Looking for a Doctor Who story to ring in the Valentine’s Day celebrations? Here are Lovarzi’s top picks for a romantic evening on (or behind) the sofa…
The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Nothing quite says “I love you” like a dystopian Doctor Who story set in the near future in which humanity has been enslaved, decimated and robotised. In this classic 1964 adventure, the Doctor and his companions land in the year 2164 and find London in near ruins, with their old enemies the Daleks ruling over the planet with a rod of iron. Worse, they’re planning to replace the Earth’s core with a bespoke engine which will allow them to pilot the planet wherever they choose.
But in the midst of the death and destruction, this Doctor Who story is one of the earliest romance tales in the series’ history – but it may have you reaching for the tissues. Over the course of the adventure, the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan falls in love with a fellow freedom fighter called David Campbell. And even though she plans to leave him at the story’s conclusion… Well, we won’t spoil it. Suffice it to say that there must be no regrets, no tears and no anxieties.
And if you’re looking for another romantic Hartnell fix after ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth,’ follow it up with ‘The Aztecs,’ where the eponymous hero inadvertently makes cocoa and gets engaged…
The Girl in the Fireplace
‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ is a Doctor Who story at its timey-wimey best, borne out of the labyrinthine mind of writer Steven Moffat. This obscure tale from 2006 became something of a sleeper hit at the time of its original transmission, and is still highly-regarded among fans.
In the story, the TARDIS lands on a spaceship which – bizarrely – contains fireplaces which connect the vessel to the life of Madame de Pompadour in 18th century France. The reasons for this aren’t immediately clear (and indeed the Doctor never finds out the reason in the episode) but the doors allow him to take ‘the fast path’ through Madame de Pompadour’s life and form something of a romance with the French aristocrat.
Of course, with this being a Steven Moffat Doctor Who story, events do not pan out as expected. And if you’re holding out for a happy ending, you might want to skip the last 5 minutes.
Follow up ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ with its sequel story ‘Deep Breath’ from 2014. (There isn’t much romance in it, but it’s a cracker.)
Love is the central theme of this Eleventh Doctor story from 2011 which, on the surface, may seem odd given that this is essentially a tale about a Cybermen invasion. But this is no typical Cybermen invasion, with the monsters’ vessel buried beneath the changing rooms of a Croydon department store.
‘Closing Time’ is a sequel to the 2010 episode ‘The Lodger’ and sees the return of James Corden as Craig Owens, the character who played the Doctor’s hapless landlord-cum-housemate in the previous episode. This time, though, he’s got a baby – not ideal when your house is overrun with Cybermats.
However, this baby proves critical to this Doctor Who story for reasons that we won’t spoil here. But arguably, this is one of the more light-hearted entries on this Valentine’s list, so if you’re looking for some mild comic relief after the intensity of the Dalek invasion and time-travelling fireplaces, then this is the Doctor Who story for you.
The Wedding of River Song
This Doctor Who story follows on immediately from ‘Closing Time,’ but it might not make sense if you haven’t seen the rest of Series Six. And even then, you may still find yourself scratching your head – but hey, this is Doctor Who.
How to describe this season finale from 2011? Simply put, all of time is happening all at once, meaning that we now have pterodactyls hovering over Hyde Park and Roman centurions waiting at the traffic lights. Even Charles Dickens is on the news teasing his upcoming “Christmas special.”
But as the title suggests, this Doctor Who story all hinges around a wedding, which may just prove to be the most important wedding in the universe. For reasons that may (or may not) become clear when you watch the episode, only an impromptu ceremony at the top of a pyramid can repair the damage that has been done to the timeline.
And whilst there are many memorable moments in ‘The Wedding of River Song,’ there is one line which promises to make your eyes glisten. “I can’t let you die,” says River, “without knowing that you are loved. By so many, and so much. And by no one more than me.”
The Husbands of River Song
If you’re still in need of a River Song fix, this 2015 Doctor Who story will deliver in spades. To date, this Christmas special is River’s last appearance in the programme and neatly connects to her first appearance in ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘The Forest of the Dead’ as it finally shows the moment where the Doctor gives her his screwdriver, and takes her to the Singing Towers of Darillium.
Overall, ‘The Husbands of River Song’ is a light-hearted, festive romp made sweeter by the fact that (for half the episode, at least) River doesn’t recognise the Doctor’s face, even when he’s standing next to her.
“When you love the Doctor, it’s like loving the stars themselves!” she shouts, unknowingly in the presence of the eponymous Time Lord. “You don’t expect a sunset to admire you back! And if I happen to find myself in danger, let me tell you, the Doctor is not stupid enough or sentimental enough, and he is certainly not in love enough to find himself standing in it with me!”
Of course, River does eventually discover the Doctor’s identity, culminating in an emotional scene at the end of the episode with the fourth wall-breaking caption “And they both lived happily ever after.” What more could you ask for on Valentine’s Day?
Which Doctor Who story will be watching on February 14th? And which episodes would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.