Although the unique bond between the two was clear almost from the get-go of Chris Chibnall’s tenure on Doctor Who, it took until the penultimate episode of Jodie Whittaker’s time as the Doctor to explicitly dive into her incarnation’s romantic feelings for Yaz—only for that romance to be cut short with her regeneration. But looking back, Chibnall thinks things could’ve been handled differently.
Speaking on the WHO Corner to Corner podcast, the showrunner framed the Doctor and Yaz’s relationship as an “unrequited love story,” a peculiar choice of wording considering that he was also clear that the feelings between the two were indeed mutual.
“We discussed it. I think it’s an unrequited love story. I don’t know whether that’s the right decision, but it is an unrequited love story,” the former showrunner said. “I felt it was more heartbreaking. It wasn’t like there wasn’t any sense of ‘they’re not allowed to kiss,’ or, ‘they’re not going to kiss’. Dramatically, emotionally, it felt slightly more wrenching if they didn’t.”
Chibnall countered that the Doctor and Yaz’s final scene together—sitting atop the TARDIS looking at the Earth below them—is what he considered a worthy exchange. “I think if they kiss, you don’t get the final scene on top of the TARDIS, because that scene was always sort of the kiss really,” Chibnall continued.
“It’s a really delicate kind of pressure because it could have happened. And who said didn’t happen? But it wasn’t any sort of conscious decision to not to have it for anything other than ‘is it going to break your heart if they never quite get there?’”
Chibnall did conclude the thought saying that given the chance he would potentially do things differently with the Doctor and Yaz’s relationship—perhaps to make a groundbreaking queer moment in Doctor Who’s long history more explicitly textual than it was. Alas, what we got is what we got.
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