"Maybe that's what happens if you touch the Doctor, even for a second": Trauma in Doctor Who
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
When the BBC television series Doctor Who returned in 2005, this followed an absence of 16 years (barring the 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann). During this hiatus theories associated with trauma were widely disseminated in the West. Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first defined in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the term’s preeminence was in its infancy at the time of the cancellation of the original run of Doctor Who in 1989. In the 1963-1989 series direct treatment of trauma was thus sparse and unsystematic, whereas in the more theoretically-aware period of 2005 to the present day, the new series has engaged extensively and self-consciously with theories of trauma. The following essay analyses both series’ approach to issues of trauma with a two-fold intention. Firstly, to highlight the different approaches taken to trauma in the series’ two runs: the more metaphorical and piecemeal approach in the original, compared to the way in which the current series has drawn more directly and systematically on existing theory, to the extent that trauma has become a crucial concept underpinning its popular success. Secondly, the essay analyses ways in which an academic discourse such as trauma studies is articulated in and disseminated through the realm of popular culture.
Trauma , Doctor Who , PTSD , Popular culture
Gibbs, A. (2013) '"Maybe that's what happens if you touch the Doctor, even for a second": Trauma in Doctor Who', Journal of Popular Culture, 46(5), pp. 950-972. doi: 10.1111/jpcu.12062
© 2013, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Gibbs, A. (2013) '"Maybe that's what happens if you touch the Doctor, even for a second": Trauma in Doctor Who', Journal of Popular Culture, 46(5), pp. 950-972, doi: 10.1111/jpcu.12062, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jpcu.12062. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.