I really wish I didn’t have to write this article. Or, if I did write this article, it would have the same title yet be constructed and feature totally different aspects of the fandom. I’m aware this is an incredibly sensitive topic in the Doctor Who fandom at the moment; and what better way to come back after a few weeks off, than with my hot take?
This is what I think of the “controversy” surrounding Doctor Who lately, mainly regarding Doctor Who Magazine and the new Time Team.
So, I’ll start with some background. In the latest issue of DWM, (#525), the universe was introduced to the team of people at the head of the article; the new Time Team. For those who don’t know, traditionally, the Time Team have watched every episode of Doctor Who for the magazine and commented on it. I’ll be honest, I’ve never read anything featuring the original Time Team, however, I have read a lot of the Time Team articles regarding New Who episodes.
Now, we’re introduced into the latest, largest, and most diverse Time Team yet. Although they didn’t include anyone who’s not attractive. I feel alienated, and I’m going to boycott DWM. (I jest; it’s hard to portray sarcasm through text.)
I’m going to be as transparent as possible just in case this article somehow blows up and people try and use my words against me.
I personally know Beth Axford, she’s a close friend, and she’s amazing. I thoroughly support everything she’s done, and The Time Ladies deserve your attention, if you’ve not come across them before. By extension, I also know of Kezia Newson, as she also runs The Time Ladies, and I’ve met Christel through Beth as well.
Now you know that I have connections with a few of the Time Team, I already know I’m going to get the biased stick pointed at me, and that’s fine, I can deal with that. Anyway, here’s my thoughts.
I love this new Time Team, this is the incarnation that most represents me as a 22 year old fan. I will undoubtedly have had similar experiences to these people, and their point of view regarding Doctor Who will most likely be similar to mine. Let’s be clear, I own every available Doctor Who DVD/ Blu Ray, but I haven’t seem all of the Classic era yet, I simply don’t have the time. That might make me a fake fan in some peoples eyes, I don’t know. I don’t mind either.
The complaints that seem to be the most prevalent online (and somewhat bizarrely, The Mirror has picked up on this story too), is that the new Time Team are diverse, and it seems like a box ticking exercise, that they’re all too young, and that some of them are already involved in Doctor Who. So I’m gonna break them down and deconstruct these arguments as fairly as I can.
They’re Too Diverse
What a ridiculous argument, seriously. Yes, it could be seen as DWM, and, by extension, the BBC are “ticking boxes for inclusivity”, but why is that a bad thing? The new Time Team has a record number of women and people of colour who already love the show. Surely, this is more accurate a sample of the Doctor Who fandom than we’ve preciously had? Isn’t it amazing that this new Time Team can show just how unifying the show can be amongst people. It’s literally a show for everyone. Celebrating our differences and having a platform like the Time Team that can highlight the broad appeal of Doctor Who can’t be a bad thing, surely?
They’re Too Young
Some people are complaining that because the age range of this Time Team is from 20-26, that it means the youngsters won’t appreciate Classic Who, or that they’re gonna be too #YOLOSWAG to understand the complexities of the show. If anyone can make it through a Moffat timey-wimey episode, I’m sure they can understand the nuances of Image of the Fendahl. I’m aware that this argument can go hand in hand with the diversity one, saying that they’re not incorporating older fans to get their opinion; and, whilst I agree with it in part, the previous Time Teams have already kind of done that.
Although, I would love an issue of DWM where they get this Time Teams grandparents to watch an episode. Maybe Amy’s Choice.
Some Of Them Are Involved In Doctor Who
All of the Time Teams of the past have been involved in Doctor Who. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have been part of the Time Team. To my knowledge, no Time Team has ever consisted of people who are not fans of Doctor Who. Being a fan is being involved.
I understand that Christel worked on The Fan Show, and some people may be fearful that she’s being told by the BBC what to say, however the “outrage” that she watches Classic Who at 1.5x speed goes to show that she’s not going to say everything’s a gem if it’s not.
After this undoubtedly incoherent ramble about my thoughts, I think it’s time that I came to an end with a conclusion. Doctor Who is at a pivotal moment in its nearly 55 year history, and some of the biggest changes ever are afoot. We’re having a female Doctor (which is still an incredibly touchy subject), with a new logo that’s seemingly going to be used for everything regarding the brand, both old and new, a new show runner, and, for the first time since at least 2010, a sense that the show is having a proper refresh.
It can be scary, especially for those of us who are diehard fans; with change comes uncertainty, and with uncertainty can come fear and hesitation. But, if there’s any show that is about embracing the change and uncertainty, it’s our show. Without change, the show would have died in 1966 with The Tenth Planet.
The changes this year might be the most drastic since then, but instead of being closed-minded and shouting about how much you disagree with it, why not welcome it with open arms? Doctor Who, nowadays, is built by the fans of yesteryear, and this change could bring in a whole new audience that will ensure it lives for another 55 years.
Let’s be open and inclusive, let’s celebrate our differences and ourselves as individuals, let’s all be equals and let’s show the world how unifying a force like Doctor Who can be.
In short, let’s laugh hard, run fast and be kind to one another.