Sit down for this one, ‘cos you’re gonna get hot under the collar as hosts Ben McKenzieJohn Richards and Petra Elliott discuss David Tennant and sex in Doctor Who with guests Aimee Nichols and Richard Watts in our tenth (ish) live Splendid Chaps episode, recorded at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne on October 13, 2013. Plus there are prizes, another deluge of audience questions, and Melbourne geek rock band Blue Turtle Shell marry our two topics in song! This one isn’t very sweary – but it does get a little risqué. What can we say? It does what it says on the tin.


Don’t forget you can go into the draw to win season four of modern Doctor Who on DVD (the Tenth Doctor and Donna season), courtesy of our friends at BBC on DVD! To enter the draw, just comment on this episode at splendidchaps.com. Do you think David Tennant is sexy? Is he your favourite Doctor? Do you find him smug or charming – or both? Are sex and relationships okay in Doctor Who, or do they weird you out? And who else in Doctor Who was clearly doing it, right under our noses? Comment by November 20 to be in the running, and we’ll announce the winner at the recording of Eleven/Future on November 21.


  1. Tony Flynn says:

    How about a Snog / Marry / Avoid question on the various Doctors or other TARDIS team members?

  2. Mary Dillman says:

    Another great episode, although I will never be able to watch David Tennant say, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” in the same way ever again!

  3. Lucas Testro says:

    In defence of the 10th Doctor’s regeneration, I think “I don’t want to go” was not merely a projection of Tennant or RTD’s feelings but a reflection of how, as Ben said, the 10th Doctor embraced life with a joy and vigour few other Doctors did. The Doctors do have different personalities, and I think it’s valid that one may see regeneration as more of a death than other incarnations would. Given the way the 10th Doctor lived life, it’s fitting the character dug his fingernails in when his time came to go rather than being philosophical about it. (And besides, trying a different emotional approach to regeneration is surely more interesting than doing the same thing over and over again?)

    Having said that, regeneration as a kind of death wasn’t an entirely novel idea. When you consider how the 6th Doctor spoke of his predecessor immediately after the regeneration (ie “Good riddance to that guy”), he clearly saw the regeneration as a kind of death and rebirth.

    One last comment about regeneration in this era. One of my favourite moments of Tennant’s time was the bit in 42 where he hurriedly starts to explain regeneration to Martha when she has to put him in the freezer. Usually in the series, this is only actually discussed in the regeneration episode itself. It was a great choice to throw it in a different episode for once, as it made you terrified seeing how truly scared the Doctor was that he might not survive. Such a great way to tear away the security blanket that the Doctor’s presence usually provides.

  4. Koa Webster says:

    I ADORED David Tennant’s Doctor while he was on-screen, but was glad to get a new Doctor (and yes, I cried too). I think he’s cute (now I sound like a 15-year-old girl), but not sexy. I did get a bit tired of the romance element with Tennant’s Doctor.

    Snog/Marry/Avoid (I found I couldn’t limit myself to just the Tennant era, sorry!):
    Snog – the 10th Doctor (and probably the 9th). And Captain Jack. I wouldn’t want to marry any Doctor, though. I don’t think he’s ready for that kind of commitment!
    Marry – Martha. Or Rory. Or Sarah Jane. Generally, the companions have much better marrying potential. Maybe Liz Shaw? (I’ll get back to you on that after I’ve finished watching Spearhead from Space, but she steals the show in the first episode despite hardly being on screen).
    Avoid – a few years ago I would have said Donna because I found her so abrasive. But re-watching this year, I’ve come to love her (just as a mate), and I agree with Ben that the Donna season is a cracker of a season (even if I can never forgive RTD for the tragic ending of the Doctor Donna). I don’t know. I probably *ought* to avoid Captain Jack…

    This year has been a real education for me. Thanks to Splendid Chaps and a couple of other podcasts, I have come to appreciate many aspects of Doctor Who that I hadn’t really thought about before (Doctor Who and sex? I mean really!). I also picked up Queers Dig Time Lords at the September show and found my heteronormative little mind expanded by the well-written, thoughtful essays on so many differing aspects of the queer experience of Doctor Who. I encourage you all to grab a copy.

    So thanks once again for an entertaining and thought-provoking episode.

    • Sarah B says:

      I find David Tennant a bit fanciable when he’s doing other things, but not as the Doctor. Is that weird?

      • Koa Webster says:

        No! It’s probably the Scottish accent… without it he’s a lot less sexy 🙂
        Or perhaps if you’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for a while, it feels a bit weird to fancy the Doctor?

  5. Ryan says:

    To follow on from your point about the Time Lords’ Looms, I heard a bon mot about why there was a resistance to Susan being the Doctor’s biological granddaughter:

    “Doctor Who fans don’t have sex, and so neither should he.”


