Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Friday, 18 January 2019
I’d like to address something that’s been brought to my attention recently – to do with the use of the T-word in one of my Doctor Who audio dramas. The story is ‘The Horror of Glam Rock’ from 2007 and in it one of the characters uses the T-word in a throwaway, jokey line about a dead glam rock star found in the snow.
I apologise now if this line leaps out of the drama as inappropriate or offensive. The script was written in 2006 when I wasn’t aware of the T-word being a transphobic slur. Back then it seemed the right word for the context, the time it was set in and the character of Lucie Miller to use in a casual, slangy, jokey manner. Nowadays I just wouldn’t use it. I’d avoid it on the off-chance that it was going to hurt someone’s feelings.
I think that, whatever they’re writing, writers have a responsibility to muck about with language and to turn the world around and to be fearless and experimental. But we also have to watch out for unnecessarily causing offence or hurting people. We can’t go back in time to, say, 2006 or 1974 or whenever and make things right then, but we can hold up our hands now and say: I wouldn’t say it that way today.
Meanings have shifted. Language has evolved. We view the past through the lens of language and ideas from today. I just had to say that: I’m aware that the word might stick out as offensive, and I’m sorry now that it’s there at all.