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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Christian Themes in Dr. Who

    As a child I adored Dr. Who. I read a ton of the books, dreamt of having a sonic screwdriver, and even wrote to Jim'll Fix It to see if I could get to meet my favourite Dr. - Peter Davison. When, in one climatic episode, the Dr.'s assistant Adric was killed (to save the others IIRC) there were tears. I was inconsolable.

    I enjoyed the Colin Baker and Slyvester McCoy eras too, although never as quite as much. Baker always seemed coarser than Davison (and this was before he was sacked for growing a beard) and by McCoy's time it was more something I watched for my younger brother's sake.

    Then there was a long gap and by the time Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston stepped out of the TARDIS I had lost all but a modicum of curiosity, and was without a TV to satisfy any remaining interest. I could imagine Eccleston being good, however. He always was.

    Then, before I'd had time to really get used to the idea he'd gone too and we were onto David Tennant. A Christmas Day special finally gave me the chance to catch a glimpse of the latest incarnation – albeit the end of the episode. I have to admit though I was unimpressed and found Tennant's acting melodramatic at best and in places it was just plain awful.

    It seems I'm in a tiny minority however. With Tennant at the helm, and writer Russell Davies on board, the series has gone from strength to strength, topping the ratings, winning a cabinet full of awards and even spawning a spin off series. This week's been no less uneventful. On Monday the Guardian's list of the 100 most powerful media people included both Davies and Tennant at a staggering 16 and 24 respectively.

    Then yesterday it made it onto Mark Goodacre's New Testament Gateway. Mark's been a fan for a long time, but has posted an interesting piece on some of the Christian themes that have surfaced particularly in this last series (spoilers):
    The subtlety of that imagery from those (previous two) episodes did not prepare me for the remarkably blatant Christian imagery of the final episode, The Last of the Time Lords, a classic good versus evil, super-hero / super-villain match-up between the Doctor and the Master with a clustering of themes that have raised a few eyebrows, defeating evil through "faith and hope", "prayer" (the Master's terms), Martha travelling the world to tell the good news of how the doctor has often saved people without their realizing it, and the Doctor rising from humiliation to defeat evil, and forgive its perpetrator
    All of which sounds very interesting. One could argue that Adric's sacrifice for others, Baker's beard, and Eccleston's lead performance in Second Coming (2003) constitute a continuing relationship between Dr. Who and Jesus, but that would probably be pushing things a little too far. It's also notable that the Dr., like (say) Superman, is a "man" come down from the heavens to save humanity.

    It's something that's been said before, for example by Sylvester McCoy. I'm not sure it's enough to make me go out and hire the DVDs, but it's certainly something I'll bear in mind should I ever find myself in front of the repeats on Telly.


    • At 5:45 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger Mark Goodacre said…

      Hi Matt. Thanks for the mention. You simply must go back and reassess the new Doctor Whos. Begin with the first Eccleston episode and work through. They are far better than anything from the days of Davison, Baker and McCoy, all of whom I watched, though with less enthusiasm than I had for Pertwee and Tom Baker. If you don't watch anything else, try to see Human Nature + Family of Blood + Blink from this season -- some of my favourite TV ever. General gushing over.

    • At 5:46 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger Mark Goodacre said…

      PS Love the dalek at the eucharist! Did you create it or borrow from someewhere?

    • At 3:58 am, July 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      When you mention Eccleston in 2001's "Son of God," are you sure you don't mean "The Second Coming" from 2003?
      I can't find "Son of God" anywhere.

      --Kevin C. Neece<><

      P.S. I love the new "Who." Eccleston was fantastic and I actually really enjoy Tennant. Haven't seen the new series or the last episode of the previous one, though. The end of season one introducing Tennant is brilliant.

    • At 1:00 pm, July 16, 2007, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for your comments,

      OK Mark, I'll take your recommendation on board and try and watch some recent "Who" when I get a moment. FWIW I'm not saying that Davison et al. were definitively better (in fact I suspect they were worse than Pertwee / Baker), but just that it was my era, so to speak.

      The Dalek Communion pic was borrowed from somewhere else. I just used Google Image finder, although I forget the search term now.


      You're absolutely right about The Second Coming - what was I thinking? Son of God (2001) was a BBC documentary about Jesus, which, coincidentally, Mark was one of the consultants for.

      I'll go and correct that now.




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