  6. Oh, god, I *so* agree about Rose and Ten’s bad behaviour in ‘Tooth and Claw’. They essentially treat everyone like they’re NPCs in a video game or something. I think it hit a particular low for me when the one woman’s husband or whatever had just been viciously killed right outside the library door and here’s Rose and Ten essentially high-fiving and squeeing with one another that they’d just encountered a werewolf. SOMEONE HAD JUST DIED! Ugh! Yeah, I always roll my eyes when the Doctor says that Rose ‘brought out the best’ in him because I think it’s the opposite: they brought out the worst in one another. S2 is horrendous with all their smugness. 🙁

  7. Steve says:

    Another great show. I found the discussion about the Doctor-Rose relationship interesting…

    Is it possible to put links into these comments? Because this cartoon sums it all up quite well 🙂

  8. As someone who is pansexual myself, I have to say that really, really loved seeing Captain Jack on my screen. What I honestly didn’t like, though, was it almost seemed like the writers couldn’t keep that up or follow through on it, because toward the end of, say, ‘Children of Earth’ or especially ‘Miracle Day’, Captain Jack seemed to be more firmly portrayed as someone who only liked men (the pansexuality now forgotten). It was as if they stripped him from any other desires.

    I guess that can just get a bit ‘triggery’ for me personally due to fact that one of the hallmarks of bi-invisibility is the thought that ‘well, they’re just straight and experimenting or gay and in denial’ and the show seemed to just end up making him a gay man in the end (as if he were never truly bi/pan).

    Obviously, YMMV, but that really bothered me.

    Oh, and concerning Jack, I also hated that for someone who was presented as being into shagging anyone or anything, the show made a big joke of Donna having to desperately fling herself at him and him rejecting her outright when, IMO, Donna was super-hot and it made no sense for him to reject her like that. Then again, as said in your show, in the case of people like Donna or Jackie, RTD’s era seemed to often make a joke about older women having a sexuality and that always made me sad. 🙁

    Also, on the subject of queerness, while I liked having the old lesbian couple in ‘Gridlock’, I think during the RTD-era the show favored young, pretty gay men (there were quite a few of them!) but seemed to shy away from any younger, more diverse lesbian portrayals. And again, the females were older women and thus neutered (don’t even get me started on all the seemingly neutered female characters in RTD!Who — yes, even Rose counts for me on that). So, yes, we had gay characters, but it was often very one-sided (women were still ‘ew, gross’ or something?). The closest thing we got was the brief acknowledgement of River’s bisexuality, but that was a Moffat episode (I’m glad we finally have characters like Jenny and Vastra in the Moffat-era to balance that out).

    • Sarah B says:

      Donna had the dual “problems” of being older AND not being thin; death to a sex life in most TV (not to say she was unattractive, nor unhealthy, just that she was not the size that most “conventionally attractive” women on TV are). Which might also be part of her rejections?

      I think many of the Torchwood crew defaulted to straight-or-gay despite the initial flirtations with bisexuality. I’m not sure if it’s a feature of the writers’ prejudices or lazyiness? Either way, it became less of a “thing” after the initial buzz about the show.

  9. Murray says:

    Things that I find odd:
    * That this is not the only podcast I’ve heard that refers to Rose as a “16 or 17 year old” when talking about her having a relationship with the Doctor. There’s not a thing about the show (or BP’s characterisation) that would make me think she’s as young as that (http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Rose_Tyler just told me her age is stated as 19 on -screen), though I read online that calculating dates from some of her parents’ timeline suggests 17. Nineteen isn’t much of a mitigation for those with issues with a 900+ age gap, but it’s less paedo-ey. I will take the stated 19 as “canon”, thankyouverymuch. 🙂
    * I know (from comments I’ve heard before) that a lot of people think that the idea that the Doctor and Rose were not in a sexual relationship is somehow naive, yet I feel like I’ve heard several people who argue that “They MUST be doing it” and furthermore that “This is freaky, because of the Doctor’s position of power/the age difference/the fact that the Doctor is this strange figure that Rose can’t feel she fully knows even if she has fallen for him”.
    For me: first and foremost, for two characters who I think are played very well (within the bounds of the scripts) I don’t feel like the Doctor and Rose convey enough of a physical familiarity on-screen to suggest a sexual relationship (compare with how Rose and Mickey are shown in “Rose” – not that we expect the Doctor to act like Mickey), but also the reasoning of why they are not is “because of the Doctor’s position of power/the age difference/the fact that the Doctor is this strange figure that Rose can’t feel she fully knows even if she has fallen for him”. That “I love you” (RTD says that’s what it was, as the context suggests) that Half-Doctor gives Rose on the beach is presented as something that ProperDoctor was unable to give. I know a declaration of love is not an absolute requirement for physical intimacy, but is it ridiculous to think that our 900+ year old Doctor who seems to have managed to fit in a few centuries without physical intimacy isn’t applying the same “I can’t engage with this young woman to that level” to sex as well as a declaration of love?

    Do we get photos of the ep?

