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6 Doctor Who Love Stories That Proved The “No Romance” Rule Wrong

Summary

  • Doctor Who may not prioritize romance, but there have been instances where the Doctor has had love interests, like Rose Tyler and Madame De Pompadour.
  • The Doctor’s relationship with humans, such as Joan Redfern and River Song, showed that the Doctor can fall in love, even when disguised as a human.
  • The TARDIS is another love interest for the Doctor, as it has been the Time Lord’s constant companion and even took on a physical form in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife.”


While Doctor Who‘s primary function is not romance, there have been plenty of stories that prove that the Doctor’s “no romance” rule isn’t always true. Since the hit sci-fi show’s 2005 reboot, the Doctor has had all manner of romantic encounters, both with companions and otherwise. But, with an age difference of usually centuries, romance isn’t always on the cards for the Time Lord. With fifteen Doctors and counting, it’s no surprise that the topic of love made an appearance from time to time, even if brief.

Even though the Doctor tends to steer clear of romance, as a relationship with a time traveler tends to get complicated, there have been some instances that prove otherwise. While it could be assumed the Doctor was married at some point on Gallifrey, hence the existence of their first companion and granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford), the Time Lord has since had minimal romantic interaction. Even though romance isn’t a priority for them, there have been times when the Doctor has had a love interest.

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6 The Tenth Doctor And Rose Tyler

The Doctor’s Adoration For His Pink And Yellow Human

The Tenth Doctor’s (David Tennant) love for Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) resulted in one of the show’s most heartbreaking moments upon Piper’s departure from Doctor Who in 2006. The relationship between the Doctor and Rose became even stronger after his regeneration, and she even saw him sit down for Christmas dinner with her family. Even though Rose was still technically with Mickey (Noel Clarke) during some of this time, it didn’t stop the two from blossoming in their way.

Although Rose’s return from the parallel world could be argued as being reckless, she did so to warn the Doctor about the incoming darkness, and without her, the universe would have been destroyed by the Reality Bomb. Rose remained in the Doctor’s mind, and hearts, hence her return to the show on more than one occasion. Not only did the Tenth Doctor go back to say goodbye to her before regenerating in “The End of Time Part 2,” alongside several other of his old friends, but the Moment also took the form of Rose, or the Bad Wolf, in the 50th-anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.”

5 The Tenth Doctor And Rose Tyler

A Love Story Across Time In 18th Century France

10 and Madame de Pompadour in the episode The Girl in the Fireplace

Season 2 saw the Doctor cross paths with Madame De Pompadour (Sophia Myles), who was the first, but definitely not the last, of this incarnation’s romances with a historical figure. The Tenth Doctor also embarked on a somewhat marriage with Queen Elizabeth I (Joanna Page), which was first hinted at in “The End of Time Part 1” and then seen on-screen in “The Day of the Doctor.” De Pompadour fell for the Doctor but her side of the relationship spanned her entire life, while the Doctor only a matter of hours, as he jumped through several windows of time disguised as various ornate fireplaces.

Their relationship never fully came to fruition, as she died before the Doctor was able to take her away in the TARDIS with him. Despite this, however, Reinette’s death had quite an impact on him. Even Rose got jealous, which proves just how invested the Doctor was in Madame De Pompadour.

4 The Tenth Doctor/John Smith And Joan Redfern

The Doctor’s Human Counterpart Fell In Love With The Matron

The Tenth Doctor as John Smith kissing Joan Redfern in his study

While it could be argued that the Doctor’s relationship with Joan Redfern (Jessica Hynes) was a Doctor Who romance that backfired, it also proved that the Doctor could indeed fall in love, even through the guise that he was a human. Despite truly believing he was John Smith, his falling for the Matron could have been easily diverted by the underlying Time Lord. However, it wasn’t, which only proves that the Doctor himself was also invested in the human woman.

John Smith was absolutely heartbroken at Martha’s (Freema Aygeman) begging to release the Doctor from the pocket watch. This was especially devastating, as he had seen a flash of his future with Joan, which involved marriage, children, and eventually dying of old age with her by his side. When the Doctor did regain his consciousness, Joan turned down his offer to join him and Martha in the TARDIS, and like he had many times in his lifetimes, was forced to accept his fate and move on.

3 The Eleventh Doctor And River Song

A Timey Wimey Marriage

The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and River Song’s (Alex Kingston) relationship is one that spanned multiple incarnations for both of them. The Time Lord and Lady both met when they were rather young, with the Doctor meeting River (on-screen) in his tenth incarnation in the season 4 episode “Silence in the Library,” and River meeting the Doctor as a newborn Melody Pond in “A Good Man Goes To War.” It could be argued that River was the Doctor’s one true love, the two’s timelines interwoven in a hauntingly beautiful way that would lead to River’s death in the library.

Despite him being aware of her fate, the Doctor still defended and protected her as best as he could. Not that River ever needed it, and often, the Doctor needed her assistance more than she needed him. River had a significant impact on the Doctor, arguably more than any previous people in the Time Lord’s lives, and the two’s romance only ended because of River’s death.

2 The Eleventh Doctor And The TARDIS

The Legendary Ship Once Took A Physical Form

The TARDIS, in the body of Idris, saying goodbye to the Doctor

Other than River, the Doctor’s other great love of his life was the TARDIS. In the season 6 episode “The Doctor’s Wife,” the TARDIS’ consciousness was hosted by the body of Idris (Suranne Jones). Despite her unusual behavior and his taking a moment to realize who the woman in front of him was, sparks quickly began to fly between The TARDIS and the Eleventh Doctor. The TARDIS was the only consistent companion of the Time Lord in Doctor Who‘s 60-year run, and his ultimate best friend, despite the many passengers that boarded her over the years.

Much like River, the Doctor knew that Idris had a limited life span, as her body was unable to host the TARDIS’ matrix for too long. Even with this knowledge, the Time Lord was still determined to do whatever he could to save her and return her to the ship. The TARDIS is unique in the Doctor’s romances and is only one of two of his loves to tell him the words “I love you,” the other being Rose. While the Doctor has made the “you’ve redecorated” joke on more than one occasion, this change in TARDIS design was rather emotional for him.

1 The Twelfth Doctor And River Song

Their Marriage Lasted Through The Doctor’s Incarnations

While River’s relationship, at least on-screen, was primarily with the Eleventh Doctor, she also spent some time with the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi). The festive special “The Husbands of River Song” was the first instance in which she crossed paths with this version of the Time Lord, so she didn’t initially recognize him. This episode showed just how strong their marriage was, especially as the Doctor saw how comfortable she was with using the TARDIS despite her believing he wasn’t around.

It also proved that, regardless of their places in their Doctor Who timelines, the Doctor always considered River his wife. The Doctor ended the episode by spending 24 years on Darillium with her, even going back in time to make sure that a restaurant was built for them to go to. It was known that the last time River saw the Doctor was at the Towers of Darillium, and even though it likely killed him to know that her death was coming, he made sure that her last encounter with him was one to remember.

  • Doctor Who Poster

    Doctor Who

    Summary:
    As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe.

    Release Date:
    1963-11-23

    Cast:
    Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi

    Writers:
    Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall

    Seasons:
    26

    Genres:
    Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

    Franchise:
    Doctor Who

    Story By:
    Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson

    Network:
    BBC

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