The One Place A Time Lord Must Never Visit

He's visited alternate universes, the Big Bang, and even the dying future of our own universe. But there's one place Doctor Who's cheeky time traveler should stay away from, says a British newspaper: Dubai.

The Guardian thinks Doctor Who is gearing up to film one of its 2009 specials in the emirate, which is known for its repressive policies. (The laundry list includes crushing democracy, human rights violations, environmental devastation and zero tolerance for queer people.) Guardian blogger Gareth McLean makes a passionate argument as to why the show should not promote a place where the Doctor himself would foment a revolution if he ever showed up there:

When it comes down to it, there is no justification for filming in Dubai other than a) it is cheap, and b) we fancied a jolly. By filming there, the BBC and Doctor Who are lending Dubai credibility and respectability - neither of which it deserves. What's more, it's a move that totally goes against everything that the Doctor as a character stands for. At best, filming Doctor Who in Dubai is stupid. At worst, it's hypocritical - and it's hypocrisy fuelled by hubris at that. What would the Doctor do?

I'm guessing this move, if true, replaces the rumored alien-planet filming in Tunisia. (And McLean also lends credence to reports that the show is going to be filming at least one of the specials in the U.S. as well.) In any case, I can see why the show would want to film in Dubai — we've certainly oohed and ahhed over the futuristic buildings there, and it would be hard to create a location like that using pure CG. On the other hand, it's hard to dispute McLean's point: for a show as preachy (and as popular) as Doctor Who to lend its weight to the emirate sends a weird message. Of course, Russell T. Davies is also the writer whose era has seen the Doctor overthrowing repressive alien governments less often than any era since the mid-1970s. [Guardian]