47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #22: Best Romance

Welcome to Day 22 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So we spin the Random Number Generator, and eventually it lands on 47.  But then I look at what I came up with a while ago as a topic for that number, and I decide I don’t really like it.  So I decide to save “47” for the end of this series, and I’ll do something a little different for it.  So after a few more spins, we get 43, which means the topic of the day is

“Best Romance”

Thinking about this, the obvious one to choose would be Amy & Rory, who were the companions in some of my favorite episodes of the modern Doctor Who.  But then I remembered Danny Pink and Clara, which I really enjoyed because I thought Danny was a refreshing change of character from what we had seen previously in the companions boyfriends (eg. Mickey Smith, and early Rory).

Others might think the only choice here is the Doctor and River Song, which I could understand.  But whilst I think River is an interesting character, I’m not particularly smitten the whole romance aspect of the relationship.  For others, the only meaning pairing on the show might be the Doctor and Rose, but for me that was interesting at the time but has been quickly forgotten.

In the end, I realized that there was one romantic relationship that I found more engaging than any other:

Joan Redfern and John Smith in Human Nature / The Family of Blood

“Who?” asks anyone who hasn’t seen this episode.  Which is ridiculous because what are you doing reading a post about Doctor Who when you haven’t seen the Human Nature two-parter from 2007?  It’s an amazing piece of work, written by Paul Cornell and featuring an engaging plot in which the Doctor must disguise himself as a human being in order to escape a threat.  It’s not enough to be hidden from others, so he actually creates a whole persona and superimposes it upon his memory, becoming “John Smith,” a teacher from Ireland who falls in love with the widowed nurse at a boarding school.

David Tennant and Jessica Hynes make the simple romance understated but compelling.  John Smith is a more emotionally open and, frankly, a kinder man than the Time Lord, so it’s particularly heartbreaking to see him eventually give away his life and his future in order to become the Doctor again.  The glimpse of that future that we get is quite a lovely one, and represents a joy and a simplicity that the Doctor will never truly know.

Click here for a master list for this series.


2 thoughts on “47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #22: Best Romance

  1. This might be a controversial opinion, but I think my favourite “romance” was the relationship between the Twelfth Doctor and Clara. Obviously there was no such explicit romance and it requires a degree reading-in of the text to find such a romance, but I think that an unspoken romantic connection between Twelve and Clara was the subtext of their relationship by the time we got to the end of Series 9. I mean, the Doctor doesn’t spend 4 billion years punching through an Azbantium wall and then threaten to rip all of time and space apart for someone who’s only a good buddy. He wouldn’t have done that, say, for Martha or Adric or even Sarah-Jane. Their relationship was undoubtedly intensely intimate and passionate and I can’t see that there wasn’t a romantic element to it. And the reason I say it’s my favourite romance of the series is because, unlike the other romances we’ve seen, it’s all under the surface and unspoken, it’s all about what’s not said rather than what is, and to that end it’s really effective and emotionally involving (for me anyway).

    But my favourite *explicit* romance would be Amy and Rory, which was also really well-written.

  2. I guess it depends on what your definition of “romantic” is. Personally, I’d not classify it as such. Are all intensely close relationships “romantic”? Eg you can have close parent-child, close siblings, extremely close friends. Granted, the 12th Doctor and Clara are unusually close. But then, the Doctor is also unusually lonely, especially in his old age.

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