A Blueprint for Destruction: Eco-activism in Doctor Who during the 1970s

Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment 3, no. 2 (2012):[online]

This article analyzes the television science-fiction show Doctor Who as a cultural forum within the context of British eco-activism of the 1970s. It examines four serials which aired during the 1970s during the first wave of eco-activism in the UK: “The Green Death” (1973), “The Invasion of the Dinosaurs” (1974), “The Seeds of Doom” (1976), and “Nightmare of Eden” (1979). Two environmentalist concerns-pollution and species conservation-put forward by the early British eco-activist movement as underscored in texts such as The Blueprint for Survival from 1972 are evident in these serials. While affirming the validity of some elements of environmentalist concerns, each serial also proposes that the ends do not always justify the means. The Doctor, although a supporter of eco-activism, rejects seemingly utopian approaches to reset the Earth’s ecosystems. Rather than presenting viewers with a guide to sustainability, these Doctor Who serials offer dystopian visions of future realities steeped in ecological transgressions – these are the blueprints for destruction.

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