…in 1989. (orig posted feb 10 2010)
Sylvester McCoy, the actor who played Doctor Who for two years in the 1980s, has revealed that left-wing scriptwriters hired by the BBC wrote propaganda into the plots in an attempt to undermine Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.
Shades of the Adventures of Robin Hood circa 1955:
“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.”
And the Doctor wasn’t alone in this belief:
Sophie Aldred, who played Ace, the Doctor’s feminist companion, said a shared contempt for right-wing ideology had inspired “a real bonding process” for cast and crew.
“Thatcher was our prime minister and we weren’t happy,” she said.
Well of course they weren’t, after all you had people like Sakharov repressed not to mention people shot trying to cross the wall. Thatcher had much to answer for, oh wait that was East Germany and the Soviets the people Thatcher was opposing wasn’t it?
Well it didn’t matter after all it wasn’t as if a leftist tilt would kill a British institution that had existed for 26 years…oh wait:
However, ratings slumped from a high of 16m, when Tom Baker was the Doctor a decade earlier, to 3m and the show was taken off air twice: in 1986-7 by Michael Grade, then the director of programmes — who said it had “no redeeming features” — and again in 1989, two years after Grade had left the BBC.
Ah the joys of the left managing to make a British institution so unpalatable that it could not survive. One interesting thing to note, You see that same tilt in a few of the 7th doctor audios such as The Fearmonger. I wonder if this will come up in some of the commentaries?
Update: I just realized that I neglected to give the deserved hat tip to Life Dr. Who and Combom. Very much my bad.