Am overwhelming majority of viewers disagree with the suggestion that Doctor Who is a racist show, according to a RadioTimes.com poll.
Australian academic Lindy Orthia called the series “thunderously racist”, while colleagues writing in Doctor Who and Race, an upcoming collection of essays on the series, said the lack of a non-white Time Lord indicated an overarching racism.
Contributors also pointed to an early instance of a white actor playing an Asian character, a “slapstick” portrayal of Hitler and fifth Doctor Peter Davison’s obsession with cricket, which was said to be a throwback to the “racial and class nostalgia” of the British Empire.
But most RadioTimes.com users dispute the claims, with over 92% of the 1,800 people who voted in a recent poll saying the show is not racist and less than 4% admitting they were not sure.
“Doctor Who is probably one of the most racially integrated shows I’ve seen,” said RadioTimes.com user Dale Hopkins. “I can’t even count the number of mixed race couples who have been featured on the show or people of colour who have taken important leading roles.”
“Ok, so they haven’t cast a black or Asian Doctor… They’ve also not yet had a black James Bond, but doesn’t mean it’s racist,” said another commentator, Graffum Teeffum. “It’s so sad that a TV show is expected to go out of it’s way with ethnic pandering or else be accused of racism.”
“If you judge it by 1960s and 70s casting choices, well it’s not perfect but a heck of a lot better than some other mainstream TV shows at the time,” said a user calling themselves T Baker. “The spirit of the show was always about tolerance. Looking at modern Who, it’s about as inclusive as you can get!”
And Paolo Soriani agreed, saying “The Doctor always struggles to save every race in the universe! How could it be racist?”