  10. Ignacio Ugarte says:

    Just listened to last two episodes (9and 10) back to back and was blown away. This justs gets better and better. Great guests. Congratulations to u all. Regarding sex and love: I was an original seres fan and equally love new series but have been persistently pissed off every time there is a new love interest. I’m not really convinced that he should ever have sex or relationship but then if it happens I don’t want it being a factor with every new companion. They have now proven that he is capable of love with rose and they proved limitations on his ability to Make this work by having to create new half doctor just to make it a possibility. I wish you had talked more about river earlier on though cos i think with her it actually works. They are more truly equals and it has a lot less weird power imbalance stuff attached to it. Great podcast.
    P.s. I tear up every time I see Catherine tates face now. Regardless of context. Damaged goods here. So sad. Fave companion of all time along with sarah Jane (particularly early on)

  11. Doc Whom says:

    The line about Rose and the Doctor’s relationship being “as if they knew they were on television” was worth the download alone.

  12. Bianca says:

    I began watching Who in David Tennant’s run (Gridlock was the first episode I remember seeing and it scared the hell out of me) and so up until recently I always thought he was my doctor, upon Matt’s departure, I realised that although I love 10 in the way you love your first doctor, 11 will forever be my doctor, I was able to see all his story, to follow along with the quirky, the heartbreak and the utter brilliance of his acting. I also think that with 10 his run was too often focused on Rose, a character who I never really got enchanted with, Season 2 was all about ‘Yay! Rose and I are off to have adventures and fall in love!’, Season 3 was ‘Oh woe, Rose is gone and I have to travel around with some other girl who is not Rose…’ and then Season 4 was ‘Rose is coming back? Let’s bang it into our viewers heads with a sledgehammer, Yay!!!’

  13. Matt Smeltzer says:

    I always thought Rose was super-overrated too. I don’t really care about the Doctor’s lovelife. Now, everybody else on the show, well they’re a different story. Also, I’m tired of not winning, so please pick me this time.

  14. Samantha Doedens says:

    Loved this episode – I came to Who with the new series, started with 11, went back to 9 and then ten. Ten is and always will be my doctor, and hearing him discussed along with the topic of sex was so interesting. He is definitely a “sexy” doctor, and I’ve always loved his dynamic with Rose (even though that didn’t seem to be a popular relationship according to this podcast) but my all time favourite is his relationship with Donna. As much as she ‘wanted a man’, their relationship was always about friendship, which I just thought was awesome. Anyway, that’s my two cents – keep up the amazing episodes, I enjoy them immensely!

  15. Shelley Lee (@tardisblue1963) says:

    The Doctor wearing splendid chaps with a companion is sure to be a new genre of fan fic.

  16. Richard Gill says:

    Absolutely loving the podcast – never commented on an episode before (even though you always ask us to!)

    Being a fan since the return in 2005, I have just learned an awesome amount about Doctor Who, which I thought I knew a lot about.

    I am so excited every month when my app flashes up with your podcast – it’s the highlight of my month. Can’t wait for November!

    Greetings from Yorkshire, England 🙂

  17. Ian Nicholls says:

    I want to vote for the songs that end each episode being released as a collection. I’ve extracted them for myself, and have been listening repeatedly. I love Petra’s singing and Zacharia’s songwriting, and of course Geraldine Quinn’s both, but John’s impression of Pertwee have shattered Shatner’s for amusement value.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Ian! We’d love to do that, but the clearances required to release an album for sale (and if we do release it, we’d like to sell it so we can pay all the artists involved) might make it too costly for us. Rest assured we’re investigating it, though, and we will try and do it if it seems feasible!

  18. Ryan White says:

    It was splendid, chaps! I really enjoyed the show and hate the thought of them ending. The mix of humor, behind the scenes info, and the science fiction is great. Tennant is right up there with the best of the doctors, but I agree that he was overdoing it a bit at times and some of what was his best lines became cheesy clichés because of the frequency. This led to predictability and boredom at times.

  19. Bridget says:

    I found this quite an interesting discussion considering I came into the series as, admittedly, a bit of a fan girl – of David Tennant. I really liked Eccleston too though. However, I found Amy Pond a quite a bit more difficult to get used to.. Rose I didn’t mind. Amy.. Not so much. Looking forward to the 11th though! Wish I’d found you lot a little sooner!!

  20. Andy says:

    Wish I was present to see that opening.. Donna is an absolute beauty. Only just discovered you brilliant chaps the other night at the library event – had I been introduced earlier and realised you were holding the event I’d heard about at ACMI I would have booked sooner!! Completely shattered I missed out now!

    In regards to Ten, I found his energy and humanity enthralling.. I wasn’t so keen on the Rose/Ten relationship but adored Donna. Martha was a bit of a hit and miss. Overall though I didn’t mind the emotion. Feel like he was easier to connect with where Eccleston and Smith were a little more withdrawn and alien (obviously). However he was my first Doctor so perhaps I expected them all to be a little more human than Time Lord.

  21. Dan says:

    Very interesting discussion. Never really considered the characters in such a way. I didn’t mind Rose. However, I think being introduced to the series so much later in the Doctor’s life may have something to do with this. I think generally this would be the case? Naturally a viewer would gravitate towards the Doctor of their age and era. Tennant was after all my “first” Doctor although my favourite is probably Matt Smith. I am looking forward to Capaldi though.

  22. Claudia says:

    Great show, always nice to listen to the final product 🙂
    Interesting discussions all round! Keep up the great work 😀

Comments are closed.