Follow TV Tropes


Heartwarming / Doctor Who

Go To

"You were right, you know. The universe generally fails to be a fairy tale. But that's where we come in."
The Twelfth Doctor, "Twice Upon a Time"

After over sixty years of adventures too numerous to list, it's indisputable that Doctor Who has been warming the hearts of its audiences so much that they keep coming back for more.

Not only does the Doctor have countless companions that have proven to be heartwarming to varying degrees, but fifteen different faces that have all told a different story of how kind they are at heart(s), too.



    open/close all folders 

  • Once, the Eighth Doctor travelled with Kroton, a Cyberman who had somehow retained his ability to feel emotions. Kroton had a lot of damn good moments like pummeling a patrol of Sontarans into submission, but he also had a lot of potential for Tear Jerkers given that he kept having flashes of his former life before becoming a Cyberman. In The Glorious Dead, Izzy, another of the Doctor's companions, gives him a memory crystal and forces him to use it so he can fully remember (It Makes Sense In Context). And he does, and the memories of his whole family are restored to him. His voice cracking as it all comes back, trembling through the pain and the sweetness of all he had lost, almost weeping in joy, is Kroton's true CMOH.
  • There's the comic when a depressed Eight goes to a bar to drown his sorrows after a particularly nasty time, and runs into 'Bish, the bar's owner. Both have a chat together when a cheated robot barges in with an explosive threatening to blow up the bar. Eight suavely approaches her, and with genuine sorrow in his voice, reminding her of the flow of Time and how everybody longs for the past that is no longer with us, gets close enough to her and turns her and the explosive off. Everybody breaths again and the Doctor and 'Bish remain a while after closing. The Doctor thanks him for the heart-to-heart and leaves on a holiday. Due to an earlier interruption, 'Bish never learned the Doctor's name. Unfortunately, after the Doctor leaves, 'Bish drops his form as a tall bartender and reveals himself to be Frobisher, the Doctor's old DWM companion, who complains he never got to learn the man's name...
  • At the end of IDW Comics' The Forgotten miniseries. The Tenth Doctor asks the TARDIS' matrix to appear as one specific Companion — "You know who I need to see..." and it's Susan, so he can finally hug and say goodbye and apologize for leaving her so many, many years ago.
  • Doctor Who Magazine's short gag comic Doctor Whoah! gets on in issue 433, the first issue released after the death of Nicholas Courtney. It shows all 11 Doctors facing the reader and saluting.
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic Hunters of the Burning Stone starring the Eleventh Doctor brings back some of The Doctor's first companions ever...Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Who, after an understandable amount of confusion (having left The Doctor before learning of his ability to regenerate) slowly come to accept that the young man piloting the TARDIS is in fact the same as the old man they traveled with before.
    • The Doctor's appeal to Barbara.
      Barbara: Who are you?
      Doctor: (with a smile) Barbara Wright...The school teacher who became an Aztec god. Who braved the Gobi desert with Marco Polo. Who dined with Nero as Rome burned... Do you really not know me?
      Barbara: (stunned silence)
    • Later The Doctor is able to overcome a psychic assault, with the memories of the moment when Ian first persuaded the Doctor not to kill someone. The Doctor then tells Ian he inspired him to be a better man ever since. Ian then reassured the Doctor that he was a good man, and the two finally reconcile.
      Ian: You're a legend alright, but not a dark one. You've been a thread of hope running throughout human history! Doctor, if you learn anything from me, learn that! I want you to see yourself through our eyes! Accept what you truly are...and forgive yourself.
      Doctor: (sheds a tear, then smiles) Come along Chesterton. Let's go save the world.
    • The best part comes at the end, especially if you're an original series fan. Ian and Barbara get married, with The Doctor as the best man! And, the Doctor finally remembered Ian's surname.
  • In volume 2, issue 11 of Doctor Who Ongoing, "Body Snatched", the Eleventh Doctor and Amy get their minds swapped. Rory is completely supportive of Amy throughout the comic, freely giving hugs to comfort her while she's stuck in The Doctor's body.
  • In Doctor Who: Four Doctors, the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors are shown alternative timelines created by the Voord and the Evil!Twelfth Doctor based on different decisions they made in their lives, which lead them to become their own antithesis. However, when they observe the Ninth Doctor and Rose having a drink in issue 5, they realize that the Voord couldn't find an alternative timeline for the Ninth Doctor because he can only ever be fantastic.
  • 13 showing Character Development from 10, and stopping him from bringing up Rose because she gets now how bad it makes Martha feel.

  • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel "Shadows of Avalon" has the Brigadier, in the aftermath of a screaming argument with the Doctor where both men virtually severed their friendship with each other over events in Avalon (basically the human dreaming). During the siege of a castle, the Brigadier, thinking the Doctor dead, realises that he was right, and tells the troops that their job is to save the day and do the right thing - just as the Doctor would have wanted. Naturally, being an attention tart, the Doctor trumps him by performing a chandelier swing into the middle of the room, but it doesn't detract from the emotion in the Brigadier's speech.
  • The Doctor Who novel The Glamour Chase pulls one at the end, where Rory is upset about how unfair it is that one of the characters had to deal with the horrors of PTSD all alone, in a time before it was understood and before treatment was possible. The Doctor interrupts by hugging him and kissing his forehead, telling him not to lose that compassion, because sometimes, he forgets himself how important it is.
    Doctor: He's a keeper, this one.
    Amy: I know. That's why I'm marrying him in about seventy-five years' time.
    • Of course then it immediately becomes a Tear Jerker when the Doctor makes a throwaway comment about Rio and we realise what happens to Rory next.
  • The Eighth Doctor's companion Fitz has been brainwashed into believing he's in love with one of the villains-of-the-week but somehow overcomes it when the Doctor's in danger, telling the woman who's been deceiving him "You forced me to love you. With him it's the real thing."
  • In the Twelfth Doctor novel The Blood Cell, set on a prison asteroid, in order to figure out where Clara and one of the prison guards have been taken the Doctor must get information from Marianne, a prisoner who was horrifically maimed — both physically and mentally — in a botched escape attempt years before. He communicates with her telepathically. The reader and other characters only hear his side of the conversation that ensues, but that's enough to reveal how tender and compassionate he can be as he comforts her over her guilt for (in the backstory) helping start the process that got everyone in a mess in the present and even allows her to give him a hug — and this is set within Series 8!
  • The Time Lord Letters has oodles of these, including:
    • The Sixth Doctor's tributes to, in turn, Lord Azmael and Orcini, in which he expresses his wishes that both men will be honorably treated in death.
    • The Tenth Doctor leaves Chloe Webber a note encouraging her to keep up her drawing, along with his own drawing of the TARDIS, which to him is a symbol of "safety and security and friendship." The explanatory notes reveal that as of her teens, her paintings are being exhibited in galleries...and every painting has the image of a blue box somewhere!
    • The Twelfth Doctor's thank-you note to Santa Claus for helping him in a time of need and giving him the "Best Christmas Present Ever." Yes, he lied to Clara about not knowing whom to thank for their reunion!
    • While Twelve's list of improvements to Coal Hill School in the wake of his tenure as caretaker is mostly funny, it says a lot about him that he's genuinely concerned about the poor job the teachers assigned to playground duty are doing — "standing and bantering to each other outside the main hall, while the fights happen round the corner by the bins." A shame the head teacher didn't seriously consider his ideas for a more regimented patrol...
    • It just shows why he eventually approves of Danny; Danny does not stand for bullying, even if it's an adult being bullied, hence why he gives Clara a shoulder to cry on. Danny stands for what the Doctor does, even if their ways of doing it are entirely different.

