Richard Nixon was my favorite person from history to appear. I am a little bit biased being American, but I loved the portrayal of Nixon.
It is 1969, his first year of presidency. He’s already lost an election to be president before in 1960 to John F. Kennedy and to be governor of California just two years later in 1962. So, of course, Nixon is a little bit on edge about being the leader of the biggest power in the world. He is about to escalate the amount of soldiers being sent to Vietnam, a move STRONGLY opposed by many of the America people, overseeing a space program that he doesn’t necessarily support, and now has Jefferson Adams Hamilton direct calling him every night. His bumbling and at times very awkward personality is brought out by all this, and the show does a brilliant (hey, Nine!) job at doing this.
His mannerisms and trust of The Doctor go perfect in his era of presidency. When being certain that Jefferson is indeed a boy just by his name showed all the nervousness and stress that Nixon had, which led him to have to try and prove he is better than everyone around him. Nixon also took office right at the end of a huge social reform taking place in the States with the Civil Rights movement. While the nation was starting to warm up to African Americans having more rights, the expression Nixon gives after Canton declares he wants to marry a black man very accurately summarizes the immense changes that had occurred in the nation in just a few short years. The scene in the space center when talking about having “a healthy American” as a baby and making the statement that he is commander-in-chief was great due to the strong patriotism at the time due to the Vietnam and Cold Wars. Also, due to the Cold War, there was indeed a direct hotline to the President - one from Moscow in the middle of the Soviet Union. Receiving these calls would only make it worse for Nixon knowing that only the Soviets had any way of contacting him directly. Having The Doctor make sense of the phone calls would only naturally make Nixon trust him, albeit a little bit, since Nixon didn’t need any more global problems on his plate at the time.
Of course, the best part about having Nixon in the episode was alluding to the fact that the Watergate scandal was by no means the first time Nixon had conversations taped in the Oval Office. It is quite ironic, really. One of Nixon’s best choices while in office was to tape a conversation he was having on the telephone. Then, of course, his worst mistake was being in the Oval Office and being taped having a conversation about covering up a scandal he was involved in.
“Oh, Dickie. Tricky Dickie. They’re never going to forget you. Say ‘hi’ to David Frost for me.”