back to article Doctor Who attempted to overthrow Thatcher

Former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy has sensationally claimed that during his tenancy of the Tardis he and left-wing scriptwriters attempted to otherthrow the government of Margaret Thatcher. Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who. Pic: BBC According to the Sunday Times, both McCoy (pictured) and script editor Andrew Cartmel admitted the …

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TRT
Silver badge

Of course...

Political commentary is banned on the BBC. I'd forgotten that.

*settles back to watch rest of box set of "The Young Ones".*

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WTF?

Impartiality? How we laughed!

Auntie Beeb has many fine qualities, but surely no-one could claim impartiality to be one of them?

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FAIL

But of course nobody noticed...

It was Sylvester McCoy!

Besides, in which parallel universe is it that armed revolutionaries always seize control of the kids TV programmes first?

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Lovies and politics

Cartmel said: "My exact words were: I'd like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I'm delighted that came into the show."

in 1997 Peter Mandelson said "judge us after ten years of success in office. For one of the fruits of that success will be that Britain has become a more equal society" but in 2010 it's apparent that in the last 13-years health, wealth, and most other indicators have diverged between the very top and very bottom of society and Britain is "less equal" than before under Thatcher's government.

Where are the lovies protesting against "social injustice" when Labour are in power? Their absence shows they are obviously simply politically partisan.

El Reg: "This nucleus of agitators, backed by the Who crew who "weren't very happy" with Maggie, set about undermining the Iron Lady with 1988 three-parter The Happiness Patrol, in which Sheila Hancock plays Thatcher caricature Helen A (see pic), "a dictator who requires her subjects to be happy... or die"."

'The Happiness Patrol' sounds more like a Harriot Harman policy rather than a Thatcherite one. Please grin whilst we spy on you and take all your money, unless it's a passport or ID-card photo in which case you will be punished for even hinting at smiling.

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Big Brother

@"Peter Mandelson said "judge us after ten years of success in office."

Well it was 13 years of success in office for him and his greedy two faced kind. They have had a wonderful time living the high life and robbing us blind, whilst also profiting from running our country into the ground.

Peter Mandelson and co, won't even care when they are finally thrown out after 13 years of gaining so much at our expense. His promises (like for example of judging them after 10 years) are really just a 13 year long endless stream of swindles at our expense. They have all basically defrauded the UK for their own gain.

In my mind that's outright treason against the UK, as in "serious acts of betrayal of one's nation."

For all their two faced lies, robbing and moves to wipe out our rights and create a Police State, Mandelson, Blair, Brown and every NuLabour Home Secretary should all collectively be charged with treason against the UK and against its people. I find it extremely tempting to create a petition on number10's own web site (i.e. petitions.number10.gov.uk) and then spread word of the petition to have these people charged with treason against the UK. We won't win of course, they would never listen, but it would give a massive moral victory and help spread word against these crooks that have violated our country so badly for so long, all ultimately for their own gain. The thing is it would need quick backing from a major newspaper otherwise number 10 would most likely just delete the petition (or not even accept the petition). With the way things are now and with the backing of a major news paper I bet it would be possible to easily get 1 million votes against the government. Its about time the power of the Internet was turned against them, they have had it all their own way for far to long.

(It would also show them all the Internet is more powerful than even the Doctor any day! :)

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Black Helicopters

Protest Social Injustice

As I understand it the big issue with Thatcher was that she set about destroying and wrecking non-party politics in the UK if the politic swung anywhere left-of-centre.

The rich getting richer is nothing new, and I can only imagine the lack of scandal in the 1980s is the reason why there is little outcry now (even though it's now far worse with the effective death of social mobility: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7825443.stm), that is, as long as people think they can get rich quick they don't care if they have feck-all to begin with.

The entrenched attitudes in the socialism and management were causing merry-hell in the UK during the 70s. Rather than help resolve the conflict the Thatcher government decided to favor rampant individualist/psychopath based society over a social/political based society (e.g., no more union power), which was a sensible choice if all you care about is making the population easy to rule with an iron handbag. Thatcher;s bias was realised mainly by placing so many special branch and MI5 agents in the groups that normal democracy (within and between social/political groups) became somewhat impossible. The spooks were all for supporting the militant voices (that they could later arrest) and everyone with even half a brain gave-up

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Anonymous Coward

As befits today's Western Europe

"as long as people think they can get rich quick they don't care if they have feck-all to begin with. - isn't that The American Dream restated without the patriotic fervour?

