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Exploding pens, police boxes and time-warping transvestites: the search for the UK’s favourite screen scientist
TARDIS image courtesy of BBC
Doctor Who is about to face his toughest challenge, battling an old man with an exploding pen, a despotic madman with a penchant for ill-tempered sea bass, and a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. Not a plotline from the new series of Doctor Who (planned for next year), but a search to find the UK’s favourite screen scientist.

The vote, launched on 20 July by and the BA, is to tie in with the theme of this year’s BA Festival of Science, ‘the responsibility of being a scientist’. Voters will be able to take part online at where they can choose from a top ten list of screen scientists including Mr Spock, Dana Scully, Q and Dr Strangelove.

“The return of Doctor Who next year shows his enduring popularity,” says James Goss of BBC Cult. “It will be interesting to see who comes top, though – in our straw poll, it certainly wasn’t the Doctor. In the world of science fiction, nothing is predictable.”

“It is interesting that not all of these characters are the archetypal ‘mad scientist’,” says Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA. “Some, such as the Doctor and Dana Scully are clearly on the side of good. Some, however, are forced to face the consequences of their actions, whether it is having created a monster or having brought about the end of the world.”

The top 10 list to be voted on is:
Beaker and Dr. Honeydew (Muppets)
Dana Scully (X Files)
Dr Evil (Austin Powers)
Dr Frankenstein
Dr Strangelove
Dr Who
Emmet Brown (Back to the Future)
Frank-N-Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Mr Spock (Star Trek)
Q (James Bond)

The vote will run until 20 August, with the results being announced at the start of the BA Festival of Science (4-11 September) in Exeter.