Doctor Who in China. Part III

What is the experience of Doctor Who fans in China? As an English teacher working in Beijing, Doctor Who in History contributor Mark Wilson got the opportunity to find out. Over the next four blog posts he muses on the stirrings of fandom, emotional connections and why 13 is the right number for change in …

Doctor Who in China   


Big Bang: the Doctor Arrives

When asked how they had been introduced to the series in the first place, Ceeva, a student studying in Britain, Christie, a Chinese English teacher, Xingyuan and Chenyuan all credited their friends with introducing it to them. Lijie is a science fiction fan in general (as many Whovians are), and became aware of the series through its mention in the US comedy series The Big Bang Theory, so she decided to watch it and see what it was like. Most had only seen, or where mainly familiar with the show, 2005 onwards. In terms of favourite Doctor, Ceeva likes Matt Smith’s best. ‘I love his humour and kindness’, she said, noting her favourite companions were Amy and Rory. Lyida’s favourite Doctor was the Tenth Doctor, liking his handsome looks and youthful energy. Christie’s a fan of the Twelfth Doctor, because of his personality and also because of his acting skills. Xingyuan’s favourite is the Eleventh Doctor. ‘The 11th Doctor makes me feel safe and warm, I don’t have to keep worrying about him. So, in my eyes, he is the best’.  Lijie loves the Twelfth Doctor because for her, this Doctor is a real doctor, not just a character.


Chenyuan and Hermione all described good points about each of the ‘new’ Doctors. Whilst acknowledging that the Tenth was probably her favourite overall, Chenyuan considered the Ninth Doctor to be ‘such a gentle man’. The Tenth, she thinks, ‘is like fire, like rage and above all he has such a charming character’. Doctor number eleven, in her eyes, was ‘such a lovely person, as cute as a young boy, as wise as an old man’ and the Twelfth is ‘a young man with an old face’.


For me, it’s hard to say who my favourite Doctor is. I like the Seventh a lot, but maybe that’s just because I’ve seen the most of his adventures. I liked the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors in their own ways. The Twelfth Doctor, however, has stood out most recently, especially in series ten. I’ve liked him a lot this series, compared with series eight. He’s been angry, sympathetic and inspiring in equal measures and I’ve enjoyed having an older Doctor after three younger actors playing the role.

I have not seen many of the classic series, and I rarely get scared when I watch it today, though it is sometimes creepy. My stand-out favourite episode, though, would probably be ‘Blink’, just because that was, for me, genuinely scary and it’s a Doctor-lite episode too (by that, I mean the Doctor is not in it much), which makes it even more interesting as he can’t step in and help immediately. Also it has the Weeping Angels for the first time. As much as I like the Daleks and Cybermen, reusing them can get a little old, whereas the Weeping Angels were new and creepy. This view of ‘Blink’ is shared by Xingyuan, who says the Angels are her favourite monsters in the series.

‘The Girl in the Fire Place’ is Chenyuan’s favourite story. The feeling of lovers divided through time made her feel heartbroken. Hermione lists several as her favourite. She particularly likes many of the final episodes of the series, because they have emotional impacts on her and leave her thinking about them, and feeling them, for days. Conversely Christie also has many favourites, though she states if she had to pick one, it would be ‘The Zygon Inversion’. Lydia’s favourite episode is ‘The Water of Mars’, because of the emotional impact the Tenth Doctor had and brought to the episode. Ceeva did not have one favourite episode; instead she thinks the series is ‘one big, long story, and the episodes are all connected’.


The writers of Doctor Who and History focus on a different aspect of history as it expressed thematically in the show. Mark Wilson‘s chapter is all about the environment, pesticides and pollution. BAMarkWilson“As environmental awareness grew in post-World War 2 Britain, so Doctor Who incorporated this topic into its stories. My chapter describes three stories – one from the First Doctor’s era (1963), and two from the Third Doctor’s (1973). .”

Doctor Who and History is available on Amazon UK  Amazon US  McFarland shop and also available on Kindle. Check out the McFarland catalogue.

When Sydney Newman conceived the idea for Doctor Who in 1963, he envisioned a show that would entertain as well as educate. Historical adventures were part of his vision-the Doctor and his companions would visit and observe, but not interfere with, events in history. That plan was dropped early on. Not only has the Doctor happily meddled with historical events for decades, his adventures-on television, in films, novels, comics, books and games-reflect how we regard our own place in history. This collection of new essays examines how the Doctor engages with history and inspires reflections upon it history. Topics includes reconstruction of lost historical serials, reflections on Britain’s colonial past, the subversion of nostalgia for village life, the depiction of Norse myths, alternate history, and the impact of historical decisions on the present.

Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 193
Author Fleiner, Carey, October, Dene
Publisher McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication Date August, 2017
ISBN-13 9781476666563
ISBN-10 1476666563

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