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FAIL

"nobody really noticed or cared"

No-one noticed or cared because Cartmel's script work during that era was uniformly crap, with only Aaronovitch's Dalek story being any good (probably because they spent the entire season's budget on it). The Crappiness Patrol was the story that featured a homicidal Bertie Basset so it's no wonder no-one noticed the tenuous Thatcher parody. It's no wonder it was cancelled not long after that.

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Politics in Who?

Look no further than the, ahem, wonderful "Sun Makers" or "Power of Kroll" for some 70's anti-class-anti-oil-shoving-it-to-the-man awfulness. There were some fairly overt ones in the Pertwee era too.

Give me William Hartnell wandering around a set muttering "Hm?! Ouh!" as he tries to remember his lines and figure out where they've hidden his gin... Happy days...

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Coat

BBC Impartial?

Hardly, the BBC has always been a leftie institution.

(Mine is the one with the Thatcher Biography in the pocket)

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Re:Hardly, the BBC has always been a leftie institution.

What utter bullshit!

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Mr.

Someone once said that it proves the BBC's level of impartiality when BOTH sides accuse it of being politically biased against them

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Anonymous Coward

Definitely not Bullsh*t

Maybe you have a horse in this race?

Let's see. Climate Change ... sustainability ... euthanasia ... "all businesses are evil", token effnick presenters... the EU to the rescue. And some more Climate Change.

Looks like the whole NuLab Nine Yards to me. Allow me to show you to your coat.

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Badgers

I'll have some ...

... of what you're having! It is clearly very powerful stuff if you can seriously state that "... the BBC has always been a leftie institution."

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WTF?

Re: BBC Impartial?

The initial TV and Radio reporting the UK (all BBC to begin with I believe) was embarrassingly grovelling; most entertainment reporting is a matter of ass kissing, but the early political Beeb politely debagged the right honorable member before... well there wasn't any back cheek action.

These days it is better, but to think the BBC is a "leftie" organisation is ridiculous and I can only hope the OP is joking, but having foolishly read the comments section on the Beeb news site I'll be a while before I recalibrate back from foaming-mouth crazy to the El Reg standard of genially crazy comments.

In defence (or damnation if you think the BBC not leftie enough) I recommend checking out the rendition/torture story headlining C4 news and Newsnight last Wednesday (both shows should still be there on catch-up) for an idea of how much of a militant leftie Auntie is not.

http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/

and

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00qs5sn/Newsnight_10_02_2010/

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FAIL

Sylvester McCoy

Was one of the more disappointing Doctors - maybe this explains why

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Re: Sylvester McCoy

In spite of his random wibbling on politics, I always thought he had the potential to be a decent Doctor, if only his scripts weren't almost uniformly appalling and the special effects budget consisting of whatever Blue Peter had assembled the previous week. The only likely conspiracy I see is Michael Grade arranging for it to be crap so he could say "look how crap it is! Let's cancel it" because he personally disliked the show.

Well thanks for this article: I now have the stirrings of some memories of post Tom Baker Who. They're not pleasant.

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Peter Davison was ok

The least said about Colin Baker the better.. There were a few half decent Sylvester stories, but I really did get fed up with his gurning at the camera.

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BBC bias

BBC left bias in all its glory, not much changed in the last 20 years. Privatise it.

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Re: Privatise It

Yes, because that'll lead to impartiality won't it!

Oh, wait ... No it won't!

Numpty.

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Grenade

Eh?

"The BBC’s impartiality rules applied just as strongly then as they do to programmes now.”

They have impartiality rules? If they do, then they must think we are really stupid if they expect us to believe they follow them.

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RTD

Thank goodness that we now have the "new" Doctor Who with no individuals trying to exploit it as a personal platform to force their views onto the viewing world

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This.

Good point. Plenty of anti-Iraq and anti-religious stuff lying around since 2005. Not to mention the infamous gay agenda....

