Sexualized Saturdays: The Doctor and His Many Companions

I think I need to take a break from Doctor Who, at least in terms of article writing. As it stands right now, there is only one thing I have not done yet, and that’s to look which of the Doctor’s companions are in love with him and which aren’t.

Ten RoseThe interesting thing about the companions is that they spread along the scope of sexual preference. Yes, most of the Doctor’s main companions are females that usually have deep seated crushes on the Doctor. But that’s not the entire makeup of the alumni.

220px-Rose_TylerThe female companions who fall for the Doctor in new Who are a good chunk of the group. You have, of course, Rose Tyler, who loved the Doctor so much that she eventually spent her life with a human version of Ten. The relationship between Rose and the Doctor, both Nine and Ten, has led to a high amount of fanfiction and Tumblr posts about that relationship. It’s still big discussion topic all these years later. And with the 50th anniversary episode coming up, complete with the return of Billie Piper and David Tennant, I’m sure the conversations will crank up as we get closer.

32172-doctor-who-martha-jonesThere’s also Martha Jones, who had feelings for the Doctor as well. However, the Doctor spent that entire portion of his life-cycle missing the crap out of Rose. Martha unfortunately never got to be anything more than the Doctor’s rebound girl. It’s kind of sad, if you ask me.

And then there was Donna Noble. Donna was more of a sister to the Doctor, working as a foil to Ten’s actions. For a character that annoyed the sin out of me in “The Runaway Bride”, her ability to challenge the Doctor without falling for his good looks was key to saving the universe. Without her, reality would’ve been pulled apart by Davros. So when her memory was erased in order to save her life, it felt like the Doctor lost a partner in crime more than a partner in the romantic or sexual sense.

donna2The sexual tension came back when Ten became Eleven and Amy Pond came into the mix. What I enjoy most is that Amy and Rory Williams were a thing, and the sexual tension between Amy/Doctor and Amy/Rory made for interesting television. But near the end of their run, it became obvious to me that Amy and Rory could not be without each other. My personal wish for Amy/Doctor was just in my head, and maybe a bit in Eleven’s head too. And then the whole Amy/Doctor/Rory pairing, while interesting, just isn’t my style. I mean, Rory waited 2,000 years for Amy. That’s love.

wedding_01Yes, there have been several male companions, but those companions rarely, if ever, get the spotlight. And usually when that happens, they usually play the role of the “tin dog”: in layman’s terms, the third wheel. Mickey Smith, Rose’s ex-boyfriend, was always in love with Rose, and did whatever he could to protect her before he went with Martha to become a freelance alien fighter. But he was such a third wheel that he actually came up with the term “tin dog,” in reference to K-9.

Yet the only male companion to ever show a sexual interest in the Doctor is Captain Jack Harkness. Oh, Captain Jack. This article is really just about you secretly.

HarknessCaptain Jack was the first bisexual companion to travel with the Doctor, and man was he cool. He was so popular that he got his own spinoff in Torchwood.

However, the thing that always concerned me about Jack is that he flirts with a lot of characters. Watch.


There is a misconception that bisexuality equals promiscuity. I never got that. Why can’t Jack just be a flirt? How many guys do you know who will hit on any girl who makes eye contact?

Jack Harkness is a flirt, yes. But whenever he assisted the Doctor, he was a valuable asset. His bravery during The Parting of the Ways was stunning. He wasn’t given a handicap such as unexplained fear to lower his worth because he’s bisexual. He’s a hero, and his heroics go even further if you catch bits of Torchwood. Harkness is not, as some who look down on bisexuality believe, a whore or a sexual deviant. He never, in the span of his time on Doctor Who, ever let a non-existent need for sex get in the way of saving lives or fixing the problem. Never. He was a soldier first.

And then there is River Song. Steven Moffat has said that River is bisexual. But, unlike Jack, it’s not ever talked about. Lady Saika summed it up pretty well by saying it’s a lot like Dumbledore’s homosexuality—it’s talked about but there isn’t a solid example of it in the text.

s4_08_river-songI don’t understand why Moffat would bring it up. Why not let something like that just form naturally? She is in love with the Doctor already. There are tons of ways that you can show she is bisexual while still using that fact. It’s not impossible. But Moffat’s portrayal of her is so focused on her affection for/attachment to the Doctor that it makes up her whole personality, which is a detriment both to her as a character in general and as a representative of bisexuality on television.

There are still steps that can be taken for Doctor Who’s companions. Obviously, a gay couple could be interesting if done right. I think the writers could continue to advance equality by having more female companions who don’t fall in love with a male Doctor. There are so many other possibilities, and I believe that the writers will begin to start leaning towards more equal-opportunity stories.

So what’s my point, you may ask. My point is that it’s kind of ridiculous that, unless you are bisexual or in love with the Doctor, you are unimportant. That’s insulting to those who just want to save the universe, and makes characters such as Mickey and Donna seem unimportant just because they didn’t want the Doctor.

For more info, please reread Lady Saika’s Sexualized Saturday on Jack Harkness or Stinekey’s Companions article.