When Doctor Who rebooted in 2005, the Doctor’s first companion, Rose, became a love interest throughout her two seasons on the show. This is a stark contrast to the majority of the companions from the original episodes of the show. This change in the dynamic between the Doctor and companion did not receive wide praise from the fans of the old show. I think that this change is out of character for the Doctor, but it makes the show more appealing to a greater audience, which is something that the program needed for its reboot.
The presentation of affection between the Doctor and Rose is very on the nose. Rose clearly demonstrates her love and affection for the Doctor beyond just friendship. The Doctor teases that he reciprocates feelings for Rose, but it is not nearly as obvious as it is for Rose. We know that the Doctor has had romantic relationships in his past, but it’s through a character, not a relationship. His granddaughter Susan is one of the original companions. Susan is a symbol that the Doctor is a father, and that he has been intimate with another person in his past.
The Doctor’s relationship with Rose is a bit out of character when compared to his history of companions, but with the tone of the reboot, it isn’t out of context. By the time the reboot was scheduled, the Whoniverse was worldwide. The expectation of the reboot was to appeal to a global audience. The romance between the Doctor and Rose appeals to a larger demographic of people, and it is congruent to television programs of the twenty-first century, specifically American television. Romance is potent in American television programs, and American viewership is a tremendous portion of the viewers of the reboot, so the relationship between Rose and the Doctor was more familiar to American viewers. Without the romance of the Doctor and his companion in the first two seasons of the reboot, the show may have fell flat and suffered problems similar to the ones they faced during the classic show’s demise in 1989.