Gender and the Quest in British Science Fiction Television

An Analysis of Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Red Dwarf and Torchwood


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About the Book

The subjects of this book constitute a significant cross section of BBC science fiction television. With such characters as the Doctor (an enigmatic time-traveling alien), Kerr Avon (a problematic rebel leader), Dave Lister (a slovenly last surviving human) and Captain Jack Harkness (a complex omnisexual immortal), these shows have both challenged and reinforced viewer expectations about the small-screen masculine hero. This book explores the construction of gendered heroic identity in the series from both production and fan perspectives. The paradoxical relationships between the producers, writers and fans of the four series are discussed. Fan fiction, criticism and videos are examined that both celebrate and criticize BBC science fiction heroes and villains.

About the Author(s)

Tom Powers is a college lecturer who teaches composition courses. Along with Marc Schuster, he is the coauthor of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who (McFarland, 2007). He lives in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Powers

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6552-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2693-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Foreword: The Challenges of Regeneration (by Matt Hills) 1
Introduction: Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Red Dwarf and Torchwood: Gendered Heroic Quests 11
One: The Phenomenological Meanings of BBC Cult SF Headquarters and Objects 21
Two: The Rise, Fall and Nostalgic Embers of 1980s Doctor Who 42
Three: The ­CNC Implications of Blake’s 7’s Stylized ­Retro-Future 79
Four: What a Smegging Quest! The Journey of Red Dwarf and Its Fandom 108
Five: Everything’s Constantly Changing: Sex and Death on Torchwood 147
Six: NüWho’s Quest to Stay Relevant with Its Fans 186
Conclusion: Encoders and Decoders Shaping the Destinies of Four Cult SF TV Sagas 221
Appendix: Televised Works 233
Chapter Notes 245
Works Cited 259
Index 265