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Dr Who's Value

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1976-03-07 Sunday Times.jpg


Morality and integrity

ALAN THOMPSON, Professor of the Economics of Government, Heriot-Watt University

THE BBC children's programme Dr Who, has recently come under criticism as being unsuitable for children. As someone who writes children's fiction as a hobby, I would like to defend it as a highly moral programme. It is very difficult to inject a strong moral content into children's entertainment without becoming rather boring and pedantic. Yet Dr Who introduces morality in a creative and exciting manner. In every series, right always, in the end, triumphs over wrong. At a deeper moral level, good always triumphs over evil.

The choice of a scientist as the hero (rather than a secret agent, detective, or other popular characterisation) is also significant. The painstaking diligence of scientific method. allied to the creative insights of the good scientist; are admirable , examples of disciplined educational purpose which are badly needed in the contemporary world, and can do nothing but good to children who observe them in the person of Dr Who. They also encourage an interest among young people in science as a school and university subject.

In addition to scientific integrity, Dr Who displays moral and physical courage in facing up to the forces that threaten civilisation. He knows that our democratic commitment to individual freedom and our belief in reason in the conduct of human affairs are desperately vulnerable to the single-minded brutality of totalitarianism. The shifting and devious disguises which totalitarianism adopt are portrayed in a horrible and sinister manner (as Mrs Mary Whitehouse has pointed out). But the forces which they conceal are themselves horrible and sinister. In Tom Baker the BBC, has the almost perfect Dr Who witty and humane, self-controlled, but with flashes of righteous anger when confronted by evil. Yet lurking under the surface of his assurance is a capacity for self-criticism aid an ability to laugh at himself. Ali these qualities are invaluable to children as they grow up to face the problems of the world.

As an amateur writer, educator and parent of four young Dr Who fans, I consider that the programme is eminently suitable for children. It can be recommended equally strongly for grown-ups.

Tom Baker: witty and humane

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  • APA 6th ed.: Thompson, Alan (1976-03-07). Dr Who's Value. The Sunday Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Thompson, Alan. "Dr Who's Value." The Sunday Times [add city] 1976-03-07. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Thompson, Alan. "Dr Who's Value." The Sunday Times, edition, sec., 1976-03-07
  • Turabian: Thompson, Alan. "Dr Who's Value." The Sunday Times, 1976-03-07, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who's Value | url= | work=The Sunday Times | pages= | date=1976-03-07 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=27 July 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who's Value | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=27 July 2021}}</ref>