I know exactly the date when I decided I wanted to write a Black Archive on that most divisive of Doctor Who stories, The Talons of Weng-Chiang; 20. August 2018. That was the day that Twitter was awash with angry outrage, either against an editorial written by Marcus Hearn in Doctor Who Magazine rehashing the old argument that Talons was a product of its time, or against the outrage itself. In particular, the one thing I kept seeing repeated was the trite “nobody knew it was racist in 1977” refrain that has dominated any discussion of the story, and the supporting evidence that The Black and White Minstrel Show was still uncontroversially broadcast as primetime entertainment in the same era.
I knew that both these arguments weren’t quite as clear cut as their supporters seemed to think, and I thought that a Black Archive would be a fantastic arena to explore that idea in.