Political commentary is banned on the BBC. I'd forgotten that.
*settles back to watch rest of box set of "The Young Ones".*
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 …
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.
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.
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! :)
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
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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 ??
...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.
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.
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?
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....
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.
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.
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?
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.
is LIFE. Either you talk politics or you leave it to someone who gives a shit so _you_ don't have to worry.
As for Left/Right leanings, statements such as "artists (especially bad ones) almost always lean to the left" are made by those who don't get what its really about and accept the majority concensus. Like that Far Right and Far Left are opposing extremes when really they are the same thing but with different cover stories. What your 'bad artists' lean to is not a political position but a self-seeking pose, i.e. just a variation on what the majority who think 'politics is boring' devote their lives to: 'vanity'.
Essentially Left Wing is putting others first and Right Wing is putting yourself first, and Society is the struggle between the two to attract the most, or most powerful, supporters, and the winner will take your money, and if you do what they don't want you to do, they will take you away until you cringe when they tell you to cringe. You can go "La la la la la!" and have as much fun as you can within the artificial restrictions and pretend you opted out, or you can stand up for yourself and/or your neighbours.
'The Battle of the Sexes' is politics. Life is politics. Drama is about politics, the difference is whether it is good or bad drama.
The Beeb has been well to the left for 30 years now, and I am sure they wouldn't deny it. Why else would they advertise exclusively in The Guardian. If you work for the Beeb and you don't have the correct lefty opinions, you better get them quick if you want your career to go anywhere.
And it was always Pertwee
"The Beeb has been well to the left for 30 years now"
Funny, I seem to recall Alistair Campbell not sharing this opinion. Or did I miss the Murdoch scumbunch asking awkward questions about WMDs, Kelly etc?
Surely it couldn't be the case that *anyone* in power is likely not to want to be challenged? I mean, that would be self-serving dishonesty, wouldn't it?
I can't remember a time when the BBC weren't a very left wing liberal organisation. I suppose the reason some people don't notice this is the regrettable success of the BBC mission to move the country ever leftwards.
However, there is little doubt that the McCoy era saw some of the weakest stories in the history of Dr Who. It was so awful towards the end that it was no surprise at all that it was cancelled.
Did Carr comes out with that?
Since about the mid-80s I've been waiting to do that. And just last week I thought I'd better get some party streamers and the like, in, 'cos it surely won't be long now (???).
But if Jimmy Carr came out with that...
...I dunno, p'raps I'll just kill myself instead.
I've heard before that "The Happiness Patrol" was supposed to be a commentary on the Thatcher years. I've never quite grasped how the Thatcher described by her critics maps onto a sparkly dictatoress who wants to turn everyone into Cyndi Lauper or possibly the Spice Girls. Help?
No good explaining the book to me, though-- all I can really remember about it is it was terrible.
AC at 14:01 15/02/10 said:
"I don't think they should inject politics into kids programs"
As far as Doctor Who goes, I just think it's a shame that they continue to classify it as a kids' programme. I know that's how it started out, but its original audience are now adult, and I often think it would have been good to see the resurrected series take the route Battlestar Galactica took, and go for the grown-up angle instead. There's more than enough dark backstory to pull it off. Instead, the adult audience get 'Torchwood' which, while watchable, was clearly aimed more at the adolescent demographic.
Regarding the flames of hatred here for the BBC for being too left-wing/right-wing/middle-of-the-road, the only thing I can say is that they couldn't possibly win. The most conscientious, meticulous neutrality will only see you attacked equally by both sides for not opposing - and therefore obviously supporting - the other one. And that's without trying to run a drama serial which by necessity involves conflict between opposing moral viewpoints.
As for the rest of the conspiracy theories about BBC bias, to be honest I can't help thinking it's all a little hysterical. The Beeb isn't perfect by a long way, but by gods, I'd rather have at least one broadcaster that isn't trying to peddle commercial crap at me for seven minutes in every ten. If that costs me some money, well, it's certainly no worse than having to pay a subscription for satellite AND put up with incessant moronic ads.
Ok, some people might criticise poor old Sylvester, but I rather liked him. I even liked liked Mel (apparently I am the only one who does. I like Donna too). I would also like to point out that any single random episode of Dr.Who is better than no Dr.Who at all, and is indeed better than any other given random sample of, say, Merkin sci-fi, Firefly being the exception that proves the rule.
As for political comment, did anyone see that series called 'Blake's 7'? Ruthless female leader of totalitarian government? Mind you, Jacqueline Pearce could be ruthless to me any day she likes!
And as for anti-authoritarian, did anyone else notice that Terry Nation also created 'MacGyver'?
And... favourite Doctor? Patrick Troughton. You never forget your first Doctor!
Some old episodes are decent, and it's true that Troughton could actually act. Unfortunately other episodes feature wooden acting, flimsy sets, pathetic antagonists and poor plotting. Some episodes were acceptable by the standards at the time but suffer a little when seen through modern eyes.
In terms of American sci fi you definitely left out Babylon 5. The Australians did well with Farscape too.
Mel was horrific (she's not always much better as Bonnie). Donna was, much to my surprise, half decent after they toned down her screechiness - somewhat better than Rose imo.
I have just left their employ and to be honest i have never seen a company more seriously crippled with political correctness, Health and Safety and the latest big one - Security.
You would not believe how difficult it is to recieve a delivery in a BBC building.
Anyway, would you all prefer that we had a right wing BBC? that's what sky are for isnt it? and that why we all hate them
In fact why do so many of you have a problem with the left in general? It looks to me to be the nicer side of politics
This is very old news and was known about as far back as the day after transmission in 1988! On the 30th birthday doc (broadcast in 1993) they had a Tory MP who talked about the reaction in central office the next day. This wasn't some hidden agenda, it was a critique.
Go back further and you'll find all sorts of political commentary. The Sunmakers from 1977 deals with the British tax system for example and even has a character who has been given Dennis Healey eyebrows!
I see alot of people knocking the McCoy era in this section. Yeah the first season was pretty bloody dire but it was born out of considerable turmoil and the fact the BBC bosses wanted the show to be less violent. Jonathan Powell certainly saw it as a kids show.
However from the 1988 season things begin to improve. The 1989 season is some of the best Who seen since the 70's. However some anoraks could never forgive McCoy for his first season which is a shame. And forget the poor ratings, it was on against Corrie in an era where that show was pulling in 21 million viewers. The single McCoy episode not scheduled against Coronation Street managed to pull a far more respectable 8 million viewers, about double the average for the rest of the era!
Check out Curse of Fenric, Ghostlight and Survival. The anoraks put all sorts of arguments against these stories about them being too complex etc, but as a 10 year old I loved them. Great writing, good performances and really pushing the meagre budget. Also interesting to note that a number of new series writers rate these 3 stories highly as well.
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