Feeds

Doctor Who attempted to overthrow Thatcher

Sylvester McCoy in shock subversion claim

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy has sensationally claimed that during his tenancy of the Tardis he and left-wing scriptwriters attempted to otherthrow the government of Margaret Thatcher.

Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who. Pic: BBCAccording to the Sunday Times, both McCoy (pictured) and script editor Andrew Cartmel admitted the sinister scheme, which was hatched when the former filled the Doctor's shoes three months after Thatcher's 1987 third election victory.

McCoy recounted: “The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn’t shout about it.

"We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered."

Cartmel recalled his reponse to Who producer John Nathan-Turner, who asked him what he hoped to achieve as script editor. He said: "My exact words were: I'd like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I'm delighted that came into the show."

Cartmel's team of writing malconents included Ben Aaronovitch, son of Marxist intellectual Sam Aaronovitch, and Rona Munro, later to become a scriptwriter for filmmaker Ken Loach.

Sheila Hancock as Helen AThis nucleus of agitators, backed by the Who crew who "weren't very happy" with Maggie, set about undermining the Iron Lady with 1988 three-parter The Happiness Patrol, in which Sheila Hancock plays Thatcher caricature Helen A (see pic), "a dictator who requires her subjects to be happy... or die".

They backed this body-blow with further subversion, including kids spin-off book Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma, which has a character called Rehctaht - Thatcher spelt backwards.

Sadly, Cartmel admitted the satire went completely unnoticed. He said: "Critics, media pundits and politicians certainly didn't pick up on what we were doing. If we had generated controversy and become a cause célèbre we would have got a few more viewers but, sadly, nobody really noticed or cared."

An ailing Doctor Who was canned in 1989, while Margaret Thatcher survived until she was dethroned as PM in 1990.

Regarding the alleged plot to bring down Thatcher, a BBC spokesman said: “We’re baffled by these claims. The BBC’s impartiality rules applied just as strongly then as they do to programmes now.” ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.