Sep 6 2012 11:00am

The 10 Most Romantic Moments on Contemporary Doctor Who According to Me

The 10 Most Romantic Moments on Contemporary Doctor Who According to Me

Over the weekend, Doctor Who returned in a big way with Daleks, crazy plot twists, and romantic melodrama! Since the 2005 relaunch of this classic sci-fi series, this last element has become a key component of the show’s modus operandi. Arguably, one of the defining differences between old school Doctor Who and the updated incarnation is the presence of good old fashioned love stories woven in with the science fiction, so here are ten of the most swoon-worthy moments from the show so far, from my very human, one-hearted perspective.


10.)  “Not my Doctor” (Season Four: “Forest of the Dead”)

The first appearance of River Song is still, in my opinion, the best, and contains perhaps the most romantic line about how we perceive the people we love. This line is so good that I’ve frequently forgotten it was a Doctor Who line and have attributed to other movies and books in my head. River is describing the strange experience of meeting the Doctor before he’s met her and says, “You know when you see a photograph of someone you know, but it's from years before you knew them. It's like they're not quite finished; they're not done yet.” How many times have any of us felt that exact thing? Steven Moffat nailed it with this line, and River Song became in that moment a great lovelorn and profound character.


9.) “Oh come here!” (Season Two: “Doomsday”)

We mostly associate this Doctor Who finale with the Doctor and Rose being torn into two separate worlds, so it's easy to forget that these parallel worlds actually bring together Jackie Tyler with an alternate version of her late husband, Pete Tyler. Though Jackie is initially resistant to the idea of a bizarro version of her husband replacing her old husband, she warms to the idea in this really, really great scene. I love how Pete waffles on the idea by saying, “You’re not my wife, I’m sorry, but you’re not. I mean we both, it’s just sort of…oh come here!” And then grabs her. There’s nothing young and hot about this romance. It’s just two people who lost their spouses in other universes and then got reunited through the magic of sci-fi. What a nice fantasy.


8.) “D…Do…Donna!” (Season Four: “The Forest of the Dead”)

Even though the Library Planet created a creepy fake world with identical children, it did give Donna a great guy. Lee, the stuttering guy, was perfect for the ever-chattering Donna Noble. The notion that the Library selected this person to be with Donna is pretty cute—and the subsequent revelation that he is real is totally tragic. As the Doctor and Donna are leaving the Library and the actual occupants are being beamed up, Lee tries to say Donna’s name, but his stutter stops him. Sad! If Donna had heard Lee, or had turned to see him, would she have stayed with the Doctor?


7.) “Yeah? Well, I’m the Lord of Time” (Season 2: “The Girl in the Fireplace”)

Often considered the most popular episode of the current series, “The Girl in the Fireplace” can convert any non-Who person into an instant fan. I’m sure many would consider the mind-meld scene to be the most romantic, but for me there’s nothing quite like David Tennant breaking through a mirror on horseback. When the King of France declares, well, that he is the King of France, the Doctor’s retort—“Yeah? Well, I’m the Lord of Time”—is the definition of romantic badass. But even better is the knowledge that by breaking the mirror, the Doctor has destroyed his only way of returning to his world: meaning he’ll be stuck there with Madame de Pompadour forever!


6.) “Does it need saying?” (Season Four: “Journey’s End”)

We all cried when Rose and the Doctor were separated from each other in “Doomsday.” It took two more seasons for them to be reunited, but when they did it didn't go exactly as we thought it might. The Tenth Doctor at this point is a little more jaded, plus he’s got competition in the way of his meta-crisis part-human duplicate. This single-hearted Doctor manages to whisper in Rose’s ear the one thing she needs to hear and she responds by making out with him right in front of the other Doctor. It’s a little bittersweet, but I like the realism Rose demonstrates that sometimes we do need to hear certain things. You know, Tenth it turns out, it actually does need saying.


