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A Study of Pink: Danny Speculation

Guest contributor Luke Gwalchmai on Danny’s introduction and what might be in store.

danny-pink-samuel-anderson-into-the-dalek

Some of you may remember, but many of you probably won’t, so allow me to refresh your memory. Several months ago, in light of Samuel Anderson being cast in Doctor Who, I wrote an article speculating on the kind of character that we may be seeing. Now, after the man himself has made his debut in Into the Dalek, I thought I would write another article about the man we were introduced to and I’ll offer some speculation on where his character could go when he pops up next. That’s right; it’s time for A Study of Pink: Part Two!

Exactly who is Danny Pink?

danny-pink-coal-hill-cadets-into-the-dalekWe are informed early on that Danny is an ex-solider, and he runs the Coal Hill Cadets, as well as being a Maths teacher. Although he may have been taking the cadets a bit too seriously before being snapped out of it by Fleming! In his class, he is asked two questions by one of his students. The first, “Have you ever killed a man?” was met with a rather vague answer from Danny “I was a soldier. There were other soldiers and some of them weren’t on our side.” Which is the kind of answer that was to be expected; he wasn’t exactly going to describe to a group of teenagers how he killed someone! He did the right thing, and left it to our imagination. The student’s follow up question; “Have you ever killed anyone who wasn’t a soldier?” definitely touched a nerve, and Danny dodging the question as a tear rolled down his cheek said it all really. Danny Pink appears to have done something questionable, something which still haunts him to this day. More on that later though.

Danny Pink and Clara Oswald: Dara/Pinkwald/Clink/whatever you prefer!

“Yes! I wasn’t going, but I am now, because you are going to be there, and suddenly it seems like the best idea ever.”

clara-and-danny-into-the-dalekHe’s not the smoothest of characters, Danny, bless him. This warm line was what he meant to say when Clara asked if he was going to Cathy’s leaving party. When in reality he told her that he had some reading to do! Danny and Clara seemed to click instantly, there is an attraction and a definite spark there, but they didn’t get off to the smoothest start. Danny seemed really nervous and kept tripping himself up, luckily Clara followed him back to his classroom, heard what he really wanted to say, and he agreed to go out for a drink with her. It was a very awkward start to say the least, and I don’t know about you, but I had a big smile on my face throughout their scenes together! They’re a very cute pairing, and fit together really well.

Danny comes across as a very likeable character; he seems like a kind-hearted, albeit slightly awkward man with a good sense of humour, and a bit of a mysterious past. Samuel has good chemistry with Jenna Coleman, and I think Danny and Clara will be a bit smoother together after they get to know each other and spend more time together. It should help Danny be a bit less nervous around her! It will be interesting to see how their relationship has progressed come the next time we see Danny. He has to find out about the Doctor at some point so it’ll be intriguing to see how Danny reacts to that, and the fact that Clara has been keeping him a secret from him and everyone. And Clara is sure to find out about Danny’s past, so it’ll make for good scenes to see how she reacts to that.

Danny and the Doctor

danny-tear-into-the-dalekOver the course of Into the Dalek it was made abundantly clear that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor does not like soldiers, refusing to let Journey Blue travel with him because she is one. So it will certainly be interesting to see his reaction when he learns that Clara is dating a man who used to be a soldier. I can see the Doctor being very cold and dismissive towards and about Danny when he first meets him and realises. The Doctor has a problem with them, and doesn’t care how nice a person you are underneath. I think Clara will be doing a lot in the way of defending Danny, trying to reason with the Doctor that he isn’t just a soldier.

There are some strong parallels between the Doctor and Danny; both are ex-soldiers, and have a shaky past which still haunts them, although they wouldn’t like to admit it. Neither of them like to talk about their past, because it hurts to do so, and brings out emotions they would rather keep to themselves. There is also the question that the Doctor asks Clara “Am I a good man?” the answer Clara eventually gave was “I don’t know. But I think you try to be. And I think that’s probably the point.” This question and answer can also be applied to Danny; he used to be a soldier, and killed people, like the Doctor. He doesn’t do it anymore, and is doing a different job, so is he a good man? The answer is also the same, while he has killed people, for whatever reason, he still tries to be a good man, which is what matters. He has stopped being a soldier and has tried to make something different of his life. The Doctor has also done this; he does it by travelling and saving people, while Danny has done it by teaching.

I think that, once the Doctor gets to know Danny, he will realise that they have more in common than he’d like to think, and that just because he’s a soldier doesn’t mean that he can’t be a good person, as long as he tries to be. There is much more to Danny than being a soldier, and the Doctor needs to realise that. Danny may help the Doctor to become a bit softer towards soldiers, and allow him to be able to see past the soldier they are/used to be, because people aren’t defined by their job, they’re much more complex than that.

