Learn About Malcolm Hulke: Doctor Who and the Communist

Malcolm Hulke is one of the most fascinating figures from behind-the-scenes of Doctor Who, and a new pamphlet examines his communist beliefs and their influence on his Who serials.

Written by socialist historian, Michael Herbert, and published by Five Leaves Press, Doctor Who and the Communist costs just £4.00 and surveys Hulke’s contribution not only to our favourite sci-fi show but also his further television work.

Hulke’s most famous for creating the Silurians and Sea Devils, the former having something of a resurgence thanks to their return in 2010’s The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood, and the ongoing presence of Madame Vastra. His first story, The Faceless Ones, is sadly missing from the archives (though naturally the soundtrack is still available), but subsequent serials of Hulke’s include The Ambassadors of Death, Colony in Space, and The War Games. Malcolm was a notable communist, but Third Doctor era Script Editor, Terrance Dicks, said, “What we never did was commission a Doctor Who with a political message but nonetheless if you look at it there is a streak of anti-authoritarianism in all Mac’s work: he doesn’t trust the establishment.”

Indeed, Dicks oversaw some pretty political stories, including Inferno, The Green Death, and Hulke’s Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Here’s our assessment of the social and political influences of Frontier in Space.

Malcolm considered Doctor Who a very politically-driven show, saying:

“Remember what politics refers to, it refers to relationships between groups of people. It doesn’t necessarily mean left or right… so all Doctor Who’s are political; even though the other group of people are reptiles, they’re still a group of people.”

Doctor Who and the Communist also looks at Mac’s commissions for various series like The Avengers, Pathfinders in Space, and Armchair Theatre.

The pamphlet looks to be a very interesting, informative read – and hey, as you can see, Paul McGann is intrigued too!


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion: http://thedoctorwhocompanion.com/

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