The 13 Doctors – Part II

Ffion’s Revolving Wardrobe.

What did the thirteen academics behind Doctor Who and History make of the decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor? Karen Hellekson on 13 and gender-neutral accessories.

imgres-2.jpgKaren Hellekson cheered when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor. “I saw it on Facebook, but I didn’t believe it,” she said. “I had to check the BBC’s website to make sure it was real.” Hellekson liked Whittaker in Broadchurch, the role she is best known for, but “I really loved the episode of Black Mirror she stars in.” In “The Entire History of You” (2011), she plays Ffion, a woman with a secret in a world where memory implants record everything. “I immediately checked out her IMDb page and realized that I haven’t seen much she’s been in. I’ll have to rectify that.”

Although the post-reboot iterations of the TARDIS have had huge interiors, Hellekson would “like to see a more intimate TARDIS again, a smaller room, maybe with decor to evoke another era, like the Fourth Doctor’s retro Victorian version of the TARDIS. Of course they will incorporate the roundels! I can’t wait to see how they’ll do that.”

As for costumes, Hellekson hopes that Whittaker will get to have a revolving wardrobe around a particular shape rather than an identical outfit from episode to episode. “They did that with Clara,” Hellekson pointed out. “Her uniform was dark tights, heeled boots, and a slim-cut dress or skirt.” However, “The Doctor always has a signature something. Maybe she needs a statement bracelet, with arcane Gallifreyan writing or something—something gender-neutral, of course, so both boys and girls can get it as Doctor Who merch and have some fun.” However, “No sonic lipstick, please. Leave that to River Song.”

BAKarenThe writers of Doctor Who and History focus on a different aspect of history as it expressed thematically in the show. Karen Hellekson goes explores the alternative history of Big Finish’s Doctor Who Unbound series of six full-cast audio dramas.

It is worth remembering that the thirteen writers interviewed are academics whose speciality is expressed through their individual contribution to the book. But they are also fans and their opinions on a range of Who-related issues are, not surprisingly, emotionally diverse.


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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