Pharyngula

By participating in popular entertainment. Richard Dawkins is going to appear on Dr Who!. I know one fan of both who’s going to be pleased.

I hope they also got a guest appearance by Lalla Ward…

Comments

  1. #1 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    Man, that guy is everywhere — Dr. Who, South Park…

  2. #2 Moggie
    April 7, 2008

    I don’t think it’ll make a lot of difference. Dr Who viewers are huge science nerds already, except those who are too young to have picked sides.

  3. #3 baley
    April 7, 2008

    Phil from Bad Astronomy should be happy!

  4. #4 FishyFred
    April 7, 2008

    Bad choice of words by Davies.

    “People were falling at his feet,” says Davies, creator of the BBC’s flagship show. “We’ve had Kylie Minogue on that set, but it was Dawkins people were worshipping.”

    Here come the idiots claiming Dawkins is the Atheist Pope…

  5. #5 H.H.
    April 7, 2008

    Moggie, exposure for vocal atheists in popular entertainment isn’t necessarily about winning converts right then and there. Coca-cola doesn’t spend millions in advertising so you will immediately stand up, run to the store, and buy their soft drink. They spend the money so that when you do decide to buy something to drink, Coca-cola is a familiar choice. It isn’t that weird green drink made with some exotic vegetation sitting on the bottom shelf that 99.99% of shoppers will never touch.

    Exposure for vocal atheists like Richard Dawkins in popular entertainment can be nothing but positive. It increases brand recognition, so that when people do decide their old religion is no longer cutting it, atheism seems a normal and mainstream option, not that weird green pulpy product they’ve never seen anyone actually drink.

  6. #6 Anhomoioi
    April 7, 2008

    How about casting the Expelled morons as the Daleks?

    Ben Stein sounds about like a Dalek. All of the followers are semi-robotic, etc.

    Ex – ter – min – ate! Ex – ter – min – ate!

  7. #7 Sarcastro
    April 7, 2008

    I’ll tune in for sure if he snoggs Captain Jack!

    And now for some intense geekery:

    The BBC promises this will be even more intense in episode six, “The Doctor’s Daughter”. Is Davies going to say how come the most eligible – but elusive – bachelor in the universe has got a child?

    He had a granddaughter from day one! 1963, first Doctor’s first companion. Susan Foreman as portrayed by Carole Ann Ford. Her parents were never shown, but logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

  8. #8 Sigmund
    April 7, 2008

    Who’s playing Mr Garrison?

  9. #9 Abby Normal
    April 7, 2008

    Sounds par for the course. I remember in the second episode of the new series they arrive at a space station and hear a prerecorded message, “Use of weapons, personal teleportation devices and religion is strictly prohibited.” Come to think of it I kind of want that as a sign for my yard. Or I would if I had a yard.

  10. #10 B.B
    April 7, 2008

    Richard Dawkins is married to the actress Lalla Ward who played Romana in the 1992-1993 version of Doctor Who.

  11. #11 B.B
    April 7, 2008

    My mistake. Lalla Ward played Romana since the late 1970s.

  12. #12 alex
    April 7, 2008

    Prof. Dawkins had a rather minor appearance as a guest on “The Big Questions” the other day, where he seemed to be severely mistrusted by just about everyone else in the audience.
    at one point, some breathtakingly pompous C of E chap was claiming that there was “no other explanation for the Holocaust, the Devil was surely behind it”. when Dawkins said he was surprised to hear such pre-medieval views nowadays, the audience actually booed him. bizarre.

  13. #13 tomh
    April 7, 2008

    I don’t think it’ll make a lot of difference.

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

  14. #14 Orac
    April 7, 2008

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

    Hell, yes. In the incredibly unlikely event I was ever offered a guest spot on Doctor Who that’s exactly the reason I’d jump at the chance.

  15. #15 Janine, ID
    April 7, 2008

    I’ll tune in for sure if he snoggs Captain Jack!

    Posted by: Sarcastro

    I was happy enough with Captain Jack snogging/fighting with Spike!

  16. #16 MReap
    April 7, 2008

    Hey PZ, the Sarah Jane Chronicles begin Friday on SciFi. That’ll have to do for a while.

  17. #17 Chris Tucker
    April 7, 2008

    some breathtakingly pompous C of E chap was claiming that there was “no other explanation for the Holocaust, the Devil was surely behind it”

    But, But… The Jews are offspring and tools of Satan. You know. That whole “Christian Identity” theology about Eve (or was it Lilith?) mating with the Serpent in the Garden of Eden and then dropping a litter of half human, half serpent Jews, and they’re the reason for all the trouble and strife in the world?