5.) “If you love me, don’t let me in” (Season Six: “The Girl Who Waited”)

One of the highlights of season 6 and possibly Karen Gillan’s best performance as Amy. When a future Amy is accidentally created on a quarantined planet, Rory is faced with a terrible choice: which version of his wife will he rescue? Old and bitter Amy, or young and happy Amy? Ultimately he doesn’t have to actually choose, because Future Amy makes the decision for him. As Rory is tempted to unlock the TARDIS and let her in, Future Amy implores him not to. What I like about this is how Future Amy admits that she will come in if he opens the door, and that she’ll fight to be with him. In this one moment she can admit to wishing she was still young and not separated from Rory. And so she’s brave and selfless (while admitting to be selfish) just long enough to save them all.


4.) “We make quite a team” (Season Three: “Human Nature”)

 If you’d seen Spaced prior to the airing of this Who episode, chances are you probably already had a crush on Jessica Hynes. Her unique, quirk-filled portrayal of Daisy Steiner has earned a place in nerd hearts for all of eternity. But her serious turn as Nurse Joan Redfern in this super-memorable Who episode is overall heartfelt and heartbreaking. Though the truly tragic stuff is yet to come, I think this initial moment of Joan telling John Smith/The Doctor exactly what he should call her (not Matron!), and then boldly suggesting he ask her to the dance is beyond adorable. Just after they divide up John Smith’s heavy load of books and agree that they “make quite a team,” John Smith falls backwards off the stairs because of the high intensity flirting. I like this for the obvious reason that physical comedy makes any romantic situation better.


3.) “Welcome back, Rory Williams!” (Season Five: “The Big Bang”)

Yes, technically, I have picked a Rory and Amy moment in which Rory accidentally kills Amy. I know, it’s terrible, but it kind of isn’t the real Rory. In this version of reality, Rory is erased from existence and then comes back as a robot/plastic Roman centurion. After the robot programing kills Amy, the essence of Rory comes back for good. The Doctor needs to test this, and tells Rory that the end of the universe isn’t “as important as his girlfriend.” Rory clocks the Doctor like a champ, declaring “SHE IS TO ME!” The basic essence of Rory overrides any robot stuff, and the end of the world and his love for Amy are pretty much the same thing. I like this one, because we’ve all had relationships that feel like the end of the world and Rory’s heroism, in the face of both, out-romances even the Doctor.


2.) “You’ll have to settle for me first” (Season Five: “The Lodger”)

Of all the Matt Smith-era episodes, I always find myself most compelled to rewatch the two Craig episodes” “The Lodger,” and “Closing Time.” The initial introduction of Craig and Sophie makes a strong case for them having been an alternate couple to travel with the Doctor in place of Amy and Rory. But the good stuff happens when Sophie tells Craig to find her a man and he responds, “Or you’ll have to settle for me”—which is met with a quick “You’ll have to settle for me first!” There’s just something about the way actor Daisy Haggard sells this line which informs you of the whole character right in this moment. I’ve written before about the fact that Doctor Who is appealing because it deals with real people, ordinary people, and nothing gets more real than a couple of people sitting around, ordering pizza, trying to figure out when they’re going to admit that they love each other.


1.) “I think you need a Doctor” (Season One: “The Parting of the Ways”)

When Rose absorbs the whole of the time vortex into her mind she’s able to take down the Daleks and bring back Captain Jack all in one fell swoop. Of course, the power of the time vortex is way too much for a human to have running through their head and will kill poor Rose if something isn’t done. Luckily, the Doctor knows the only thing for it: a magic Time Lord kiss! For me, this is the loveliest moment in the series so far simply because when Rose says “My head…it hurts!” everyone knows what she’s talking about. Sometimes the enormity of the time vortex in regular life is too much and the only thing for it is a big, fantastic, kiss. For me, the Doctor’s love for Rose and her love for him never felt more real than this moment. Sorry, David Tennant!


Now, dear readers, I only included the moments that I personally felt were the most romantic, so I'll bet I excluded some of your favorites. Let's talk about those below!

