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Research finds strong link between human rights law and Dr Who

Research finds strong link between human rights law and Dr Who

  • Date20 July 2018

A recent study published by researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, has found a strong link between the British constitution and the popular television programme, Doctor Who.

Law teaser

In order to explore this idea further, Dr David Yuratich, Lecturer in Law at Royal Holloway conducted an in-depth analysis of the 2010 episode, The Beast Below, in which the Doctor and Amy Pond investigate ‘Starship UK’, a mysterious spaceship which is powered by the secretive state-sponsored torture of a ‘Star Whale’ for the apparent ‘greater good’ of society.

In his research, Yuratich explores how this particular episode frames a constitutional discussion around human rights, analysing the different responses to the mistreated whale from the perspectives of the apathetic or oppressed public, the engaged citizen in the shape of Amy Pond, and the judge-like character of the Doctor.

Yuratich finds that The Beast Below reflects key debates in the British constitution, particularly the limits of human rights laws and the judiciary in preventing abuses of power.

Dr David Yuratich said: “Much has been written about Doctor Who as a politically charged show, however, the law within it has not been studied to the same extent as its politics.

“When we delve deeper into the script, Doctor Who is evidently littered with legal dilemmas which encourage the viewer to reflect on society and the role of law within it.

“It is significant that it is Amy who encourages the release of the whale, as it emphasises the important message that it is the duty of the ordinary citizen to maintain the rule of law.”

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