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Was George W. Bush A Dalek?

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There are many stark contrasts between Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffatt as show runners of Doctor Who since the series was rebooted in 2005. But, one distinction in particular often gets overlooked: Davies' tendency to use the show as a platform for his political views, especially towards the United States.

Writing in the Journal of Popular Culture, Marc DiPaolo, a media scholar whose books include War, Politics and Superheroes, says that several Doctor Who episodes written by Davies were vehicles for venting his country's frustrations regarding the leadership of both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair:

All in all, Davies' scripts are not truly anti-American, but offer reasonable criticism of American public policy. The only times the show, under his direction, appears to drift a little too closely to anti-American sentiment occur whenever the Daleks are symbolically linked with the Americans, such as in the episodes ''Dalek,'' ''Bad Wolf,'' and 'The Parting of the Ways.'' The Dalek episodes of the new series take place in New York and Utah, and one of the adventures featured Americans who were recruited to become a new generation of Daleks. These new Daleks also exhibit a religious reverence for their leader, the Emperor Dalek, and are portrayed as zealots, a flaw often attributed to certain religious fundamentalist citizens of the United States with a penchant for revering President Bush as a messianic figure.


DiPaolo also suggests that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was often an allegorical target, especially in the three-part story "The Sound of Drums," in which the Doctor's arch-nemesis, the Master, becomes prime minister:

The Moriarty-like Time Lord was first introduced as a suave, goatee-sporting Latin gentleman in a 1971 adventure by Robert Holmes, but his contemporary counterpart, played by John Simm, looked—and even smiled—like the young, charismatic Blair. While the Master was not supposed to be Blair, his destructive reign as Prime Minister ''Harold Saxon'' was intended to make viewers wonder if an alien villain had, indeed, taken over their country in the real world.

However, the Master is allowed one ''heroic'' moment in his Prime Minister Harold Saxon persona. At a decisive point, when American President Arthur Coleman Winters appears to be making a play for world domination, Saxon declares, ''I'm taking control, Uncle Sam! Starting with you!'' And then he orders his alien minions to vaporize Winters. The scene when Winters is murdered before the eyes of the world represented a form of burning in effigy of another American president with a prominent ''W'' in his name. It also served as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for a British public disgusted with Tony Blair for being too deferential to American interests and angry that he did not stand up to the Americans as the Master did.