Ryan Britt is the staff writer for He is a huge sap.

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Deana Whitney
1. Braid_Tug
I've always wished that Donna and Lee would meet up again, somehow...

Love the River Song, but since they went with an even younger guy after David, I'm wondering who's her doctor?
2. an-ood-song
What about the lovely scene in "Army of Ghosts"?

"How long are you going to stay with me?"
3. Elayne169
River's Doctor is the 11th doctor as confirmed by the season 6 extra features on the DVD First Night/Last Night. The 11th doctor is the one that gives her the screwdriver seen in Silence of the Library.

Her comment about you are so young was not about his physical appearence but his actual age. The River in the library knows a doctor who is 200 years older than David's with more life expirences behind him.
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
I got a little melancholy just reading through these, but it's a good kind of melancholy. And, as much as I love Rose and her 10th doctor, I think I would have chosen the same for number 1.
5. XenaCatolica
#3--I hate that scene. Rory punching the Doctor crystalized for me why I reeeallly missed Docter Ten: Smith's Doctor is just not a Lord. Tennant's Doctor was a prince, and Smith's is just irresponsible--Eleven could just as easily be a 14 yr. old.
Tracy Durnell
6. kaeldra
At the end of The Satan Pit, the Doctor gets quite 'heart on his sleeve' about Rose: "But I've seen a lot of this Universe. I've seen fake gods and bad gods and demigods and would-be gods. And out of all that, out of that whole pantheon, if I believe in one thing—just one thing—I believe in her."
Ryan Britt
7. ryancbritt
@1 and 3: It is weird that 11 is River's Doctor. I always wished it would be more mysterious. Maybe she'll get to meet Ten again in a crazy 50th anniversary mutliple Doctor wackiness fest.

@5 I miss Ten too, but I guess I sort of have a man-crush on Rory.

@6 Yeah I like that one too! I actually LOVE that two-parter in general.
8. Rinzi
The only other moment I've got off the top of my head is in "Amy's Choice" when Amy would rather risk death than live in a world without Rory.
9. Mouette
A very romantic moment for me came when the person in question isn't even in the episode. In "The Shakespeare Code", Ten is confronting the Carrionites, who use words as power. The Carrionite 'witch' can't find his name to use against him, but there is a name in his head she *can* find, one that still has power over him.

The Carrionite tries to invoke Rose's name against him; the way the actress says Rose is practically a caress, and we viewers can see the effect Rose's name has on the Doctor. His response - that using that name was a big mistake, because that name keeps him *fighting* - is just absolutely perfect.

That this occurs two episodes into season three, when the Doctor has just recently lost Rose and is mourning her... oh, it's bittersweet, but still touching.
Hypatia James
10. hypatiajames
@6 Kaeldra - exactly! I was trying to remember what episode that was while I was reading the comments. That is totally my favorite.
Kelly Kilcoyne
11. kellykelly
I have great affection for both Tennant and Smith, but Eccleston's Doctor still holds a very special place in my heart. The relationship between Rose and the Doctor in S1 was subtle, developed in moments and glances and brief lines. And yes, I realize I'm in the minority, but I was not fond of the (clown-hammer) development of their relationship in the following seasons.

Enough of my grousing. Still love the series, and love that this moment made #1. :)
Alan Brown
12. AlanBrown
I like the scene where four words say it all:
"Where is my wife?"
Never mess with someone's family!
Jack Flynn
13. JackofMidworld
Oh, know what I just realized (and thank you AlanBrown for making me think of it)? It may not be "romantic" love (but, yeah, really, it kinda sorta is) but I totally forgot about "The Doctor's Wife"...the love of a TARDIS for her Doctor...
Craig Barnett
14. Ommadawn
I immediately thought of "The Doctor's Wife" as well! That was such a poignant episode for me, and re-defined how I thought about the Tardis/Doctor relationship.
15. Liddle-Oldman
I agree with someone above -- Rory (in his centurion's kit!) facing down the Cyber command staff. Shall I repeat the question?, as the Fleet disintegrates over his shoulder.

