Doctor Who: Redacted Celebrates What Show Has Meant to LGBTQ Fans
Fresh from Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils comes an audio drama podcast series Doctor Who: Redacted. Thankfully, it's not another aftershow where fans gush shamelessly about the show and offer nothing interesting or insightful. This is a full-fledged audio drama about a trio of friends who come across a dark conspiracy where people are disappearing and dying because of a mysterious figure called "The Doctor".
Writer Juno Dawson has promised the 10-part series would be very gay. The three women producing a conspiracy podcast are played by LGBTQ actors including trans activist Charlie Craggs. They collect stories about a big pharma company selling diet pills that have since disappeared after "The Doctor" intervened and exposed aliens made of human fat that came out of people who took their diet pills. As they deal with their personal problems – caring for a sick mother, coming out to family, – they start getting calls from "The Doctor" (Jodie Whittaker) warning them that people who know her are being wiped from existence and memory, but they forget the messages as quickly as they get them.
It's like Queer as Folk but with the Doctor and something Sci-Fi-y lurking in the background. Still better written and acted than any of Chibnall's episodes, Dawson weaves in stories from past seasons of Doctor Who as part of the tapestry of the world rather than a crutch to cover up a lack of ideas like on Chibnall's TV episodes. The tone is reminiscent of Davies – it continues his central approach of depicting the everyday lives of LGBTQ people with sparkly humour and naturalistic performances. It uses the show's continuity as incidents that happened out in the world that the podcasters comment on, not quite believing it's all true and revealing their personalities in the process.
Doctor Who has always had LGBTQ fans, even when the classic version of the show didn't feature LGBTQ characters. Fans have always related to The Doctor's outsider status and Otherness. Many LGBTQ fans ended up writers for the show and the books, including Davies, Mark Gatiss, and "Redacted" writer & creator Juno Dawson. Doctor Who: Redacted touches on the subtext that the show has always been a safe space for LGBTQ fans, but now turned into a story where the LGBTQ characters slowly become the only ones in on a secret conspiracy that's killing or disappearing people, which is itself an allegory for the AIDS Crisis and the current political attacks on trans and gay people. Dawson uses Doctor Who to comment on current events in a clever, metaphorical way that makes Doctor Who: Redacted relevant and immediate. It also gives us some new Doctor Who, albeit in audio form, for the next ten weeks, keeping the show on people's minds as we move closer to the announcement of the next Doctor and the premiere of the next TV special in the Autumn.
Doctor Who: Redacted is streaming on BBC Sounds and other podcast outlets.
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