There was an unwritten rule – possibly even a written rule – among Doctor Who producers back in the day that there should be “no hanky panky in the Tardis”.
How times change. In recent years, Amy and Rory Pond went as far as to conceive a child there – no mean feat, given they had to sleep in bunk beds – and, when their daughter grew up, the Doctor married her. Well, a robot duplicate of the Doctor married her, but the real Doctor was hiding inside, so it’s still legal, apparently (Time Lord relationships are complicated).
We had to wait 33 years for the Doctor to get to first base with another species – thank goodness hardly anyone was on the internet in 1996, or it would have exploded – but he’s been making up for lost time ever since, clocking up an impressive 24 screen kisses to date.
Here, we count down our hero’s best smooches, smackers and spit-swappers from 24 to one, culminating in what we think is the ultimate example of loving the alien.
Don’t agree with our choices? Tell us your own favourites in the comments below.
24. The Tenth Doctor and Jackie Tyler (Army of Ghosts, 2006)
The first time Rose’s mum met the Doctor, she slapped him across the face. Here, she greets him with a different sort of smacker, which the Doctor wipes away with the look of a small boy receiving a Christmas kiss from a particularly hairy-lipped granny. Yummy mummies are clearly not his type. In fact, on balance, we’d say he probably preferred the slap.
23. The Tenth Doctor and Elizabeth I (The Day of the Doctor, 2013)
The Doctor has made a proposal of marriage to good Queen Bess (Joanna Page) – but only because he thinks she’s a Zygon (it’s not a fetish thing – he’s trying to call the creature’s bluff. Or so he says, anyway). When it turns out she’s not a giant orange metamorphic alien foetus but the rightful ruler of England, the Doctor’s troubles really begin: Liz kisses him passionately, and starts making wedding plans. “Oh good work Doctor,” he sighs. “The Virgin Queen? So much for history.”
22. The Eleventh Doctor and Jenny Flint (The Crimson Horror, 2013)
“Just when you think your favourite Victorian lock-picking chambermaid will never turn up!” cries the Doctor triumphantly when Madame Vastra’s domestic / wife / kick-ass crimefighting partner rescues him from the cell where he’s been languishing as a prisoner. He gets so carried away, in fact, that he takes Jenny in his arms, dips her backwards and kisses her on the lips, receiving a slap in the face for his troubles. Jenny’s really not that kind of girl.
21. The Tenth Doctor and Lady Christina de Souza (Planet of the Dead, 2009)
Has posho jewel thief Lady C (Michelle Ryan) no respect for the law? First she stages a daring robbery on a museum, then she clearly ignores the notice on the bus about not distracting the driver – by snogging his face off. It’s especially dangerous as the Doctor is FLYING the bus at the time. But the passengers don’t seem to mind, rewarding the kiss with a hearty round of applause. Hang on, people clapping and cheering on a London bus? That really is science fiction.
20. The Eleventh Doctor and Tasha Lem (The Time of the Doctor, 2013)
Tasha Lem (Orla Brady) is Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe, and an old friend – possibly even an old flame – of the Doctor’s. “Boss of the psycho space nuns?” says Clara. “So you.” Later, Tasha is killed by the Daleks and turned into a walking corpse, complete with an eyestalk protruding from her shattered skull. But the Doctor kisses her anyway. He’s very open-minded like that.
19. The Eleventh Doctor and Rory Williams (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, 2012)
The Doctor can’t work out how to stop the spaceship they’re on being blown up. Rory casually asks if it has any defence systems. “Good thinking, Rory!” grins the Doctor, and plants him a smacker on the mouth. Basically an “I could kiss you” moment that got out of hand.
18. The Eleventh Doctor and River Song (Day of the Moon, 2011)
The first of many kisses for the Doctor and River. Well, first for him (and us). But, thanks to the eye-crossing, timey-wimey nature of their relationship (“My past is his future – we’re travelling in opposite directions”), it’s actually the last kiss for River – a farewell embrace that breaks her heart, but which he’s completely oblivious to. It’s a uniquely Time Lord relationship issue that rarely crops up in Dear Deirdre.
17. John Smith and Joan Redfern (Human Nature, 2007)
Having taken the form of a human schoolmaster to hide from the Family of Blood (long story), the Doctor finds himself turning to Jessica Hynes’ school nurse for a little TLC – just as poor, lovestruck Martha blunders into the room. “You had to go and fall in love with a human,” she sobs. “And it wasn’t me.” Oh Martha.
