David Bowie and Doctor Who

A reflection on the connections between David Bowie and Doctor Who

Last night, I was sitting at my computer, pondering what my next Doctor Who Watch article should be about, and decided to go with the music variant covers of the Doctor Who Titan Comics. I said something to my fiance along the lines of, “It will have reflections about each artist, and, if possible, their relation to Doctor Who… especially David Bowie.” I started to write it, but the hour was late, so I saved my work to be completed the following day.

As I was laying in bed, scrolling through Facebook instead of sleeping, as one does, I came across this post from David Bowie’s official page:

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.

Of course, any reasonable person’s initial gut reaction to such news is that it very well could be a hoax. It happens to celebrities constantly, including Bowie. But I realized that this was probably not the case, considering the source. It did not take long to confirm that the news was, in fact, sadly true. There are tears in my eyes and a heaviness in my chest as I write this.

David Bowie’s influence on the world was both massive and fantastic, including in the world of Doctor Who. Just shy of a year ago, I wrote ‘David Bowie Should Guest Star on Doctor Who,’ citing the similarities between him and a Time Lord, particularly considering his film The Man Who Fell to Earth. Sure enough, the Twelfth Doctor’s wardrobe was inspired by that of the main character, played by Bowie. There was also a reference to Bowie Base One from the Doctor Who episode ‘The Waters of Mars.’

The Twelve Bowies (or, as I like to call them, “Faces of Bowie” – credit: https://www.facebook.com/276710412383657/photos/a.414413855279978.99986.276710412383657/970561402998551/?type=3

Then, a few months ago, we posted a piece about Peter Capaldi’s top choices for guest stars for Doctor Who: David Bowie and Keith Richards. It was even intended for Bowie to guest star on the show as Sharaz Jek in 1984’s story ‘The Caves of Androzani.’ The shooting schedule unfortunately conflicted with that of his Serious Moonlight tour.

Including those mentioned above, references to David Bowie are sprinkled throughout the Whoniverse. We heard his song ‘Starman‘ in both the Doctor Who episode ‘Aliens of London‘ and the Torchwood episode ‘Random Shoes.’ The Eighth Doctor made note of his greatness in the audio story ‘Horror of Glam Rock.’ In the audio story ‘The Feast of Axos,’ Evelyn Smythe “spoke of her experience in a spacesuit as ‘like that David Bowie song.'” (Tardis Wiki)

There are a few titles that are direct references to David Bowie songs: The novel Loving the Alien, the comic The Woman Who Sold the World, and the Doctor Who Confidential episode ‘Is There Life on Mars?‘ Incidentally, ‘Life on Mars’ is one of my most favorite Bowie songs, as well as the title of one of my other favorite shows, starring John Simm.

Like I said, the original concept for this article was supposed to be about Titan Comics. In 2014, they released ‘What He Wants…‘ which featured the character John Jones, a 1960s British pop musician, very much modeled after Bowie. Titan’s Twelfth Doctor music variant cover (pictured above) is a parody of the cover of Bowie’s album Heroes.

David Bowie both turned 69 and released his final album, Blackstar, on January 8th, 2016. I leave you with his newest single, ‘Lazarus.’ Goodbye, David, and thank you for all of the beauty that you contributed to the world.

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What are your reflections on David Bowie? Let us know in the comments.