    Oh, wait, is it the Jews or the Thetans that are the problem.

    I know, it’s the Jews who are infested with Thetans!

    Wow! Satan and Xenu, doubleteaming the Earth!

    That would explain a lot… if one was a credulous fool, that is.

    Damn. I think I just wrote the proposal for EXPELLED II: Electric Boogaloo.

  18. #18 Jonathon
    April 7, 2008

    FYI, Lalla Ward was also married for a short time to co-star Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor. I loved Lalla then, and I love her now. She was one of my favorite companions, especially so since she was on the show during Douglas Adams’ stint as script writer.

    You know, I always thought that Dawkins had a Gallifreyan air about him. He’ll make a great Time Lord!

    I’ll have to go home and watch some of Lalla’s and Tom’s work to celebrate!!

  19. #19 ancientTechie
    April 7, 2008

    My youngest daughter announced that she will be able to die happy after seeing her favorite writer on her favorite television program. For geeks of my generation, this will be the equivalent of a Carl Sagan guest spot on Star Trek. (That never happened, did it?)

  20. #20 Vic
    April 7, 2008

    @#19 -nope. Closest I can think of to that would be Hawking’s brief guest bit on ST:TNG.

  21. #21 DenisC
    April 7, 2008

    #16 For all who fans the torrent is available at mininova
    courtesy of MadMartha (MM)
    Looks like a great season.
    DenisC

  22. #22 Robster, FCD
    April 7, 2008

    Wonderful. Now I have to not get excited and tell my wife. If she gets wind of it, she’ll be pissed that we have to wait a year to see it.

  23. #23 Don
    April 7, 2008

    Excellent news. Interestingly, Ecclestone is an atheist and Tennant openly loathes astrology and ‘woo’ ( I think I remember him describing himself as ‘culturally christian’)

    And didn’t Douglas Adams introduce RD to Lalla Ward while he was scriptwriting for Doctor Who?

  24. #24 Blake Stacey
    April 7, 2008

    He’s also been elevated to the status of celebrity D&D character.

  25. #25 Moggie
    April 7, 2008

    Maybe he’s not doing it to make a lot of difference. Maybe he just thinks it will be fun.

    I agree, of course. Who wouldn’t want to appear in Dr Who? Err, preferably in an episode not written by RTD. I was responding to the tongue-in-cheek “framing” comment.

    Now, if they work a reference to Douglas Adams into the same episode, I’ll be very happy.

  26. #26 Brian W.
    April 7, 2008

    Would be better if he turned out to be the 5th cylon on BSG, but this is good too.

  27. #27 Brownian, OM
    April 7, 2008

    no other explanation for the Holocaust, the Devil was surely behind it

    What a dolt. Humans were behind the Holocaust, plain and simple.

    As for actual examples of the devil’s work, one need look no futher than Mark Burnett’s career as a television producer….

    So, when are Dawkins or PZ gonna get a cameo on BSG?

  28. #28 Norman Doering
    April 7, 2008

    Tulse wrote:

    Man, that guy is everywhere — Dr. Who, South Park…

    Not everywhere he should be. He needs to get on Battlestar Galactica next.

  29. #29 Brownian, OM
    April 7, 2008

    Would be better if he turned out to be the 5th cylon on BSG, but this is good too.

    OMG! But would he be an atheist, given that the other Cylons are generally monotheistic?

  30. #30 Matthew
    April 7, 2008

    Sarcastro, it’s not necessarily true that the Doctor had a child, at least if you go by the loom idea or the Other.

  31. #31 blf
    April 7, 2008

    Ben Stein and Co are so clewless that if they actually were Daleks (an insult to Daleks everywhen), the only thing they’d Ex – ter – min – ate! would be themselves. And even then, they’d probably miss.

  32. #32 dWhisper
    April 7, 2008

    Admit it PZ… you were cackling madly when you saw that you posted this before Phil did… another thing to hold over him, I suppose.

  33. #33 MH
    April 7, 2008

    This is great news, but the real question should be:

    PZ, which TV program would you like to appear in?

  34. #34 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    But would he be an atheist, given that the other Cylons are generally monotheistic?

    Well, there’s the oddly atheist “priest” Brother Cavil, played by the always-excellent Dean Stockwell — I can see him having some delightful conversations with a Cylon Dawkins, playing the supreme leader Cylon.

    “You all must give up religion!”

    “By your command…”

  35. #35 Bartholomew
    April 7, 2008

    Looks like this guy jumped ship just in time:

    A TROWBRIDGE Christian who renounced the evil of Dr Who in favour of his religion is selling his collection on internet auction website eBay.

