Tim Knight challenged me thus:
I challenge you to come up with a modern Doctor Who scenario set in North Korea ... that doesn't feature Tr*mp or some 'twist' like Kim Jong-un is a slitheen ;-)
I think Team America: World Police pretty much covered that twist. :D
For North Korea specifically, the Doctor would normally find a pretext to overthrow a dictatorship or unite a divided people, but since we can’t just do that in real life...
Kim Jong-il went after advanced technologies, which makes for obvious “unscrupulous people try to exploit aliens and/or dangerously unfamiliar technology” stories, but those are indeed obvious.
My usual trick here is looking up local history and mythology - which in this case led me to discover a South Korean hit TV show with Train To Busan star Gong Yoo playing an immortal protector sometimes called the Great And Lonely God. So if you want a Korean version of the Doctor that’s an option too!
Let’s focus on something at ground level, with relatable people on all levels.
The Iron Eater
Miners going deep in the North Korean mountains find their equipment breaking down, apparently corroding overnight. The overseer cracks down to increase productivity - himself worried about the response from the capital if the mine’s quotas fall too far behind. A veteran miner old enough to know the old myths of monsters refers to Bulgasari, a monster who eats iron - and in exchange it fights nightmares.
Is an old, forgotten bargain still in effect? Can the travellers and the miners find a way to communicate with the creature and find out why it’s sabotaging the dig before the central authorities move in? And is there something worse waiting in the depths?
(The creature also appears in a film Kim Jong-il had made by kidnapped South Korean director Shin Sang-ok.)