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Boo Who! The tears of a clown

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Ladeeeees and gentlemen! The Freethinker once again brings you, at enoooormous expense, a traditional entertainment in which girls dress as boys, an evil villain gets his comeuppance, the hero marries the heroine (and occasionally another hero these days) and everybody lives happily ever after.

Yes, it’s  pantomime season again. This Christmas time, sit back and enjoy the show you’ve all been waiting for, Doctor Who and the Christian Pillock from Hell, which is being shown in a universe near you. Now.

Oh no it isn’t!

Oh yes it is!

Meet the heroine: a ship’s maid called Astrid (played by Who newcomer Miss Kyleeeee Minoooooogue, ladies and gentlemen).

Woo hoo! (Cheers, applause.)

And the hero is – John Smith, also known as the Doctor. Give him a big round of applause.

Hooray! Woo hoo. (Cheers, applause, wild shrieks of joy.)

And the dame – that traditionally overacted, camped-up favourite of all pantomime – is this year none other than Widow Wanky, played by that well-known master of the ridiculous . . . Mister Stephen Greeeeen, ladies and gentlemen, crying over nothing, as usual.

(Small ripple of hesitant applause. Audience looks troubled.)

Ah, yes, you do well to be suspicious, because in our story, in an extraordinary twist, the lovable Widow Wanky reveals herself to be none other than the villain of the piece, the Christian Pillock from Hell, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, greenpantodame.jpgoff come the petticoats, the corsets, the camiknickers, the foam boobs and the outrageous orange wig to reveal our very own amusing, rib-tickling, ludicrous, nonsensical, unbelievable bearded lady, Stephen Green, from a shady underworld organisation calling itself Christian Voice.

Boo! Hiss!

And what is the master of evil up to now? Well, he’s decided that the Doctor Who Christmas special on BBC1 is not right for a Christmas Day show on television and that it sets up the main character as some sort of messiah.

Or, as The Times has it, “Christian groups” – although it cites only the one – think it’s “inappropriate for a BBC One Christmas evening show”. Indeed, typical of lazy journalism is a story whose writer, Adam Sherwin, says the BBC has “provoked controversy” over the show, but then quotes just one pillock from one insignificant organisation that even has other Christian groups criticising it.

And just what has raised the ire of our pantomime buffoon? Well, what follows is a spoiler, so don’t read the paragraph after the warning we give after the next two paragraphs – which provide a somewhat happy ending to this tale of woe – if you don’t want to know anything about the Christmas episode, The Voyage of the Damned (BBC1, 6.50 p.m., Christmas Day; put it in your diary now or you will be exterminated).

And that happy ending is that not all Christian groups agree with Mr Stephen (Widow Wanky) Green, for the Times story concludes:

But Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said: “Science fiction at its best helps to illuminate eternal themes, and that’s something the Church can happily work with.”

So just what is the unholy row about? This is where those who don’t wish to know anything about the story should skip a paragraph.

The Doctor (played by David Tennant) ascends through the decks of the doomed Titanic at one point, with the help of robotic angels. So he must be a messiah figure, concludes our villain, Widow Wanky, alias the Christian Pillock from Hell. He’s ascending, right? And, before he achieves this feat (with the aid of science, note, not the supernatural skills of a divine Son of God), he “convinces [sic] the despairing survivors to believe in his powers”, says The Times with little regard for grammar (must be those office parties).

Wanky Green is quoted as saying, “The Doctor would have to do a lot more than the usual prancing around to be a messiah. He has to save people from their sins.”

Prancing around? Doctor Who fans everywhere are at this moment up in arms at such a comment. What a calumny! An insult to their hero. Blasphemy! Profane lies! May Green roast in turkey foil.

If it weren’t pantomime season, you just wouldn’t believe it, would you?

But let’s leave the last word to the man behind the scenes, the writer of the episode, and the man largely responsible for bringing Doctor Who back to our screens, the atheist (woo hoo! yay! hooray!), Mister Russell T Davies, ladies and gentlemen:

“The series lends itself to religious iconography because the Doctor is a proper saviour. He saves the world through the power of his mind and his passion.”

Note the adjective “proper” there.

(The Voyage of the Damned, Christmas Day, 6.50-8.00 p.m., BBC1, with a Doctor Who Confidential (a behind-the-scenes look at the show) on BBC3 at 8.30 p.m.)

3 Responses to “Boo Who! The tears of a clown”

  1. Andy Armitage says:

    The Doctor Who fan site Outpost Gallifrey has a piece on this Freethinker entry at http://www.gallifreyone.com/news.php – but the story will move down as new stuff is put up, but you can find it by searching on the word “Freehinker”.

  2. Andy says:

    Julie Gardner speaks very highly of Russell T Davies’s humanity and understanding and I suspect that his comments might not imply that the passion and mind of Jesus made him less proper a saviour than Doctor Who. Most people would admit that Jesus was a man of his time who stood up against oppressive regimes and who inspired many others to follow his more emancipating teachings even if that meant being executed for them. For these people, being saved was not being saved from dying but saved to really living. The Doctor himself as a character has been seen to offer himself up to redeem the lives of others (most markedly in the recent Dalek episode).

    It’s possible to interpret a big Christian influence in Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who writing. The episode Gridlock shows the Doctor descending into the depths and raising up the prisoners from below who have been living under rules and regulations which sustain them but which also deprive them of the true fullness of light and life. It’s actually a fair allegory for life under Mosaic/Pharisaic law and the Nazarene’s response to it.

    In Europe, atheism didn’t build itself out of new mud: it’s still quite a truism to say that there’s nothing so Christian as an atheist because a lot of atheistic thinking is a response arising within a Christian socio-linguistic context, and it should be no surprise that Doctor Who writers inevitably draw on the strong symbols of Christian heritage.

    Doctor Who for the sake of its audience wisely sidesteps adopting a religious/non-religious ideological stance. However, it’s extremely small-minded for a modern Christian group to demand that only they can use angels and saviour images appropriately for Christmas Day. They should think themselves lucky that Christian cultural images like fiery furnaces and angels lifting you to heaven are still meaningful references to people.

  3. the butler says:

    Stephen Green would have to complain about a lot of prgrammes, movies and stage productions if he really wants to make a point of this.

    And why now? The Doctor was raised back to life by the power of ‘prayer’ in Last of the Time Lords. That was a bit much, even for Russell T Davies. How come Green didn’t complain then?

    David Tennant’s Doctor really gels with this type of writing. And the work of Russell T Davies, often being a response to Christian culture, is part of the Christian heritage. I agree what Andy posted here.

    I’m thankful that there are people who dare to ask certain questions that seem to be a no go area in various religious circles. The people we call atheists point to many inconsistancies and various stupid interpretations of biblical texts and so forth.

    Faith in God as inspired by Jesus’ words and life can’t do without this questioning. Personally I find it helpful, because it forces me to think and reason as well as keep the faith.

    The writers of the new Doctor Who weems to excell in clever and inspired writing, I think it’s a real improvement on the classic series. Davies likes to make his symbolism a bit OTT sometimes, he’s not much into subtlety, that’s obvious. But I appreciate what he does!

    And I think Stephen Green needs to learn that humor, symbolism and imagination are not the enemy. That guy gives the Christian faith a bad name. And that’s something, as a Christian, that I want to complain about!