Doctor Who has been on the air for 50+ years. During that time on the air, the idea of the Doctor being a romantic figure had never been discussed in the early years. Recently has that idea been explored. Only in the last twenty years has the Doctor been considered the leading man in his weekly endeavors. Here I present the Doctor’s romantic escapades.
From 1963 until around 1989 the Doctor, everyone’s favorite Gallifreyan, had been everything from a father figure to a “renegade.” The year 1996 was the year writers of Who broke the mold by scripting the very first onscreen kiss. This occurred in Doctor Who: The Movie. For the first time in Whovian history, the Eighth Doctor shared a romantic moment with one of his female companions – this had never happened before. The lucky companion’s name was Grace Holloway.
Grace, however, was not the Doctor’s first love. That title would belong to Rose Tyler, a 20-something resident of London who shared a smooch with the Ninth Doctor. Through their many adventures it was obvious that Rose was falling in love with Nine; and he with her. Their kiss, while only necessary to save Rose from having her brain fried, fueled speculation and fan-fiction alike heavily. Another year would pass until this romance was revisited.
The Tenth Doctor was a bit less hard emotionally than Nine. At one point in the second season of “New Who,” the Doctor says Rose thought he was “foxy.” *Wink wink.* During an adventure in 18th century France the Doctor snogged Antoinette Poisson, also known as Madame de Pompadour. It was not until the end of season two, when Rose became stuck on a parallel Earth, that she finally revealed her love for the Doctor. However, fate intervened again when a bad connection caused the Doctor to disappear before he could reciprocate. Whovians everywhere lost it then and there.
With his hearts genuinely broken, the Doctor tried to move on with his life. He later met Martha Jones. They only shared one kiss, but it didn’t mean much…to him. To Martha it meant so many things. Unfortunately the love went unrequited and she eventually had to move on.
During his tenure as a human, in the season three episodes entitled “Human Nature,” and “The Family of Blood,” the Doctor as John Smith met and fell in love with nurse Joan Redfern. They could have had a happy and long life together. Sadly, the Doctor had to become fully Time Lord again in order to save the world from murderous aliens and his time with Joan had to end.
On an ill fated trip on a starliner cruise ship called Titanic, the Doctor met waitress Astrid Peth. Her one wish was to see the stars. He offered her a companionship. They were briefly romantically linked until fate stepped in again to keep them apart. Soon however the Doctor met his match in Donna Noble.
Donna was the one to keep him in check. They acted more like a brother-sister team than anything romantic, really. The only kiss they ever shared happened when the Doctor had been poisoned and he required a “shock” to activate the antidote. He certainly did receive a shock with that kiss! The Doctor always kept a special place in his heart for her.
During season four, the introduction of River Song was used to shake things up a bit. She claimed to know the Doctor; the Doctor did not know her at all. Whenever he would ask about her she would only respond with “Spoilers!” He never discovered her true identity. Although there was always a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that she was someone important to him.
We now return to Rose Tyler. She came back into his life when the Daleks stole Earth at the end of season four. The Doctor finally professed his love to her in the form of his clone who came about as a sort of “metacrisis.” Rose ended up getting what she wanted after all. The clone stayed with her on parallel Earth. Also, as a gift to the happy couple, the Doctor gave a piece of his TARDIS to them so that they could continue going on their own adventures.
In season five the Doctor regenerated and this time he did not have has many periods of romanticism. At one point his companion Amy Pond made out with him until the Doctor stopped her because she was getting married the next day. Only a couple of more times did this happen. The Doctor even kissed Amy’s husband, Rory, at his stag do. Nothing too major.
In “A Christmas Carol,” one of the Who Christmas specials, the Doctor becomes accidentally engaged to Marilyn Monroe. Not much is known about that because it was a passing scene in the episode. The big bombshell of seasons five and six come from the exploration of the relationship between the Eleventh Doctor and Dr. River Song. Their relationship is strained at first. Later on it becomes something even more complicated.
Let me break this down quickly for you. River Song is actually Melody Pond, the daughter of Rory and Amy. River grew up, brainwashed, as the Doctor’s assassin. She later fell in love with him after knowing him for years (literally years because they always got their time streams mixed. It was insanity.) They later got married near the end of season six. Of all the relationships the Doctor has had, the one with River is the most difficult and complicated to understand – let alone explain.
After the Ponds and River had all left, the Doctor was never romantically linked again. Neither with Clara Oswald or other women he came into contact with. In his twelfth regeneration, he has become less emotionally attached to anything or anyone, and even a bit distant. This may be best for him at this stage of his lives. This may even be a personal choice of his, too.
The Doctor has led many crazy lives and shared it with sometimes equally crazy people (i.e. Romana II and Leela). His romantic endeavors may have been few and far between, but they meant something to him. He may never mention again with whom he has snogged or been with – like Elizabeth I! – but he has loved them equally with both of his hearts.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Whovians!