Following on from yesterday’s post, here are some more details of the Alien Nation conference I’m speaking at in July. I’m really excited about it – the panels are interesting and varied, there’s a lot of academics attending that I’m excited to meet, and there’s a screening of Ghostwatch in the evening! I’ve heard that Newcastle is a lovely place too, so I’m looking forward to exploring it in my free time. I’ve reproduced my abstract below the poster, to give you an idea of what I’ll be discussing…
‘Having a conversation with Tse-Tung’: the politics of Pertwee
The Barry Letts-produced era of Doctor Who (1970-74) is commonly regarded as the most politically committed of the show’s history, using the Doctor’s exile on Earth to address contemporary social and environmental concerns. James Chapman has suggested that, in this period, ‘Doctor Who was at its most critical of British society’.
By looking at moments from Inferno, The Curse of Peladon and The Green Death, I ask how each serial articulates political thought, and with what success. I am particularly interested in the shifts that occur in the representation of regular characters (the Doctor, his companions, the UNIT family, the Master), and their relation to the recurring archetypes of this era (regional bumpkins, military personnel and civil servants). How do humour, allegory and stereotype contribute to the show’s political vocabulary? And, given the multi-story format of Doctor Who, how coherent a political statement can we expect from any given era of its history?
My paper proposes that the detail of textual moments in Doctor Who can illuminate, and complicate, political readings of the programme as a whole.