Monday, 18 November 2013

The Law of Dr Who

Next weekend sees the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor, described as 'a love letter to the fans' it promises sights of a number of previous Doctors and is much anticipated. This of course comes hot on the heels of the recent treasure trove find of lost episodes and also, from a personal perspective, reminded me of the time when I met the Third Doctor, John Pertwee at a book signing in Birmingham when I was around 6 years old and when Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), with K9 in tow, visited my school in the late 1970s. Unfortunately, I could find no corroborating evidence of this by searching on the web, although I did find some interesting footage of Tom Baker visiting Schools in Belfast around the same time and its great to see the reaction of the children.
The Third Doctor, pre-Worzel Gummidge
The Fourth Doctor, pre Little Britain and a magnificent Blackadder
Outside of this, the legal dimension of Dr Who has become more visible recently.  For a start, the news that the son of the writer of the very first episode is launching a legal action claiming ownership of the TARDIS adds to a line of cases where authors and designers have argued that they are the owners of various characters and other aspects of films such as Star Wars in the past.
Rather than the typical image of the 'Blue Box', here is Mark Wallinger's 2001 TARDIS

Also, and closer to home, my colleague Professor Danny Nicol has recently issued a Call for Papers for a symposium on The Politics and Law of Dr Who which is looking like it will be an excellent event with lots of interest generated already. Danny is in the process of starting a blog on this too, so keep an eye on this too. This taps into a growing fascination for what areas such as film, television and literature can tell us about the law, and what law tells us about them, and Danny's interest in Dr Who is a welcome addition to this growing area.

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