TARDIS Index File

Christopher Isherwood

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Christopher Isherwood was an early-20th century writer whom the Doctor and Iris Wildthyme met in Berlin before he reached fame. At that time, he was living on the Nollendorfstrasse, with "that terrible floozy" who sang and kept trying to have sex him — "and poor Chris was only there in the city for the boys."

The Doctor forgot this encounter by an adventure in his eighth incarnation, but remembered another account with the man in a picnic in a dusty valley with Bertrand Russell, Aldous Huxley and Greta Garbo. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)

Jack Harkness claimed to have once known Isherwood and that the two "cruised" the Kurfurstendamm together. Jack quoted him as having said, "I'm a camera" and "It's not the getting in; it's the getting out." (TV: Reset)

The Eighth Doctor gave the full camera quote, from Goodbye to Berlin, 1939: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed." (PROSE: History 101)

Behind the scenes Edit

Iris' comment is a direct reference to an early line in Isherwood's autobiography, Christopher and his Kind:

As to why I went [to Berlin] in the first place, my friend Wystan Auden was there, and encouraged me to join him. I could say that I went there because of what was happening politically, but in fact I went because of the boys. To me, Berlin meant boys.

In the BBC adaptation of Christopher and His Kind, Matt Smith played the lead character of Isherwood himself. He acted alongside Toby Jones as Gerald Hamilton.

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