    Simon White, 47, became obsessed with Dr Who from a very early age and started collecting and building life-size models.

    Having discovered Christianity Mr Smith has renounced his old life and is putting the whole collection up for sale in local trade magazines and on eBay.

    …He said: “God delivered me from the evil that is Dr Who, materialism and alcoholism.

    “Through my relationship with Jesus I saw that none of this was making me happy and I was born again like Lazarus…”

  36. #36 scrabcake
    April 7, 2008

    Hells yeah!This is awesome!

  37. #37 Ann
    April 7, 2008

    I like that, Bartholomew. “This is evil, but not so bad that I’m not willing to make a few bucks passing it on to someone else.”

  38. #38 Nick Gotts
    April 7, 2008

    “He had a granddaughter from day one! 1963, first Doctor’s first companion. Susan Foreman as portrayed by Carole Ann Ford. Her parents were never shown, but logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?”

    I’m not sure about that – remember that Zaphod Beeblebrox’s grandfather was Zaphod Beeblebrox III due to “an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine”.

    On another point, of course Richard Dawkins isn’t the “atheist Pope”. The man’s BRITISH, for nonexistence-of-God’s sake – he’s the Archatheist of Oxford!

  39. #39 ellazimm
    April 7, 2008

    Re: original topic – if you read the whole linked article you will get some idea of why I am glad to live in England now; Dawkins may have been booed on a particular program but in the UK there is a large tolerance for differing views and an appreciation for discourse and knowledge. And we don’t have Ben Stein who on an interview linked to by the latest Evolution News & Views blog from the Discovery Institute implies that academics are scared of disagreement.

  40. #40 Ragutis
    April 7, 2008

    This should be good! A Lalla appearance would be fantastic as well.

    And a minor correction to Don 2 #23:

    DNA met Lalla during their time together on the show and they became good friends. It was significantly later that he introduced Dawkins to Lalla at a party (supposedly with matchmaking in mind). Lalla and Tom Baker were actually an item during her stint on the show and it led to a brief marriage.

    And for those North American fans that don’t get their Doctor Who elsewhere, you won’t have to wait a year. SciFi Channel will begin airing the new series (starting with the 2007 Christmas special) on April 18. I’d guess that BBC America will begin showing it soon as well.

  41. #41 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    those North American fans that don’t get their Doctor Who elsewhere

    Wait..you mean Dr. Who is a television show?

  42. #42 Moggie
    April 7, 2008

    PZ, which TV program would you like to appear in?

    My money’s on an underwater show. Spongebob Squarepants?

  43. #43 Peter Mc
    April 7, 2008

    I used to hide behind the sofa when the Daleks came on and that was when they were in black and white and made out of cereal boxes operated by dwarves banged up on amphetamines.

    They scared the living pooh out of me.

  44. #44 alex
    April 7, 2008

    i suppose the obvious question to ask is “how long do we now have to wait for PZ’s Dr Who role as a squid-monster?”

  45. #45 Nicole the Wonder Nerd
    April 7, 2008

    Richard Dawkins in Doctor Who! Squeeeeeeee! :D *happy atheist Who-fan moment*

    Her parents were never shown, but logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

    Word. He’s also stated, explicitly, “I was a dad, once”.

    Now, if they work a reference to Douglas Adams into the same episode, I’ll be very happy.

    There’s already been one nod: in “The Christmas Invasion”, the Doctor talks about saving the world in his jim-jams. “Very Arthur Dent. Now there was a nice man…”

  46. #46 Ophelia Benson
    April 7, 2008

    For geeks of my generation, this will be the equivalent of a Carl Sagan guest spot on Star Trek.

    Sagan also has to be married to a former Star Trek-actor for it to be a complete equivalent. I don’t think Ann Druyan played Lt Ahura…

  47. #47 ancientTechie
    April 7, 2008

    Ophelia,

    OK. It’s not completely equivalent. Interestingly, though, Ann Druyan did receive a Richard Dawkins Award in 2004.

  48. #48 James F
    April 7, 2008

    #44 alex wrote,

    i suppose the obvious question to ask is “how long do we now have to wait for PZ’s Dr Who role as a squid-monster?”

    Maybe they’ll have an episode where they bring back the Zygons!

  49. #49 Troff
    April 7, 2008

    Sarcastro,

    Matthew beat me to it; but if you go back to the time between the end of the original series and that BBC/Fox co-production movie, there’s a series of novels published by Virgin (then the BBC) with a lot of backstory.

