RTD starts Doctor Who show runner tenure by getting into fight with Culture Secretary

; Date: Sat Oct 09 2021

Tags: Doctor Who

Russell T Davies has barely begun his time as the future show runner for Doctor Who, and he's gotten into a political row with Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary under Boris Johnson. Ms. Dorries apparently slammed the BBC for its “very left wing, often hypocritical and frequently patronising views.” Of course, Russell T Davies obviously carries an agenda about acceptance of certain lifestyle choices, and of course Doctor Who has throughout its history aired stories making fun of people like Ms. Dorries.

Source: BBC

According to an (inews.co.uk) "i news" report from October 4, Ms. Dorries made some statements about the BBC basically pretending to be for cultural diversity, while under-representing people from the North of England or from Yorkshire. I wonder why her interests in exclusion stop at the Scottish border? Anyway, what she said is:

“They (the BBC) talk about lots to do with diversity but not about kids from working class backgrounds.” ... and ... “pathway from my background, my working class routes, into that sector” ... and ... “That is what levelling up is about – it’s not about regional growth figures or any of that, it’s about people. And the people it’s about most are people who come from a background like me.” ...and... “if you have a regional accent on the BBC, it doesn’t go down very well”

As an American, I don't know much about the BBC. However, as a Doctor Who fan, I know that Doctor Who (a BBC program) most certainly does show working class people from The North.

Here's a few examples which come to mind of Doctor Who featuring working class people, often from The North:

  • Christopher Eccleston, the first actor to play The Doctor in the modern era, was from The North. He played The Doctor using his native northern accent. T
  • Shona, a character from the 2014 holiday special, Last Christmas, who had a strong Jordy accent.
  • The Jodi Whittaker Doctor had her base of operations in Sheffield, and the companions were clearly working class people from the Sheffield area.
  • The Mark of the Rani episodes were set in the North, featuring several people with strong Jordy accents.
  • In Delta and the Bannermen, a Sylvester McCoy story, that whole story was set in Wales, and had several characters with strong Welsh accents, and while that's not from The North they were definitely working class.

There's certainly plenty more, but these are what comes to mind off the top of my head.

As for the idea that a regional accent doesn't go over well...? The fan reaction to the Shona character was universally enthusiastic, and hoping she would become a regular companion.

And, there's the issue of John Bishop joining the TARDIS crew for the upcoming season. He's playing with a strong Liverpool accent (from The North) because that's the only accent John Bishop speaks. I've seen clips of him on regular BBC, and he's well accepted, and gets lots of laughs.

Basically, from the little evidence I know of, whatever Ms. Dorries is saying is completely wrong.

Russell T Davies does not hold back about Culture Secretary Dorries

In another (inews.co.uk) "i news" report from October 7, Russell T Davies says:

“The woman’s an idiot, a big f***ing idiot.”

Yup. That makes it very clear. RTD's television career isn't just about making excellent TV programs, but using the platform to increase acceptance of certain lifestyle choices. It's very obvious, so I don't really need to go into it.

RTD went on to say:

“I’m here to talk about the threat of public funding and the threat to public service broadcasting.” ... and ... “The threat that Channel 4 is under is even greater,”

Channel 4 carried his previous program, It's a Sin.

As for funding, the "i news" report said this:

Mr Davies’ remarks come as the BBC is braced for a potential clash with Ms Dorries over the future of the licence fee. There are ongoing talks about what level the licence fee should be set at for the next five years.

The license fee they're talking about concerns how the BBC is funded. Namely, everyone who owns a television set in the United Kingdom pays a license fee that goes to the BBC, making the BBC a government-owned network. This appears to be controversial in some circles.

I believe that the shrinking of Doctor Who seasons may be due to shrinking BBC budgets over the last few years. Where Doctor Who used to have a season of 13 episodes every year, it's now down to less than 10 episodes every other year.

Would RTD's remarks help the situation? I doubt it. And the response from officialdom looks to be negative.

"I news" quotes a government source saying: “Personal and deeply unpleasant attacks like this don’t reflect well on the organisation and shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s obviously not true that the BBC is being privatised now or at any time in the future.”

And a BBC spokesperson is quoted saying: “Russell T Davies is not a member of BBC staff and these are clearly personal views.”

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.