*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Doctor Who season 14 episode 6 Rogue.*


With Doctor Who's new episode Rogue comes a new character who feels like he could be part of the Whoniverse for the long haul – Jonathan Groff's Rogue.

The alien bounty hunter rocks up in Rogue on a balcony, looking suspicious and smouldering enough for the Doctor to want to investigate.

What started as a clash between the two turns into escalating chemistry, with the pair of them causing a scandal on the dance floor and Rogue fake proposing, as well as an almost-kiss moment. Other shows would have left it there, reasoning that the clear tension between the pair is enough.

To state the obvious, it's not. And, thankfully, writers Kate Herron and Briony Redman knew that, penning a romantic, world-stopping kiss for the Doctor and Rogue.

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Not only that, they teased a return for him in a big way, with Rogue telling the Doctor: "Find me," and leaving the Doctor with his ring to signal that this relationship could be ongoing in the Whoniverse.

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Jonathan Groff as Rogue in Doctor Who. They are standing on a balcony facing each other
Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Jonathan Groff as Rogue in Doctor Who.

Of course, Doctor Who has always been progressive when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation – more subtly in the first seasons of the show, and then more clearly in recent years.

From John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness to Neve McIntosh's Madame Vastra and Catrin Stewart's Jenny Flint, there have been plenty of queer companions, and the Doctor's own sexuality has been referenced plenty of times, even as recently as Dot and Bubble, which saw both the Doctor and Ruby (Millie Gibson) fawning over musician Ricky September (Tom Rhys Harries).

Before Gatwa took on the role of the Doctor, companion Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) admitted her feelings for Jodie Whittaker's Doctor – although many fans were left disappointed at the lack of this being explored more clearly, for instance, the pair sharing a kiss. Then-showrunner Chibnall has since said that it was down to it being an unrequited love story and that it "felt more heart-wrenching" for the pair to leave things as they did.

Jonathan Groff as Rogue in Doctor Who in formal attire stood in a busy ballroom
Jonathan Groff as Rogue in Doctor Who. BBC

But often with LGBTQ+ representation, it all comes down to visibility. Because, inevitably, in the year of our lord 2024, there are still going to be people who have a problem with the Doctor being gay. But, on the other side of that, there are going to be queer people – young and old – who see the Doctor, the very definition of a hero, kissing another man and who, because of that scene, will feel more comfortable in their sexuality. That can only happen because the episode didn't shy away from it.

It seems like a very simple thing, and it probably is. It shouldn't be groundbreaking - the first kiss between two gay characters on British TV was all the way back in 1989 in an episode of EastEnders. But its impact still can't be underestimated. Some things have definitely improved for LGBTQ+ people since that kiss in EastEnders - but some haven't. It's still illegal to be gay in many countries, and there are still frequent attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

So even all these years after the first gay kiss on British TV, Doctor Who's LGBTQ+ representation still feels refreshing and important. As showrunner Russell T Davies has previously said, it's just true to life. He told RadioTimes.com: "I kind of [am] rather bemused when people say you're representing things now, because I think that's just people I live with, and know and love.

"And it's very normal to me, I don't know any other way to make things. And some people might come along and make a fuss about that. But I've moved on by then, so I don't care."

Davies added: "But I think it's a great thing to see. I think Doctor Who’s a great big open door for everyone to come and see. Even if you’re straight as a nail, come and watch because there’s lots in this for you."
In all likelihood, there will always be homophobes who have a problem with seeing a gay kiss on Doctor Who. But I'm certain there'll be many more queer people seeing themselves represented in their favourite show, something that is very simple but still monumentally important.

Doctor Who continues on Saturday 8th June on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.


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