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FAIL

Explains why that series was shit

Abolish the licence fee.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems to me, as is particularly evident these days

that reporting blatant offences against democracy as absent of malice is political favouritism anyway. The Beeb is probably the worst offender in that respect. Most of the time it appears to be a mouthpiece of the establishment. Goes with filling the schedules with lowest common denominator dross and paying the likes of, e.g. the desperately unfunny Jonathon Woss premiership footballer wages. I've been a lifelong supporter of the Beeb but now think it time the license fee was discontinued. The Beeb is 90% shite now and just another gravy train.

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RE: The Beeb is 90% shite now....

As opposed to the 99% by ITV etc...

If the BBC are getting a good output of 10% they're probably beating all other British broadcasters hands down.

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Anonymous Coward

ITV ...

...doesn't even deserve to be considered a television broadcaster anymore. I can't think of words bad enough for ITV. I can't think of any words that wouldn't themselves be demeaned by comparison. ITV makes 'shite' look like something you could please your spouse with a gift of on Valentine's Day.

And apart from Channel 4 News, which remains excellent, that station is so bad (since Michael Grade was allowed at it) that I can't decide if it is actually worse than ITV, whereas when it started it was probably the best British broadcaster, certainly better than BBC1 and surely gave the once-sublime BBC2 a run for it's money.

But Thatcher's disciples have all the reins everywhere these days it seems and it's all just...well, choose your favourite term of abuse.

I presume the downvotes are from those on the 'Click' gravy train.

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Happy

That explains it

Maybe this explains why the McCoy era stories were so terrible.

Also, wasn't the Happiness Patrol story the one with Bertie Bassett as the monster?

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Big Brother

satire not noticed

> Sadly, Cartmel admitted the satire went completely unnoticed. He said: "Critics, media pundits and politicians certainly didn't pick up on what we were doing. If we had generated controversy and become a cause célèbre we would have got a few more viewers but, sadly, nobody really noticed or cared."

That's not strictly true, one of the best things about the series was the intelligent scripts aimed at the more mature audience. 'The Sun Makers' being another good example, where the entire solar system is privatised by the company. If the politicians didn't get it, we most certainly did.

The Collector of taxes being a sentient poisonous fungus type creature from the planet Usurius., Usurious, Usery .. get it .. eh ??

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9e91e_the-sun-makers-part-2_shortfilms

http://www.drwhoguide.com/who_4w.htm

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Megaphone

No surprises there

Is anyone surprised that the BBC has its own agenda? Just look at the current Dr Who with its multicultural & gay agenda. The BBC needs to be cleansed and reminded of its purpose, to entertain and educate, not push its own trendy left wing crap.

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'current Dr Who with its multicultural & gay agenda'

What is this 'gay agenda'?

Did they include a timetable in the 'Radio Times' that I really should have paid more attention to? And is there homework?

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Anonymous Coward

the gay agenda of dr who

> What is this 'gay agenda'?

have you ever watched dr who? i mean those daleks are queer. and the cybermen - they take it up the arse. it's *so* obvious.

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Shame...

Just a shame that no one watched Doctor Who in the late 80s! As for BBC impartiality, one of the new episodes of Doctor Who in the first series had a flashing light that blinked "Vote Lib Dem" in Morse Code.

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Morse code?

That was before my time--and I'm 50 years old! :)

Even if true, it's an in-joke only Ham operators would get--if they even noticed it.

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went unnoticed?

Hardly unnoticed, most of us noticed that the storylines were crap. No wonder the audience figures were so abysmal it got canned. Scriptwriters should leave satire to the satirists.

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Lehrerian

One thinks of Tom Lehrer's "Folk Song Army"

Remember the war against Franco?

That's the kind where each of us belongs:

He may have won all the battles,

But we had all the good songs.

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Sylvester McCoy - Ahhh bless.

Was an inspired choice for Dr Who. As were the script team. The BBC had long wanted to bury it, so they hired people they know would do just that. Unlike 'The Producers', they were just crap enough to do the job. If they'd been any crappier, perhaps people would have watched...

