A short clip from the presentation “Doctor Who and Culture: with Dr. Rosanne Welch
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“I got to interview Russell for a magazine we do for the Writers Guild of America. This is an interview with Russell T Davies when he came to America to do a 4th season of Torchwood. And so, I was talking with him about some of his choices and what not. It was interesting. He said he knew from his childhood that the hardest thing to do was to watch television and not see yourself as one of the people there. That is unfair to a child because that means you don’t belong in the universe. You don’t fit in the world.
There is a character named Captain Jack and Russell, specifically once everyone was comfortable with what he was doing with the Doctor — because, when he first brought the show back, the fear was he would make the Doctor gay — and that would just ruin it. It wouldn’t really ruin it, but the network was scared it would, right? So, he couldn’t do that. He said, “I’m not going to do that. The Doctor’s iconic. I’m not going to change him too much.” That’s probably why he’ll never be a girl and he likely will never be a Doctor of color — which is too bad. But, he can surround him with people that offer visuals to children and Captain Jack was exactly that — both in Doctor Who and in Torchwood, which is the show, then the spinoff, that was created to give Captain Jack his own troop that he would work with, save the world from bad aliens.
We’ve seen Captain Jack kiss men, dance with men at weddings, right, have his heart broken by people, and so full and complete, 3 dimensional same-sex relationships have been opened to children through watching Doctor Who and Torchwood, if you let your kid watch Torchwood. Which I did do, because he liked it. That was really important for Russell, so he truly had a, if you will, a social justice mission, with being a writer. And so, as much as the title of this does say, “The Doctor the Changed the Universe”, I would have to say it is actually the writers, who write the Doctor, who change the universe, because it is writers, whether they are writing books or they are writing television, or they’re writing films, that give us this influence that we live by and that’s why we’re wearing stuff from Doctor Who and we like all the stuff we like.”
Dr. Rosanne Welch, Cal Poly Pomona Faculty from the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education discusses Doctor Who and how the show has changed television writing. Doctor Welch will further discuss how society looks at culture and gender roles with the use of the Doctor and his companions’ adventures.
“Natalie Lopez at the CalPoly University Library invited me to do a presentation for National Libraries Week on Doctor Who and Culture so that’s why a group of Whovians from both CalPoly and CSUF gathered in the Special Events room on April 16th. It was wonderful to look out over a sea of t-shirts and other Doctor paraphernalia present among the crowd as I pontificated about what makes Who great – mostly giving me a chance to present a case for the fact that writers make Doctor Who and therefore writers make culture.”