Adapting to Survive: The Cultural Regeneration of Doctor Who
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Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show in history and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. This paper will explore two key elements which can be attributed to the shows survival; its ability to reflect cultural demands and its ability to adapt works for television from other mediums. In John Tulloch and Manuel Alvarado’s Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text it is stated that the show had to shift ‘its ground in response to social and professional pressures’ (3). This can best be seen in classic monsters which have returned in the new series, most notably the Cybermen and the Daleks. ‘Every writer of the first new season had written Doctor Who material before, (Marlow, 49) in varying forms, such as novels published during the ‘dark years’ when the show was not running, to the Big Finish Audio Drama’s. The writers managed to dwell on the shows rich fan based adventures, such as Robert Sherman’s 40th anniversary CD Jubilee, which became the new series episode Dalek, Paul Cornel’s seventh Doctor book became Human Nature and Stephen Moffat’s short story was broadcast as Blink. It will be argued that without being able to adapt and reflect cultural needs, as well as satisfying the needs of its fans, Doctor Who would not have survived five decades.
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