Ben Jackson's Racist Past.

TV One of my Christmas presents this year (last year now?) was the superb The Doctor Who Audio Annual: Multi-Doctor stories, in which a variety of stories from the old World Publications have been recorded in the style of the Target novelisations by various luminaries, usually a companion from that era.

The stories in the earliest books, from the 1960s, are notoriously off-piste in their characterisation of the Doctor and his companions as is demonstrated in the choice of 2nd Doctor story, The King of Golden Dead from 1968.

"Dr. Who" and Ben and Polly land in an Egyptian tomb, recently buried and none of them come out of it well in moral terms, the bad place beckons.  The Doctor spends most of the "adventure" obsessed with trying to discover if its the final resting place of Tutankhamun, whilst trying to convince his companions not to rob the place.

Eventually an antagonist arrives in the form of some contemporary grave robbers attempting to find a way through which leads to a conversation in which, whoevers writing this, takes Ben's already pretty stupifying cockneyness into the teritory of a racial slur when describing their potential assailants:

Did you spot it?  The only reason I noticed it is because I'm reading along with the annuals so I can enjoy the illustrations with the narration.  For the most part the readings are accurate, a missed paragraph here, misunderstood letter or punctuation there.

On this occasion the script is rewritten for Anneke Wills who may not even have been aware of the original text.  Instead she says, "If there's so many take to his lark of robbing tombs of the mummies ..." which is perfectly fine and gets the point across even if the whole thing is entirely out of character for Mr Jackson.

When plenty of us folk were complaining about the treatment of the First Doctor in this year's Christmas special (last year?) with anachronistic language being used in an out of character way all of it was sexist, none of it racist. 

But notice that back in the 60s, the use of this word was considered fine in a children's annual, admittedly not put in the Doctor's mouth.  Perhaps a realistic depiction of Ben would have included this word, but it still jars, since it still feels fundamentally wrong for a character in this series who's supposed to be the hero.

That's the 60s annuals for you.

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