This week Whovian Leap looks at politics in the Whoniverse.
And so the entertaining spectacle that is the UK General Election campaign draws to a close. But Whovians, quite rightly, are far more interested in the politics of the Whoniverse…
It was Classic Who to introduce us to the Time Lords and politics on Gallifrey. At first the Doctor’s people seemed righteous and noble (The War Games) but over the years we saw them become scheming rogues, with the likes of Borusa and The Valeyard coming to the fore.
Back on Earth, the Third Doctor was always encountering obnoxious officials and pompous pen-pushers from government. But however hard they tried to lay down the law, our hero was having none of it.
Margaret Slitheen caused havoc in Number 10 Downing Street alongside her fellow Raxacoricofallaptorians in “Aliens of London”. Her stint as Mayor of Cardiff didn’t do the local populace any favours in “Boomtown”, when she planned for a nuclear plant to be placed right in the middle of their city. To her credit, however, she did seem to show some remorse when the Tardis gave her a second chance, regressing her to an egg.
Both Ninth and Tenth Doctors had several dealings with high-flying politician Harriet Jones (top photo) She proved a powerful ally battling against the Slitheen in “Aliens of London”, but then as Prime Minister she angered the Doctor, when she ordered a retreating Sycorax ship to be shot down in “The Christmas Invasion”. Heroically she sacrifices her life to prevent the Daleks invading Earth (The Stolen Earth).
The maddest of Masters, aka Harold Saxon, became the Prime Minister of Great Britain in “The Sound of Drums”. Dancing to pop music and ripping enemies to shreds with his vicious allies, the Toclafane, he brought both the country and the world to their knees. His long-suffering wife Lucy may have shot him dead, but in “The End of Time” he magically comes back! He then goes on to reproduce himself and become every single person on the planet, even President Obama! (Not the only American president to appear in the show. The Eleventh Doctor meets beleaguered President Nixon in “The Impossible Astronaut”)
We must not forget a rather more respected politician from yesteryear who has featured in the show. The Doctor came to the rescue of Winston Churchill himself in “Victory of the Daleks”. In a desperate attempt to outdo his enemies, the Prime Minister uses Daleks or “Ironsides”, as he calls them, in an attempt to win the Second World War. He later returns as the alternative-reality Holy Roman Emperor of Britain in “The Wedding of River Song”
Maybe the most fearsome politician of them all was the Dalek Prime Minister in “Asylum of the Daleks”, heading the Parliament of the Daleks. He sends the Doctor into the Dalek Asylum. The mission? To destroy it, before its insane occupants can escape.
The Whoniverse has even overlapped with political reality. In “The Green Death” the Brigadier takes a phone call from a Prime Minister named as Jeremy. This was a joke by the production crew that then Liberal leader, Jeremy Thorpe, could win the upcoming elections.
In “World War Three” Harriet Jones reveals she is not one of ‘the babes’. This refers to ‘Blair’s Babes’ – the 101 women Labour MPs elected in 1997. This story also parodies the Iraq War by referring to “massive weapons of destruction” deployable in 45 seconds. It features real-life BBC journalist Andrew Marr who reports on Number 10’s peculiar Slitheen-related events. A couple of years later Conservative politician Ann Widdicombe also makes a cameo posing alongside Harold Saxon in “The Sound of Drums”.
So when Series 9 of Doctor Who airs, we will have a new government. Will it be better than one run by a Slitheen, Dalek or the Master?
If only we could vote for a certain Time Lord…