On Christmas Day, Dr. Who Comes Face-to-Face with His Past and Has to Accept an Uncertain Path Forward

Article ID: 686625

Released: 11-Dec-2017 4:05 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Redlands

Expert Pitch
  • Credit: Carlos Puma, for the University of Redlands

    Dr. Piers Britton, visual and media studies professor at the University of Redlands, teaching "Designing for Dr. Who" in 2014.

Dr. Piers Britton, an internationally recognized expert on Dr. Who and a professor of visual and media studies at the University of Redlands, is available for comment on the past, present and future of Dr. Who, as well as costume design and art direction, aesthetics and "transmedia" texts from Star Wars to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

"In the upcoming Christmas episode, Dr. Who's twelfth and current lead actor, Peter Capaldi, runs into David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), playing the Doctor’s first incarnation. Both versions of the Doctor are fatally ill – which for a Time Lord means that it’s time to transform into someone new in order to survive. In Capaldi’s case, that someone new is Jodie Whittaker, the first-ever female lead.
"Although perhaps not evident to American audiences, this is in its way a cultural watershed. Doctor Who is a national institution in the United Kingdom—and historically a bastion of male privilege. Whittaker’s casting has been warmly received by critics, former Who stars, and fans alike, but not everyone is convinced.  A vocal minority of fans declare that they’re done with Doctor Who.
“In spite of this, the new Christmas episode resonates with the majority by vanquishing the series’ past sexism – embodied in Bradley’s first Doctor, who still expects his female “assistant” to make coffee for him. But beyond this, the show has to do more than regenerate its hero. It has to show promise that the fiery energy accompanying the Doctor’s transformation can spread beyond the TV screen to rekindle viewer excitement."

Dr. Britton holds a BA and Ph.D. from the University of Manchester. He was raised in northeast England. 


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