Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Doctor Who's Massacre
And now for something completely different...Fans of science fiction and church history may be interested in an old storyline from Doctor Who, a series of four episodes collectively titled, The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, which originally aired in 1966. The original BBC video footage has been lost or destroyed, but a draft form of the storyline by John Lucarotti is available in book form, the final scripts are available online, and a BBC audio recording is also available. In the time machine TARDIS, Steven Taylor and the First Doctor appear in 1572 Paris and get mixed up in the intrigue surrounding the infamous massacre, with part of the plot taking place in the catacombs of Paris. As one can tell from the title (the massacre happened on St Bartholomew's Day, rather than the Eve before), complete historical accuracy is not to be expected, but the story is a good read (or listen). The Doctor tells us that he cannot and dare not change history, and yet, when all is said and done, as in all time travel stories, the presence of Dodo Chaplet in 1966 and beyond, and a certain woodcut pictorial representation of the attempted assassination of the Huguenot leader Admiral Coligny, raise questions that show this principle to be less than ironclad and can only be answered within the context of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief."