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Opinion Article – Doctor Who & Scotland

This opinion piece is written by Andrew Newby.

Occasionally, in British news of late, there are murmurs surrounding the possible independence of Scotland. Could this in any way upset us Whovians? Nope. In fact it couldn’t be more obvious now that Doctor Who shares a deep love with Scotland.

Doctor Who’s passionate links with Scotland for me started with the 7th Doctor, played by the charming Sylvester McCoy. The 7th Doctor is as inquisitive as he is intuitive, his questioning nature goes so far as to reach his outfit, namely his question marked jumper and umbrella! We see in him some great comedy mannerisms, and at times his sly all-knowing eyes, carried off beautifully with a touch of Scottish panache.Now, let’s jump forward to our renowned 10th Doctor, David Tennant, for many THE favourite (for me it feels like it will always be Matt Smith, unless, and quite feasibly, our current honoured Scot, Peter Capaldi, pulls something astonishing out of the bag!). David Tennant fascinates me, an actor who fooled many, by brilliance, into thinking his native accent was English. The revelation that his true accent is a Scottish one came to me not through interviews, but through audiobooks narrated by him!

Ok – so this for me is possibly the big one. My favourite Scot of all, Steven Moffat! There are so many things to say about Moffat, so I will just draw on a point that touched me in particular. During interviews surrounding the 50th special of DW Steven Moffat talked briefly in one of being bullied in his past, and how he can’t believe from such a background he has moved on to his dream job. Maybe this is a deserved fairytale scenario for him, but to go a little further on this issue I would say it is good to look at his 2010 Christmas special, A Christmas Carol.
In Moffat’s story he gets to the very heart of the bully, Kazran Sardick (as played by Michael Gambon) and uses one man, Matt Smith’s Doctor, to explore his mind and see the key to unlocking the cold heart and find and bring out the good in the bully’s heart. Might this have been tough for Moffat? To repeat a well known phrase, who knows, but I know I would find it hard to do if at any point I was recollecting a bullied past.
And then there’s Amy. Karen Gillan’s character as a fierce, hot blooded person – but she’s loyal to the hilt, as well as tender and nurturing to those she loves, especially turning her insecure boyfriend into being one of the bravest we know as Rory Pond? Yes, yes and yes. So in Amy, we have a ferocious, loyal character who doesn’t suffer fools gladly – is that a typical Scot? I doubt it, but it ticks any of the boxes I reckon!
To be very light-hearted, another link, this time to Glasgow specifically, is how Strax appears at the beginning of The Name Of The Doctor, and has popped to see his buddies there for some friendly play fighting, and tells his friend if he wouldn’t mind knocking him unconscious so he can join Madame Vastra’s time travel dream sleep. Not everyone is so keen on Strax, but I think this is comedy gold from Strax (played by Dan Starkey).
I think we are starting to see how Scotland has become such an endearing element to Doctor Who, from as far as I can remember of the 7th Doctor, to the present day and the eagerly awaited Capaldi ready to burst onto our screens with hopefully his new kidneys intact!