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Published On: Tue, May 28th, 2013

BBC answers charges that ‘Doctor Who’ is racist, full of ‘outdated attitudes’

The BBC has responded to comments that Doctor Who is ‘thunderously racist’.

A new collection of essays titled ‘Doctor Who and Race’ claims that the sci-fi program is racist for failing to cast a black or Asian actor as the Time Lord and accuses the title character of being dismissive of black companions.

'Doctor Who' is accused of being racist, but the BBC points to some diversity, such as Freema Agyeman's role as Martha

‘Doctor Who’ is accused of being racist, but the BBC points to some diversity, such as Freema Agyeman’s role as Martha

The new anthology “offers new understandings of the cultural significance of race in the programme – how the show’s representations of racial diversity, colonialism, nationalism and racism affect our daily lives and change the way we relate to each other.”

The BBC has responded to the accusations – which fans have branded “ridiculous” and “groundless” – denying any racism and pointing out the “diverse casting” of the series.

It said: “Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast. Freema Agyeman became the first black companion and Noel Clarke starred in a major role for five years [Mickey Smith].”

The essays also blast the program for its ‘outdated attitudes’ amid suggestions that primitive cultures are portrayed as ‘savages’.

The anthology’s editor Lindy Orthia said: “The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist.”

The BBC added that characters are cast based on their acting ability and not their ethnicity.

A spokesperson said: “Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who is color-blind. It is always about the best actors for the roles.”

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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