Is Doctor Who racist?

A group of academics believe it is - "thunderously" so in one case - but what do you think? Vote in our poll and have your say here

Doctor Who is described as “thunderously racist” and guilty of treating non-white characters as “second class” in a collection of academic essays about the show.


Several of the contributors to the book, Doctor Who and Race, which is set for publication in July, believe the failure to cast a black or Asian Doctor demonstrates an integral racism in the series, while others have pointed to an inappropriately “slapstick” take on Hitler in a 2011 episode, the early use of white actors in ethnic roles (such as in 1977 adventure The Talons of Weng-Chiang), and the portrayal of primitive cultures as “savages”.

One American writer, Amit Gupta, even suggests that fifth Doctor Peter Davison’s obsession with cricket harks back to the “racial and class nostalgia” of the British Empire. 

Australian academic Lindy Orthia, who compiled the anthology, concludes: “The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist.”

The BBC has defended Doctor Who, pointing to what it calls a “strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast”, with specific reference to Freema Agyeman’s arrival as the Time Lord’s first black companion in 2007 and Noel Clarke’s role as Mickey Smith, who appeared on and off over the course of five years.

But we want to know what you think. Do the contributors to the Doctor Who and Race book make some valid points? Should there be a black Doctor? Or are the comments about the show unreasonable?


Is Doctor Who racist? Vote in the poll and leave your comments below.