Which Lib Dem MP would you want to be the next Dr Who?

by Stephen Tall on December 24, 2008

The news that David Tennant is quitting his role as The Doctor in the BBC series Dr Who has prompted a flurry of speculation in recent months about who might succeed him: David Morrissey, James Nesbitt, David Walliams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Catherine Zeta Jones have all been suggested.

To date – and perhaps not so very unsurprisingly – no Lib Dem MPs are yet in the frame for the job. But that didn’t seem any reason for Lib Dem Voice not to set our readers a different kind of Christmas quiz while we eagerly anticipate tomorrow’s special (BBC1, 6.00 pm): to nominate which of our party’s 63 representatives you think should play the next Doctor – and explain why.

Here are my top 5 suggestions:

Norman Baker – well, his surname’s Baker for a start, which must be some kind of advantage when following in the footsteps of Tom (Doctor No. 4) and Colin (No. 6). He’s also a renowned and plucky battler on behalf of the underdog, never afraid to challenge powerful Establishment figures.

Lembit Opikhe’s been warning of the dangers posed to Earth by extra-terrestrial objects for years. And now he has his own ‘self-balancing personal transporter’ (aka the segway) he’ll even reduce the Tardis’s time-travelling carbon footprint.

Dr Evan Harris – as the party’s most famous doctor – at least since the degeneration of a previous SDP incarnation, David Owen (who, ironically enough, has also been called Dr Death in his time) – Evan would appear to be a shoo-in. Not only that, but as a vice-president of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society it seems he has most of the programme’s fan bases pretty much covered.

Nick Clegg – it’s the boyish, springy hair a la David Tennant which pushes Nick into contention, at least if the producers are looking for another ‘housewives’ favourite’. Nick even has his own companion ready-made in the shape of Danny Alexander, to whom he already confides (too) much when travelling in flying machines.

Lynne Featherstone – who better to become the first woman to step into the Doctor’s heels than the immaculately svelte Lynne? She would doubtless create another little bit of history by becoming the first blogging Timelord. And that sonic screwdriver would come in ever so handy when faced with a dodgy boiler. Or Brian Coleman.

For those of you are wondering what all this Dr Who nonsense is about, can I recommend two articles by the Lib Dem blogosphere’s acknowledged No. 1 fan-boy, Alex Wilcock:

* So Who is This Doctor Bloke Anyway?; and
* How doctor who made me a liberal, with this reassuringly extensive paragraph:

It’s from casting the Doctor as an individual and not an enforcer that the consistent Liberal feel of Doctor Who comes, whatever the views propounded in any one story. Others have been inspired by the utopianism of Star Trek, for example, but my own favourite series is about a person, not an organised group, with a wariness of militarism, no ‘one size fits all’ utopian solutions and a deep-seated mistrust of those in authority. … A hero that isn’t a cop or a soldier or a secret agent or motivated by money, who doesn’t obey rules, who is individualist rather than collectivist but looks out for the little people, is a Liberal hero, on just the right side of anarchism. The Doctor is not a pacifist, but while caught in violent situations, he’s not a man of violence – he tries to find other ways to resolve them, and doesn’t possess a gun. As Human Nature (now on the BBC website) puts it, “There are monsters out there, yes. Terrible things. But you don’t have to become one in order to defeat them. You can be peaceful in the face of their cruelty. You can win by being cleverer than they are… It’s about not being afraid.”

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Would it be altogether too Scroogish to say “fuck Dr Who”?

by Paul Walter on December 24, 2008 at 9:49 am. Reply #

(BLUSH) And I thought my embarrassment glands had been shot off in all those election campaigns.

Well, though these days the producers aren’t going to cast an older actor but rather a younger, sexier, famous one who’s quick on his (or her) feet, my favourite Doctor’s still old William Hartnell. How to balance these two alternatives? Step forward Vince Cable. Like Billy, he’s old and wise, but impish and active, he occasionally wears a hat, and no-one listens to him until it’s too late. And, of course, he’s our answer to everything else, so why not the Doctor?

And a Merry Christmas to all of you at home.

by Alex Wilcock on December 24, 2008 at 9:49 am. Reply #

Don’t forget that Evan is also honorary president of Delga, the Lib Dems’ own LGBT rights organisation!

by Dave Page on December 24, 2008 at 9:53 am. Reply #

I actually met William Hartnell once. At RAF Culdrose air day – he was signing autographs for a £1 a time.

