Danny Pink: Recurring How?
Guest contributor Francis Milan ponders on Mr Pink’s role.
What do we actually know about Danny Pink? When you break down the information from the press release, you’ll find that the answer is… Not very much. In fact, you could pack the gist of it into four basic points. Danny Pink is…
- a) A Coal Hill schoolteacher
- d) Played by Samuel Anderson
- c) A recurring character in Series 8
- b) Omega in disguise
A-ha! I had you for a minute there! Well done for spotting the error. I swapped the ‘b’ and the ‘d’ by mistake.
The point I want to hone in on is that he’ll be a ‘recurring character’, because one of the biggest question marks placed on his future on Doctor Who is just how recurring he will be. I’ve narrowed down a shortlist of past characters who could be labelled a ‘recurring character’, to try and uncover which type Danny might be.
The Should-Have-Been Astrid-type
Okay, I’ll concede, this is probably the least likely option, considering that Astrid can’t really be classed as recurring. However, the list of could-have-beens is fairly extensive: a brief selection includes Lynda, Jenny, Rita, Lorna and Cass. This sort of character shows so much promise when the Doctor arrives at their door. They’re bold, gutsy, and more than just companion material. The audience root for them; we long for the Doctor to turn around in the closing moments of the episode and offer them a trip in the TARDIS. Sadly, there’s always one object that stands in the way of this – they’re usually dead by the time the credits roll. So, picture this: Danny is the typical good guy. Clara’s best buddies with him, the Doctor respects him, and the audience at home love him to bits. Of course he’ll have passed the companion initiation test come the end of the episode. But hold on a minute – he just died heroically saving the TARDIS team, destroying the main antagonist in some bizarre forklift truck-related incident. Bah.
The F-Grade Adam-type
Could Danny be the companion that failed to meet the mark? Adam Mitchell is the prime example of this – he could potentially bear some similarities with Danny. From what we know, Mr Pink will appear in at least two successive episodes: episodes 4 and 5. Adam also appeared in two episodes. The Doctor and Clara could pick up Danny in present-day Earth and promise to whisk him away for a trip in the TARDIS to see the universe. And so they do. Out in the future, Pink discovers he can manipulate foreknowledge of time to his own advantage, perhaps researching developments in technology or discovering catastrophic events which he could prevent in the present day. That’s a no-go, kid. You’re going home!
The Stay-At-Home Wilf-type
Every companion needs someone at home to hold the fort. This is usually a close relative: Rose had Jackie, Martha had Francine, Donna had Wilf, Clara has the Maitlands. You could even say that the Doctor had Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to visit at home for the best part of 500 years. Could Danny qualify as one of these characters? Every story where Clara comes home to some sort of alien plot which needs a team of heroes to defeat, she and the Doctor can call on kick-ass Danny Pink to lend a helping hand. However, this would depend on him not being TARDIS-travelling material, for reasons undecided. Maybe he’s allergic to time?
The Rank-Climbing Mickey-type
Looking back, Mickey has probably experienced the most drastic of changes in character in the modern era of the show. From 2005 to 2010, he developed from a cowardly bedroom-lurking idiot to Cybus-combatting freedom fighter who kicks asses for UNIT in his spare time. This sort of characterisation would be welcomed back to the show with open arms. He’s an example of how the Doctor empowers the people he crosses paths with, often for the better. Danny could be a timid wimp of a teacher whose life is changed by the Doctor, travelling in the TARDIS on and off. If he sticks around long enough as a semi-regular, he could leave the show as nothing short of a hero.
The Other-Half Ian-type
Though many would campaign against it, it may not be too long before we end up with another married couple on the TARDIS, similar to Amy and Rory. It certainly offers a diverse dynamic to what we’ve known in the years prior to the 2010s. Following Samuel’s announcement as a Coal Hill schoolteacher, many fans of the Classic era instantly drew parallels between Clara and Danny’s presence on the TARDIS and that of Ian and Barbara. Though it was never explicitly stated on-screen, many people see Ian’s relationship with Barbara as affectionate and romantic, so they were naturally perceived as a couple. So, if the omens are true, could that 60s duo have already foretold the pairing of Clara and Danny?
The Steadfast Jamie-type
Among the longest-serving companions, and certainly the most prolific male TARDIS member on the show, Jamie McCrimmon was a regular presence in Doctor Who from one of the Second Doctor’s early adventures, and saw Patrick Troughton’s tenure through to the very end. If Danny Pink joins in episode 4, it could be building up to one of the most enduring Doctor-companion set-ups of all time. He could outlast Clara, and his image could become synonymous with the Peter Capaldi era of Doctor Who.
As you have probably surmised, the possibilities I’ve listed meet a spike of likelihood towards the middle, whereas each end of the spectrum (Astrid and Jamie) are less probable. But hey, who am I to decide? My personal hope is that he follows either the Mickey route or, quite conversely, the Adam route. Perhaps he’ll even define a brand new style of companion! Maybe he takes a couple of trips in the TARDIS, and decides the time travelling life isn’t for him. Who knows? Can anyone out there in Commentland think of an interesting format for Danny? I’d love to hear everyone’s suggestions.
But please note, he’s Omega in disguise, so all your theories will be futile attempts at concealing the obvious truth. Soz!