16. The Tenth Doctor and Donna (The Unicorn and the Wasp, 2008)
There was famously no funny business between the Doctor and Chiswick’s fastest shorthand typist but, when the Doctor is poisoned with sparkling cyanide, even Agatha Christie can’t write him out of trouble. The Doctor says he needs a shock to the system, so Donna duly obliges – by sucking his face at some length. It’s enough to successfully stimulate his inhibited enzymes into reversal. And no, we’ve never heard it called that before, either.
15. The Eleventh Doctor and River Song (The Wedding of River Song, 2011)
Okay, listen up – this is complicated. So the Silence created a doppelgänger of Amy and substituted it for the real Amy, keeping the real Amy in captivity until she gave birth to Melody Pond, aka River Song. Then they created a doppelgänger Melody and substituted it for the real Melody, raising her and training her to wear a homicidal exoskeleton disguised as an Apollo 11 astronaut suit. Then they waited a few decades until the next available fixed point in time, kidnapped River all over again, strapped her back inside the homicidal Apollo 11 astronaut suit and stuck her in the bottom of a lake – that’s right, a lake – until the Doctor arrived, at which point she shot him dead. Job done. But then River managed to rewrite history by not killing the Doctor, at which point all of time started to unravel. The only way to re-set the universe properly was for the Doctor and River – “the ground zero of an explosion that will engulf all reality” – to touch. So they got married on top of a pyramid, with Rory as the vicar, and when the Doctor kissed the bride, time went back to normal and everything was okay, except the Doctor was dead, except he wasn’t really dead, because it turns out he was actually a teeny-tiny miniaturised Doctor hiding inside a robot replica of himself. True story.
14. The Eleventh Doctor and the TARDIS (The Doctor’s Wife, 2011)
Look, we’ve all heard of men getting attached to their wheels, but this is ridiculous. Having assumed the human form of Suranne Jones, the Tardis – the only lifelong partner the Doctor has ever known – grabs him for a big snog, then bites him on the ear. “Biting’s excellent,” she explains. “It’s like kissing, only there’s a winner.” The Doctor, meanwhile, decides to rename his ship Sexy. The situation is best summed up by Amy: “She’s the Tardis and she’s a woman? Did you wish REALLY hard?”
13. The Tenth Doctor and Madame du Pompadour (The Girl in the Fireplace)
A real wrestling match, this, and up against the boudoir wall of Louis XV’s most famous courtesan, no less. The Doctor is so taken with this introduction to French kissing, he is prepared to give up his wandering ways and settle down with Madame du P. In real life, David Tennant and Sophia Myles were an item for a couple of years afterwards. That certainly adds a certain frisson to the scene – but points deducted for dropping this otherwise perfect historical romance right in the middle of the Doctor-Rose love story.
12. The Eleventh Doctor and River Song (Let’s Kill Hitler, 2011)
First River tries to kill the Doctor with a poisoned kiss. Then she locks lips with him again to save his life, sacrificing her entire future regeneration cycle in the process. Talk about blowing hot and cold.
11. The Tenth Doctor and Astrid Peth (Voyage of the Damned, 2007)
Turns out a Christmas kiss isn’t just a tradition on planets with mistletoe as Astrid, a plucky waitress on board the stricken starship Titanic, grabs the Doctor for a festive fumble. But, because she’s played by pint-sized pop sexpot Kylie Minogue, she has to grab a box to stand on first. The Doctor looks suitably handsome in his 007-style tux and, when they kiss, there are literally fireworks. Later, they repeat the moment after Astrid has sacrificed herself to save the ship, the Doctor leaning in to kiss an “echo made of stardust”, before Astrid turns into dancing specks of light and flies out among the stars. All that’s really missing is Angry Anderson singing ‘Suddenly’.
10. The Tenth Doctor and Cassandra (New Earth, 2006)
David Tennant and Billie Piper are the ultimate Who couple among fan shippers – but the Tenth Doctor and Rose never actually, properly kissed. David and Billie did get to canoodle a couple of times, though, the first being when Cassandra – the last surviving human turned “bitchy trampoline” – transported herself into Rose’s body. Despite her initial horror at becoming “a chav”, Cassandra soon started to enjoy her new curves, and lost no time in sucking the Doctor’s face off. The Time Lord’s verdict? “Yep. Still got it.”
9. The Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald (The Snowmen, 2012)
In The Snowmen, the Doctor plants a smacker on Strax the Sontaran’s big shiny potato head, and even has an intimate moment with Mr Punch. But it’s Clara, in her Victorian governess mode, who delivers a proper Christmas kiss, attaching herself to the Doctor’s face for so long he must be grateful Time Lords come with a respiratory bypass system. Now that’s the way to do it.