Where. Is. My. Wife?
Ryan Britt
16. ryancbritt
@14 As much as I like "The Doctor's Wife," the TARDIS still isn't a *person* to me. I dunno. That actor was awesome, but the TARDIS is a spaceship. I never got misty-eyed on Star Trek when Scotty would wax lovey-dovey about the Enterprise. :-)
Ursula L
17. Ursula
#3 was downgraded for me, a little, when we learned that Rory had come to think of it as proof that he loved Amy more than she loved him.

He waited 2000 years. But only because he killed her first.

Amy will never get the chance to match 2000 years of waiting, so unless the two of them handle this with great care, it's going to leave Amy bound to feel inadequite, unable to ever convince Rory or herself of the value of her love for him.

And Amy and Rory don't seem to have the emotional skills to handle this issue with care. They both treat Rory waiting 2000 years as proof that he loved her more.

This seems to be part of what was behind Amy pushing Rory away - he'd already waited 2000 years for her, and he'd give up his hope of children for her, but she's already so overwhelmed by the 2000 years of waiting that she can't deal with him giving anything more up for her. So she pushes him away.

They also both overlook the fact that he only had to wait because he killed her first. Having killed her, keeping her corpse safe until she can be revived is basic restitution - make right the wrong you've done.

And Amy accepts him back into her life after he killed her. Yes, he was under the influence of the Nestine consciousness. But that doesn't make the experience less real for Amy. She still felt the pain of being shot. The fear of dying. The betrayal of him turning on her even as she insisted that she wouldn't leave him.

Her willingness to stay with him, to go to sleep every night with the man who shot her, shows incredible trust and love. But Amy and Rory don't like to dwell on the fact that he shot her. So they overlook Amy's vulnerablity, and the courage it takes for her to hold the hand that became the gun that killed her.

That's Amy's proof of love, but it's a tricky one, because in a way it is the abuse victim going back to their attacker. That problem is mitigated by the fact that the Nestine consciousness is no longer in Rory's head (so he is no longer a physical threat.)

But as long as people overlook that he killed her first, and she loves him so much she continued their relationship, the 2000 years of waiting become something that divides Amy and Rory, rather than something uniting thim.
marian moore
18. mariesdaughter
My favorite was a throw away line in "The Wedding of River Song". Near the end, the Doctor explains to Dorium what he did to survive. He also says that River Song may spend her days in prison, but her nights? Well, how she spend her nights were his and her own private business.
Jack Flynn
19. JackofMidworld
@ ryancbritt - until "The Doctor's Wife," I thought the TARDIS was just a ship, too, but she seems to have an actual consciousness. She chose her madman, deliberately takes him where she knows he needs to go, and is, for all intents and purposes, a living thing. Just happens to look a bit more...welll...a bit more boxy than the rest of us. At least, that's what I took away from the episode.

And @ Ursula - I always considered Rory's waiting as a penance, the price he paid, but I never thought of it from Amy's perspective. They sort of did blow right past that aspect of things, when you look at it that way.
20. Desariella
I loved all those moments. There are a few more heartwrenching scenes but I can't recall them at the moment.

PS: Please check out my DW Fan-fic "The Aresian Saga". Just Google the title and use the keepandshare link.
Ryan Britt
21. ryancbritt
I don't know what my problem is: I just don't love "The Doctor's Wife" as much as everyone else. It is sooo good! Very entertaining episode! Great performances! But I almost never feel like re-watching it. I think the Doctor Who lore stuff is awesome and the dialouge is great, but there's something about the story. I dunno.
Ryan Britt
22. ryancbritt
I don't know what my problem is: I just don't love "The Doctor's Wife" as much as everyone else. It is sooo good! Very entertaining episode! Great performances! But I almost never feel like re-watching it. I think the Doctor Who lore stuff is awesome and the dialouge is great, but there's something about the story. I dunno.
Brooke Robinson
23. ShinySpecialOne
The one line that just shattered me:

"I'm gonna pull time apart for you." Amy to Rory in The Girl Who Waited.
25. CaitieCat
I'm gonna break outside the suggested question a touch and say I loved the moment in (come on, same universe at least!) Torchwood's Children of Earth serial when Rhys and Gwen are running from killers, and he, after a few minutes coming to grips with being woken up and told they're immediately on the run, says, "Well, let me hold your bag then."

