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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

do Iranians know who Doctor Who is?

I’m catching up with last night’s Keith Olbermann now, and I just heard John Hodgman say that despite the fact that Iranians don’t know who Doctor Who is, they’re nerds because they’re Twittering their revolution.

I find this shocking. I can’t believe Iranians don’t know who Doctor Who is.

Prove John Hodgman wrong. Someone tell me you’re Iranian and know about the Doctor and the TARDIS…



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  • MaSch

    I’m not Iranian. I’m German. I only know of “Doctor Who” because of your site.

    The world of television is a dark, lonely and desperate place outside England and America.

  • AlsoKatie

    Um, well, Freema Agyeman, for one? And, okay, she’s never actually lived in Iran, but I’m guessing her family have probably seen an ep or two.

  • How much Persian mythology do you know, MaryAnn? ;-)

  • JoshB

    I love “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (Strauss, not Nietzsche) and I know the name Ahura Mazda, if that counts for anything?

  • Chris H

    Re: Persian Mythology

    “You don’t even know what a Peri is – do you, Peri? I’ll tell you. A Peri is a good and beautiful fairy in Persian mythology. But the interesting thing is that before it became good – it was evil! And that’s what you are – thoroughly EVIL!”

    — Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor, “The Twin Dilemma”

  • In re: Persian mythology – Doesn’t everyone pretty much know about Scheherazade, Djinns, and Sinbad? Also I want to say Ahriman and Ormuzd are some kind of gods or forces?

    Is my implication that Doctor Who is the equivalent importance of the underlying stories of Persian Culture? Yes. That’s what I’m implying.

  • I love “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (Strauss, not Nietzsche) and I know the name Ahura Mazda, if that counts for anything?

    Yes, it does.

    “You don’t even know what a Peri is – do you, Peri? I’ll tell you. A Peri is a good and beautiful fairy in Persian mythology. But the interesting thing is that before it became good – it was evil! And that’s what you are – thoroughly EVIL!”

    — Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor, “The Twin Dilemma”

    Heh. Good on you, Chris H.

    I forgot all about that quote. Perhaps because I wasn’t a big fan of the Colin Baker episodes.

    In re: Persian mythology – Doesn’t everyone pretty much know about Scheherazade, Djinns, and Sinbad?

    Yes, but then again most of us here in the West normally think of those entities as being part of the Arabian Nights, not Persian mythology.

    And of course, Persian and Arabian shouldn’t really considered interchangeable. At least not by anyone who expects their opinions to be taken seriously.

    Is my implication that Doctor Who is the equivalent importance of the underlying stories of Persian Culture? Yes. That’s what I’m implying.

    True. But there’s a tendency in modern Western culture to act as if the British and the Anglo-Americans have a monopoly on great storytelling.

    And of course, that isn’t necessarily so.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to see if Doctor Who is still as popular with future generations as Sinbad and Aladdin are today. Of course, none of us will be alive to find out and there’s no telling if the Doctor’s stories will experience the same changes that the Arabian Nights have undergone throughout the ages.

    But I can dream, can’t I?

  • Matthew

    Posting this a bit late, but Doctor Who is available on BBC Prime, a satellite channel, in Iran:

    http://www.orbit.net/Channels.aspx?CH=BB

    I’ve no idea how many people watch it, but some Iranians do at least have a chance to see it.

  • FeRD

    Matthew,

    Not according to the BBC Prime site at

    http://www.bbcprime.com/

    which does not include “Doctor Who” (or “Torchwood”) in its “Programmes A-Z” listing for the Iranian market. Are you sure Iranians get “Doctor Who” as part of their BBC Prime service?

    …Actually, by searching the full programming grid I was able to turn up “Doctor Who” airings. It looks like they’re just getting to halfway through Series 1, with episode 7 to show this weekend. So, if this is the first run of the new “Doctor Who” on BBC Prime, then Iranians (and audiences in other countries) may only just have started to discover the show.

    (In a way, I envy them. Chris Eccleston was incredible, for those amazing, brief 13 episodes.)

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