8. The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones (Smith and Jones, 2007)
The Doctor has barely said goodbye to Rose than he’s playing tonsil hockey with the new girl. Except, in this case, it’s not a kiss, it’s a “genetic transfer”, designed to give Martha enough Time Lord DNA to fool the Judoon into thinking she’s not human. Yeah, right – we’ve all tried the old “genetic transfer” line, mate.
7. The Ninth Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness (The Parting of the Ways, 2005)
It’s entirely typical of the Doctor’s endearing species blindness that his first kiss of the re-booted show should be with an ‘omnisexual’ alien in the body of TV’s John Barrowman. “Wish I’d never met you, Doctor,” says Jack, unconvincingly, as he prepares to face the Daleks in a battle to the death. “I was much better off as a coward.” Then he kisses him on the lips, and says: “See you in hell.” Someone give that man his own show.
6. The Twelfth Doctor and Missy (Dark Water, 2014)
The Twelfth Doctor’s not the hugging sort, and he’s definitely not the kissing sort. So when Missy presses him up against the wall and snogs him so hard his eyes are in danger of popping out, he’s relieved to discover she’s actually just a slightly over-enthusiastic welcome droid. Later, he’s horrified to learn that she’s not really a droid at all, and that he’s actually been swapping spit with his oldest enemy, the Master, who is now a woman with a penchant for dressing like Mary Poppins. So many issues – where to even begin?
5. The Eleventh Doctor and River Song (The Name of the Doctor, 2013)
River Song is dead. In fact she died the first time we met her, but she and the Doctor aren’t the types to let a small detail like that get in the way of a beautiful friendship. On Trenzalore, though, the Doctor discovers River’s grave alongside his own, and he knows it’s finally time to let her go. “There is a time to live and a time to sleep,” he tells her. “You are an echo, River.” That may be so but, for a ghost, she’s still a pretty good kisser. So is this really the last we’ll ever see of Professor Song? Spoilers, sweetie!
4. The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond (Flesh and Stone, 2010)
Undoubtedly the sauciest scene in all Who, this prompted something of a minor tabloid kerfuffle at the time. First, Amy tries to rip the Doctor’s clothes off, then she snogs him up against the Tardis, then arranges herself on her bed in a manner that’s not so much a come on as a COME ON! And on the night before her wedding, too. She insists all she wants is a no-strings quickie but, in a bedroom that’s basically a shrine to the Doctor, that’s something of a mixed message, to say the least. Unlike his smooth-talking predecessor, Matt Smith’s Doctor is all flailing awkwardness and indignation. Besides, he has other priorities. “The single most important thing in the history of the universe is that I get you sorted out right now,” he insists. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” purrs Amy. Blimey, is it hot in here?
3. The Eighth Doctor and Grace Holloway (TV movie, 1996)
The Doctor waited 33 years for his first screen kiss – so it’s no surprise that, when the moment finally came, he really went for it. Walking through a San Francisco park, the newly regenerated Eighth Doctor celebrates the sudden return of his memory by grabbing cardiologist Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) for a full-on snog, before declaring “I am the Doctor!” “Good,” she says. “Now do that again.” So he does. They don’t call her Amazing Grace for nothing, you know.
2. The Clone Doctor and Rose (Journey’s End, 2008)
More Billie-Tennant action, but still not the actual Doctor and Rose. It’s close enough, though, as the ‘biological metacrisis’, half-human version of the Doctor manages to say those three little words that the real thing never could, and is rewarded with a passionate kiss. A kiss from a Rose, if you will. It’s a moment that inspired worldwide swooning and a million animated GIFs. Points deducted, though, because, by returning to Bad Wolf Bay, the scene does slightly diminish the Doctor and Rose’s original farewell on that same beach two years earlier – indisputably the most heartbreakingly romantic moment in all Who (but sadly disqualified from this list by the lack of mouth-to-mouth action).
1. The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler (The Parting of the Ways, 2005)
After 13 episodes of weapons-grade flirting, the Doctor and Rose finally kiss. And it’s literally the kiss of life: Rose has absorbed the time vortex from the heart of the Tardis, and it’s killing her. “Come here,” says her Time Lord, tenderly. “I think you need a Doctor.” Then, as they kiss, ribbons of vortex energy flow from her eyes into his. Wow, talk about chemistry: we always knew there was something between these two – we didn’t know it would turn out to be the whole of time and space. What’s more, the Ninth Doctor sacrifices himself in the process – laying down his life for the woman he loves without a moment’s hesitation. What could possibly be more romantic than that?
Or if you really must see them in action try this snippet, from 12 seconds in...