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Romance in Doctor Who: "Doth the Director Protest too Much"?

Romance in Doctor Who: Doth the Director Protest too Much?
by Olga A.


Dr Who. For me, he was an essential part of being a teenager in Britain. How can one forget the iconic scarf, the slightly ruffled hair, the magic of the Tardis (the question of fitting so much inside a humble phone box has led many a lackadaisical student to become more or less interested in physics), and, of course, the Daleks. Don’t even get me started on the quaintness of the original 1960s series (which I admittedly did not see until much later) – it was the adorable smile of David Tennant that has drawn me to eagerly follow all the latest adventures of the mysterious epoch-crossing Time Lord. And yes, being Dr Who’s assistant seemed way more interesting than being a Bond Girl, for example – you don’t get to die as much, for one point!

Certainly, it might perhaps show me as a typical child of the current era, but like a great deal of you out there, I love the new series. The fans of the older series would remember them fondly, and perhaps be unkind towards the new, but in my extremely humble opinion, the new series have the liveliness and zest that make them more life-like, and hence, more interesting to watch, whereas the older version would be slightly kookier and more theatrical… and henceforth, a tad difficult to truly believe in.

So possibly this opinion is different from that of W. Hussein, the original director of the Dr Who series. During “The Reunion” program on Radio 4, he lamented the fact that “sexuality has crept in” during the course of the new series. Whether you agree with Mr Hussein or disagree, his point remains true and valid: in the original series, the Doctor was a somewhat Lovecraftian, otherworldly, and essentially closed character – it was mainly the story in itself that drew the viewers towards the television screens. The modern Doctor, in the meantime (yes, I am still thinking of David Tennant), is first and foremost a character in his own right – we watch the show since we care about what happens to him, and not just simply interested in seeing what will happen next. And since he is supposed to be a genuine and credible character (in order to become an iconic TV presence!), he must be allowed a story of his own – which yes, may include romantic or even sexual elements. Many may insist that the laconic understatement about who (or what) was the Doctor in the original series at the beginning is the right way to do it – yet it seems that the sheer believability of the Doctor as a character, which he has acquired in the recent decades, and the more “human” side to him would in turn make him more memorable – and more likeable as well.

Do you agree that there has been an excess of the romantic plot-line introduced into the Dr Who series recently?

For the original article, see here.

Forever Alone?
Forever Alone?

About the Contributing Reporter: Olga A.
Hailing from the swirling mists of London, I am a freelance journalist in my free time, and a huge fan of J R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” as well as an admirer of the “Game of Thrones,” a worshiper of H P Lovecraft, a follower of R. Howard, a Star Wars aficionado and an Ursula Le Guin enthusiast. My other favourite things include Middle Eastern dance (sometimes somewhat discourteously referred to as “belly” dancing), Yoga, sunsets over the dreaming spires of Oxford and plush owls. Oh, and green tea too.

About reuben

Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, and Italian rapier.


  1. The romantic elements in the new seasons don’t really bother me that much – it adds another layer of characterization and interesting humor at times. Sometimes it feels forced though, like with the doctor’s wife storyline.

    The doctor has always struck me as Asexual (or not interested in crossing species’ boundaries) – but that doesn’t mean that his companions should be asexual. Early on in the new version, one of the reasons that the Doctor said he was fascinated with humans because they went out and screwed every alien they met, making many new fascinating species.

    IMO, it’s something that needs good writing, and they’ve done an all right job of it so far. It’s different, but different doesn’t automatically mean that it’s bad.

  2. There were some mild romantic references in the classic series: First Doctor’s involvement with the Aztec woman, and his granddaughter’s romance with a human man, for instance. And some vague sexual references, for comic effect, such as when Second Doctor and Jamie accidentally take one another’s hands thinking they had hold of Zoey. But the series was presented as a children’s fare at the time. For this reason there wasn’t really any reason to include more grown-up ideas of romance and sex.

    The reboot was definitely not presented as merely children’s fare, and so raised the bar with regard to romance. Yet, even with the inclusion of romance and sexual reference, it remains a family oriented show. I see very little difference between the new series and say, the 1960’s Star Trek series, as far as sex and romance, and it was strictly censored by the network. The only difference, in fact, is the frequent reference to same-sex couples… something that would never have gotten past the censors in the 60’s but which is an everyday occurrence in modern TV.

    I don’t think they’ve gone too far at all. I think it adds just enough grown-up sensibility and believability to make it appeal to a wider audience. The addition of great special effects and music makes it a first-rate, modern show. And the stories are still fascinating!

  3. I read somewhere they don’t want the notion of the Doctor ever breeding which is silly cos he has a granddaughter! Alien or not, Time Lords aren’t exempt from some form of procreating. As for companions who are married it would be pretty abnormal if Amy & Rory didn’t smooch lol