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Published on May 15th, 2014 | by Rebecca Crockett

No More “Flirting” For The Doctor?

When Doctor Who returned in 2005, one goal of the show was that with youthful, archetypal characters it might appeal to a younger audience, one who hadn’t grown up watching the adventures of the Doctor and his companions, maybe even gaining fans that were not even born when the show was originally canceled. 

With the reboot came the introduction of romance into the show – the Doctor seeming to fall for a 19 year old girl who was just as crazy about him. A strong and confident woman who was sexually aware and loved to flirt with the Doctor, who, in his own quirky, awkward way, flirted right back.

Some fans of the show have worried that the Doctor was no longer the man they knew – “their” Doctor would never act in such a way. And now that the next man to play the character was someone who was older (in fact the oldest man to ever inhabit the role) there were fears that he would be just as flirty and romance-minded with his current companion, who by human standards looks to be less than half his age!

But head writer Steven Moffat has possibly allayed those fears. In an interview with Radio Times, Moffat has said that Capaldi’s Doctor won’t be like the other most recent incarnations of the man.

[Capaldi's incarnation of the Time Lord] goes back to being the trickier version of the Doctor, the fierce alien wanderer. He’s not a human being, however much he larks around pretending he is. He is different and it’s time to stop play-acting. He’s not apologising, he’s not flirting with you – that’s over.

Moffat also added that while Capaldi is older than his past counterparts, that doesn’t mean he is all serious.

I always thought Matt, while a very young man, had something of the demeanour of a much older man, whereas Peter is a man in his 50s but is terribly boyish and young at times.

As a newer fan of the show, I really haven’t minded the romance aspect that has been added. It isn’t always part of the story and personally I think it shows another side of the Doctor, more about why he so truly seems to care for  humanity. I really enjoyed the times we’ve gotten to see the Doctor and River Song together and I am very much hoping that we get to see Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston play off each other at least once. River always seemed to be one of the few humans that was an equal of the Doctor for all of his ability and intelligence, and it would be nice to see her with a man that she didn’t immediately make awkward and befuddled!

(via Yahoo TV UK and Digital Spy)

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About the Author

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Rebecca is new to the Who world, having only recently watched the entire new series in a span of 8 days. She is no stranger to sci-fi though, being a life long Trekkie and has vague memories of seeing the 4th Doctor on US television as a child. When not watching, reading, blogging, or talking about Doctor Who, she is a fan of pop culture and loves movies and books so much she has to keep a list of both so she doesn't forget any of them. She also likes to make attempts at various forms of art including photography and painting. Rebecca is currently working her way through as many classic serials and as many books related to the show that she can find and wishes she could have been with the Doctor and Amy when they met Van Gogh.




23 Responses to No More “Flirting” For The Doctor?

  1. avatar Harry M VanHoudnos says:

    I think that getting rid of Romance aboard the TARDIS is a good idea. I have no problem with friendship, but romance should not be in the show. The Doctor IS NOT HUMAN! He is a alien, and any idea of a child between the Doctor and a human female would take a lot of work to create and raise.

  2. avatar Ranger says:

    Thank God. Was so fed up with the flirting with anything that moved. I’m not saying he can’t express affection, but give the flirting and snogging a rest.

  3. avatar DonnaM says:

    it’s perfectly possible to care very much about someone without having any romantic/passionate sentiments toward them at all; as far as I’m concerned the Doctor has always been deeply fond of his companions – loved them, even – but he’s not needed to test out their tonsils to “prove” it.

    Do I consider him asexual? No; I honestly don’t mind the odd flirtatious moment with a one-off character; in fact, as a snub to those under the age of 40 who’d find it horrifying, I’d quite like one of those for Twelve :-)

    However, if the days of making eyes across the TARDIS console are behind us – Hoo-flipping-ray!


    • I’m 30 and I find it delicious. ;)

      • avatar DonnaM says:

        here’s hope for the younger generation (I’m 45) after all!

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Puts you in the younger generation, DonnaM. I’m 52!

          • avatar DonnaM says:

            Thanks TonyS. I work with a pair of twenty-somethings who frequently make me feel like a Victorian relic!

    • avatar CosmicDebris says:

      I agree with you 100%…though “making eyes across the TARDIS console” did happen prior to 2005, they just stayed at that distance, lol. I’m fine with romance in the show, I don’t think it was really all THAT ubiquitous, but certain themes did get a little tiresome.

  4. avatar redflagwalks says:

    lets get back to the Pat Troughton/Jon Peterwee kind of Doctor when companions were there to be captured by the monster of the week…as for a possible return of Riversong, no no no…

  5. avatar lozzer says:

    As a mature man the BBC wouldn’t want any embarrassing headlines about him flirting with his young companions – but… there’s no reason he can’t have the occasional snog with an alien hotty his own age. Even William Hartnell’s Doctor had a little flirt in The Aztec’s.

    • avatar iankiddy says:

      This is what bothers me, actually. If the Doctor is a 900 year old alien he shouldn’t be flirting with 19 year old humans anyway, but it’s apparently a-okay so long as he looks like a young man. If he’s an older man, that’s apparently right off the cards. To me, that’s just pure ageism and sexist against older men. It’s perfectly alright so long as they fancy you back, but if not, ooh you dirty old perv!
      I call BS.

      • avatar DonnaM says:

        And of course it’s perfectly OK for a younger-looking Doctor to snog a woman who appears a fair bit older than him. I’m all in favour of equality, but double standards of that kind drive me spare!

