Dr W.H.O.’s COVID prophecy

Many decades ago in a galaxy far away, before Dr Who became a vanilla woke propaganda vehicle, it was a science fiction series for older kids. When it began in 1963 (the day President Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and Anthony Burgess all died) I was already a seasoned Sci-Fi buff, filling my head with Heinlein, Asimov, Simak, Blish and Aldiss, and my 11 year old verdict was that Dr Who was very good science fiction. For TV.

The first adventure after the Doctor kidnapped school teachers Chesterton and the ever-screaming Barbara involved cave-men, but after escaping them they landed on the planet Skaro and, after a suitably chilling cliff-hanger (I bet you’ve never seen it) encountered their now world-famous enemies, the Daleks:


Those of you youngsters (or foreigners) who missed that early series, though, may not know the back story of the Daleks, which was recounted to the Doctor and his companions by a member of their local foes, the peace-loving Thals. Centuries before, the two human races of Thals and Dals had become locked in a devastating nuclear conflict, which as in most tales of the future back then, left their planet a radioactive wasteland (remember this was just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis).

The technologically more advanced Dals decided to beat the radioactivity using their best science and, no doubt, complex computer models. Governed by fear and locked down in their hermetically-sealed city, they built mobile radiation-shielded machines in which to spend their whole lives and plot the obliteration of the hated Thals.

The Thals were not so lucky, and had no option but to suffer the effects of the radioactivity outside. They endured a high death rate and terrible mutations, but eventually the radiation decreased and, now exposed to quite a normal world, everything came round again and they ended up both re-adapted to full humanity, and also rendered wiser by their past experience, seeking only life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Dals, sadly, also suffered mutations, because it was actually as impossible to isolate themselves from radiation as it is from novel viruses. However, they didn’t realise this, fondly continuing to believe that it was the Thals who were hideously deformed monsters rather than themselves.

But in the Dals’ case their mutations, in their highly technological environment, over time adapted them to become so dependent on their machines that they could not survive without them. Furthermore, since their machines were primarily designed for the annihilation of the Thals, the Dals (now known as Daleks) became hard-wired for hatred. They became nothing more than appendages to a central technocracy, and their only goal became a mindless quest to exterminate the Thals and (as we all know from later series) to take over the entire Universe and kill its inhabitants. Thinking to be wise, they became slaves both to their technology and to their lower nature.

The Daleks’ dependence on science and technology, rather than the acceptance of forces of nature over which, in reality, they had no control, lost them their humanity. I don’t know if BBC archives record the final destiny of the true flowering of Skaro humanity, the Thals. The Doctor helped them win the day in that first series, but maybe the Daleks eventually wiped them out entirely in a Great Reset.

You see where I’m going with this?

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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