In The Eleventh Hour, Matt Smith’s Doctor quite famously said “all of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will – where do you want to start?”, giving us one of the most eminently quotable lines of his era. It’s also one of the best ways to encapsulate the sheer potential of Doctor Who as a program; part of its magic, and indeed part of why I love it, is the fact that it’s a show that really can do anything.
Unfortunately, though, “everything that ever happened or ever will” has, more often than not, been portrayed more as “anything that ever happened or ever will in British history”. However, Doctor Who should strive to become a little more worldwide; the Earth based stories should diversify, spreading out across the globe.
In part, that’s simply a desire for something new and different; as I’ve mentioned already, we spend a lot of time in Victorian England, for example, or indeed contemporary London. Isn’t it far more exciting to go somewhere new, to see something different? Is that not the entire purpose of Doctor Who? Wouldn’t you love to see, say, an episode set in feudal Japan? Or perhaps a time travel episode centred around Ancient Egypt, the Rosetta Stone, and Napoleon’s army? Maybe it’s time to go to India, and meet Gandhi and Nehru? A personal interest of mine is communist Russia, so I’d love to see a story involving, say, the Bolshevik revolution or the Kronstadt mutiny. Not long after he first got the role, Peter Capaldi said that he’d love to see the Doctor meeting Martin Luther King Jr, and getting “involved in the civil rights struggle” – something that would require a TARDIS trip to America, really.
My most recent article for Yahoo, which is all about Doctor Who spreading out across the globe. It’s something that we’ve managed to do outside the programme – that wonderful picture of Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Seoul is from the 2014 Doctor Who World Tour – but not quite so much in terms of the actual TV show itself, which is (albeit allowing for a few notable exceptions) still quite anglocentric.