Why Doctor Who Should Visit Ireland
Guest contributor Dave McEvoy makes the case.
Ever since City of Death was filmed in Paris, Doctor Who has treated us with some wonderful foreign locations. While the show’s home may be in the UK, it’s quite refreshing to see the Doctor’s adventures in Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and America, using the real country as a back drop and not just a fancy studio set or green screen. No doubt the use of location shots will be used again so here’s why I think a future story should have an adventure in Ireland.
The Doctor’s Never Been (on-screen)
While I acknowledge the fact that a show made in the UK would have the majority of Earth episodes set in the UK, I’d like to see the TARDIS land just 70 or so miles west of Wales for a change. Ireland is the perfect place for a great episode. It’s a country full of mythology, mystery and a lot more historical significance than most films or TV shows give it credit for. We all know about the famine and conflicts with the British, either one of which would make for an interesting backdrop, but Doctor Who has shone brightest when focusing on (for lack of a better term) less famous aspects of history. I certainly knew little of Hooverville, The Battle of Culloden or Madame de Pompadour before the Doctor paid them a visit.
Imagine an epic adventure set in the Battle of Clontarf, or a homage to The Reign of Terror and have the TARDIS crew separated during the Civil War. Maybe they could plan to see The Beatles’ one and only concert in Dublin but miss the target and materialise right inside Air Force One as President Kennedy lands at Dublin Airport. The Doctor in Ireland could make for a classic adventure and considering Ireland also has the best selection of dramatic and character actors you could ever need for any situation, it really seems perfect to bring out the best in Doctor Who.
Connections to Gallifrey
In The Hand of Fear, The Invisible Enemy and Human Nature both Leela and the Doctor (4th and 10th) made a couple of throwaway jokes about Gallifrey probably being in Ireland. While 3 lines out of a 51 year history hardly constitutes as a recurring theme it’s still something that could be worth exploring. Obviously I’m not saying that Ireland should be the origin of the bureaucratic and megalomaniacal Time Lords, but maybe their history with Earth could have some significance with Ireland. The Seal of Rassilon looks an awful lot like a Celtic design wouldn’t you say? Maybe they copied the Celts or the Celts copied them. There is something delightfully secretive about ancient Ireland that makes it a great avenue for fantasy. Why not science fiction too?
Molly O’ Sullivan
Any Big Finish fans out there will be fully aware of the awesomeness that is Dark Eyes, a series of audio adventures starring the 8th Doctor. They feature a new haircut and costume for the Doctor but most importantly, a new companion. Her name is Molly O’ Sullivan. She’s an Irish volunteer nurse in the trenches during the First World War. Played by Ruth Bradley, she is a wonderfully confrontational and sardonic companion. Having seen the worst humanity has to offer she remains amazingly together and uses her experience to fuel her courage all while having little patience for the Doctor’s whimsy. She’s one of the best companions of the audio adventures. Of course it would be nice to have her appear on TV but that’s probably asking a bit too much. However her attitude is uniquely Irish and would add something special to the series. An Irish companion, again, may be asking too much. One can but dream though.
I come from Ireland
There. I said it. I don’t want anyone to think I wrote this because I’m Irish. I want you to know I wrote this because I’m Irish. I’m a lifelong fan of Doctor Who, of course I’d like to see him in Ireland. Am I being selfish? I don’t think so. I’m not asking the writers to have the TARDIS land outside my house and say “I know, Dave will help us. He’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” I’d like him to come to Ireland because he can and he hasn’t. Why, Doctor? It’s just right there, beside you. Other than the reasons I’ve mentioned above, Doctor Who can travel trough time and space but never once has he made that miniscule jump from the UK to Ireland. On a clear day I can see Wales without a telescope and he’s gone to Cardiff loads of times. Does he have to go? Of course not. But is there any reason why he shouldn’t? Besides, how great would it be for the many Irish Doctor Who fans to see their hero saving the day in their home.
Doctor Who has been on air for 51 years and in all that time nobody thought to do a TV story in Ireland. This baffles me. While there may have been some irritating clauses about budgeting or tax breaks or some stupid reason, I’m still not convinced as to why the show has avoided Ireland for so long. But I won’t say it’ll never happen because I remain optimistic. Ireland is just too damn awesome for an adventure series to ignore forever. So until the day the TARDIS materialises somewhere I don’t have to fly or sail to, I’ll keep listening to Ruth Bradley’s brilliant performance as Molly O’Sullivan and think about how great it would be to see Ireland be saved by the Doctor.
Happy St Patrick’s Day!