As we head toward this season of change on Doctor Who - with actor Peter Capaldi taking over the eponymous role from Matt Smith – many are wondering about what bits of newness will be present when the show returns in the fall.
We already know what the Doctor will be wearing, but will he be gruff and grumbly, or light and whimsical? Is River Song actually just a memory now? What about this new Doctor and his companion Clara, how will they get on? All of these questions figure to be answered in due time (even the River question, which may be answered by her continued absence) but showrunner Steven Moffat is throwing a new variable into the mix and his name is Danny Pink, a teacher beside Clara at the Coal Hill School and the Doctor’s new (occasional) companion.
Played by actor Samuel Anderson, Pink follows in the footsteps of Ian Chesterton, Jamie McCrimmon, Rory Williams and a handful of other fellows who have adventured with the Doctor, here’s what the actor had to say about his selection:
“I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started! It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it. It’s an honor to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!”
How he “becomes involved”, indeed. Will Pink merely be a chum and an able lieutenant, or will he echo Rory and Russell T. Davies-era sometimes companion Mickey Smith by viewing the Doctor as a romantic rival for the female companion’s heart? What is his role?
As we alluded to, people are mighty curious about Clara and this new Doctor’s relationship, and there has been ample speculation about whether Clara’s flirtatiousness would be tamped down now that this Doctor looks a bit less age-appropriate for her. After the fiftieth anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor“, many seemed to think that Tom (actor Tristan Beint), the out of breath human guard dog that alerted Clara to the Doctor’s presence at episode’s start might be a logical choice to come aboard to act as the Doctor’s flirt surrogate, but it seems as though his song has come to an end, quite probably without explanation.
The addition of Danny Pink seems to indicate that Moffat is giving Clara a new distraction – but it also seems like a rehash of the beats from the modern Who era following a rehash of the “companion swoons over the Doctor” direction that both Davies and Moffat took the show in with Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Amy Pond (initially).
Rory and Amy wound up being quite the dynamic pair once he dusted himself off and Amy came to her senses (something helped along by the brilliant Alex Kingston’s River Song) but if Danny’s introduction is the start of Clara’s great love story, one has to wonder, might that be a bit boring to see all over again? We might also wonder, as many often do, why the exploration of all of space and time isn’t enough to keep people (both viewers and the characters) occupied without the constant need to couple and make kissy faces? Do you, as a viewer, need some kind of romantic going on to enjoy Doctor Who fully? Let us know in the comment section and tell us what you think about Samuel Anderson’s addition to the show.
Doctor Who returns in the autumn of 2014.