    Tales Of The TARDIS 
A series of several classic episodes added to BBC's iPlayer on November 1st 2023, with added scenes for an opening prologue and a closing epilogue, in which returning / surviving actors from the original stories appear to introduce the story, and afterwards give some extra clarification and more definitive conclusions on various plot-points.
  • Vicki and Steven recollecting their adventure of 'The Time Meddler' with the 1st Doctor... only to eventually recollect the Doctor himself. With how fondly they talk about how much they miss him and how often they think of him, it's hard not to imagine them speaking about William Hartnell himself. It ends with the pair of them clasping hands and wishing with all their hearts to see the Doctor one more time... and we hear that famous high-pitched chuckle as Vicki positively lights up with the biggest smile.
  • From 'The Mind Robber', Jamie and Zoe meet up once more, with their memories restored at last after being forcibly erased by the Time Lords, with Zoe revealing she has a son named James... as both realise she subconsciously named him after Jamie, without even being able to remember him. They just left that strong of an impression on each other.
    • Jamie reminiscing about Victoria, and hoping she's at least doing well with her life.
    • Zoe assuring Jamie (and the fans) at the end that they definitely will not forget their adventures this time, their memories are staying for good and they'll always remember what they went through together.
  • For 'The Three Doctors', Jo noticing how Clyde feels about Rani, and insisting he tell her how he truly feels while he still has the chance.
    • Clyde bemoans the fact that Rani's work is much more important than anything he's capable of, namely writing comic-books, and he doesn't want to tell her how he feels because he thinks she deserves someone better... only for Jo to assure him that stories are the most important thing in the universe, because it's what people are made up of. Their stories, their experiences, the ones that have already been told, and the ones that have yet to be heard, and that telling Rani how he feels is just a story he has yet to be part of.
    • Even just Jo's grandmother-like nature around Clyde, constantly referring to him as 'my darling', her determination to see him happy and living a fulfilled life.
    • The start establishes that Jo's husband, Cliff, has passed on. At the end, Jo finds the Metebelis crystal the Doctor gave her as a wedding present so long ago, as she tearfully remembers how the Doctor is what brought her and Cliff together in the first place... and we then see a man's shadow fall against the back wall, as a voice (Cliff's) calls out her name, and Jo is brought to a tearful smile.
  • In 'Earthshock', the 5th Doctor and Tegan seeing each other and immediately hugging.
    • In the epilogue, the Doctor and Tegan remember Adric... and laugh at how annoying he was, calling him silly and sulky... before remembering that he was only a kid after all, and that they shouldn't blame him for being a little difficult at times, considering his situation (being unable to return to his home and all)
    • Tegan pointing out that they simply moved on and never looked back, addressing something many fans were upset over for a long time, that the serial following 'Earthshock' was the vastly unpopular 'Time-Flight', in which the heroes seem to simply forget all about Adric as soon as they step out of the TARDIS again. This epilogue has Tegan finally addressing it, and the Doctor commenting on how the experience of talking it out with her was akin to therapy.
    • The Doctor saying that retelling the story of Adric's sacrifice is very much a way of keeping him alive in their hearts.
    • The Doctor asking Tegan to tell him all about her life since she left him, even the boring bits, because even the tiny, unimportant details matter.
    Doctor: Now tell me stories about you, about life, about everyday things.
    Tegan: ...little, tiny, boring human things, you mean?
    Doctor: They are the jewels! In this vault of memories, an ordinary life is one of the most shining things of all.
  • With 'Vengeance On Varos', the 6th Doctor and Peri meeting again, and awkwardly trying to navigate around the TARDIS to hug each other
    • Colin Baker's willingness to mock not only his age but his weight, something he received a lot of flack from fans over during 'Trial Of A Time Lord'.
    • The Doctor treating Peri far nicer than he ever did before. The Big Finish audio-dramas have always been in an odd state of semi-canon, so going by the show alone, the 6th Doctor never went through his large character-development arc as had been planned... yet, with this episode, he did after all. At no piont does he shout at or belittle Peri, he's willing to poke fun at himself, and is overjoyed at seeing the person she grew into.
    • The ending has the Doctor leaping up out of his chair, inspired by Peri's comments about saving the universe, and decides it's time to get back to it, excitedly running to a console to start looking for a world to save. Again, considering how his version of the Doctor was portrayed in the show originally, being bitter, arrogant and spending his time looking for places to relax and only saving the day as a side-gig, it's a breath of fresh air to see this incarnation finally acting more like the Doctor we'd expect to see.
  • In the epilogue sequence of 'Curse Of Fenric', the 7th Doctor and Ace talk about what Ace went through in the episode, and why it was what eventually pushed her to leave the Doctor behind for good, which she admits was mostly her just storming off in a huff than any actual hatred. The heartwarming comes when, after the two acknowledge their rocky moments, Ace confesses that she loves the Doctor and saw him as the father she never really had, prompting the Doctor to reply that he loves her too, kissing his fingertips and tapping them on her nose.
    • Ace quoting the Doctor's final words to her (in the classic series) back at him, with he himself providing the final line about the tea getting cold.
    Ace: We made a great team.
    Doctor: We were wicked! (grins)