doctor; Dionysus, the creator of Greek fraternities. But people who had committed unthinkable crimes were also called heroes; Oedipus and Medea, for example, received divine worship after their deaths as well. Originally, heroes were not necessarily good, but they were always extraordinary; to be a hero was to expand people’s sense of what was possible for a human being.

What a hero is

Today, it is much harder to detach the concept of heroism from morality; we only call heroes those whom we admire and wish to emulate. But still the concept retains that original link to possibility. We need heroes first and foremost because our heroes help define the limits of our aspirations. We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals — things like courage, honor, and justice — largely define us. Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy. A person who chooses Martin Luther King or Susan B. Anthony as a hero is going to have a very different sense of what human excellence involves than someone who chooses, say, Paris Hilton, or the rapper 50 Cent.

And how the concept has been perverted over the years

A couple years ago the administrators of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes polled American teenagers and found only half could name a personal hero. Superman and Spiderman were named twice as often as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Lincoln. It is clear that our media make it all too easy for us to confuse celebrity with excellence; of the students who gave an answer, more than half named an athlete, a movie star, or a musician. One in ten named winners on American Idol as heroes.

Gangsta rap is a disaster for heroism. Just this week, director Spike Lee lamented the fact that, while his generation grew up idolizing great civil rights leaders, today young people in his community aspire to become pimps and strippers. Surely no one wants their children to get their role models from Gangsta rap and a hyper materialistic, misogynistic hiphop culture, but our communities are finding it difficult to make alternative role models take hold.

In a age where there are so few male role model the concept of being a hero is important even in, as Greg Hodge at the Huffington Post notes everyday life

You must empower us to fully devote to you and here’s how you do it.

One word: HERO. It’s that simple. Men want to be heroes. Men project that need and desire onto women in order for them to live out their hero fantasies. Certainly, as men, we all go about it in different ways — we are all very different people — but we share this one unquenchable desire. Let your man be a hero every now and then, even if he is not feeling that heroic, even if you have to act. Remember, it’s that fleeting expression, that look of trust and admiration, that passing gesture, those few words that make us feel like your heroes.

So much is satisfied in men if you empower them to feel like heroes. You will reap the benefits.

To expand on this, think of how the rise of lawlessness and crime in communities paralleled the rise of single motherhood and absent fathers. The first Hero a young boy has IS his father and when that hero is gone he searches elsewhere,   As the strong father figures recede in western culture  it becomes vital that there be a hero for boys who can be defined by a speech like this

Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, or because I hate someone, or because, because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun and God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do, because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind. It’s just that. Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there’s no point in any of this at all, but it’s the best I can do, so I’m going to do it. And I will stand here doing it till it kills me. You’re going to die too, some day. How will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand, is where I fall. Stand with me

That’s why the Doctor was so important, Colin Baker remarks not withstanding boys need more than “role models”, they need HEROES they can aspire to be, Heroes who will face their fear at the cost of their lives, who will dangle from a cable to save worlds, who will give that last bit of anti-toxin to their friend rather than keep it for themselves, who will absorb energies to save a young girl just at the start of life or radiation to save an old man at the end of his years. It’s no coincidence that Colin Baker himself did not agree to a proper regeneration story until his doctor was given a proper heroic ending.

No matter how much the SJW warrior class feels otherwise, no matter how “established” the concept of time Lords switching gender is (and for the record it was only “established” because the show runner about to depart choose to establish it) these boys looking for heroes understand that no matter what face he carries the Doctor is One Single Person and no matter how much the media culture, the hollywood culture, the LGBT culture and the BBC culture wants to pretend otherwise, Jodi Whitaker’s “doctor” will not be a “role model” or an inspirational hero for boys because while the Russell Davies of the world are predominant in those cultures, out there in the actual world for every Russel T there are 100 or more boys who, while they might aspire to win or save a 35 year old woman they do not aspire to BE one.  Until the casting of Ms. Whitaker those boys could see themselves as the Doctor, now  even if the role goes to a man after Ms. Whitaker they can not.

Thus the Doctor, who was once a British institution, passes from the pantheon of male heroes who will inspire those boys who will become men and becomes just another character on just another TV show.

Peter Davison gets this even if Colin Baker does not and he will doubtless pay a price for it in media scorn (likely not enough to put him below Mr. Baker on the most popular doctors list) and perhaps even lost income from work not offered and convention invites unsent.  The elite media in England and the US  will doubtless such a result as Mr. Davison and those like me who agree getting their comeuppance It’s a final irony that the willingness of Mr. Davison’s to speak an honest truth against the grain is, dare we say it, heroic.

I suspect in those smug celebrations this those given by Mr. Hodge is well made

Don’t get me wrong — taking men down a peg or two is necessary on occasion; my wife has needed to do just that over the years, and she does it very well. But remember the stop button, ladies — cutting us off at the knees is not helpful to you. You don’t want to break us; if we are broken, we don’t work.

I’ll give the last quote to Scott Lafarge the professor who wrote that piece on heroes I’ve quoted

the ideals to which we aspire do so much to determine the ways in which we behave, we all have a vested interest in each person having heroes, and in the choice of heroes each of us makes.

The need for heroes is never more apparent than when they’re gone


This blog is a venture in capitalism. You can help finance my writers and myself by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


Choose a Subscription level



And as I’ve said if you can’t spare the money I’ll happily accept your prayers.