On political stereotypes and Doctor Who

YouGov have done a survey asking people their opinions about Doctor Who and what characteristics they want to see in the next Doctor. As politics and Doctor Who are two of this blog’s continuing obsessions, I couldn’t resist writing about it – and this post becomes even more ‘my entire blogging history in one post’ if I tell you I’m doing it while I wait for the highlights of the Criterium du Dauphine cycling to come on TV.

(Insert your standard disclaimer here about polling not necessarily being accurate, margins of error, just a bit of fun etc)

It’s perhaps not surprising that Lib Dem voters are more likely to be Who fans than supporters of other parties (see Alex Wilcock’s ‘How Doctor Who Made Me A Liberal‘ or my take on it here) but it’s nice to see it statistically confirmed – 41% of Lib Dem supporters are interested in the series, compared to 34% of Labour, 29% of Tories and just 26% of UKIP supporters.

I’m actually surprised to see David Tennant topping the ‘favourite Doctor’ part of the survey by quite a convincing margin – 43% to Tom Baker’s 16% and Matt Smith’s 14%. He won a similar DWM poll while he was the Doctor, but he’s now three years out of the role, which does indicate that he may well have replaced Tom Baker as the public’s image of the Doctor. (He is one of my favourites, but if I’d have been polled, I’d have doubled Patrick Troughton’s support amongst Lib Dems.) However, fun confirmation of stereotypes comes with Jon Pertwee getting his highest ratings from UKIP and Tory voters, but absolutely no support from Lib Dems. It’s possibly because he’s the most ‘establishment’ of all the Doctors – no other Doctor spent so much time hanging around the military – though one could also argue that the Pertwee era was full of images of a proudly independent Britain with its own space programme and big energy projects. As soon as he went, Tom Baker’s first story saw international sovereignty being pooled to protect nuclear codes in ‘Robot’ and the English countryside, if it was real at all, was depicted as being full of androids.

There’s also interest in the questions about what characteristics the new Doctor should have. Even without the breakdown by party, I’m surprised to see that the population of Britain are relatively open to the idea of a different Doctor. The only characteristics that get bare majority support are British (54%) and male (52%) – and male only gets about 40% support from Labour and Lib Dem voters. That gives me hope that when – and I believe it is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’, even if it’s not this time – we get a female Doctor, the general populace will be much more inclined to accept it and see how it goes than certain Who fans believe they will be.

Other figures almost look as though they were created by the stereotype-o-matic such as 50% of UKIP voters thinking it’s important the Doctor is white, compared to 5% of Lib Dems, though I’m confused by a couple of spikes (which might just be statistical noise because of small sample size) – Tories are more likely to want the Doctor to be attractive, while Labour voters are more likely to want the actor to already be a household name.

My general position is that I want the next Doctor to be played by someone interesting – I’ve not been the biggest fan of the last three years of the series, but I think Matt Smith’s done a good job with some weak material and has been very good when he gets a good script – and most of the actors who I’ve thought could be interesting Doctors have been different from the norm. (That said, I do edge towards the ‘I’d like a woman Doctor, but not one written by Steven Moffat‘ position) If it was up to me, I’d be trying to persuade one of Adrian Lester, Maxine Peake, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomie Harris or Ben Whishaw to take the role – but it’s not up to me, so I just get to wait, watch and see what comes next. Hopefully, I’ll still be around for the 100th anniversary, when all this speculation will seem as quaint and irrelevant as ‘can you really get another completely different actor to play the Doctor?’ was in 1966.

2010 General Election Diary Day 16: There’s less to go than has already gone

Labour’s latest election broadcast teams up Peter Davison and David Tennant to tell us everything is going to be fine in the future. I was expecting them to tell us that there’s a hole in the economy the exact size of Belgium, but as they didn’t I think we can all agree that this is not a canon Doctor Who adventure. This may change if the next Labour broadcast features Gordon Brown meeting Clement Attlee and declaring ‘you were my Prime Minister.’

The current great irony of British politics is that Liberal Democrats tend to be Doctor Who fans, but the Doctors themselves are Labour voters. This may be why people think Eddie Izzard should play them Doctor, but meanwhile, I await Sylvester McCoy’s Labourrrrrr election broadcast.

Anyway, back to the real meat of the election campaign, and as Stephen Tall points out we’re very definitely in the ‘fight you’ stage of ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’. Of course, Gandhi lived in an age before there was Dermot O’Leary to ask him which British leader he’d prefer to share a bed with, but the principle remains that if you’re annoying the Mail, the Sun, the Spectator and Toby Young so much, you’re probably doing something right.

We’re now past halfway in this campaign – it all started two weeks last Tuesday, and two weeks tomorrow it’ll all be over and the last few votes will be being cast, as tired activists knock on their final doors and drag people who were just settling down to watch Have I Got News For You and Outnumbered out to vote instead. And to anyone I do disturb on election night, I’m sorry, but I have seen elections determined by those few extra people you do get out to vote at the death, and so yes, your vote may well be crucial.

I was thinking earlier that the polls appear to be settling into a new pattern, just in time for the next debate to mess them all up. Broadly, the Tories seem to be around 32-33%, the Liberal Democrats around 30% and Labour around 27-28% with most polls coming out pretty much within the margin of error of those numbers. I’m trying to work out how much effect tomorrow’s debate might have, given that it likely won’t be watched by as many people, but we just don’t know whether tomorrow will be the day when Brown gets possessed by the oratorical spirit of Cicero, while Clegg responds to every question with a shrug and ‘I dunno’, and Cameron gets so confused he thinks he’s responding to a LiveJournal meme where every question has to be answered entirely with Beatles lyrics.

One thing I forgot to mention from yesterday’s complaining was that it was the first time I got some outright abuse on the doorstep. Not for being a Liberal Democrat specifically but because ‘I don’t vote for scum, all you politicians are scum, and you should all be lined up against a wall and shot.’ I was tempted to respond by asking him who’d organise this mass shooting if there were no politicians around, but decided to go for ‘OK, sorry for bothering you’ and heading back up the driveway instead.

Today saw me back on the delivering trail, with about 300 shoved through various letterboxes and the total for the campaign up to 2,370, followed by a quick session of canvassing tonight where I knocked on 25 doors, so the total there’s up to 245. Next time, I’m getting a pedometer for the campaign to work out just how far I walk doing all this.