Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Doctor Who writers scripted against Thatcher

In an article by Marc Horne in the Times, former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy reveals that in the 1980s that the show had an anti-Thatcher agenda.
“We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. At the time Doctor Who used satire to put political messages out there in the way they used to do in places like Czechoslovakia. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered. Those who wanted to see the messages saw them; others, including one producer, didn’t.”
McCoy's claims are confirmed by Andrew Cartmel, the show’s script editor during the late 1980s:
He said last week that John Nathan-Turner, who produced the show throughout the 1980s, had asked him during his job interview what he hoped to achieve in the post.

“My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government,” said Cartmel. “I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show.”


  1. Kevin McCann3:27 pm

    Makes you wonder if that was the real reason Grade hated it so much !

  2. Barry McCann3:41 pm

    The Daily Mail also picked up on this story earlier this week. The report picked on a particular Doctor Who serial from 1988 called The Happiness Patrol. It featured Sheila Hancock as the ruthless dictator of a future Earth colony, who happens to have an ineffectual, gin swigging husband. It was done in a light, satirical manner with a creepy undertone.

    The Times and the Mail are to be congratulated on the prowness of their journalists. It has only taken them 22 years to catch up.

  3. Anonymous12:58 am

    I'd rather suffer a decade under Thatcher than watch an hour of Dr Who...

  4. Finbar9:42 am

    Anonymous - you would rather live with social injustice, high unemployment, repressive censorship, poll tax, puddle shallow, boring yuppies than watch Doctor Who? Yeah, right. Get real.

  5. Chris Slade11:35 am

    Anonymous - good writers avoid cliches. Your predictable attempt at put down is not clever as you obviously think.

  6. Sheila K3:16 pm

    Happiness Prevails. Anonymous is a Killjoy. To the Kandy Man with him!

  7. Stephen Wyatt12:52 pm

    This "story" is news to me and I was one of the writers at the time.

  8. Barry McCann1:37 pm

    Hi Stephen - I think it was just that one story, which was scripted by Grahame Curry. The press reports make out that the whole McCoy era, that Andrew Cartmel edited, was complicit in an anti-Thatcher tirade. Well, that's the Mail for you.

  9. Have a look at what writer Andrew Cartmel says. We're still waiting for Mrs Thatcher's reaction:


  10. Anonymous2:06 pm

    All you leftie twits/bleeding heart liberals have had your time in the sun and what have you achieved? Economic meltdown, porous Borders, social alienation and an illigal war. Yes, it really puts maggie in a bad light. Thank God you will be out by May

  11. I'm thrilled and delighted that Anonymous thinks that the Guild has been running the country for the past decade!

    However, Anonymous is tilting at the wrong windmill here. The Guild is all about better pay and conditions for its members, regardless of political orientation, and it has members from all sides of the political spectrum. When the BBC refused to air Guild member Ian Curteis Falklands Play, the Guild, quite rightly, sided publicly and vocally with the writer. The Falklands Play, if you haven't seen it already, is a very good piece of TV drama, and about as pro-Thatcher as it's possible to get: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falklands_Play


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