New at Reason: Beginning next year, the actor Christopher Eccleston will, like Condoleezza Rice, insist on being called "Doctor." So with the long-awaited return of their favorite show (not to mention a good chance that the Timelords' "Doctorin' the Tardis" might finally replace the disgraced Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll Part II" as America's favorite stadium-shaking anthem), what could Doctor Who fans possibly have to complain about? Jesse Walker counts the ways.

NEXT: Brane Fude

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  1. Sort of a shame; rumor was circling for a while that Eddie Izzard would be tapped to play the new Doctor, which would've been fairly nifty.

  2. Thanks for the Timelords reference. I really miss the KLF. Even if you're not out to write a platinum single, I still recommend the "Manual" for a good read.

  3. I felt the same way about The New Perry Mason.
    Monte Markham was...well...less than inspiring.

  4. "The Timelords" were "The KLF?"

  5. The Justified Ancients of Moo Moo?

  6. my thoughts

    1 Copyright should be scrapped.

    2 There's a reason Tom Baker played the good doctor longer than any other.

    3 That reason has a lot to do with having Douglas Adams as a writer.

  7. The Rowan Atkinson Dr. Who episode for the British Comic Relief was excellent. It managed to be satirical without actually breaking any of the "fan rules" that Jesse mentions.
    An Eddie Izzard/Rowan Atkinson "Two Doctors" episode would have been beautiful.

  8. Here's the neatest bit of trivia I discovered while researching the article. When Fox did its Doctor Who TV movie in 1996, the Doctor was played by Paul McGann. And when the BBC webcast an animated Doctor Who adventure last year, the Doctor's voice was provided by Richard E. Grant.

    The character has therefore been played by both stars of Withnail & I. I'm not sure what that means, but the next time I watch that movie it's bound to change the way I see it.

  9. Jesse,

    You made no mention of the phenomenon of "slash fiction."

    This link should fill the gaping hole in your research. It even has a Doctor Who section.

  10. Slash is part of what I was alluding to when I mentioned stories that "radically reconstruct the characters or the setting."

  11. Paul McGann is widely regarded as having done an excellent job in the role, and it was widely hoped he'd come back (so the Fox movie could be integrated into the Canon--of which it was respectful but not completely successful in emulating). Unfortunately the script was too much like the latter scripts you saw, Jesse--which I must say, the majority of which were fairly silly.

    The Tom Baker era had its problems, but it did have excellent scriptwriting and fun plots (albeit almost self-parodying in their complexity). Later it tried to be "serious" and a children's show at the same time, and just felt wrong.

    And of course, we all know that Doctor Who basically ended when Jonathan Nathan Turner got full control of the franchise and drove it into the ground--though Colin Baker was actually an inspired choice who unfortunately had some rather silly scripts and politics to work around.

    That being said, I'm quite willing to give the new series a chance, even the new Doctor. An edgier Doctor was attempted with Colin Baker, and tried tentatively with Sylvester McCoy, who is a far better and wittier actor than the scripts gave him freedom to be. Now society and TV production have caught up to be able to have an edgier show with some classic elements that still "feels" like Doctor Who.

    The talent is there; now all that remains are some scripts that don't suck and are realistic for the budgets they have. I'm still prepared to see spaceships on strings, though, but that's the nostalgia Jesse mentions coming out.

  12. What ruined the FOX movie for me was that they did not mix filmed exteriors and 1980?s vintage videoed interiors. As a result, the viewing experience was not Dr Who, and I basically bounced off of the presentation.

    The difference between ?inside? and ?outside? added a lot to the moodiness of the show. It made space stations feel more cramped.

  13. Good observation, Keith. I hadn't thought about that show in years, but I know exactly what you're talking about.

  14. " Condoleezza Rice, insist on being called "Doctor"..."

    Instead of being refered to as "Miss Condi" in the tradition of the Old South?


  15. Somewhere there exists Dr. Who/X-Files crossover Furry Cosplay Erotic fan fiction.

  16. I thought some of those McCoy scripts were rather good, Sandy -- but then, I always liked the silly side of the series. Every now and then I catch a late-night Doctor Who rerun, and while some of the Tom Baker stories I remembered loving as a kid seemed a little creaky when I revisited them (The Deadly Assassin, City of Death), the one McCoy serial that I saw again (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy) was enjoyable all the way through.

    I started liking McCoy when I realized the show's writers had lifted one of his adventures from a J.G. Ballard novel. If you're going to steal, steal from the best...

