Welcome to Black TARDIS
A Doctor Who community for fans of color.

Black TARDIS is a community for Doctor Who fans who want to discuss treatment of minority characters in the show and, more importantly, in the fandom. Although we're geared toward the inclusion of minorities, we welcome Whovians of all kinds to join our community and engage with other fans.

Samuel Anderson Joins Doctor Who

Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink on 'Doctor Who'

Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink on ‘Doctor Who’

Rising star Samuel Anderson (The History BoysGavin & StaceyEmmerdale) is set to join the cast of Doctor Who as a recurring character in Series 8, which will also introduce Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.

Anderson will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also teaches. On joining the show Samuel Anderson said: “I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started!”

He continued: “It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it. It’s an honour to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!”.

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, added: “For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS. In 1963 teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the First Doctor. These days it’s the turn of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of the Doctor. But how and why? Answers are coming later this year in Peter Capaldi’s first series of Doctor Who!”.

[Source]

My initial excitement at the announcement of a new character who is played by a person of color is immediately dampened by the knowledge that Steven Moffat has most of the responsibility in dictating who that character is and how they will behave. I’ve done my best to keep my feelings about the current showrunner separate from discussions because, they’re mostly irrelevant, but let me state for the record: I do not like Steven Moffat. Anything potentially exciting that is announced while Moffat is still in charge will be met with equal parts apathy and hesitation. So, while I’d love to celebrate the addition of a new character who is not white, I am reluctant to expect anything but disappointment. The one upside is that the new character is male, and thus will likely receive better treatment than Amy, River, or Clara. Danny Pink may be reduced to some of the lazier stereotypes, or — in true Moffat fashion — be a cardboard cutout of a previous companion (Rory). It’s not impossible for him to be a well-written, three-dimensional character with depth and a larger purpose, but it’s unlikely. If the writing for Mickey suffered, and he was handled by a writer who at least attempted to bring racial (and sexual) diversity into his work, Danny Pink will more than likely go far beyond disappointment and land firmly into “hate.” But, I don’t want to make all these assumptions about how this character will be treated and be right. I want to be proven wrong more than anything! So, I’ll hold out that modicum of hope I have left that he’ll be handled with respect.

Meanwhile, I am allowing myself to appreciate that Danny Pink is perfectly attractive, and that I’ll have someone to ogle; because, I’ve been missing that.

Yet if this view of the world depresses you, consider this: Martha was the one companion with agency of her own prior to meeting the Doctor, the Tenth Doctor’s only companion to not come from a working-class family, and she was the only one of the Doctor’s companions in the entirety of the Doctor Who reboot to walk away from the Doctor of her own power. Freema Agyeman, Martha’s actress, has said that young black children write to her and say that they want to be like her when they grow up. And for these children, children who might be disheartened by Doctor Who‘s casual racism, Martha showed that even in a casually racist environment, you can still be successful—and maybe even save the world.

Porluciernagas at Martha Jones and the Culture of Casual Racism, Lady Geek Girl and Friends

A Response to ‘On Martha & Mickey,’

Welcome to the Archangel Network on Tumblr continued our conversation on Martha and Mickey. Again, you can find the full uninterrupted post here. Below, you can find their follow-up (in blockquotes) along with my commentary.

I do believe that we, in general, agree. There is really no reason not to like these characters. We’re just approaching it slightly differently. You talk about them as if we were discussing people standing in front of us or people we might encounter in life. Which is great. I’m looking at why a writer made conscious decisions to write them the way he/they did. I feel like you’re asking what people are seeing to make them feel this way while I’m asking what did the writer do to make people feel this way. I’m always quick to put the onus on the writer(s).

I guess my main thing is that, the lack of immediate and important character development can equally apply to a majority of the companions. But the focus of that seems to always be on Martha and Mickey. I understand that the writer has to account for his own failures to do more and to elevate the story and those characters, but those failures aren’t limited to the two characters we’re discussing.

Re: On Martha & Mickey, A Response to ‘Opening the Dialogue’

Welcome to the Archangel Network on Tumblr had more to say about the topic of Martha and Mickey. Below I have their follow-up (in blockquotes) along with my reply to it. I had written multiple replies to this because, there is a lot I wanted to address, but ultimately I decided to post the response I wrote initially.  You can read their full uninterrupted post here.

 

First of all, I love both of these characters. Assuming anything other than that is a gross misunderstanding.

never said or assumed that you hated the  characters.

Second: Martha is the only one I classify as “pining”. Rose and the Doctor fell in love. She didn’t pine. She had him. Martha ‘pines’ because the feelings aren’t returned so every episode for the first half of her arc is:

  • Martha is interested in the Doctor
  • He’s emotionally unavailable
  • Martha’s interested in the Doctor still
  • Nope, still emotionally unavailable.

Writing Martha as constantly trying to get the Doctor’s affections stunted her growth as a character.

Were there times that I wished Martha would stop having feelings for the Doctor when it became obvious he wouldn’t return them? Sure. Did I sometimes resent RTD for that element of her characterization? Yes. But ultimately I found that Martha was much more than that one element of her character. And, to be quite honest, it’s a characteristic I find very realistic. People have feelings for others who don’t return them. They lust after people they will never have. I hate to see people I care about spending time and energy trying to gain the affection of someone who isn’t going to reciprocate their feelings, but I don’t think they are worthless because they can’t turn those feelings off. That’s a very human thing.

