Bechdel Test Follow-Up

So, the response to my post earlier this week was overwhelming in terms of numbers (656 unique visitors and counting!) and in quality (everyone has been so lovely!).

I’ve even received a mention from those fabulous people over at Kasterborous! (To answer their question: I don’t know… the same as I’d do for Alpha Centauri if I ever decide whether their conversation with Jo counts?)

I’d also promised a follow up and I promised multiple people that I’d post my data set.

So here goes.

Firstly, we’ve seen the division according to regeneration and companion. How has it developed over time, though?

Taking averages per season yields the following graph (as always, I apologise for my lack of infographing skills):

Bechdel Test Seasons

So you see that rates are especially erratic during the Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctor-eras, with it starting to climb again during the Sixth Doctor. I’ll leave it to you all to speculate over what caused these fluctuations (if anything).

I also promised a few nice tables with rates for producers, script editors and writers. So here goes.

Producer Percentages
Verity Lambert 94.25%
Barry Letts 65.23%
Derrick Sherwin 71.43%
Graham Williams 76.92%
Innes Lloyd 63.64%
John Nathan-Turner 74.73%
John Wiles 33.33%
Peter Bryant 83.93%
Philip Hinchcliffe 35.29%
Philip Segal 0.00%
Script Editor Percentages
Andrew Cartmel 100.00%
Anthony Read 76.47%
Antony Root 100.00%
Christopher H. Bidmead 66.67%
David Whitaker 100.00%
Dennis Spooner 100.00%
Derrick Sherwin 88.10%
Donald Tosh 27.59%
Douglas Adams 81.25%
Eric Saward 62.77%
Gerry Davis 74.60%
John Nathan-Turner 100.00%
Peter Bryant 33.33%
Robert Holmes 42.86%
Terrance Dicks 64.53%
Victor Pemberton 100.00%
Writer* Percentages
Andrew Smith 100.00%
Anthony Coburn 100.00%
Anthony Read 100.00%
Anthony Steven 0.00%
Barbara Clegg 100.00%
Ben Aaronovitch 100.00%
Bill Strutton 100.00%
Bob Baker 36.84%
Brian Hayles 60.00%
Chris Boucher 66.67%
Christopher Bailey 100.00%
Christopher H. Bidmead 100.00%
David Ellis 100.00%
David Fisher 100.00%
David Whitaker 83.33%
Dennis Spooner 71.43%
Derrick Sherwin 100.00%
Don Houghton 53.85%
Donald Cotton 100.00%
Douglas Adams 57.14%
Elwyn Jones 100.00%
Eric Pringle 100.00%
Eric Saward 73.33%
Geoffrey Orme 100.00%
Gerry Davis 0.00%
Glen McCoy 0.00%
Glyn Jones 100.00%
Graeme Curry 100.00%
Graham Williams 100.00%
Ian Briggs 100.00%
Ian Stuart Black 66.67%
John Flanagan 100.00%
John Lucarotti 73.33%
Johnny Byrne 66.67%
Kevin Clarke 100.00%
Kit Pedler 33.33%
Louis Marks 46.67%
Malcolm Hulke 100.00%
Malcolm Kohle 100.00%
Marc Platt 100.00%
Matthew Jacobs 0.00%
Mervyn Haisman 64.71%
Paul Erickson 100.00%
Paula Moore 100.00%
Peter Grimwade 66.67%
Peter Ling 0.00%
Peter R. Newman 100.00%
Philip Martin 100.00%
Pip and Jane Baker 100.00%
Robert Banks Stewart 60.00%
Robert Holmes 44.44%
Robert Sloman 52.17%
Rona Munro 100.00%
Stephen Gallagher 50.00%
Stephen Wyatt 100.00%
Terence Dudley 75.00%
Terrance Dicks 63.16%
Terry Nation 64.75%
Victor Pemberton 100.00%
William Emms 100.00%

*For writers, these rates are calculated for the first writer mentioned on this wikipedia page. The italicised writers are those who have written more than one serial. I must say I was pleasantly surprised as some writers’ especially high scores; Aaronovitch, Bidmead, Fisher, Briggs, Hulke, Martin, Pip and Jane Baker, and Wyatt all scored 100% while writing multiple serials. Furthermore, all the female writers (all three of them: Clegg, Munro, and Jane Baker) all scored 100%. Though I am disappointed to see there’s only one female writer who’s written more than one serial, and that in collaboration with her husband.

I suppose it’s also somewhat unsurprising to see that the only female producer (Verity Lambert) has the highest pass rate at 94.25%.

But all in all the scores are not horrible. Especially not for a science fiction/fantasy show from 1963 with an audience that seems, even these days, to still be predominantly male. Perhaps the female contingent (and it is growing, going by what I see at conventions) is just a bit less vocal.

The overall score, by the way, is 69.69%. Which at most universities would make it up for debate whether it passes at Distinction or Merit level. But this is also ridiculously similar to the findings of post-2005 Who – so it seems then that things aren’t getting much better.

So here then is my cleaned up, suitable for public consumption, data file. If I’ve made any mistakes, do please point them out to me – this has been an after-work project so some serials have been watched in states of near-unconsciousness. Doctor Who Bechdel Test File. If you’re also a fan of spreadsheets, all I can say is, ENJOY.


Author: Ilse A Ras

There are times when I am doing research on crime news and language; sometimes I'm obsessed, sometimes I'm bored, and sometimes my tea is getting cold.

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