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Watching a thing called 'Mad and Bad' on BBC4. On which they have stated, so far, that American TV SF in the 1960s showed 'scientists' as bad and mad. Hey, Harriman Nelson, from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the two eldest Robinsons from Lost in Space, Spock, from Star Trek and I could go on...

And Dr Who was meant to promote history as well as science, and hasn't been SF for a long, long time.

Horizon which they are currently lauding, has had some truly awful episodes - they have promoted some dreadful science that was obviously wrong even as they broadcast it. (I could mention cold fusion, I could mention that idiot who believed oil was the result to meteor strikes...) They are still doing this.

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Dumbdown, soundbite generation etc...

Actually I find most documentaries awful these days. TV producers seem convinced we have the attention span of a stunned gnat. Not to mention even the BBc has to sell to the states so there's a mandatory recap every 10 minutes or so and a disposable fifteen minutes at the end of each programme so the Yanks can lop it off and fit more adverts in.

This is why I read non-fiction books (carefully selected!)

And then they have someone else narrate Attenborough's docs, so they can re-write the commentary and dumb it down. Not to mention, for instance, decide not to show the last episode of Frozen Planet because it is about climate change, until they were shouted at so hard by Stateside scientists (who buy or download the BBC versions anyway) that they have, reluctantly, agreed to broadcast, though probably re-narrated and dumbed down for 'balance'.

I believe that the First Doctor episodes were claimed to have value in teaching history. What I learned from them is that people in every place and time of past history spoke modern English.

Yeah, the early episodes (indeed, all the Hartnell era) were meant to be educational. That's why the first two companions were a science teacher and a history teacher. Sometimes, they did it rather well, as in The Aztecs though they were by no means accurate.

The BBC's charter states it is to "entertain and inform".

Harriman Nelson was neither bad nor mad -- which is a large part of his appeal for me -- but I seem to remember he had to deal with his share of mad and evil "scientists."

True, but also some redeemable ones (the guy in the first series The Creature, and Falk in The Condemmed as well as some perfectly good people (who generally got killed).

Point. I suppose one could say that H.N. is not mad or bad, but definitely dangerous to know.

Now that is very, very true.

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