A Study of Pink: Speculation on Danny
Guest contributor Luke Gwalchmai provides some theories on what we might see with Samuel Anderson’s character.
As I’m sure you all know by now, Doctor Who recently announced that a new recurring character will be joining in series 8. That character’s name is Danny Pink, and he will be played by the former Emmerdale actor Samuel Anderson. Danny Pink is a teacher at Coal Hill School where, as we all know, current companion Clara Oswald also works. So this article will offer some thoughts on what type of character we will be seeing in Series 8 and potentially beyond.
Another companion role?
Rory Williams was the boyfriend-turned-husband of Amy Pond. He started out as a recurring character in Series 5 before becoming a full time companion. Mickey Smith was introduced to us as the boyfriend of Rose Tyler in Series 1. He, like Rory, was also a recurring character before becoming a full time companion later on, albeit for a shorter amount of time. Given that Samuel Anderson’s character has been called a “recurring” character; it is certainly possible that he will not join the Twelfth Doctor and Clara aboard the TARDIS as a full time companion straight away. He does work at the same school as Clara, so it is possible she and Danny are already friends. So Danny may become curious about Clara’s life outside of the school, he could follow her to see where she goes, and find himself following her into the TARDIS and into the unbelievable life of the Doctor.
A Love Interest?
It is being speculated amongst areas of the fan base that Danny Pink is going to be a love interest for Clara. This seems highly plausible given the success of romance in Doctor Who since the shows revival. One of the biggest successes over the past nine years is the ‘relationship’ between the Tenth Doctor and Rose, which was and still is popular with many fans of the show. The most recent success with love in Doctor Who is the relationship between Amy and Rory Williams, who were companions to the Eleventh Doctor from 2010-2012. These characters were very popular and their relationship was a big hit with fans of the show, with both showing displays of their affection for each other in episodes such as Amy’s Choice, The Big Bang, The Girl Who Waited and The Angels Take Manhattan. There were also hints at romantic feelings between the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald, who did flirt with each other occasionally with Clara admitting on Trenzalore that she fancied the Eleventh Doctor.
While romance has been successful in the show’s past, recently it does not seem like it would be a widely popular idea to include romance between two of the shows regular characters. While there were people who enjoyed the hints of a potential romantic connection between the Eleventh Doctor and Clara, there were also a lot of fans who were not as keen on the idea. Some believe that bringing in Danny as a romantic interest for Clara will be too similar to Amy and Rory, but it could be argued that a relationship between Clara and Danny would take a different route to that of Amy and Rory, whose relationship was brought to the forefront in a number of episodes. Episodes such as Amy’s Choice and The Girl Who Waited were produced to convince the audience of the mutual love between Amy and Rory, when it wasn’t clear whether Amy reciprocated Rory’s love for her. With Danny and Clara, however, this doesn’t have to happen. It could just be established that they are in a relationship and both have similar feelings for each other, the relationship of Clara and Danny wouldn’t have to be brought to the forefront of future episodes. Also, Amy and Rory’s relationship was a plot point many times because of Amy’s potential romantic feelings for the Eleventh Doctor. Given that he has now regenerated into the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara could lose her previous feelings for him because he may have changed so much, so there wouldn’t need to be another love triangle between a potential TARDIS trio. So while it is a plausible idea that Danny Pink is going to be a love interest for Clara, it doesn’t seem as though it would be hugely popular with many of the show’s fans. It is also possible that Danny will not be a love interest for Clara, and he could just be a friend who finds himself dragged into the life of time travel.
What/Who Could He Be Like?
Male companions/recurring characters in the show since 2005 have all been different. While it could be argued that there are similarities between Rory and Mickey’s development across their run in the show, there are also distinct differences in the characters. Initially, Mickey was too scared to travel with the Ninth Doctor when he eventually invited him to join himself and Rose. Whereas, once getting a the chance to join the Eleventh Doctor and Amy permanently in the TARDIS, Rory is able to put his fears that he expressed throughout The Vampires of Venice aside and join his girlfriend in travelling throughout time and space. There are notable similarities also though, such as both characters start out as scared and rather weak in their ability to handle the dangerous situations that they were finding themselves in, and by the time they both left the TARDIS they had developed into strong, reliable characters who were good role models for the audience at home.
While not a recurring character, Canton Everett Delaware III is a good example of a character that was strong and dependable from the moment we first saw him. He was prepared to jump straight into the Doctor’s TARDIS without a second thought about what could actually be inside or what dangers may follow. It did take him a few minutes to get his head around the fact the TARDIS was a bigger on the inside time machine, but came to terms with it in a very professional manner and was able to accept it quickly and get on with what he had to do. He seemed more fascinated and impressed by everything as opposed to cautious or afraid. Canton was also a gay character, so that is a possible route for Steven Moffat to take with Danny, and that would avoid any romantic relationship with Clara.
There was also Captain Jack Harkness, who was first introduced to us in the series 1 two parter The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Straight from the off, Jack was a strong character that wasn’t afraid to get involved in the dangerous surroundings of the Doctor. He is also a good example to use in the argument that Danny Pink will not be a love interest for Clara, because Captain Jack did not have a romantic relationship with Rose Tyler, and they became good friends, although he did flirt with her in his opening episode. But then, Jack was very open with everyone when it came to romantic relationships!
This author’s personal opinion is that Danny Pink is not being brought into the show to be a romantic interest for Clara Oswald, although there is every possibility that this could be the case. And if it is then viewers shouldn’t dismiss the idea so quickly simply because they feel that it would be similar to Amy and Rory’s story, because every relationship is different, and Clara and Danny’s may not be the focal point of many episodes like Amy and Rory’s was. To me, it is likely that Danny will be a headstrong character from his first appearance on the show, as opposed to how Rory and especially Mickey were when they first started. He will probably be fairly intimidated and cautious on his first couple of adventures with the Doctor, whether that be aboard the TARDIS or a story set on Earth, because it would be difficult for anyone to cope with the world of the Doctor, but to me he will be a character who will be able to adjust to the transition easily and will be similar to Captain Jack and Canton Everett Delaware III in that he will be prepared to face the dangerous situations he is putting himself in, rather than blaming the Doctor for putting himself and others in danger.
Samuel Anderson is an extremely talented actor and it is a very wise choice by the BBC to cast him in the role of Danny Pink. I look forward to seeing him in action and hope he becomes a full time companion. Thank you for reading and I hope you are all as excited about this as I am. Welcome to Doctor Who Samuel Anderson!