Friday, 29 May 2009

29, and Old Enough to Know Better

The new companion for Doctor Who has been announced (which is probably old news by now). Ms Gillan, I’m sure, is a fine actress. She’s also 21, which bugs me. The new Doctor is 26. That bugs me, too.

It's not because they’re both younger than me. I mean, it is, but that’s selfish. What bugs me more is what this is saying to people who watch the show. Doctor Who is aspirational. We aspire to be the Doctor and we aspire to be his companion. Now, at seven o’clock on Saturday nights, we’re telling children that they should aspire to be young and attractive. We’re telling them that you can be anything you like, just so long as you’ve got fantastic social skills, a pretty face and aren't old enough to know what a mortgage is yet. If you don't have a circle of friends or you're old enough to support yourself, then stop dreaming and get back to serving the pretty people, damn you!

And this is before I start on the writing side of things. Why is it so terrifying to give the Doctor a strong, male companion? A companion who has some meat and is going to give the Doctor as good as he gets? You know, someone who’s going to do that without being ‘feisty’, or ‘rebellious’ or outright childish. Oh, and someone who doesn’t spend the entire series fawning over the Doctor would be nice.

I should know better. It’s only a kids’ show, I know. But... science fiction was supposed to be a safe place. It was a place we could all go away from the young and popular and attractive people who were made us feel fat and unattractive and unpopular. They were supposed to be going to nightclubs and meeting over the park and other things us people with stunted social skills were told made ‘a life’ (remember being told to, ‘get a life’?). Now they’re in our television shows and playing our computer games. And heavens forefend that we say something which offends them! It is the path to playing it safe, the slow trek to mediocrity.

Of course I’m going to be watching the new series. Why on Earth wouldn’t I be?

No comments: