The Black Archive #13 Human Nature/Family of Blood

Naomi Jacobs, Philip Purser-Hallard

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Even in one of 21st-century Doctor Who’s more complex seasons, Human Nature / The Family of Blood (2007) is a standout story: a narrative with mythic ambitions, which illuminates the true nature and character of the Doctor through the courage and failings of his unknowing human alter ego, John Smith.

Uniquely, the story is also an adaptation of an original Doctor Who novel, scriptwriter Paul Cornell’s Human Nature (1996). Though no specific incidents, and few characters, remain the same, the adaptation is remarkably faithful given the given the differing demands of context, era and medium. Both versions deal with war and trauma, humanity and the alien, school and family, though sometimes with differing emphases. In particular, the treatment of pacifism and the claims of World War I to be a ‘just war’ changes significantly.

As the story of a ‘god’ who becomes human and must sacrifice his life to save the world, the two-parter also opens up questions of theology unusual in Doctor Who, which add an extra dimension to the overall season arc, and to the development of the character of David Tennant’s Doctor.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages181
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Publication series

NameThe Black Archive
PublisherObverse Books


Dive into the research topics of 'The Black Archive #13 Human Nature/Family of Blood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this