You'd think that after killing the series and producing propaganda that either went unnoticed or ignored, you'd think that they'd have been embarrassed enough to keep quiet about it. Luvvie hubris knows no bounds.

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WTF?

Anti-BBC retoric

Err... am I the only one noticing a weird burst of anti-BBC, pro-privatisation retoric on the message board this morning? "multicultural & gay agenda", "trendy left wing crap"?

"flashing light that blinked "Vote Lib Dem" in Morse Code" seriously? Dude, seriously?

Is the Daily Mail message board down or something?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Anti-BBC retoric

The funny thing is... the Mail comments system *is* down today.

Ha! Welcome rageful loons who aren't as clever as they think they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re:Anti-BBC Retoric

Is that more satire, to see if people miss *it*, too?

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Grenade

Subliminal effects?

Maybe the political content was noticed, subliminally. This must be why the entire audience went "this is complete and utter shit" as one, without ever really being able to put a finger on what specifically was so god-awfully crap about it....

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Flame

Love the BBC... but not Sylvester McCoy

I love the BBC then as I do now. Fed up with BBC bashing.

Dont give a crap if its not always impartial as long as there is an overall balance. Think there is something for everyone. ( Last year "The thick of it" did it for me).

Sylverster McCoy though was hardly my favorite doctor and the scripts were bad. I don't think they should inject politics into kids programs but equally cant blame them for trying. I remember the desperation of the Thatcher years. Sadly this recession is feeling the same....

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Grenade

BBC Agenda?

The BBC doesn't have a particular bias, but the writers certainly may. Pointing at the Beeb for the political tones of one of its shows is kind of missing the whole "writers are human" aspect of it all. I'm sure if you wanted, you could find lots of Tory undertones if you really looked, but as that doesn't support that narrative, no one really turns that stone over.

ps. Down with Thatcher, etc.

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1970s UNIT answered to a female Prime Minister

And in "Hordes of the Things" (radio, not Who) "The Evil One" whose monster hordes were about to overrun Albion was "She". I think.

"Indoctrinate Who" more like - lots and lots of stories were about individual freedom and against reckless commercial exploitation of the Universe and environmental destruction and feeding people to alien monsters and an employee / general public health programme that consists of upgrading you - in extreme cases just keeping the brain, or else replacing just some parts of your body - into Cyberman form, without (as far as possible) that inconvenient "free will" stuff. Generally without informed consent. If you've seen the 1960s film "Hands of a Stranger" then you'all get the idea.

And about the ineffectuality and corruption and non-accountability of the House of Time Lords. Tom Baker's Doctor used to claim that Gallifrey was "very probably" somewhere silly in Ireland.

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The Happiness Patrol...

... I always thought it was a take-off of the Paranoia RPG.

"Are you happy, Citizen...?"

"Yes, friend Computer, I'm wonderfully happy!!!"

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Anonymous Coward

Survivors?

Not entirely unrelated, but has anyone else noticed that Survivors seems to be about different political ideologies, with liberalism/libertarianism being what we're supposed to identify with?

I'm guessing the lab place is fascism, incorporating fascist futurism. And Samantha's eco-place is authoritarian/totalitarian, big state socialism/communism. Capitalism, so far, just seems to be rotten, selfish, thuggish gangsterism.

And there's a Doctor Who connection, since the original Survivors was devised by Terry Nation.

Daleks, Blake's 7, Survivors... Do I detect an anti-authoritarian theme?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Survivors?

Everything's political, though. You can't really keep politics out of drama if you want to do it properly. (Not that they have done Survivors properly, judging from the bits I've seen.)

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Politics in Drama

You can quite easily keep politics out of drama. I think you might be mistaking this for two other points. 1. Extremely political types read politics into everything or 2. Some folk assume that if a work deals with society it is in some way political. Others of us believe however that society can be so much more than just politics.

As far as Ma Beeb being a leftie org - well bear in mind that artists (especially bad ones) almost always lean to the left.

Politics + Drama = Propaganda.

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Re: Re: Survivors?

Are we talking about the 'reality' show Survivors here, or is there something else with the same name that *doesn't* trigger the same reflexive lunge for the channel change button as a Donald Trump appearance?

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