Doctor Who, Popular Culture and Politics: An Annotated Interview with Paul Magrs

McKee, Alan (2006) Doctor Who, Popular Culture and Politics: An Annotated Interview with Paul Magrs. M/C Dialogue: conversations in culture and the media.


Paul Magrs is a consumer and a producer of cult media. He has written many novels, which can be broadly divided into two groups. His working-class magic-realist 'literary' novels - including Marked for Life (1995), Could it be Magic (1997), and All the Rage (2001) - have been extremely highly regarded, and reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. His Doctor Who novels - The Scarlet Empress (1998), The Blue Angel (1999), Verdigris (2000) and Mad Dogs and Englishmen (2001) have not been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. They are, however, highly regarded by many Doctor Who fans; and despised by many others. These novels - born of a love for British popular culture in general, and Doctor Who in particular - have rewritten the adventures of the BBC's time-travelling hero as a series of self-referential fictions; as a conspiracy faked by an arm of the British government; and as the dreams of a mentally-challenged man living in a working-class council estate. They have featured dragons, robotic sheep, and nasty parodies of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. Straddling the consumer/producer boundary, Paul manages to play both roles simultaneously - as do many fans of cult media.

This interview is part of a wider project that aims to approach the question - central to Cultural Studies - of the relationship between culture and politics, from a new direction. Rather than taking abstracted concepts from political philosophy - such as 'ideology' and 'hegemony' - and using them to read political stances from texts, which are then imposed on readers, the project approaches the relationship from the other side: by asking people who consume particular texts (through choice) to articulate their own politics, and to discuss these in relation to the program they choose to watch. In this way, it is hoped that the relationships between 'culture' and 'politics' can be understood in a more nuanced way than is possible with the use only of determinedly high-level political-philosophical concepts.

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ID Code: 14651
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Doctor Who, Popular Fiction, Politics, Interview
ISSN: 1441-2616
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified (200299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) (190402)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 M/C and Alan McKee
Copyright Statement: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Deposited On: 01 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:03

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