Adventures in Whostory
Introducing Doctor Who and History
Finally, history is personal. It narrates who we have been, presents a mirror for our reflection, and offers us a glimpse of our potential. The essays in this final part, “History and Identity,” consider the reflection of image and self-awareness within Doctor Who in both the original era of the series and its subsequent reboot. Kristine Larsen’s essay looks at the depictions of Neanderthal culture in Doctor Who, especially in the removal of Neanderthal man from his historical context and placing of him within another: her case studies from both televised adventures as well as novels and comics demonstrate how the show wrestles with such questions as what it means to be human, what it means to be “the other” or the “outsider.” Peter Lowe’s examination of the village and its symbolism of England and Englishness continues this idea of identity and considers what might lie beneath the surface of our safest self-images: the idea of the village idyll under threat by industrialization has been the subject of popular culture in Britain in, for example, the writings of J. B. Priestley in the 1930s and of the lyrics of popular music groups such as The Kinks in the late 1960s and 1970s: Lowe examines this phenomenon in the context of the adventures of the Third Doctor. The Doctor Who of the 1970s, he argues, deconstructs the cultural-historical myth of the quiet order of the village to reveal darker forces at work—and, as O’Day also notes, these forces are the work of outsiders. Outsiders are not the only agency that might meddle with our homes and hearth; we humans ourselves have the potential to ignore the effects of our invention and meddling with nature on our own well-being. Thus the final essay in this part is Mark Wilson’s look at 1963’s “Planet of the Giants” and how it fits in the environmental history and chang- ing self-image of post-war Britain; as he notes, it is especially significant that the story takes place on Earth, since it reflects an early instance of the Doctor “going green” and a response to contemporary environmental themes brought to the public conscious by works such as Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring (1962).
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ABOUT DOCTOR WHO AND HISTORY
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.
|Number of Pages||193|
|Author||Fleiner, Carey, October, Dene|
|Publisher||McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers|
|Publication Date||August, 2017|