Imperial fictions: Doctor Who, post-racial slavery and other liberal humanist fantasies
This chapter considers how the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who utilises the deracialised and decontextualised slavery allegories to absolve white guilt over the transatlantic slave trade. It examines the imperial fictions and post-racial slavery parables of Doctor Who. The liberal humanist whiteness of Doctor Who is most clearly laid bare in episodes that thematise the sins of European imperialism: slavery, genocide and dispossession. In the tenth version of Doctor Who, the most sustained engagement with slavery occurs in the three episodes, 'The Impossible Planet', 'Satan Pit' and 'Planet of the Ood', which feature the Ood: an alien species described as born to serve. The chapter illuminates the programme's 'structural opacities', how its colourblind universalism sustains and nourishes the boundaries of contemporary whiteness and colonial consciousness, and the fraught place of race in multicultural and, ostensibly, post-colonial Britain.
Susana Loza argues that, although the Chris Chibnall / Jodie Whittaker era of Doctor Who may appear to offer a progressive vision, multiculturalist images can disguise the violent racism of Britain’s imperial past and can lead to the ‘racial amnesia’ surrounding this past, issues which have returned in specific ways in relation to Brexit Britain. Such an idea is not unique to the Chibnall / Whittaker era but, in order to make this argument, Loza concentrates on the specific episodes ‘Demons of the Punjab’, ‘Rosa’ and ‘Spyfall’ and ties these narratives in with a real-world historical background.