Doctor Who introduces new gay character, kills them off after 25 seconds
TV fans are no strangers to queer favourites being killed off, but Doctor Who may just have set a new record.
The BBC sci-fi show introduced a new gay character in New Year’s Day special “Resolution,” but they didn’t hang around for long.
Connor Calland played a security guard, named in the show’s credits as Richard, who challenged Dalek-controlled character Lin (Charlotte Ritchie) as she attempted to get into the secure facility he was guarding.
Asked who can unlock a fingerprint-controlled door, the character responded: “Today, just me. Most secure digits in Yorkshire. That’s what I tell my boyfriend, anyway. I probably shouldn’t be telling you that, I’m new at this.”
Unfortunately, fans excited for the nugget of LGBT+ representation were disappointed seconds later, when the character was promptly killed off.
Some fans linked the brief moment as an example of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope, noting that Doctor Who has killed several minor LGBT+ characters across the past season.
Doctor Who fans linked the moment to the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope
One Twitter user wrote: “Am I the only that has noticed if you are openly gay in this series of #DoctorWho, you are gonna be dead within ten minutes? The security guard tonight, Frankie in Arachnids and Alfonso in Witchfinders.”
Another added: “The death/injury of another gay character this season! Gotta be a kind of record by now. #DoctorWho”
A third wrote: “i’m just baffled at the handling of LGBT characters in this series of Doctor Who. I wasn’t expecting some huge gay storylines or even great rep.
“But not constantly stating a random character is queer and then to kill them off would have been, I thought, an easy bar to clear.”
Doctor Who has a long record of LGBT+ representation
However, others on Twitter argued that creating LGBT+ characters who are just as disposable as any other should be viewed as a positive step, given Doctor Who‘s bigger commitment to representation.
A fan responded: “People are going on at that gay character as an example of Bury Your Gays and it’s really not. Loads of characters got killed very quickly and the death had nothing to do with the guy’s orientation and everything to do with him being a security guard?
“Not to mention that obviously it’s been one of the most visible shows for gay people.”
Doctor Who featured a string of prominent LGBT characters under previous showrunners Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat.
In 2005, it introduced the fan-favourite omnisexual character Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman, who recurred across several seasons of the show and starred in spin-off Torchwood.
The show also featured a married interspecies lesbian couple – lizard woman Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her human wife Jenny (Catrin Stewart), who were a same-sex couple living in Victorian England.
In 2017, Doctor Who earned acclaim for the positive portrayal of lesbian companion Bill, played by Pearl Mackie.