  6. avatar Adam Morgan says:

    Having watched classic and new Who, I never minded the new flirtier side of things. The man had just come out of the Time War. He had been through hell. Literally. He was depressed and down on the Universe. Eccleston’s Doctor really showed this. How incredibly happy to the point of almost crying when things worked out right. He met a girl that made let him see the wonder and joy in the Universe again, not just another evil plot to thwart. Is it any wonder he developed feelings for her? Tennant was a Doctor who still had a lot of internal regrets over the Time War, the loss of his home and people at his own hands, but he was healing. He was able to have fun and enjoy life again. Losing the girl that brought him that was hard. By the time we get to Smith, he is not only looking younger but probably feeling younger. It seems he wanted to escape back to simpler times by being a younger incarnation of himself. And while there was definitely a lot of flirting from Matt’s Doctor, it was never, from his side, anything serious. It was friendly flirting. The kind you do with your best friend in the world, but you know will never ever go beyond flirting. Amy, young and super impressionable when she met him, had this very idealized, romanticized vision in her head of the Doctor, and it took a couple seasons to really realize that it was Rory she truly loved. Didn’t stop her from playful flirting with the Doctor, and why should it have. She and Rory worked out their issues and they were all best of friends. Even Rory was playful and joking with the Doctor, something no other companions in the past had really been. It wasn’t just flirtation, and such, Amy and Rory adopted the Doctor. They made him a part of their family. At the end of The Doctor The Widow and the Wardrobe, when he returns to visit Amy and Rory for Christmas, the way they handle his return after he has been away from them, and after he left them, very nearly brings the Doctor to tears yet again. He lost his home and his people, but he has found a new family that loves him truly and deeply. He has found a home where he is always welcome. Something he hasn’t had in many long centuries.

    So the romance aspect of it has been a very well handled and realistic part of the Doctors journey after the Time War. Going through devastation and depression and finding someone who lifts you up and loving them for it. Losing that person and being hurt over it, keeping your distance but making some friends. Finding a new friend who goes a bit gaga for you, but you keep your distance because you have come out of your inner struggles after time and realize that it just won’t work, but you make the friendship work and it develops into something truly amazing and wonderful that changes your life and shapes your future in ways you never could have imagined.

    That said, I am looking forward to seeing return to the classic Who style of Doctor and how it gets handled. It’s going to provide for some interesting moments with Clara for sure. The romance and flirtation played it’s role and did what it needed to for the Doctor, so it was time for it to end I feel. But I definitely didn’t hate it or dislike it.


    • I agree, to a point. but remember the rhyme about Demon’s Run:

      “…true love lies”

      I’m still not convinved either way.

  7. avatar Al says:

    I’m tired of the sexually immature attitudes shown by fans regarding this topic. Some of the opposition to romance involving the Doctor verges on “girls are gross” at times. I see no reason why the casting of a 55 year old should in any way disqualify him from romancing on screen an adult who is approaching 30.

    • avatar Adam Morgan says:

      Very well said. I don’t think it has to mean he has to stop… I just don’t think he will. I think that he is past that phase. This regeneration, more than any other, is probably a very huge one for him. He was expecting to just grow old and die. This was it, this is the end. I expect some pretty large changes in him now.


      • Me three.

  8. avatar Christine says:

    I never minded the flirting, but the romance did sometimes tend to get a bit too much. Especially 10 and Rose. Although the way Adam describes it all sums it up in a nice way. And, indeed, I for one never minded the River Song romance especially because she wasn’t a girl of 19. And we have seen some nice non-romantic relationships – Donna and the Doctor anyone? While I adored Captain Jacks flirting with anyone and anything. So keep a bit of a flirt in, just don’t turn that into romance too often. Every once in a while is okay. I mean the girl in the fire place was romantic but still just lovely!

  9. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Thank God Moffat’s seen sense on getting rid of all this silly innuendo, salacious, teeny-flirty soap drivel. The whole thing has been in danger of disappearing up its own ar**. Far better to bring back the alien, mysteriousness of the Doctor, that truly makes the character distinctive.

    Sounds like Capaldi knows how the Doctor should be played. GREAT!

  10. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I never like the romance with Rose, while I was not as upset with the Doctor’s relationship with River (who is much more equal to him than a mere teenager).

    But I agree, its time to move past the flirting. That was for the younger-looking, more cheeky Doctors. I’m looking forward to a return to the non-romantic Doctor of old, and I hope Capaldi will fully deliver that.

  11. avatar Dar says:

    The only flirting I really enjoyed was the Doctor & River Song. As I watched them together more & more, I could see their attraction to each other.

    I remember when 10 met River & Lux said they were acting like an old married couple, then she told him his name & how there was only one time he could tell someone his name. I could see that 11 was intrigued & more by her, but also wanting to fight it/ run from it. I think 11 was excited/ relieved when he found out she was human + time lord & probably ran to her.

    Please please bring back River to meet/ flirt w/ 12 at least one episode.

    • avatar Dar says:

      Also they’re already married & 12 has been spotted wearing a wedding ring, so I hope that’s a hint/ spoiler that they might bring River back.


      • yeah… i keep feeling like since River kept asking if Ten remembered her, then somehow her timline got altered when the Doctor corrected things on Trenzalore and Demon’s Run… remember Tasha Lem = Lame Hats. Like i keep surmising, what if Tasha is River’s real persona, whose carry-through got subverted by the Kovarian Chapter’s splintering off?

        ;) Tasha was extraordinary, and a beautiful match with the Doctor. more rounded and deep than River was shown to be, as if she is a MORE MATURE River. ;) i hope the Doctor’s ring is a wedding ring. i really do. whether he is married to the TARDIs, or not.

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