Societal attitudes have developed in massive ways since 50 years ago, which can make viewing entertainment from that period a little jarring to modern audiences. Take Doctor Who from the 1960s, for example. Thankfully, it mostly survives unscathed, but there are definitely moments that some might consider to be bordering on sexism or racism nowadays, even if they were just products of the time back then.
This Christmas, Doctor Who will be taking a trip back to the 1960s as the Twelfth Doctor encounters his original incarnation. As the show’s present collides with its past, the special – titled “Twice Upon A Time” – will take the opportunity to play with changing attitudes, with the First Doctor being particularly guilty of some “gentle chauvinism.”
David Bradley, who’s portraying the role originally played by William Hartnell in the 1960s, told journalists the following at this weekend’s MCM Comic-Con:
It was fun because it’s the two different generations, and Hartnell’s Doctor came from a time that wasn’t so, let’s say, PC. He comes in and brings all of that 1960s gentle chauvinism.
“There are a few little clashes that pop up now and again that make you realise those 50 years make quite a big difference in attitudes. He’s from that time, and he brings all that into the screen. It doesn’t provide a big conflict, just a difference in ideas, and I hope it’s as funny as it looked on paper.”
Of course, the First Doctor is really from an alien world in the far future, but this should still be a fun metafictional nod to the fact that he acted like an old-fashioned elderly gentleman from the 1960s, complete with some casually sexist attitudes towards his female companions.
Thankfully, the Twelfth Doctor is a very different man nowadays and has even expressed a desire to regenerate into a woman in his next incarnation. Luckily for him, that’s going to happen in this very episode, as Jodie Whittaker is set to step into Peter Capaldi’s shoes as the iconic character when Doctor Who returns on Christmas Day.