I think that Capaldi’s Doctor doesn’t like and doesn’t want to travel with soldiers because they remind him of himself, and by being around other soldiers, he remembers that he was one of them, and it brings up some bad memories of the questionable acts he performed as one. Also, coming off the back of a 900 (ish) year war on Trenzalore and seeing many soldiers kill people and die will have affected him, and he doesn’t want to be reminded of that. Having fought in that war he doesn’t want to be around anything to remind him of it. While neither of them wants to be a soldier anymore, both the Doctor and Danny don’t seem to be able to let that side of them go. The Doctor still flies around the universe, fighting and defeating villains along the way, while Danny runs the Coal Hill Cadets, teaching people to become soldiers.

What’s next for Danny?

Series-8-TV-launch-trailer-(17)So, where does Danny go from his appearance in Into the Dalek? Well, we’ll undoubtedly see Danny and the Doctor cross paths, and the tension and drama that will bring. I think we may find out a bit more about his past; who he killed that wasn’t a soldier. My theory is that he killed an unarmed civilian, maybe a child, after thinking that they were armed. And he cannot forgive himself for making the mistake, so he’s tried to block it out. I also think we may see his soldier skills in action, be it military tactics or full on combat. This could bring out an interesting side to Danny because he seems to have put that behind him mostly, and would using a gun again bring back memories of the person/people he killed? And it could lead him to question whether he wants to be that man again, and what kind of man it makes him.

We’ll also see his relationship with Clara develop, as they become a much more solid couple and fall for each other. It’ll be interesting to see if Clara and Danny’s relationship will be able to survive Clara’s big secret of running off with the Doctor every so often. I do think it will but it should bring up an issue of trust between the two. Clara, at the minute, is omitting the truth from Danny. She’s got this whole other life that he doesn’t know about, and it raises the question; if Clara doesn’t want him to know, should he, and does he have the right to know? I think the answer is of course he should know; if he and Clara are going to be in a relationship, she really should be honest with him. Danny should also be honest about his past as a soldier. I wonder that if their relationship becomes strong enough that they can move past each other’s secrets and demons, Danny may be the reason that Clara eventually departs the TARDIS. If she and Danny get serious, it’s not surprising to think that she would want to give that relationship her full attention, and putting herself at risk by running off with the Doctor into terrible dangers could put that in jeopardy. She could face a similar decision to Amy and Rory; choosing between real life and Doctor life.

So, all in all it was a strong introduction to Danny Pink. We’ve only just met the character but already it is clear to see that he is a man with a haunted past. He is a very well-rounded character who clearly has many layers to him. I look forward to getting to know him further when we next see him on the show. As someone who’s been longing to see a soldier/ex-soldier on Doctor Who, I’m so happy and excited that Danny is with us. He’s a very likeable guy and I think Clara is perfect for him, as she can help him to overcome the demons of his past and help him to let them go. I like Danny already, and I like him with Clara. I think their personalities suit each other and they have very good chemistry. There are many directions the show could take Danny in, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what they do with him.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Danny Pink; do you like him? Do you ‘ship’ Danny and Clara? And where will the series take him next? Thanks for reading!

Step back in time...

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115 comments
ChrisMcCulloch
ChrisMcCulloch

I thought that back in April (2014) Steven Moffat revealed that Danny is the REAL Doctor (à la Number Tens' John Smith w/his pocket watch) and that Capaldi is really the Master disguised as the Doctor.  Granted that it was April Fools Day and it was taken as such but, I mean, there are several clues to coincide with this theory (and why not use April Fools Day to really stir upstuff and use a double bluff?)  Here is my clues

1.  Names - Danny Pink & John Smith?  Journey Blue (name source or distant relative)?  Remember, as we saw in 'A Good Man Goes to War" that Mr. Moffat loves this kind of clue-dropping and nameplay.  Why not stick to a tried and true plot twist?

2.  Demeanor - As you read above, there is a strong dichotomy and unspoken link between Danny and the Doctor we can see so far.  Plus, Danny is closer in his personality to Tennants' John Smith not only that they are both ex-soldiers who now teach, but that he is hanging on to regrets about his actions at war.  Capaldi's Doctor actually seems to be what one would expect the Master to be like feigning a new Doctor manifestation with his nasty, snippy comments cracking through the exterior facade created through the same "watch" process.

3.  Non-Doctor episodes - This is, again, old territory for Mr. Moffat (remember the ground-breaking "Blink"?) and it is certainly a great way to flesh out other elements and characters in a round-about way.

