International Friendship Day: My Friend the Doctor

by Beth Axford

Dear Doctor,

Down here on planet Earth we like to celebrate things. In the turbulent times we’re living in, it’s easy to forget the amazing things we have, so we celebrate them with special days and events. From doughnuts and cats, to kissing or sleeping – there is a dedicated day for everything you could possibly think of. Today – July 30th, is quite the important one. It’s International Friendship Day!

I enjoy the warmth and positivity of a day like this, when everyone is reminded of one of the most important things in life: friendship. There are posts all over social media, friend dates being had, and moments taken to appreciate. So, I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate you and the friendship *we* have.


Doctor, you are always there for me. You make me smile, laugh and cry (in a good way). You make me feel safe and loved, even when things aren’t that great. Your adventures empower me to take a stand and do what is right, even when everybody else just runs away.

Your friendship means everything to me and thousands of others. Your kindness reverberates through our souls. Even during those weeks in the year that you do not grace us with your weekly presence, there are plenty of other places where your adventures are documented that we can enjoy. There are hundreds of people out there collecting and documenting your travels, sharing them with us so that we can be by your side always.

Some of these people are my friends too – you’ve let me reach more amazing people than I could ever imagine. When you can’t be there for me because you’re too busy saving the world, they are. When you’re stuck on a different planet or recording your adventures on camera, we have each other. This is one of the greatest gifts your friendship has given me.


Good friendships are meant to teach you and help you grow. Doctor, you have taught me so much. Every day I learn to be a better person and I wouldn’t have had such good foundations for this if it wasn’t for you (and my mum, probably.) Your intelligence and bravery inspire me to try harder every second of the day. You touch so many people and never stop to be thanked – I aspire to one day be like you.

You’re also not perfect. You are flawed, as we all are. Sometimes you do the wrong thing. You get angry and mess things up, or make stupid mistakes. You wallow and get sad and don’t always deal with things in the best way. But that’s okay – its how you deal with it and grow that really matters. You are so inspiring, Doctor! You make me feel like it’s okay to not be perfect, as long as I am trying my best.


Doctor, we need your friendship now more than ever.
There are people out there who are choosing unkindness, intolerance and inequality. These people are ruling our countries. They decide who we can love and who we can be, where we can settle, and even the future of the earth we live on. Others do not quite have that power, but have authority in their own corners. Some of them even claim to be your friend, but we know that you would never condone their behaviour. I hope these people choose to do what is right and follow what you really stand for; hope, love and acceptance. I will never stop fighting to make the world a better place and that is because of you. Please continue to teach your lessons and show us that these people will never win.

I hope you’re spending this International Friendship day somewhere up there in space, eating custard creams with Yaz, Ryan and Graham. I’ve sent this via a Kerblam man, but if it doesn’t turn up, it will be circulating the internet here on earth – I hope it makes its way to you.

Thank you for being my friend, Doctor – it really means more than you know.

Women in our history books: But where are they in Doctor Who? by Emma Jones

The Doctor Who historical has been around since the very beginning of the show, with the very first story,  An Unearthly Child being set in the pre-historic era. Since then there have been many episodes which deal with historical figures and events, something which the revived show has continued.


 The last historical episode that featured a woman as the primary character however, was Agatha Christie back in series four with The Unicorn and the Wasp, nearly ten years ago. Before that, Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw and Madame Du Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace both in 2006. That’s it. We’ve had just three in the last 13 years. The underrepresentation of women in Doctor Who historicals probably reflects the underrepresentation of women in society as a whole. With women’s voices largely having been forgotten or ignored, having accurate stories about them becomes vastly more difficult.

It’s a shame. There are so many women from history who would be amazing to see in Doctor Who, how about Rosalind Franklin or Ada Lovelace? With Jodie Whittaker’s arrival as the ‘first female Doctor,’ many people think that it’s high time for an episode with the Suffragettes for example, which personally I would adore. Maybe she can finally get her laser spanner back from Emmeline Pankhurst! But for now such figures have been overlooked, or like Boudicca have only been used in the expanded universe.


Despite glimpses of historical women in the Moffat era, such as with the devious and strong-willed Queen Elizabeth I in The Day of the Doctor, and Queen Nefertiti in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, there haven’t been any episodes solely focused on women from history. The celebrity historical itself has fallen by the wayside since 2014’s Robot of Sherwood, which was questionable at best seeing as the figure in question was fictional.

The past can serve as a real source of inspiration for young people watching the show. Seeing the achievements of real women from history is so valuable, and something that couldn’t happen nearly as well if these things were done by fictional characters in an episode set in the future. Knowing that there were great women who challenged oppression, or made wondrous scientific discoveries can make those things acceptable and achievable to children watching today. Titles like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls are flying off the shelves, so why can’t we see that on screen?

But the historical episode can be tricky to pull off… In new Doctor Who the celebrity can often be portrayed as how the popular consciousness has already constructed them, rather than being an accurate depiction and the lack of criticism given to them can be damaging. Is it right to have the Doctor (famously a champion against injustice), having a fun romp with Agatha Christie even though she allegedly had troubling attitudes about race? Does not challenging this mean the celebrity is a one-note representation of the real person and becomes a caricature? There is also the argument that if we judge every historical person by modern attitudes they would surely all fall short in at least one regard, but we should still question the choices made.

Furthermore, by not having the past differ in any meaningful way from the present (as we saw in The Shakespeare Code); does it almost negate the reason for going in the first place? Could it be actively harmful when historical racism is flippantly ignored? (Even more so when our main character, the Doctor, is doing it). Thin Ice showed that we can put the past in a negative light, and how needed it is to show the audience that our values have, (or not, depending on the context) changed as a society.

When the most popular dramas aired today are pure historicals featuring women – The Crown and Victoria, Doctor Who should actively try creating compelling stories about forgotten or lesser-known incredible women. Let’s make the past feel like an accurate representation rather than just a setting in the present.

What do you think? Should we even see the return of the ‘celebrity historical’? And if so, which women would you like to appear in Series 11 and beyond?

This guest post was written by Emma Jones, find her other post here. Follow her on Twitter: @milkwithginseng