The Torchwood Institute - A Doctor Who and Torchwood Blog

Thursday, December 22, 2005

All This And World War II

I watched two Doctor Who stories tonight. First of all, I watched off my imported region 2 DVDs of the 2005 series, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. And from 1989, the special edition of The Curse of Fenric. And in many ways they are a great compare and contrast between where Doctor Who was in 1989 and where it is today.

The Curse of Fenric is calling out for the night time shoots that make up The Empty Child. When they made the special edition of The Curse of Fenric they digitally darkened some of the images, but it's of course not the same. And obviously, the Haemovore make up is a bit disappointing in retrospect.

But it is the similarities that are of true interest. It wasn't until 1988 in the original series that we start seeing any direct references to World War II, even though the original inspiration of the Daleks are clearly as little tin Nazis, and many of the other monsters are fascist metaphors as well. I think it is as much to do with World War II only being portraryed metaphorically until none of the people involved with the series had any real connection to the real war.

And then it's also that both stories have a subtext that's very rare in classic Doctor Who -- sex. Both stories have flirting companions. The Curse of Fenric has its gay supporting characters (Commander Millington and Dr. Judson), and so does The Empty Child. And both have elements where secrets and sexual repression have a major part in the plot.

And in the end, both stories are usually considered some of the best stories of their respective years.


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