Doctor Who series 11 episode 2 – The Ghost Monument review

Mike GristDoctor Who, Life, Reviews, TV 1 Comment

I am loving the new series of Dr. Who.

Embedded in the stories, characters and setting so far are deep, meaningful comments on our current world from an unapologetic, muscular kind of liberalism. When one character suggests using a gun, the Doctor rounds on that unequivocally. That is a bad idea. It’s stupid. We have to use our brains. And because the show is bending to her will, the attempt to use a gun goes incredibly badly. It’s humiliating.

And so it should be. In England we think guns are bad. People shouldn’t have them. We are right in this belief, and we’re going to shout it out.

When the two racers talk about their lives back home, and what the Stenza are doing to them (‘cleansing millions’) how can we not think of similar things going on in the world now? The Rohingya in Myanmar. Refugees being forced out and into a cold, uncaring world that only wants to close the door.

And the Doctor? She clearly stands with them. She is for diversity and decency as an absolute good. We are stronger together, she says directly. That was Hilary Clinton’s line, but she never said it with this verve. The writers of this show are showing the UK as it is and/or has the potential to be, and it blows my mind.

I want this world to be real. Look at different countries around the planet – how many are as diverse as the UK? You only needed to continue watching live programming on the BBC after the Doctor was on, and see the couples on Strictly Come Dancing. Almost every one was some kind of ethnic mixture, with nary a white-white dance couple in sight.

I love that.

Forget Brexit. This is the identity we should be celebrating. No one else is as far ahead on this as us (maybe America, but they are pushing back harder than we are against diversity). Most countries in the world are still homogenous. Most of Asia is entirely homogenous or homogenous to people from the region. Most of Africa is entirely homogenous or homogenous to people from the region. South America is the same. Russia. Even much of Europe. Many countries are still vehemently anti-gay, or anti-atheist, or anti-intermarriage.

In the UK we are developing this awesome, rich stew of peoples, whether that is by ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion or whatever. We are aiming for equality and getting far closer than anyone. America beats us in some things, but we trump it in our lack of guns, our NHS, and in having the BBC itself. Serioiusly, we are leading the world in this area.

This is what we should be trumpeting. God, I hope Brexit is canceled. Doctor Who is at the vanguard, showing us the way. It’s like Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Star Trek – a more enlightened people. So let’s be kinder, but let’s also be brave, because yes, it is scary to face something new, but it’s going to be OK.

(I haven’t even mentioned the other qualities of the show – episode 2 had some great lines, a cool plot developing a season-long arc, and what awesome locations. It is great to see them throw money at this show as a flagship cultural product of our nation. Something to be proud of.)


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