BBC Defends ‘Doctor Who’ Over Claims of Racism

May 30, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The BBC is defending the popular sci-fi series "Doctor Who" against accusations of racism. According to The Hollywood Reporter, after a new academic book came out that calls the series "thunderingly racist," the BBC is pointing out its "strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast."

Several contributors to the book, "Doctor Who and Race," point to the failure of the show to cast an Asian or black actor as the Doctor, the story says. Others took issue with a 2011 "slapstick" episode where the characters travel back to kill Hitler, as well as the tendency in the show’s early years to cast white actors in ethnic roles.

One American writer criticized the show’s fifth Doctor, portrayed by Peter Davison, as being cricket-obsessed. The writer argued that it points to the "racial and class nostalgia" of the British Empire, the story says.

"The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist," wrote Australian academic Lindy Orthia, who compiled the anthology.

"Doctor Who" is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


  1. This woman is an idiot, anything to get attention. Its a BRITISH show, filled with galactic characters. Might I also add its not an American or Australian show, which are melting pots for all races, unlike Britian, which is English, not asian or south african or central american.
    She’s just trying to get attention and apparently doesn’t watch the show, which is about ACCEPTING differences.

  2. The piece mentioned this book is an anthology – so who actually wrote the piece in question? Regardless of who wrote that particular entry, it is absolute bullshit. The series was co-created by a young woman who also produced at a time when there weren’t a lot of female producers. The first serial as well as others were directed by a very talented man from the Middle East and Ron Grainer’s theme for the series got worked over by Delia Derbyshire, who turned it into the other worldly signature tune that’s become associated with the series. I was associated with the series from roughtly 1978 until the final “hiatus” and while there was the usual tension from time to time that you get working on ANY series, I never got the feeling there was any sexism or racism involved.
    As for casting Caucasians as ethnic characters, HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED ANY TELEVISION PRODUCED FROM 1950 to 1985? Marlo Thomas played a Chinese Princess, for crying out loud and you want to hang the blame for all of that practice on WHO? At least DOCTOR WHO usually went out of their way to make those characters significant and not just walking stereotypes.
    I suppose the series is also sexist because they’ve never had an actress play the Doctor (don’t even mention Joanna Lumley; her “Doctor” doesn’t count and you know it). And here I’ve been worried about some of the stuff I’ve been considering putting into MY book.

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