Describing the idea as “such a load of b***ocks” Hesmondhalgh championed the new series’ storylines, which have largely won acclaim from fans and critics and which she said were “everything I want in television.”
“To watch that first episode and see proper diversity and representation was absolutely brilliant for me,” she added. “I was so buzzing off it.
“Because that’s the world we live in! And when you see it reflected onscreen it’s like ‘Oh finally, this is great!’
Fans and certain critics have highlighted a perceived change in Doctor Who’s tone since the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, with storylines that deal with racism, intolerance and other social issues termed by some as “too politically correct.”
However, many other observers have pointed out that the series has always dealt with social justice issues since it began in 1963 – the Daleks were intended as an analogy for fascists, after all – and Hesmondhalgh feels that the show’s focus can only be a positive influence on younger viewers.
“There are always going to be naysayers about stuff like that,” she told us. “I’ve read a couple of things that are just absolutely preposterous.
“I mean, slagging off the series for doing an episode about [civil rights icon] Rosa Parks, which I thought was one of the most powerful bits of young people’s telly that I’ve seen, ever. The conversations that will have sparked in houses all over the country.
“People might have a perfunctory knowledge of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement, but to see Ryan (Tosin Cole) in that situation, to land him in the middle of it – only Doctor Who could do that.
“Land him in that position for him to politely pick up a glove that a woman’s dropped, and for him to be punched in the face, it was absolutely shocking.
“This is where we were only a few decades ago, and this is where we’re heading again. And what an absolute perfect way to discuss all those issues,” she added.
And Hesmondhalgh was also full of praise for the series’ second historical episode, Demons of the Punjab, which dealt with the dark days of Indian partition in 1947.
“To be bringing that into all these homes, to start that conversation, and support, to put Yaz (Mandip Gill) in the middle of that story now, and to see it through her eyes – a character that we’ve already grown to love and to know, she’s like one of our mates – it’s just brilliant. It’s just everything I want in television.
“That term, political correctness, just means to me things moving forward a little bit, in the way they should be going,” she concluded.