Doctor Who vs Mrs Thatcher – the showdown: The late leader appears as an evil tyrant in a 50th anniversary story

 

The year is 1984 and a genocidal Margaret Thatcher wants to replace the human race with time-travelling aliens from another dimension. There is only one person who can help: not Neil Kinnock, not Arthur Scargill, but Doctor Who.

Travelling in his infinitely accommodating Tardis, the Time Lord has vanquished the Daleks and dispatched the universe's most evil tyrants. But now, in a special story marking his 50th anniversary, Matt Smith's Doctor comes face to face with the Kin, an ancient foe of the Time Lords, which have adopted the persona of the late prime minister and now plan to rid the planet of humans.

In the story written by Neil Gaiman, the alien "Thatcher" has persuaded British homeowners to sell their properties at a vast profit under a plan to rid the planet of humans and replace them with the sinister Kin, an ancient time-travelling enemy of the Time Lords. The Doctor is tasked with rescuing humanity from her devilish plotting.

While left-wing scriptwriters are reported to have inserted anti-Thatcher storylines in the series during the 1980s, according to former Doctor Sylvester McCoy, the new tale is the first official meeting of the two cultural titans.

"Nothing O'Clock" has been written for a Penguin anthology of new short stories featuring all 11 Doctors. Gaiman, the best-selling author who has written two Matt Smith episodes for the BBC series, said he wanted to create "a creepy Doctor Who monster of the kind that we haven't quite seen before".

The creator of the Sandman graphic novel series added: "I wanted to see if I can scare people. I got to do lots of really interesting things including have the voice of the late Margaret Thatcher.

"She's there in 1984 and it was really a strange discovery that actually there's nothing quite as scary as a classic Doctor Who villain with Margaret Thatcher's speech patterns."

In the story, published this week, the fictional Thatcher – in reality the Kin wearing a mask – introduces herself to the Doctor in a familiar "breathy female voice". "You do know who we are, dear?' she asks with familiar menace. "It would be such a shame if you didn't."

Because the Kin has adopted the Thatcher guise, the Doctor says, people "are going to be much more willing to sell big important things, places that belong to the country, not to an individual, when they believe that the leader of their country is asking for them, personally". "Mrs Thatcher" explains that they will create "reservations" for the displaced humans but "they will die out. Well, dear … it won't be pretty". The Doctor rips off the Thatcher mask to reveal a face that "writhed and squirmed".

Readers can discover whether the Doctor foils the alien Thatcher master plan when Gaiman's story is released as an ebook download on Thursday. A physical anthology, including 10 other Doctor Who stories written by authors including Charlie Higson and Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, will also be published.

Gaiman would like to see a television adaptation of the Thatcher/Doctor face-off. "There was definitely part of me who went, 'You know, wouldn't it be fun to put this on screen?'" he said. "Wouldn't this be fun to see if I can actually make people wee themselves with terror in real life?"

During the 1980s, a Doctor Who television story, The Happiness Patrol, featured a caricature of Thatcher, called Helen A, a big-haired despotic ruler of a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha, played by Sheila Hancock.

Andrew Cartmel, a former Doctor Who scriptwriter who once inserted a speech based on CND material in an episode, wrote a spin-off children's novel, which featured a villain called Rehctaht – Thatcher spelt backwards.

Sylvester McCoy said: "We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered."

The BBC marks the 50th anniversary next Saturday with a 75-minute special, The Day of the Doctor, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt and Billie Piper.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect