Saturday, February 20, 2010

Comrade Who

The other day Mick Farren pointed out that across the pond in Britain they're in something of a tizzy after realizing twenty two years after the fact that -- brace yourself -- some episodes of Dr. Who involve social commentary. Shocking, isn't it? Specifically, it's the "revelation" that the Seventh Doctor's adventure "The Happiness Patrol" (1988) was a criticism of the retrograde politics of Margret Thatcher that has the Brit's knickers in a twist.

Can you spot the vicious egoist?

The episode's impact was undoubtedly blunted by the fact that Sylvester McCoy ranks down with Colin Baker as one of the least popular Doctors of all time. But it did make Den of Geek's list of "Ten Under-rated Classic Doctor Who Stories" last year, where it was described as "...a great mix of anarchic Troughton-style Who and heavily Eighties-style, political comedy/thriller."

What makes this such a bizarre controversy is that at that same time the BBC was airing another show called Yes, Minister (1980-1988), which was consciously intended to discredit democracy and advance a right-wing ideology. So apparently in Britain right-wing propaganda passes without comment, but left-wing allegories are scandalous decades after the fact. No wonder the BNP is winning elections.

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