And Gwen just looks at him like he's got three heads.

"Well," he says, "you want your trigger finger free, don't ya?"

And it's his easy acceptance of her having more levels in BadAss than he does that makes it so, so romantic for me. He is at ease with his masculinity, not the least bit threatened by his wife's superiority in the Way of the BadAss, and intensely trusting of her, despite her frequently not deserving of it. I'm a sucker for a beautifully-depicted egalitarian relationship, and I think RTD really hit it on the nose with this scene.

Of the moments you listed, Ryan, I think the Girl Who Waited one is my favourite, and one that is near to one you listed, but not the same. In The End of Time, Ten does his Farewell Tour, and one of the people he visits is Miss Redfern's descendant, who's written a book about their relationship. And I never fail to cry when I recognize the little catch in his voice when he asks if she had a happy life; it brings back his intense anguish when he realized he wasn't really John Smith, but actually The Doctor, and would have to leave her behind.

If I'm honest, I think the dalliance and growing love between Ten and Joan Redfern is my favourite relationship for the series after the reboot. When he tries to get her to run as the Family attack the school, and she says she won't abandon her charges, the love in his face, conflicting with the fear for her safety, is for me one of Tennant's finest acting moments.
26. charming.quark
"Goodbye, my Sarah-Jane!"
Alan Brown
27. AlanBrown
Yep, charming.quark, that line is a great moment!
28. Tio Willie
I have been watching Dr. Who since I was 12 and I am 40 years old now and I can honestly say I have seen every Dr. come and go (in repeats for the shows that came before and after my time). While the whole romantic tension thing has it's moments in the most recent re-boot, you never used to see romantic issues prior to this most recent life of the series. There was great loyalty and affection (non-romatic) for prior companions but you never saw the Dr. hook up with a companion and the series didn't die with out it. Again, there are times with the romantic tension works very well, but more often then not it is just fluff. There is a reason why even former actors that played the Dr. loved Donna as a companion. Donna would have died for the Dr. and the Dr. whole have given his life for Donna, but Donna never want to do the Dr.
29. sjhd asd hSUDHAJD
you did a wonderful job with this list, it brought back so many memories, and the feels!
32. Mary anne
I know I'm probably in the minority, but one of the scenes from the Shakespeare episode that really got to me was when Martha had the soliloquy regarding the things the dr told her to look for. He never said anything about (and I'm paraphrasing) falling in love with a human. And then she added (and I just remember it in general terms), why couldn't it be me?

i always loved David Tennant's doctor with Rose, it about broke my heart when he had to leave her, but there was always something so tragic about his relationship with Martha.