And a very Merry Christmas to you at home too Alex.

by Paul Walter on December 24, 2008 at 10:00 am. Reply #

“Dr Evan Harris – as the party’s most famous doctor”

Ermm…what about Vince Cable? 🙂

by Thomas on December 24, 2008 at 10:42 am. Reply #

Stephen, I’m embarrassed. I thought Lembit WAS Doctor Who. He certainly keeps popping up in the oddest of places with the strangest of company.
My wife though, now she’s heard it’s really Barack O’bama, thinks it’s Lembit O’Pik and that he really is Irish. Or an Alien. Or both.
I’m confused. But it’s Christmas and a rambling comment like this really restores your faith in post-thatcher beer…

by Martin Land on December 24, 2008 at 11:18 am. Reply #

“an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society it seems he has most of the programme’s fan bases pretty much covered.”

Making this comment with due trepidation that Alex will pick it apart with references from his (apparently) infinite Dr Who knowledge 🙂

It’s slightly curious that this is part of the programme’s fan base. The Dr must appear as a slightly god like figure to many of the societies to which he appears – eg by his use of incredible knowledge and technology to guide and protect socieities from harmful influences. Basically the Arthur C Clarke idea that any sufficiently advanced technology appears as close to magic as makes no odds.

There is after all even an episode where the Dr confronts and destroys Satan 🙂

But that’s an issue that it seems to me a lot of atheists never really seem to address – the concept of God rather than the idea of/criticism of organised religion.

by Hywel Morgan on December 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm. Reply #

Magic as sufficiently advanced technology is also covered in the Doctor Who serial Battlefield, now out on DVD from all good retailers (but not Zavvi, presumably).

by Will on December 24, 2008 at 2:27 pm. Reply #

Not sure about who should be Doctor Who but Ann Widdecombe is definately a Slyveen.

by Cheltenham Robin on December 24, 2008 at 2:27 pm. Reply #

Dr Who blows.

by Anon on December 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm. Reply #

“My wife … thinks it’s Lembit O’Pik and that he really is Irish.”

He is! He was born in Bangor!

by Benjamin on December 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm. Reply #

I want it to be Chiwetel Ejiofor so I can say I went to the same school as Dr Who.

by Nigel Ashton on December 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm. Reply #

I think it should be Lynne anyway.

You just wouldn’t cross her – giving her the TARDIS would just be scary.

by Benjamin on December 24, 2008 at 7:15 pm. Reply #

“who better to become the first woman to step into the Doctor’s heels than the immaculately svelte Lynne?”

Not counting Joanna Lumley or Arabella Weir, then? Arabella I guess I can understand, but Joanna is up for Liberal Voice of the year, how could you be so remiss?

I’m with Alex, anyway. Vince has the hat for it.

by Jennie on December 24, 2008 at 8:46 pm. Reply #

Vince does indeed have the hat for it, but I can’t see him delivering the lines fast enough and animatedly enough for the tastes of the RTD-tendency version of the show. I will go with… Lynne. Well why not?

“Flying machine?!” “Well at least it works”…

And a merry Christmas to all of you at home.

by Andy Hinton on December 25, 2008 at 1:43 am. Reply #

Look, you’re going to hate me for this but I don’t watch Dr Who because it really winds me up 🙂

I’ve only seen 2 episodes, & both times I was too enraged to get all the way through. Last week, when that woman was seeing the Chinese fortune teller, did she really not have the intelligence to realise she was evil & sinister? It doesn’t take Brain of Britain to figure that one out, given how obvious it was.

The other episode was around September 2007, when there was mass starvation, & someone turned up in a van promising to give everyone free food, when in fact he wanted to use them for sinister medical experiments. Did they really not understand someone isn’t going to just give them food for no reason & expect nothing in return?

Admittedly I was a bit worse for wear at the time, & am now, but what’s it all meant to be about?

by david brough on December 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm. Reply #

I’ll go with Lembit here. There are no tabloid newspapers, by-elections or embarassing photo-opportunities on Gallifrey.

by Tez Burke on December 26, 2008 at 6:33 pm. Reply #

I’m surprised John Thurso’s name hasn’t come up. Perhaps not so much now in its sexy,modern reinvention but he would fit right into the Jon Pertwee/UNIT period.

You could see John Leech with his mancunian vowel sounds fitting into Christopher Ecclestones smart leather jacket.

Of course with a TARDIS we needn’t be bound by the CURRENT parliamentary party. In the future I’d pay good money to see Stephen Tall in Converse Trainers and a Pin stripe suit a la David Tennent.

In the past Gladstone would fit the hartnel model and we all know of his love of travelling round London rescuing the unfortunate. A TARDIS would allow a wider cosmic canvass. Conrad Russell would have been good TV as well.

And what of Lib Dem assistants/companions ( delete accroding to taste) ?

My view is that Alix Mortimer anmd Will Howells both of this Parish are the strongest candidates on the Tegan/Adric model.

And finally who would be the Lib Dem Master ? Well that need not detain us lomg as one candidate towers over all the others.

Dr David Owen.

by David Morton on December 28, 2008 at 1:29 am. Reply #

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