    In it, we discover that the Gallifreyans are sterile (due apparently, of all things, to a curse by the dying-last-of-the-Matriarchs who ruled Gallifrey in almost pre-history).

    As a result, the Gallifreyans developed a method of “growing” new Time Lords in devices called “Looms”.

    The Doctor’s Granddaughter Susan was, in fact, a child from the pre-sterility era.

    … there’s a lot, lot, lot more detail in all of that and I won’t go into it unless asked (I have to rush to a meeting very shortly).

    And besides, all the books might be invalidated anyway. The new series has Sarah Jane meeting the Doctor for the first time since her appearance in the old television series, even though the books have an earlier re-meeting. Not to mention, the books also destroyed Gallifrey in another war which didn’t involve the Daleks in any way. Russell Davies elected to NOT inherit any of that continuity in starting the new series.

  50. #50 Richard
    April 7, 2008

    Christopher Hitchens as The Master, Stephen Hawking as Davros, Rebecca Watson as The Companion… it could work…

  51. #51 Pyre
    April 8, 2008

    So now he’s Dick to the Doc on the BBC
    (They’re both smarter than you, they’ve got science degrees)

  52. #52 jimBOB
    April 8, 2008

    Fans of Lalla Ward can hear her reprise the Romana character in a number of Big Finish audioplays.

  53. #53 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 8, 2008

    logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

    He admitted as much to Martha last season.

    Fans of Lalla Ward can hear her reprise the Romana character in a number of Big Finish audioplays.

    My claim to fame: David Tennant played me in this one (no, really. Go check it!):

    http://www.bigfinish.com/2-Doctor-Who-Unbound-Sympathy-for-the-Devil

  54. #54 Gareth
    April 8, 2008

    “Christopher Hitchens as The Master, Stephen Hawking as Davros, Rebecca Watson as The Companion… it could work… ”

    With Christopher Hitchens as The Master, no-one else would get a word in edge-ways. He’d keep interrupting them all the time… ;o)

  55. #55 Lilly de Lure
    April 8, 2008

    Gareth said:

    With Christopher Hitchens as The Master, no-one else would get a word in edge-ways. He’d keep interrupting them all the time… ;o)

    Ah, but he’s got the stylish hedonism thing down pat!

    How about Matt Nisbett as the Cyberleader, trying to “upgrade” us all into copies of himself?

    ;-)

  56. #56 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    “Russell Davies elected to NOT inherit any of that continuity in starting the new series.”

    Continuity? When the whole thing’s based on time travel?

  57. #57 Norman Doering
    April 8, 2008

    logic tells us the Doctor already had at least one offspring no?

    But with a human or another Time Lord? I mean, can the Doctor breed with humans? Isn’t he of another species, from another planet?

  58. #58 Devichan
    April 8, 2008

    If you also follow the novel continuity, his daughter was during Eight’s time. The novel in question is _Father Time_ by Lance Parkin. Rather interesting book. Davies isn’t following this, but then he’s also adapted novels and short stories a couple of times now with changes. I’ll be really curious to see where they go with this!

  59. #59 Nicole the Wonder Nerd
    April 8, 2008

    But with a human or another Time Lord? I mean, can the Doctor breed with humans? Isn’t he of another species, from another planet?

    Yeah, but aliens in the Who-niverse seem to be able to interbreed pretty freely. Even the Doctor claimed, at one point, to be half-human. (This is pretty controversial, though. Walking up to Who-fen and going “The Doctor is half-human!” is equivalent to walking up to Trekkies and going “Kirk could totally beat up Picard!” It just won’t end well.)

  60. #60 Zbu
    April 8, 2008

    Dawkins on Who? What’s next, the entire run of missing episodes suddenly turning up?

    *crosses fingers*

  61. #61 amiable atheist
    April 8, 2008

    Dr…….who?

  62. #62 Erin
    April 9, 2008

    There are, I think, no sufficient words for how happy this makes me.

  63. #63 Nimravid
    April 9, 2008

    I’ll tune in for sure if he snoggs Captain Jack!

    According to the Torchwood ethos, his life will not be complete until he does.

  64. #64 Troff
    April 9, 2008

    Devichan,

    wasn’t that daughter an adopted daughter?

  65. #65 J
    April 9, 2008

    It’s a shame he can’t have a recurring role, he’d make a great Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart-type character.

  66. #66 RighteousFIlburn
    April 9, 2008

    He could be UNIT’s new ‘Scientific Advisor’…
    Maybe the Doctor will complement him on his contribution to the future of mankind- In a very nervous-fanboy way, as he always does.

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