You can’t discount Martha choosing to leave at the end of her run. They spent one season together before she left him. In one episode,’Gridlock’, she was mostly separated from him. In another two, ‘Human Nature/Family of Blood’, he didn’t know who he was. In the last two, she was on her own. They were just going from one adventure to another, not really stopping to rest. She didn’t really have time to dwell on the fact that she was making herself available to someone who wasn’t available to her. Like most people I know, time away from the other person gives you room to reflect. She makes the choice to leave because, she was able to step back from the situation and evaluate it without the distraction of being with him and being caught up in their whirlwind of adventure.

So, again I say, if one aspect of a person makes them worthless, despite the fact that they were no less brave, charming, resourceful, and smart because of it, the problem is not with the character, but in the person casting judgment.

On Martha & Mickey, A Response to ‘Opening the Dialogue’

We received the following response as a reblog on Tumblr, and I wanted to share it here because, they bring up some points I wanted to address.

Oh, I know exactly why I didn’t like Martha and Mickey. RTD. RTD handled them poorly, not as poorly as Moffat handles PoC and women, but poorly none the less. (Not going into how angry I was that the black people ended up together because clearly black people belong together bull shit.)

I will say this, if you replace both of them with white people, I’d still hate those characters. They both spend most of their arcs pining (Mickey after Rose, Martha after the Doctor). As soon as their characters stop pining, they become insanely interesting characters. Second half of Martha’s season? She starts kicking ass and just being awesome. She decided to have adventures and stop worrying about the mopey, loveless Doctor. Mickey? When he made the decision to leave Rose behind (instead of being left behind by her) and stay in the alternate universe, he became a badass. There are two images of Mickey: 1) Cowering behind Rose. 2) Blowing the top off a Dalek. The second one only happens because he decided he had had enough of the first one.
Now, back to the issue at hand: Why do we hate them? Because by the time they stop being worthless and stop pining, their story arcs are over. We never get time to appreciate who they become because we have been stuck with TERRIBLE images of them for so long. By the time we start to process who they become…whoops, RTD cut the character.
TL;DNR- We hate them because RTD handled them poorly, not necessarily because of their race.

 

Thank You & TTYS

I want to start out by thanking those of you who have liked and reblogged our posts. This is still very new for us, and knowing that there is an audience and support for the project gives us encouragement. So, Thank you! ‘Opening The Dialogue‘ is making rounds on Tumblr again and seeing new likes and reblogs makes me very happy.

I’ve been meaning to post my personal feelings on Martha and Mickey and the treatment of those characters specifically, but I haven’t been satisfied with anything I’ve written. Both of them deserve positive attention and praise, and even though I’ve given them that much in other posts on other blogs, I feel like I’m unable to do them justice. Part of the burden I am putting on myself is expressing why they should be equally respected, if not more so, than other companions who are given more admiration. It’s hard for me to put in words why they’re both so amazing when it feels like it should be so obvious. I am going to just write freely  and hope that what I say will come across clearly, and that people who find the posts will reply to them or add-on to them, and engage.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you. To follow new posts, you can subscribe to this blog via RSS and/or follow us: TwitterFacebookGoogle PlusTumblr. Talk to you soon.

 

 

Soon Accepting Post Submissions

As we want this site to be a place where anyone can share their own stories, we will soon be implementing a way for you to create new posts on this site. Once this system is established, you will be allowed to submit posts for publication on this blog. If the post is accepted, it will be published with all credit to you, the original author. When post go live, they are crossposted to our Tumblr, as well as linked from our Facebook and Twitter profiles. This is an opportunity for anyone to join the conversation, provided the submitted material is respectful and relevant to this community. More details will be added to this post when submissions are opened up. We look forward to hearing from you.

Opening the Dialogue

Black TARDIS is a passion project by two Whovians who wanted a place to express their love for Doctor Who while addressing their disappointment at the treatment of PoC in the show and within the fandom.

As newer fans, we sought to find articles, reviews, and blog posts by other fans. We found that when people talked about the companions they liked and loathed the most, Martha and Mickey seemed to get a disproportionate amount of hate. It immediately occurred to us that the two companions people liked the least were also the only two companions of color. When we’d talk to people who had admitted to disliking them, the reasons they’d given were found to be lacking.

The explanations people give to justify their dislike of these characters bother us. We became acutely aware of the general unwillingness of fans to address their underlying biases against PoC characters, and we feel like it’s a conversation that needs to be had. This site will hopefully serve as a place where we can share our experiences being women of color in the Doctor Who fandom, and where other fans  – especially other minorities — can share theirs. This post serves as an introduction and invitation to join the conversation.

Update

We’re still here! We started this blog months ago, but haven’t gotten around to fully establishing it. It’s still happening, it’s just slow coming because, we have other responsibilities and priorities and we didn’t want to half-ass it. New posts are forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Also, if you have any topics you want us to address — specific episodes, characters, etc — feel free to leave suggestions and questions in our inbox, as well as submissions with your own thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!

Join Us

Black TARDIS is a community, a place where people can come together and have meaningful discussions about Doctor Who. We want to have as many of you involved as possible, especially — but not exclusively — fans of color and other minority groups. We want to get to know you all and learn about your experience watching the show and interacting with other fans. Please join us! Head over to the forums, register for an account, and introduce yourself. We have removed the forums, but you can still register to comment on this blog. Comments will be open on posts to allow for discussion. We plan to open up submissions very soon, so you can create your own posts. More information on that is coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to drop any comments or questions in the comments of this post or use the contact form.