Description of the course 

Doctor Who is not just the most successful television drama of all time and space, it is a mirror to the culture that created it and a key site for design debates and practices. This option identifies approaches and perspectives to engaging with, writing about and situating yourself in the design Whoniverse. It’s a sugared pill – fun to study, serious philosophical stuff working on your brain – just what the Doctor ordered.

This is an introduction to key visual and theoretical frameworks which can be reused to study other cultural output, even though we will be using it to understand Who is What and What is Who.

In class we will track the programme across design practices as they relate to production, dissemination and consumption. As such, we explore cultural issues as they relate to the content and wider social contexts. In each session we will, pretty much, explore key debates, watch some Doctor Who and then discuss the relationship between one and the other.

The material we look at in class ranges from individual programmes to music, fashion, graphic design, branding, scripts, comic and book representations, fan archive. Students will be encouraged to explore and focus on material of their own interest and encounter it in a way they feel is appropriate.

As an outcome of this option, you will learn how to research, analyse and write about Doctor Who from your own point of interest, be that Peter Capaldi’s costume, Rose’s (music) theme or the cultural redesign of the First Doctor (William Hartnell).

 Sound like a worthwhile journey? Vroop Vroop

Indicative content and structure 

First Encounters: The Sonic Experience of Theme and Incidental Sound

Flowering Clouds: Howlaround Graphics, Title Sequence, Branding

Timey Wimey Narratology: Designing Back, Forward, Sideways

Space Time Continuum: Materialising the Discursive Environment

Who Matters in Design? Character, Author, Audience

Enter the Cosmic Fool: Costume, Characterisation, Spectacle

Exterminating the Abject: Daleks, Nazis and Monstrous Bodies

Being (Post)Human: Humanity, Enhancement and Other Body Designs

Home Sweet TARDIS: Designing the Blue Box for Companionship, Family, Identity

Trust Me I'm the Doctor: Death, Resurrection and the Mythic Hero

Modes of teaching  

The option will be taught through a series of lecture, seminar and workshop sessions and will include viewing and critical analysis of key episodes of the programme. Students will be expected to engage with class based discussion and background readings. Due to the focus of the unit, students will be expected to reflect critically on key episodes from across the fifty-year history, as well as related material, watch further episodes in their own time, and contribute to individual and team exercises and discussions on the material using relevant approaches and perspectives.

Short Bibliography: Key Texts 

Doctor Who A Critical Reading of the Series, Kim Newman, 2005 BFI

Timeless Adventures : How Doctor Who Conquered TV,  Brian J. Robb, Kamera 2009

Doctor Who at Fifty:

An Indication of the (type of) texts to be read during the option. 

Doctor Who The Unfolding Text, Tulloch, 1984 Macmillan.

Inside the Tardis: the Worlds of Doctor Who, Chapman, James. I B Tauris, 2006

Reading Between Designs: Visual Imagery and the Generation of Meaning in The Avengers, The Prisoner,and Doctor Who, University of Texas Press 2003

Time and Relative Dissertations in Space: Critical Perspectives on Doctor Who, Butler [Ed], 2007 Manchester University Press.

Impossible Worlds, Impossible Things: Cultural Perspectives on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah lane Adventures Ross P. Garner [Ed] 2010 Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ruminations, Peregrinations, and Regenerations: A Critical Approach to Doctor Who, Hansen. 2010 Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the Inside, Lewis [Ed], 2011 Open Court.

The Unsilent Library: Essays on the Russell T. Davies Era of the New Doctor Who, Simon Bradhaw [Ed], Science Fiction Foundation 2011.

New Dimensions of Doctor Who: Adventures in Space, Time and Television (Edit Matt Hills) I B Tauris, 2013 

Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek, Tulloch, 1995 Routledge.

Who is Who? The Philosophy of Doctor Who, Decker, K. 2013, I B Tauris