4.  Capaldi's 'regeneration' scene - As most of us noticed, this last regeneration scene was just a cut between actors, not the usual merging/morphing we have seen in the past.  Granted, the regenerations have been individual and somewhat different from one another (forgiving for what was available during the original run), this 'regeneration' could have easily been the time the Master teleported into the same spot the Doctor was standing.


Remember, while the clues are strictly conjectural on my part, the announcement also pointed out that the spacesuit worn by Colonel Pink is the same as the one worn by the Doctor in previous episodes.  I can't wait to see what plot twists are coming!

Noybusiness
Noybusiness

"My theory is that he killed an unarmed civilian, maybe a child, after thinking that they were armed."

That, or other soldiers he served with did and he feels responsible.

Doctor Whom
Doctor Whom

He was described twice in this episode as a "lady killer". Can't be a coincidence can it?

Joe17
Joe17

I can see The Doctor and Danny clashing hard at first. But then I can see Clara pointing out they are in fact very similar. And I'll say it again Danny is already a great character!

SteveWillis
SteveWillis

Anyone noticed that the girl in Clara's flashback "Go on. Do it then" is the same girl that mocks this teacher/receptionist in the school who was trying to flirt with Danny in a strange way?

The Lazy Caretaker Cat
The Lazy Caretaker Cat

A troubled soldier with an unusual last name, a crazy Mary Poppins who brings people back from the dead, an enigmatic woman in a shop, a Doctor questioning himself and an impossible English teacher caught in the middle of it all. I have no idea where this is all going, but it'll be one hell of a Series.

kristo004
kristo004

I'd prefer "Claranny" as a name for them :P

LongLiveWilf
LongLiveWilf

He's a good character but I don't like him....mainly because I have a massive crush on Clara. He certainly comes across as a possible "disturbed" master.



hobbingtonthefirst16
hobbingtonthefirst16

That scene where Danny talks to himself in the classroom - could that be linked to the 4th episode "listen"?

Deathvalleydemon
Deathvalleydemon

I thought I'd hate the character, thought he was well introduced.

but to be honest, I'm absolutely loving the sharpness and the lack of being bothered from the Doctor.


"Top layer if you want to say a few words", "she cares So I don't have to"... classic!

floppy_who
floppy_who

A friend of mine pointed out a colour theme going on here: Danny Pink, Journey Blue- and wasn't one of Robin Hood's band of merry men Will Scarlett?

I still think the Guardian newspaper might be a bit of a clue to something going on in the back ground.

Or maybe I'm being human and seeing patterns that aren't there....!

grabate
grabate

Looking forward to the Doctor meeting Danny, Danny is very much the 9th Doctor, both were trying to hide their fresh battle scars but in different ways. With the new Doctor having "lifted his vail", Danny's going to bring out a lot of the Doctors long repressed emotions.

The Lazy Caretaker Cat
The Lazy Caretaker Cat

Great article! I really like Danny so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops, however, I think/ hope that Steven Moffat tries to do something a bit different with him and Clara. Though it looks like that's where things are going, because he doesn't even find out about the Doctor until well into the Series!

saint10882014
saint10882014

I think Danny is Journey 's dead brother, who was taken to Nethersphere, then transferred to Earth. That is why we didn't see Journey 's brother.

Iratus Culex
Iratus Culex

Could Danny have inadvertently been responsible for the death of the Maitland children's mother or for some reason, thinks he is? How she died was never mentioned. I am thinking that the Doctor still does not remember saving Gallifrey, which might explain his dislike of soldiers. You always dislike traits in others that you most despise about yourself.

mayotango131
mayotango131

For all those who are upset to the 12th Doctor hard view towards the soldiers , am I the only one who remembers the unreasoning, unjustified (And a little exaggerated) Tenth Doctor hatred towards U.N.I.T. in the double episode of the Sontarans?

thepetrichorgirl
thepetrichorgirl

I love Samuel as an actor and Danny Pink seems like a nice guy... but I don't want to trust or like him too much because I think there's more to his story than just his military background... remember what Peter said "Trust no one"! And Samuel did say in an interview with MTV (that Samuel himself posted on his twitter) that Danny is NOT a companion so it'll be interesting to see what happens to his character and what his relationship with the Doctor will be like.

ahunter8056
ahunter8056

A nice little article. I'll admit, prior to 'Into The Dalek', I was not looking forward to Danny Pink. I felt he was just unnecessary, and was hoping he wouldn't become a companion. On initial broadcast, I was unimpressed with Danny Pink, seeing yet another recurring male character starting off as a complete loser. However after watching 'Into The Dalek' a couple more times, I'm beginning to like him. Of course we've seen him for a total of what? 5 minutes on-screen? I'm interested in seeing what happens when Danny Pink features in an episode, and this article more or less changed my opinion of him. Thank you.

kingsmokiii
kingsmokiii

amazingly written article. this guy needs to write more here

 Notsosmartguy The new Caretaker.
Notsosmartguy The new Caretaker.

