The Widow


BBC’s Doctor Who is about an alien male time traveler that always saves the earth from impending doom at any given time.  The episode for this blog is called “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”.  In this episode, the doctor is hurtled into the earth where he is found and saved by Madge, a mother of two and wife.  Skip three years later, Madges’ husband is killed in war.   Hoping to get away from the German blitz, Madge retreats to a house away from the city where she fails to recognize the doctor, who is posing as the “caretaker”.  As the caretaker is showing them the place, Madge sends the kids to get a snack.  While the kids are away, Madge tells the Doctor why she really left the city. She has not told her kids that their father has died and that she wanted to wait until after the holidays to tell them.  Her main purpose here is the futile attempt at keeping her kids from being sad but in all reality knows that she eventually will have to tell them and watch them hurt.

While exploring, Cyril, Madge’s son wonders upon a large mysterious box and decides to enter it. The doctor, Lilly Madge’s daughter and Madge follow.  Inside, they find a world (not earth) where there is a forest set in the future the trees are about to be incinirated for fuel.  Exploring the forest they find a lighthouse inhabited by the king and queen of the woods.  The king and queen happen to be large trees with humanoid features.  The doctor while trying to figure out how to save the trees sees that the queen has placed a gold crown on Cyril’s head, the queen places her hand on Cyril to where she begins to speak through Cyril.   The queen explains they need a vessel strong enough to store the souls of the forest and escape annihilation and that Cyril was not strong enough. Cyril manages to take the crown of his head to wear the Doctor tries to slip it on but is not allowed.  Lilly grabs hold of the crown, the queen decides that she is strong enough to wear save the souls of the forest.  Lilly refuses and drops the crown.  After certain issues in trying to get to her kids, Madge finally reaches them violently.

Madge crashed the vehicle she had acquired earlier into the lighthouse.  Madge grabs hold of the crown and feels an urge to place it on her head.  The queen deems Madge the only vessel strong enough for the task and the souls of the forest flow into her.  After all the souls have flown into Madge, she instinctively began took control of the top of the lighthouse which turns out to be a space ship and fly’s them all back out of danger and back in time.  The doctor guides Madge on how to escape the razing of the planet and threw a time vortex.  As they are tumbling through the vortex, Madge keeps thinking about her late husband.  We then see her husband flying his airplane that he originally dies in.  Except this time, he is distracted by a bright light that is the ship his wife is flying and saves him from dying.  Madge crash lands back in her large backyard.  The doctor leaves to see the damage.  Madge decides to tell of the death of the kids’ father.  The doctor comes back in and asks them all to come out with him.  Outside is Madge’s husband, the kids’ father.

As I was watching this episode a second time, and due to this APA class, I realized that this episode was mostly about representation.  A normal Doctor Who episode has the Doctor save the day, not this episode.  For the most part, a white woman in media is represented in regulation status. For this episode it was the normal protagonist of this show, the Doctor, who was placed in regulation representation.  The status of respect  was shown several times in this episode for the females.  The first when Madge saves the Doctor.  Next, when meet the King and Queen of the forest; it is the queen that is shown as the spokesperson for the forest.  Again when Lilly is deemed strong enough to carry the souls of the forest and lastly when Madge actually absorbs all the souls of the forest and saves the forest, the Doctor and her kids.

Work Cited

“Doctor Who | BBC America.” BBC America | The Biggest Names in British Television. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2012.


Marnell, Blair. “DOCTOR WHO ‘The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe’ Review | CraveOnline.” Videos, Movie News & Trailers, Video Games, Sports | CraveOnline. N.p., 26 Dec. 2011. Web. 2 Sept. 2012.


2 thoughts on “The Widow

  1. I have not watched Dr. Who, but I know of many fans–your analysis of this episode and how it shifts representations of women is good. How does Dr. Who ususally portray women?

    • I have a couple of original 1963series on DVR and the rest of my knowledge is from the current versions. But here is what I am familiar with. The women (companion(s))of Dr.Who began always as a “damsel in distress”. As the show moved through the decades, so did the representation of women. They have gone from 1963 (ridicule) to 2013 (regulation/respect).


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