Doctor Who is a 'thunderously racist’ drama which promotes dismissive attitudes towards black companions and 'contempt’ for primitive cultures, academics have claimed.
A new collection of essays analysing the adventures of the Time Lord, titled Doctor Who And Race, suggests that the BBC cult programme is based on outdated attitudes.
Several of the 23 contributors to the book claim the failure to cast a black or Asian actor as the Doctor demonstrates an overarching racism.
Early versions of the show were also criticised for casting white actors in ethnic roles such as John Bennett, who played a Chinese villain in the storyline The Talons Of Weng- Chiang.
Author Amit Gupta, an American professor, even suggests Peter Davison’s cricket loving Doctor harked back to the 'racial and class nostalgia’ of the British Imperialism.
There was also criticism of the introduction and Adolf Hitler as a character last year, which was condemned as 'slapstick’, and said did nothing to increase understanding of the Holocaust.
Authors also condemned the way primitive cultures were portrayed as 'savages.’
Australian academic Lindy Orthia, who compiled the anthology, concluded: 'The biggest elephant in the room is the problem privately nursed by many fans of loving a TV show when it is thunderingly racist.’
But fans dismiss such criticisms as 'groundless’ and 'ridiculous’.
Sebastian Clark, editor of Doctor Who Online, said the show 'embraced rather than divided’. He told the Mail on Sunday: 'I think the suggestion the show is racist is ridiculous.”
The BBC said: 'Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast. Freema Agyeman became the first black companion (and was thoroughly hated) and Noel Clarke starred in a major role for five years [Mickey Smith] (major role, lol).
“Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who is colour-blind. It is always about the best actors for the roles.”