Video: Liz Shaw from Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

A clip from this longer presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Watch this entire presentation – Doctor Who: Feminism in the Whoniverse with Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch ( speaks on “Feminism in the Whoniverse” of Doctor Who, the BBC television program now in its 50th year. She reviews each of the Doctor’s female companions and speaks on how they are represented in the program and how they represented the women of their respective periods.


After we have Patrick Troughton, we have Jon Pertwee, who’s quite a wonderful Doctor in his own right. I know, some of us watched him first. (inaudible) and Jon, very elegant gentleman. I love the capes he wore.  Very cool. His very first companion of the female kind is Liz Shaw, herself, not only a scientist, but she works at Cambridge. We are now cream of the crop scientists. This is very cool. Yes he meets her though working at UNIT. She comes from Cambridge to work at UNIT and UNIT is the military group you may or may not have seen. So, she has a military affiliation again at this period. Liz Shaw is a really great character. Now look, she’s older, so she has the ability again to match him intellectually. Makes for a very good pair, the two of them. Note that she’s such a scientist that we have to have the test tubes — and this is the Brigader — he works at UNIT, so we have the military thing going on. Notice, when chicks get smart they put their hair up. High hair means your smart. Low hair, I don’t know what that means. But, you know, we get some very looks here. Now, sadly. this character chose to leave UNIT. She got tired of working for the military and in real life, the actress said she got tired of being the one who just played with the test tubes and he always saved the day. She was a little upset that her character didn’t get more empowering moments. And that’s, actresses have to make that choice. Actors of color make that choice. What kind of character do I want to be seen portraying all the time? Right? What am I putting out into the world? In this case, she’s “OK, I’m done being the second banana. I’m going to go do something else. She went and did a lot of theatrical work — which is good for her.

Feminism in the Whoniverse was presented at the Cal Poly Pomona University Library where Dr. Welch teaches in the IGE (Interdisciplinary General Education) program.

This is the 4th talk on various aspects of Doctor Who that Dr. Welch has presented. You can find these talks using the links below.

Subscribe to Dr. Welch’s YouTube Channel

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