What did you guys originally think Danny would be like? I thought he was gonna be a "rival" of Clara's rather than a love interest.

cyberbrayde
cyberbrayde

And what about the other companion-like student, what's her name? Courtney? The girl who jokes, ‘She wishes!’ when the School Secretary is trying to flirt with Danny. And when being the incredibly rude student to Clara  Deep Breath. I think she's going to be great, I didn't so much like Angie and Artie. But Courtney feels super confident, that she can get Clara to crack, or be able to get the secretary upset.




cyberbrayde
cyberbrayde

Its as if he is a broken solider who needs a Doctor.

ilyootha
ilyootha

Great article! I wasn't sure about Danny when he was announced, but I liked the character very much in Into the Dalek. It will definitely be interesting to see how he and the Doctor will get on together, given that one is a soldier and a math teacher whereas the other doesn't like soldiers and apparently is bad at math XD I'm not very keen on PinkSoufflé (that should be the official name now) though, I think apparently because I still can't let go of Whoufflé... Anyway, nice to see a new character in the show!

P.S. Should the school really be open mid-January and shouldn't it be too cold to wear only T-shirts?

P.P.S. Speaking of Coal Hill, I love how its interior looks very much like it did in Remembrance of the Daleks, although with a touch of An Unearthly Child!


MaraBackman
MaraBackman

She's also apparently Danny's sister, with whom they'll travel in a future episode.

ponchopanda
ponchopanda

@kristo004 

Claranny

Clarany

Clarani

Cla Rani

The Rani 


Yes I have cracked the code
both Danny and Clara form the infamous 'Rani' making her triumphant return as the Doctor's ex girlfriend 'Missy'

mrclever
mrclever

@floppy_who In the first episode Clara was sent the times, in the second she is holding the Guardian  

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

The guardian is a popular newspaper with teachers, they probably have various newspapers delivered to the school staff room.

It would have been more surprising to see Clara reading The Sun's football pages!

The Lazy Caretaker Cat
The Lazy Caretaker Cat

There's nothing wrong with speculating, it's part of the fun! Good point, I definitely think there may be a connection with Journey and Danny, two soldiers with colour names can hardly be a coincidence can it?

floppy_who
floppy_who

...and such dedication from Samuel: getting a real lump on his forehead from repeatedly banging his head on the desk..!

HopPyleen
HopPyleen

@saint10882014 Except that we did see Journey's brother, didn't we? Next to her in the cockpit, bleeding?


Favonian Squall
Favonian Squall

@Iratus Culex  Only the Doctors before mid-late life Eleven do not remember saving Gallifrey. Later-late-life Eleventh Doctor and following incarnations do remember, and that includes Eyebrows.


But yes I think that the Doctor dislikes soldiers because he's had to be one in the past, he's been at war and had to make some very hard and potentially morally dubious decisions in the process. And after the Time War, I think that the Doctor has been left with a very sour taste in his mouth, ESPECIALLY now that he remembers how it really ended.

A Friend of the Ood
A Friend of the Ood

@mayotango131 He didn't hate UNIT, he hated its' militarization. He didn't reject Martha after finding out that she was working for them and he didn't reject Ross either.

HopPyleen
HopPyleen

@ Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey On the contrary, I thought he was going to be even more of a love interest, one dimensional and flirty. Thankfully he seems to be a character with actual depth and history.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@ Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey To be honest I didn't know what to expect with him, because I had no point of reference other than a photo. So I went to my default state of being a bit worried that he might be cocky and unlikeable, or that he'd in a worse case be very bland and uninteresting.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

British schools are always open mid January, and yes while it would be slightly chilly to be just in T shirts, it's good to toughen them up!

DDBlue
DDBlue

God I hated the kids in th Cyberman episode!!!!!! Please no more of that. Not saying that every kid is bad. I am saying the recent ones were.

saint10882014
saint10882014

But what mean is what didn't see the face, meaning it could be Danny.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

@JohnHurtDoctor @MaraBackman Depending on how she's handled, it could work. I am skeptical by default, but I'm willing to see if the character works better than most children in fiction.

ilyootha
ilyootha

@ Notsosmartguy  Oh yes! In the meantime, I'm only one boxset, one e-book and one not yet released graphic novel away from owning every officially released Eleven/Clara adventure :P