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Doctor Who is a show that is designed to appeal to families, especially those with children, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are always children in it. Sometimes, amid the homicidal alien races, terrifying stone creatures and giant space rotters, it’s better for everyone if the kids are safely back at home, drawing stuff with crayons. We don’t want everyone to grow up to be River Song, do we?
However, from time to time a young person gets to meet this strange man called the Doctor, and it’s always a delight to see what happens. Here are 11 examples:
The Empty Child (“The Empty Child”)
It is just as well gas masks are not common among children these days, or this particular Doctor Who story would have been scary enough to put all prospective parents off procreating, forever.
Fish custard is but one of the glorious moments that take place between the junior version of Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor, who always seems to have an astonishing ability to get on with kids. Even the TARDIS seems to be partial to this particular relationship.
See this little girl here? That’s Souska John, and not only does she remind the regeneration-dazzled Fifth Doctor about basic math, she’s the niece of Caroline John, who played the Third Doctor’s companion Liz Shaw.
The original spooky youth, Susan was a schoolgirl that knew too much about some subjects and nowhere near enough about others. Her teachers tracked her down to a junkyard, in which a crabby old man protected a blue box. They go inside, come out in caveman days, and the rest is prehistory.
Lily and Cyril (“The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”)
Did I mention the Eleventh Doctor is great with kids? He’s great with kids. I mean sure, they sneak off into the forest and very nearly get burned to death by acid rain, and yes their mum has to come and save the day, but c’mon, the Magna Carta! Hammocks! And the return of their dad! As Christmas presents go, that’s better than a card with a fiver in it.
The young Master (“Sound of Drums”)
This young chap only has one job, to look. He has to look into the Untempered Schism, as all novice Time Lords do, and experience the full sweep of time and space as it relates to his tiny frame, and not go bonkers. One look at those wild blue eyes and you can see he’s failed.
Merry Gejelh (“Rings of Akhaten”)
A perfect counterpoint to the Doctor’s rant about his extreme age: a song of calm from a young girl who was, until very recently, scared out of her mind.
Speaking of which…
George (“Night Terrors”)
George’s tale of horror becomes a parable about the relationship between a child and his parents, played out with scary peg dolls sporting outsized heads.
This gang of scary ne’er-do-wells (“The Mind Robber”)
For a man who likes to carry jelly babies in his pocket, the Second Doctor is not quite as comfortable with children as his later incarnations. Mind you, this lot don’t exactly make it easy, the rotten bullies.
Angie and Artie (“The Name of the Doctor”)
Not many people get to outwit the Doctor, still fewer get to make him swear. Hats off to Clara’s two charges for managing the double even when they’re not in the room.
Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All (“Closing Time”)
Also known as Alfie, small son of Craig Owens. One of the youngest (and most vociferous) children to ever grace the Doctor’s presence.
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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