Doctor Who: Oliver Harper and the Future of Homosexuals in Doctor Who

Categories: Doctor Who

Warning: Spoilers.

Here in the United States we are undergoing a social shift that is simply staggering in its speed and scope. Anti-same-sex marriage laws all over America are falling so fast that it's honestly difficult to keep up with them at this point. Equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters is actually close to being in our grasp.

And it's something that The Doctor has always known would happen.

Recently I discovered a new companion that easily fits into my top 10. Meet Oliver Harper, associate of the First Doctor and Steven Taylor who was introduced as part of the Big Finish audio stories, the first new companion created for the First Doctor in Big Finish.

Played by Tom Allen, Harper is a commodities trader in 1966 London who suddenly finds himself on the run from the police, though we don't find out why in his first adventure, "The Perpetual Bond". While he is fleeing, he stumbled across a human slavery ring headed by his old boss, who is actually a fungal alien in disguise conducting his business quite openly with the blessing of aspects of the British government desperate to help the still recovering economy. With Harper's help, The Doctor and Steven stop the trade, and Harper is invited to travel in the Tardis despite Steven's leeriness of the Harper's motivations.

Their next outing, "The Cold Equations", takes them to a broken down satellite far above the Earth of the future. Harper and Steven end up trapped together in what they think will be their grave in space, prompting Steven to ask Harper for the reason he was on the run.

Harper admits that he was evading pursuit of capture for falling in love with the wrong person. In this case a man named George. It wasn't until 1967 that Britain decriminalized homosexual acts that had been illegal since the passage of the - and I'm not making this up - Buggery Act of 1533 (Passed by Henry VIII because of course it was). Henry's edict made sodomy a capital crime punishable by death for the next 300 years.

This story continues on the next page.

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