Who's in charge? Changing character agency in early Doctor Who

Hewett, RJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5184-9325 2020, 'Who's in charge? Changing character agency in early Doctor Who' , SERIES: International Journal of Serial TV Narratives, 6 (1) , pp. 5-15.

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This article investigates the impact of production process upon character agency in early Doctor Who, focusing on the period between 1963 and 1966, during which time William Hartnell starred as the Doctor. As originally conceived by Sydney Newman, Verity Lambert and David Whitaker, it is debatable to what extent the Doctor could be regarded as the ‘hero’ of the narrative, as this role was often better fulfilled by his human companions, initially represented by teachers Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), who provided a ready point of identification for viewers. This situation changed significantly during Hartnell’s tenure, but the shifts in agency that occurred were so radical as to seem almost ad hoc, reflecting industry pressures that typified television drama of the time. The extent to which these changes were influenced by the programme's rapid turnaround are examined here via a combination of textual analysis and historical production research, before being briefly contrasted with the modern version of Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker, whose production context allows for more considered development of long-term character arcs.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: SERIES: International Journal of Serial TV Narratives
Publisher: Universitat Politècnica de València (Escola Politècnica Superior de Gandia/DCADHA) and the Università di Bologna
ISSN: 2421-454X
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Richard Hewett
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2020 13:07
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 04:28
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/56868

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