The Doctor for patron saint of England?
“The patron saint of England, that’s who.”
It’s a new twist on an old joke, and it’s brought to you by one of The Guardian’s journalists.
Adam Rutherford has written a light-hearted piece, arguing that Saint George should be replaced by Saint Doctor Who as England’s heavenly patron. Or Saint Who, as he’d probably be known.
Rutherford argues that George isn’t necessarily real, pointing to all the doubtful evidence such as him slaying a dragon. Not that Doctor Who is all that well entrenched in the reality stakes, either.
More importantly, though, he points out that George wasn’t English. And that he represents many other countries.
Rutherford writes (citing that favourite journalistic source): “Wikipedia tells me that on the patron saint stakes, he’s a bit of a whore, being claimed for (deep breath): Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia. So George also represents the spirits of those regions too?”
The natural replacement for George is, of course, The Doctor.
Rutherford argues: “The Doctor shares many striking similarities with Saint George. Both are dragon-slaying outsiders, fighting on foreign shores to protect their adopted people.”
“But we know so much more about the Doctor, and thus can proudly and sensibly sing his praises. If we as a people demand collective narrative from legend, we might as well make it a ripping yarn.”
An interesting viewpoint, although the Doctor’s tales generally aren’t quite so red-blooded and heroic as ripping the guts from a mighty dragon with just a sword and shield.
Generally, he’ll conquer the aliens in the last two minutes of an episode with a quick twiddle of his sonic screwdriver and a hopeful smile. Not exactly something that would look as impressive on a banner as a big bloke in plate mail facing down a colossal lizard.
Still, Doctor Who is clearly English in his spirit, as Rutherford concludes. Yes, he’s eccentric, defiant yet understated, and comes with a sharp sense of humour. And a questionable fashion sense which never really recovered from Tom Baker’s scarf.
Although if you’re going to pick a fictional English character for a patron saint, then surely there isn’t anyone more apt than Simon Templar?
Saint Saint on his trusty white Jaguar XJS steed. That’d raise a few eyebrows, guaranteed.
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