Alien more sympathetic than old man in the sky
By The New Indian Express | Published: 26th November 2013 01:18 AM |
Fifty years ago a children’s teatime sci-fi show made its debut on the BBC and went on to change the world, both in terms of television and the imaginations of viewers for generations. The 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who last week received a Guinness World Record for the world’s longest running show after being broadcast in 94 countries across six continents following a massive global campaign. The nearest rival doesn’t come close — with Superman’s youthful adventures in Smallville achieving 218 episodes across 10 series.
Off screen, the Doctor’s carried on in a variety of spin-off media including novels and comics. Big Finish Productions have been producing official audio adventures featuring past Doctors since 1999 and they’re going from strength to strength as the 50th anniversary audio Light at the End shows. What’s more, recent mini-episode, the Night of the Doctor, undeniably brought those audio adventures into the canon of the Doctor Who universe, thanks to a few choice words from the Eighth Doctor.
A near immortal crossing space and time, it is no surprise Doctor Who is sometimes described as a form of surrogate religion and he has continually engaged with important religious themes across a 50-year run. Originally designed to show a society in which faith caused individuals to be paralysed in inaction until the Doctor’s arrival, it featured moving portrayals of communities brought together by hymn singing and faith. The Doctor challenges things we take for granted, encouraging us to open our minds. The religious angle probably comes from the fact that the Doctor is a humanoid alien — also mankind’s idea of God in Heaven. The Doctor’s welfarist vision also makes him resemble the Old Man in the Sky, as God has sometimes been described. To non-believers, the only difference is that this alien appears more sympathetic to humanity’s problems than the Old Man.