Diversity in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 it has made strides in representing diversity on television.  Strides that can’t be said for many other television shows.  We open with episode one, “Rose” set in England, 2005, on a rare scene for television.  Rose is a working class woman who really is working class, not a dramatized version of this.  She lives in a small apartment with her single mother and wakes early every day to clock-in at her job in a department store.  She’s casual, dressing in clothes that certainly aren’t the height of fashion for the time, she isn’t dolled up in makeup only a professional could do, and what’s more; she isn’t the tiny waisted, long-legged pretty girl we’re used to seeing on TV.  Rose sets the pace for the growing diversity we’re about to be treated to in “Doctor Who”.

Not long after we get Captain Jack Harkness, the first openly pansexual in the history of “Doctor Who” who equally and openly shows attraction to men, women, aliens, and the non-gender conforming.  This was a huge leap for sexual and romantic diversity in “Doctor Who”, and one of the very first times queer people could see themselves in a character on television that wasn’t harmful.  

Next comes Martha, the first black companion on “Doctor Who”.  She’s intelligent and able to keep up with the Doctor’s rambling better, perhaps, than most other companions.  For people of colour, Martha is a big deal.  She’s a strong, woman of colour, in a leading role on one of the most popular television shows of all time.  With Martha, the television series continues to push forward for more diversity in their cast.

The next three companions, Donna, Amy, and Clara continue to portray strong female leads with diverse histories and personalities.  Along the way we meet a couple more sexually diverse characters, and characters from all different walks of life.  

Now we come to the most recent companion, Bill, who is both a woman of colour and openly gay.  She is one of the very first leading characters like this on television, a huge influence for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We finally have a leading character that many minorities can view themselves in in a positive way.

Soon we’ll be treated with something that came unexpected: a female Doctor.  Jodie Whittaker will soon take on the role of the Doctor and make history as the first female Doctor.  Many people are very excited about this.  We get a leading female, and also confirmation that Gallifreyans, or at least the Doctor, experience gender fluidity, which could be a nod toward the transgender community.

But when it comes to diversity, is it enough?  Though Doctor Who has done a great job positively representing different groups of people, we still are left itching for more.  Several groups who wish to see any kind of representation on television have been left out.  Doctor Who has come a long way, but I believe it can, and should, go much farther.  I hope that as the episodes continue to air we will continue to see a rise in representation in the cast.      

Advertisements

Captain Jack

At the time of me writing this post, we as a class are beginning to watch a few episodes of Torchwood, the spin off of Doctor Who with Captain Jack. Since there is no other time like the present, I’ve decided to look at and compare Torchwood, Doctor Who, and most importantly Captain Jack.

Captain Jack, one of the main characters of Torchwood, was first introduced in Doctor Who by saving Rose’s life in the episode “Empty Child.” Jack’s first line, which fits him quite well, is “excellent bottom.” He spoke those lines referencing to Rose. Soon after, Jack spoke to a different man, telling him “you have a nice little bottom, too.” Below is a short clip from the episode “Empty Child” of Jack’s first appearance. Throughout his introduction, most can recognize that Captain Jack is an openly bisexual man. Captain Jack Harkness appears in roughly nine episodes in Doctor Who.

Jack’s openly sexual habits found its way into majority of all of the characters in Torchwood. Kierra Green, my roommate, watched the episodes with me and I think we can both agree and state that Torchwood is much more open with sexual activities than Doctor Who is. Only in Torchwood can you see Captain Jack Harkness and Captain John Hart, played by James Marsters, in an aggressive fistfight while also kissing passionately.

Lastly, as a fact that not everyone might know, the name “Torchwood” is actually an anagram for “Doctor Who”. What I am curious about is why the anagram came to exist to begin with.

53

A Character Analysis that Might Surprise You

After watching a couple of episodes of Torchwood, I am beginning to see where the Doctor and Captain Jack have similarities. Since the series doesn’t have the Doctor in it, I feel as though Captain Jack is taking over that position of authority. Throughout the series, the people go to Jack for the answers and most of the time he is the person that saves the day. Everyone has their own opinion, but here are my views on what might make the Doctor and Jack more similar than you originally thought.

  1. Captain Jack has a mysterious past. Similar to the Doctor, there isn’t much that people know of him. This is a trend that is constantly seen in both shows. Even Jack’s closest friends have no idea where he is from or who he is. For another example, the Doctor’s companions don’t know much about the Doctor. The only thing they know is that he’s a Time Lord, whatever that may be.
  2. Captain Jack is always saving the day. Similarly, the Doctor always seems to be in the right place at the right time, too. However, this very well could be just because the show needed a hero-like character to be successful.
  3. He may not have all the answers like the Doctor, but he does like to show off his knowledge when he has the chance. There are many instances where Captain Jack rambles on about science-y stuff that nobody understands. The Doctor does this in arguably every episode of Doctor Who.
  4. Both Captain Jack and the Doctor are open to both sexes. This is completely evident in Jack and can be seen in a more subtle way with the Doctor. However, the concept is still there.

So, there you have it. That concludes my first list of a few of the traits that both the Doctor and Captain Jack share. Please comment your thoughts and any more ideas of similarities (or major differences) when comparing the Doctor and Captain Jack!

Captain Jack Harkness- Face Of Boe

2008_tg_ex_big_face_of_boe_ddI’ve always wondered about Captain Jack, and what happened to him after Rose brought him “back to life”. I knew that the Doctor had sent him back in time to start over, but i kept wondering if he was going to ever find a way back to DW. However, to my greatest delight, my curiousity about if he was going to return was settled, when Jack finally found DW, and he asked if he’s ever going to die, and DW asked in return, whether he wants to die. i felt really bad for him. Looking back at it, for him to ask that question showed that he was kind of tired of this “never dying” situation. I mean, Captain Jack took the whole “YOLO” business to a whole different level.

It was until the episode of “The Last Time Lords,” that i found out that Jack was actually the Face of Boe. It makes a lot of sense, mainly because the myth about the Face of Boe claims that he was around for billions of years. Thinking of it, Jack could not die, so he became sort of a purposeful-wanderer. Although he could not die, Jack could grow old.

So, my theory is, since Jack could not die, but could age, he grew old with the world, and the billion years he stayed on earth resulted in him becoming just a head in a glass tank, because, seeing as he could grow old, i’m pretty sure his body would not be able to handle the effect of billions of years. I mean it’s the most plausible explanation i have for Jack being the Face of Boe. Oh! and the fact that when he was the first person in the Boeshane Peninsula (Jack’s home colony) to sign up for the Time Agency, they all called him the Face of Boe. While roaming the net, although i cannot remember where i saw it, i read that Jack had stayed with some Headless Monks, and probably that was why he was able to maintain his Head.  However, i do not have any explanation on why his head is tentacled.

9a6bc64526ce524b9c404ffa118a739cc3c3cebd_hq

It was really nice (and shocking!) to know that Jack became The Face of Boe, and that his loyalty to DW went so far, because at the end, it was through the information that The Face of Boe gave DW, that helped the Doctor when he was wondering who The Master really was.