Dr Who fans are in seventh heaven this year with all of the modern series being played at 7.30 weeknights on ABC 2. We are being treated to lashings of The Doctor in his modern glory with all three ‘new’ doctors featuring this year. I must take this opportunity to say that Matt Smith has finally grown on me as The Doctor. It took a long time for me to say good-bye to David Tennant.
Currently, we have the second series of Dr Who featuring David Tennant in his first season. It’s Billie Piper’s (character Rose Tyler) second season and she does a truly magnificent job. She’s the girl who keeps the Doctor honest, showing her street smarts and her connection with family in every episode. Rose is the champion of the underdog and appears to have compassion in boundless quantities.
The Doctor whisked Rose away from her life on a London estate to roam the universes in search of danger and excitement. Some of my favourite episodes though are the ones where the Doctor visits the past. “Tooth and Claw” is the second episode in the second series and the Doctor and Rose travel to 1879 Scotland. There they meet Queen Victoria who is about to find a spot of trouble with a werewolf. This week has seen “The Girl in the Fireplace”, an episode based around the life of Madame de Pompadour in France, 1727. This was a captivating episode, made more so by the beauty and grace of Sophia Myles who plays Reinette Poisson.
Romance underpins many episodes in the Doctor Who series. It is clear that Rose is besotted with her travelling companion and I believe that amongst all the companions throughout his long life, it is Rose who sits highest in the Doctor’s affections. He will do anything for her except settle down. That life is not for him. He tells her he won’t watch her grow old and die. Rose has already given up everything that once mattered to her to be with the Doctor.
Early in series two, we meet a past companion of the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, and realise that here is another woman he has loved and left behind. Rose is shown her future and struggles with the likelihood that one day the Doctor will leave her too. The companion who follows Rose is Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). After well over a year of service at the Doctor’s side, Martha parts from his company as she too has fallen in love with him. It is very clear to her that Rose is still uppermost in his thoughts and she, Martha, can only be second best.
The Doctor’s next companion is Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) who is unique amongst companions for not falling in love with him. (Although was she really kidding herself?) The Doctor and Donna share an amiable rivalry and he admires her greatly however Donna is possibly too abrasive a personality to ever be considered as a love interest. Never the less, Catherine Tate portrayed an intriguing companion and her episodes with Tennant are some of the most enjoyable.
The latest companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) leapt onto our screens with the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Amy was definitely infatuated with the Doctor early on though it soon became clear that her heart lay with Rory. Another indefatigable woman, Amy takes the lead while the new incarnation of the time lord finds his feet.
And then there are the other women in the Doctor’s life. Most recently, this week in fact, the enchanting Madame de Pompadour stole the Doctor’s heart. She called him her ‘lonely angel’ and he visited her over the years of her life, rescuing her from clockwork androids when she was 37 and at the height of her power. He was willing to be trapped with her, never again to roam, but Reinette conceived a way to send her ‘lonely angel’ back to Rose.
River Song (Alex Kingston) is the unforgettable future wife of the Doctor, the woman he finally says ‘yes’ to. She is a fellow time traveler and keeps meeting the Doctor out of sync so that he has no real idea of her significance in his life. From an audience perspective, the Doctor’s first meeting with River is her last with him, so as he gets to know her better in ensuing episodes, she is less familiar with him. The bulk of her relationship is with the Matt Smith incarnation of the time lord.
The TARDIS is another of the Doctor’s loves; his ship, old and unreliable, with a core that is alive with the spirit of a woman. This spirit does actually inhabit the body of a human in the 2011 episode “The Doctor’s Wife” and we get an insight into the relationship between the time lord and his machine. A recurring plot point in the series is the habit the Doctor has of getting both the place and year of his destination wrong. In this episode, the TARDIS reveals that her intervention has often been the cause of these mistakes so that she could get the Doctor where he needed to be.
Last but certainly not least is Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman. He first meets Rose in an episode set in London in the Blitz. He rescues her and attempts to sweep her off her feet but it is the Doctor who really traps his loyalty. The Doctor instantly knows Jack is bisexual but it takes Rose a little longer to realize that when it comes to sex, Jack swings both ways. Regardless of his preferences, the unforgettable dimpled smile of the swashbuckling Captain Jack will have fed the fantasies of many a viewer, male and female.
As a bit of fun, I’ve decided to announce some Doctor Who Romance Awards
Most Romantic Doctor – David Tennant series 2,3 and 4
Most Romantic Female Companion– Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) series 3
Most Romantic Male Companion– John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) series 1, episode 9 “The Empty Child”
Most Romantic Guest Appearance– Sophia Myles (Madame de Pompadour) series 2, episode 4 “The Girl in the Fireplace”
Most Riveting Antagonist– Anthony Head (Mr Finch) series 2, episode 3 “School Reunion”
These awards cover only the modern series, encompassing doctors 9,10 and 11. Please feel free to respond with your ‘Most Romantic’ awards from the series or add other awards to the list.