The Greatest Dads Of ‘Doctor Who’

Brian Willams, father of Rory, grandfather of Melody Pond.

Brian Willams, father of Rory, grandfather of Melody Pond.

This Sunday, families all over the world pay homage (in the form of last-minute cards) to menfolk. It’s Father’s Day, which means the chance of a family gathering, possibly involving a nice meal, and for the dads, the chance of a guilt-free Sunday afternoon nap for once.

And we have our own tribute to pay to fine fatherhood, in the form of a salute to the dads of Doctor Who. Admittedly, some of them are a little bloodthirsty, and it was hard to overcome the temptation to throw Davros onto the list again, as we did for Mother’s Day, but actually, give or take a couple of exceptions, the patres familias of the Whoniverse are a surprisingly admirable bunch.

Starting with the big daddy:

Craig Owens (father of Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, or Alfie)

Never mind that your own son refers to you (and everyone he has met) as Not Mum, Craig, you are a hero to all new fathers. Yes, you feel insecure, you worry that you cannot cope, and you probably have a point, but families are created by the people who stay in the room, and you, the man who refused to be made into a Cyberman and won, most definitely are.

Then again…

Rory Williams (father of Melody Pond and Anthony)

Rory had a less hands-on role for his first child, which is scarcely his fault, given that his child was stolen from him, raised by a religious cult to become a Time Lord murderer and then turned out to also have been the childhood friend that got him together with her own mother. Let’s just say he’ll be lucky if the card arrives on time. 

Mind you, at least he knows how it feels from both angles, as expressed in this. Just… just… THIS:

Brian Williams (father of Rory Williams)

Has there ever been a more magnificently daddish line than “Somebody’s got to water the plants”?

Augustus Pond (father of Amy)

Poor Augustus and his curiously Roman name. Erased from history by the crack in Amy’s wall, then denied the chance to speak at his own daughter’s wedding by the arrival of her imaginary friend from childhood. Some dads get overlooked, it is fair to say.

The Brigadier (father of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart)

Sadly, the only way to access the Brig’s fatherhood on screen is to view it through the prism of his daughter’s success at UNIT. But isn’t that how dad’s are often defined in any case? A chip off the old block? Oh, you betcha.

Tremas of Traken (father of Nyssa of Traken)

Nowadays we would giggle at a character whose name is an anagram of the baddy who comes along and steals his body. I mean, how long would the disembodied Master have had to search in order to find that one person with the perfect name? He’s mad, but he’s not THAT mad. But that doesn’t mean Nyssa feels the loss to any less significant a degree, and it’s his transformation into the Doctor’s biggest foe that causes her to take up traveling aboard the TARDIS. For her, the Master’s pantomime schemes are entirely personal.

Father of Mine (father of Son of Mine and Daughter of Mine)

A perfect nuclear family, set in a very pre-nuclear age. The Family of Blood are after the Doctor’s life force, and their leader, like any good father, will stop and nothing to get what his family needs. OK, so it doesn’t go very well for anyone concerned and the family end up imprisoned in a series of quite striking ways by the Doctor is unfortunate, but you can’t say he didn’t try.

Alex (father of George)

Note: the next sentence contains a spoiler.

Adoptive dads are just as loving, just as committed, just as daddish as birth dads. That is all.

Jimmy Wicks (father of Adam)

Another allegory about different families. This time we have the human Jimmy Wicks, from The Almost People, besotted with his son Adam and far away from home. His ganger shares this deep bond, because he’s, well, his ganger. Then there’s  a series of unfortunate events, and the human Jimmy dies, just as the ganger Jimmy realizes he’s never going to really be Adam’s father, except now it looks like he is. Stepdads all over the world know exactly what this feels like.

Reg Arwell (father of Lily and Cyril)

Nothing says Father’s Day like a good war movie. And if you can throw in a near death experience, a time vortex, some sentient trees and a moment of pure redemption, well, don’t blame me if dad’s eyes go a little misty.

Wilfred Mott (grandfather of Donna Noble)

While we’re having a lump-throated moment, this exchange, in which Donna’s grandfather and the Doctor, the father figure she can no longer be allowed to remember, talk over the awful consequences of separation. Who says science fiction is hard to relate to?

Pete Tyler (father of Rose) 

Which man wouldn’t want a daughter who is prepared to destroy the universe, just in order to see you again? It certainly beats a grudging phone call.

And finally, this fella:

The Doctor (father of Jenny, grandfather of Susan)

Not perhaps the most conventional of family men, but pretty good at helping the young people in his care to become more than they ever thought they could be. He’s not always great at keeping them alive, however, and maybe some of them have grown up with psychological problems. But my WORD they love him.

Who’s your favorite Whovian dad? 

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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