Doctor Who, lessons in Time and Space

ImageAs November 23rd approaches and my excitement increases I felt it was only fair to pay homage to a television programme that has inspired millions of children for the last 50 years.

I firmly believe that Doctor Who has motivated five generations of viewers in a number of different and exciting ways.  When considering 5 lessons that can be deemed to be taught by Doctor Who, it became clear that Science should be the starting point.

5. In an age of gadgets, tablets, smartphone and PCs and the web , it is exciting to reveal that Doctor Who has led Scientists on the journey to new and exciting discoveries.

The above link will take you to a blog that discusses creating a real sonic screwdriver. My Doctor didn’t use one but for all fans, we know that the screwdriver has been an essential piece of kit.–want-to-future.htmlhtml

Brian Cox, a physicist who is managing to make physics cool in many classrooms demonstrates that time travel is possible but at present it is a one way ticket to the future and we all know what happened in Utopia.

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4. Reading is cool, reading is fun, reading has been essential to a child that grew up with Doctor Who and then it stopped however I discovered Target Books and the world of Terrance Dicks.

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I also discovered the Doctor Who magazine. Sometimes it really is a world of pure imagination that takes you across the stars to the galaxies beyond our understanding.

Since H.G.Wells and his wonderful book, The Time Machine’ writers have created a world of awe and wonder.

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Writers have been inspired to delve ever deeper into their imagination. The new crop of writers e.g. Russel T Davies, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat have all found inspiration as a child. Reading has the wonderful side effect of stretching the imagination and encouraging children and adults to write and draw.

The above blog is written by my son and demonstrates how a television programme can inspire children to write even in the age of xbox, PS4 and Wii.

Not only to write but to draw,

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This picture was drawn about four years ago but it reminds me of how the world of Doctor Who became an inspiration for my son as it has for many children across the globe.

3. What do you do when you are frightened? Hide behind the sofa! Doctor Who shows that children should not be belittled or undermined. Children should be trusted with information, learn how to cope with fear and understand the importance of problem solving.

My favourite enemies of the Doctor are The Master and Davros. Two very human like enemies, real faces (if a little strange in the case of Davros) and perhaps for myself that is why I have relished the Doctor’s ability to defeat them. Yet in defeating them he makes the viewer realise that he respects and admires their intellect but wishes more than anything that they had used their abilities for good and not evil.

In ‘The Sound of the Drums’, and ‘Last of the Timelords’, the Doctor wants more than anything to make the Master to turn from evil and become a companion for want of a better description.


The fear factor is crucial to a good Doctor Who story but so is the manner in defeating the enemy. If the Doctor had destroyed the Kaleds city on Skaro and destroyed the Daleks at their inception, what kind of person does that make him or in another way, you?

Children have watched and continue to watch resolutions to these moral dilemmas without underestimating their ability to reach a conclusion.

2. Friendship or rather companionship is a strength of every incarnation of the Doctor. No matter how clever you are or the fact that you are the ‘oncoming storm’, you stll need a friend and family in your greatest hour of need, ‘The End of Time’.

Companions have many different roles and in the early days, they were very much part of the learning process. We discovered how things worked by being as one with the companion. As a child I always wished I had Nyssa’s logic or Adric’s mathematical abilities. They were both young yet so intelligent and often challenging the wisdom of the Doctor as a pupil might challenge a teacher.

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The role of the compamion can vary from a love interest as with Rose, to a brave and courageous adventurer as with Ace however the one thing they all realise is that the Doctor should not be alone. This was epitomised by Donna Noble who saw that the Doctor needed help to remember who he was and what made him different.


Donna was his ‘best friend’. Sometimes more than one companion is required but ultimately it is not the number of companions but the quality of friendship that can help and support you on the road to success.

1. Perhaps the main lesson that the Doctor presents is that good can overcome evil. Possibly his greatest enemy, the Daleks, demonstrate from the beginning how the idea of a ‘Master Race’ or a ‘Supreme Being’ can be defeated through wit, ingenuity and compassion.

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The Kaleds were the Nazi regime in everything but name. A world where two warring factions had almost destroyed their planet as they searched for the ultimate weapon and that gave birth to the Daleks.

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During a time when the arms race between USA and USSR was at its height, the world of Doctor Who demonstrated that tyranny can be defeated.  The power of good outweighs that of evil and destruction. We are able to take this moral lesson and transfer its use into our own reality.

In the ‘Victory of the Daleks’, the Supreme Dalek explains that it is the Doctor’s compassion that is his greatest weakness.

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Yet what their lack of emmotions demonstrate is that it is compassion that makes the difference between right and wrong, it is compassion that gives the Doctor the ability to make considered decisions. It is compassion that makes him hold the Master in his arms pleading with him to live,

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In the end, it is our ability to show compassion that is the true measure of success.

This is not my normal post on Education but I needed to pay homage to the greatest television series of all time and to say DIOLCH or in other words, thank you. Happy Anniversary Doctor Who and long may you last!

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