Hope you Dr Who purists won't be too irritated by the fact that I didn't give direct quotes. I'm a relatively new fan. Thanks for listening.
33. alaskalex
I think for me, the moment when Rose kisses the meta-crisis doctor will always come first because I feel like it is such a beautiful way to give closure to Rose. I have only seen the new series, but I feel like the relationship between Rose and 10 was the best, because you can see even before Rose confesses how she feels how in love they are. And thats what really makes that moment for me, the fact that though they were separated before before anything can really happen, now Rose has her doctor. And he's not going anywhere.
34. A.S
The most heartbreaking moment for me was in Journey's end, when Rose kissed the metacrisis and the tormented look on the Doctor's face that followed it, that crushed me. I also felt that it was uncharacteristic of Rose to give in so easily. This is the same girl who wasn't willing to accept Ten after Nine regenerated. And I believe I'm in the minority of people who are reluctant to accept the metacrisis as the Doctor. And perhaps never will. Regardless of how alike they may be, like Rose said ''The Doctor is still you.'
35. E.S
This isn't particularly romantic, but one scene I like was in 'Let's Kill Hilter' when 11 is interacting with the voice interface and he asks it to "show me someone I like" and it morphs into Rose and just the expression on his face in that moment is so perfect- shock, horror, pain. He looks like somone sucker-punched him in the gut.
36. C.B.
I have to admit that my favorite was also the scene where Rose kisses the meta-crisis doctor. Second, however, would be the scene in "The Wedding of River Song" where the Doctor asks River if killing him would hurt her more than the death of everyone in the entire universe would hurt them, and she replies "Yes".
37. Snowpup19
In the lateset episode "The name of the Doctor" when he is goodbye to river for the last time "Well, See you around Professor River Song." that line makes me cry every time.
38. ARoseIsARose
I will always love #9 & Rose, but "I am burning up a sun just to say good bye" will forever break my heart ??????
39. ARoseIsARose
Oops! That was suppose to be !!!! Not ????
43. Rafdy
In "The Satan Pit" - "Tell Rose- tell her... oh she knows" *drop*.
Always loved that bit :'(
44. Breemadness
For me the most romantic scene on dw was when 11th told River that he always can see her, and say that talk with her would hurt him so much because he couldnt have her, while she though that he didnt care that much about her. Idk, but they just break my heart so easyly.
After this one, i really love your choice for the first. Doesnt matter that Rose cant remember it later, still is amazing.
46. The Doctor
Personally, I loved all of these moments.
47. Rose Tyler
I personally enjoyed some of the scenes in New Earth with the Doctor and Rose. I do realize that they were taking turns being possesed throughout the episode, but there was just something beautiful about how they would rather put theirselves at the mercy of a bitchy trampoline then put the other at risk. I get that some of you might not agree with me, but this is my opinion.

Plus, when Rose kissed the Doctor, it wasn't scripted. Billie just felt like it, and they decided to keep it in. If that doesn't scream tenrose or allonswolf or whatever you guys call it, I don't know what does.
48. Margo Sassiter
Agree with your list. That number one... at first the line sounded to me very cheesy. But I'm over it and easily the moment is the most special.

Maybe the @4 moment I'd change it for the visions of John Smith and
Joan Redfern's alternative future. It always hit me seeing them happy, with kids and ageing together.
49. sugarani
I loved Doctor 9, there's something about Christopher Eccleston and his connection with Billie Piper, it's just so FANTASTIC. If he do come back to the series, it will be great. He will always have a soft spot in my heart for Dr. Who.
50. Time-Stitch
(A bit off topic) For the earlier comments on River Song and her doctor... I was left with the impression that she knew more than just 11's Doctor. When she met 10 she started out with "Hello Sweetie" as if she expected him to know her and then right around 25:50 she is comparing notes with him to see where they are in their timeline. Maybe she just assumed that she would meet his earlier selves. Although, couldn't it be that some of his older selves came around to see her as well? 11 never went to visit her, of course, since he doesn't like endings. But that doesn't mean 12 would be the same way. It just feels like River's story isn't finished.
51. Slytherin4U
I agree, I don't think the Rose would accept the meta-crisis so easily. I personally can never see him as the doctor. It doesnt matter if he looks like the tenth doctor and has his memories. The fact is that Rose knows that he isn't the one she was with for so long, the one she fell in love with, she would never accept him as the doctor.
52. KenNunnemaker
Has to be when we sadly say goodbye to Amy and Rory. She finally chooses Rory over the Doctor! Matt will always be my Doctor! Don't like Clara and Peter Capraldi yet!!
54. deepio
well, i really loved "The Stolen Earth" and that scene where Rose and the Doctor saw each other again, and you could just feel their joy, filling the air.

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