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Companions, sexual tension and the Doctor

Maybe it was because my first exposure to Doctor Who was when I was young, or because Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee in particular never held even the remotest of sexual interest for me,  but I have always tended to think of the Doctor as somewhat outside of or beyond sex.  Sure, I am willing to recognise that there is sexual tension between Doctors and their companions, but I would never have thought about the Doctor in that way. It is just wrong. And despite the fact that our current Doctors are younger and more attractive, I still can’t bring myself to consider the Doctor an object of sexual interest.

Hence, I have felt a certain discomfort with the new Doctor Who. I loved it when it came back and particularly the way it incorporated old lore into a new shiny approach (though I did miss the old control room of the tardis. but that is a minor point). And while the Doctor and Rose were obviously close, the presence of Mickey and the general construct around the relationship allowed me to view it as a spiritual and intellectual closeness, not a sexual one. A little bit of underlying, unspoken sexual tension is fine.

But then along came Martha Jones. And I hated her. Not because she was intrinsically bad as a character. No, she was smart and attractive and capable, so all good there. But all that was nothing against the whole unrequited love aspect of the series. It was just painful. Painful because it turned an otherwise intelligent woman into a drooling idiot and because it violated that unspoken agreement that the Doctor is not there for sex. Everytime she did the whole he-just-doesn’t-care-I’m-alive rubbish it made me wince, particularly because OBVIOUSLY, he did care about her – the Doctor always cares about his companions, just NOT IN THAT WAY.

So the arrival of Donna was a fabulous relief – back to a no-nonsense Doctor-companion relationship. I wondered whether the Doctor Who powers realised they had pushed that envelope into the realm of discomfort with the running joke of the season involving people constantly assuming they were married, and the definite negative reaction from both. THe interesting thing was that the appearance of Professor River Song who seems to have had some sort of relationship with the Doctor didn’t actually worry me – she seemed so tough and businesslike, not sappy and annoying. And yet she may have been more than the usual travelling companion, signalling a time where the Doctor almost settles down, or something.

As we get an even younger Doctor with another young, attractive female companion, one wonders whether the whole sexual tension thing will again rise to the surface. Let’s really hope that no one thinks it is a good idea for him to have an actual relationship with kissing. Eewk – I might have to stop watching then!

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5 responses to “Companions, sexual tension and the Doctor

  1. I thought Martha Jones rocked and it was entirely out of character for her to fall for the Doctor. Very weak. Getting back to Martha, she’s a doctor so she’s really smart, she keeps her head and doesn’t spend quite as much time gawking as the other companions have. She also does a lot more adventuring away from the Doctor.

    • godardsletterboxes ⋅

      And that is my problem with Martha – the fact that in every other way she is fab, and yet we have to have this whole in-love-with-the-Doctor thing. Although I think it is really interesting that in the later series and in Torchwood she is depicted as being engaged – so there seems to be this whole underlying character thing about her needing to have a man in her life, which is perhaps less progressive a depiction than there could have been.

  2. Louise ⋅

    In some ways Martha annoyed me and the fact that she ended up married to Mickey even more so. She was a great rolemodel until the whole There’s another woman so if I don’t step up he won’t like me, to me she didn’t have anything to prove and in a way her lack of humor sometimes upped the annoyance factor. I’m glad she ended up moving on and still kicking ass but to end up married? And to Rose’s leftovers? That’s just going backwards to me…From the Doctor to Mickey, like she’s still in Rose’s shadow.

    • godardsletterboxes ⋅

      It is an interesting way of looking at it. For me, one of the other things that made me uncomfortable about it was that it was the two black people ending up together. I’ve studied too many US daytime soap operas where there is literally apartheid in relationships…. I know that the race issues are somewhat different in the UK (and Donna’s partner was also non-white), but even so it slightly jarred with me. And yes – why married?

      • Louise ⋅

        That is true, it did rile me a bit too but there’s nothing wrong with it either and the marriage thing…I’m guessing Russell wanted a happy ending for all the companions, the Jack thing also annoyed me since it did nothing for the Face of Boe sidestory and it made him seem like he’d completely moved on from Ianto but that’s something else entirely lol

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