  17. Is Walter's comment a parody of clumsy, right wing attempts to play the race card, or the real thing?

  18. Is Walter's comment a parody of clumsy, right wing attempts to play the race card, or the real thing?

    I think it's the real thing. If a Ph.D. allows, let alone expects, people to call her "Doctor," and we're not supposed to make fun of that pomposity, well, there's nothing left for the West to lose.

  19. Justified Ancients of Mu Mu == The KLF == The Timelords == K Foundation == 2K == (Bill Drummond + Jimmy Cauty).

    Jimmy Cauty == Space.

    Jimmy Cauty + Alex Paterson = The Orb (Mk. I)

    Bill Drummond + ?? = Penkiln Burn (

    Bill Drummond + Mark 'Zodiac Mindwarp' Manning == very entertaining reading.

    KLF's "Chill Out" == Best ambient album ever. (Post-Eno period only, if you insist).

  20. Somewhere there exists Dr. Who/X-Files crossover Furry Cosplay Erotic fan fiction.

    Well, now you've gone and forced me to link to this.

  21. Re: the interiors--

    I'd love it if the TARDIS interiors were re-done by Terry Gilliam.

  22. Of course, Walter is right that it is a common courtesy to use the title of Dr. when dealing with a Ph.D. in a professional setting. Refusing to use the title is something of a slight.

    One can imagine the howls of outrage from the usual suspects if Repubs refused to call a black female liberal Dem Ph.D. by her title in appropriate settings. One can also imagine Repubs shrugging off the slight if the tables were turned.

    Outrage that is selectively partisan is worth, oh, what was LBJ's phrase, "a bucket of warm something or other." The fact that you very rarely see outrage over perceived racial/sexist slights that is not partisan in motivation, is, I think, a sign of the enormous progress on these issues over the last few years.

  23. Oh, and Tim? You forgot to add "A credit to her Race."
    Thanks, di.

  24. I have, very publicly, opposed the media whenever Dr. Rice was refered to as Condi [by a retired editor of the San Jose Murky Turkey among others] and any other spokesmouse accessible by E-Mail ever since I became aware of her work at Stanford and of the overt and covert attempts to put her down.
    I believe in holding people accountable for their actions where those actions impact the public. As someone who believes that the problem with racism was/is that it denies the most capable candidate for any job, to the detriment of society. I am touchy about slights in public debates both intended and stupid because they tend to take the discussion off topic. Your first step in growth, Timmie, is when you finally acknowledge just how small you are. Good luck.

  25. Calling the president "W" demeans the hard work he put in to earn his MBA, and can only be the result of anti-white racism.

    That's "Master Bush" to you.

  26. stupid because they tend to take the discussion off topic

    What was that again?

  27. That settles it: parody.

  28. Walter,

    Atrios has a link up in which Cheney describes "Condi's role" (his words) in the White House.

    "what could Doctor Who fans possibly have to complain about?" Having to go the prom with their cousin?

  29. another content free contribution from archie.

  30. If Mr.Cheney refered to Dr. Rice as Condi, then Mr. Cheney was wrong. I am not accountable for the lapses of others. I would never refer to Dr. Kissinger as Hank, and I don't like Dr. Kissenger.
    I am unaware of any traditional honorific in the United States for either Bachelor's or Masters. I "rate" a P.E. [Professional Engineer] when I discuss engineering, but not when I am discussing general topics.
    Tradition, established by George Washington, adresses the President as "Mr."
    I may have had sex with Dr. Who's cousin, but who cares.

  31. Walter, if you're so offended by Jim Crow usages, why are you the one-in fact, the only one-who keeps reciting them? The only racist language on this thread has been coming out of your piehole.

  32. > Condoleezza Rice, insist on being called "Doctor."

  33. Dr. Rice has not, to my knowledge, ever insisted on being called "Doctor."
    Common courtesy dictates that, in a situation within the field of expertise defined by a degree, others should respect that title.
    I am suggesting that the gratuitous slur at Dr. Rice was low class as were many of the other Jim Crow usages I came to know and oppose in my years of confronting and opposing raceism at my peril while diletantes tsked ineffectually at their faculty teas. Dr. Rice comes honestly by her title, just as Tim comes honestly to the title of asshole.
    And I resent the "clumsy" appelation. I thought I was rather suave in both word and deed.

  34. The EARLY Douglas Adams.

  35. "Condi" is headline-writerese. Calling her "Dr." makes sense, as the NSC head is not a "Secretary" or a "Director" but an "Adviser," and that's not something that roles off the tongue. Kissinger also was given cute nicknames by the papers, but he was "Dr. Kissinger" until he became "Secretary Kissinger."

    A new Who series is OK, I suppose. It was never my cup of crushed leaf infusion. Would that Douglas Adams could regenerate.


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