Viewers praise Doctor Who for ‘masterful’ same-sex kiss in historic first for series

Doctor Who fans celebrated a groundbreaking new milestone in the show’s 60-year history, as the BBC sci-fi series aired its first ever romantic same-sex kiss.

The new era of the programme kicked off last month, with Ncuti Gatwa fully stepping into the shoes of the 15th Doctor. The Sex Education and Barbie star bagged the role in 2022, becoming the first Black actor to portray the supernatural time-traveller.

On Saturday’s Bridgerton-themed episode (8 June), the Doctor falls for a dashing anti-hero named Rogue (Jonathan Groff) after a night of flirting and ballroom dancing.

They share a short kiss before a shock twist as Rogue whispers “Find me”, before disappearing into the void.

Although the show has featured same-sex kisses in the past, it marks the first time that the Doctor has shared a romantic kiss with a male love interest, since the show first aired in 1963.

Fans celebrated the landmark as they called the move “masterful”.

“God if I had seen the Doctor kiss a bloke when I was 14 it would have made a hell of a difference,” wrote one person. “To think that this show is watched by 14-year-olds in the closet now is masterful. What a show.”

“What great chemistry between Ncuti Gatwa and Jonathan Groff,” wrote another.


The kiss comes during Pride month and the coincidence was not lost on some.

“Happy Pride! We got a gay kiss,” celebrated one viewer on X/Twitter.

Doctor Who has long been a cultural touchstone for people in the queer community for generations, with some pointing to the flexibility in the Doctor’s age, gender and physical form as evidence of the character’s essential queerness.

The show has also featured several characters and actors from across the LGBTQ spectrum over the years, including trans Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney, who played Rose Noble in last year’s specials, and non-binary performer and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars champion Jinkx Monsoon, who played the personification of music, “the Maestro”, earlier in the season.

As well as Yaz, queer characters in the show have included the lesbian Victorian married couple Jenny Flint and Madame Vastra (Catrin Stewart and Neve McIntosh) , and pansexual Torchwood agent Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Gatwa topped The Independent’s 2024 Pride List as he broke barriers with his role as the Doctor. The actor is not only the first person of colour to play the part in the show’s history, but also the first openly queer person to do so.

His starring role gave visibility to queer people of colour, marking a pivotal moment in the TV show as it celebrated its 60th birthday. Gatwa has also used his platform to criticise the government’s anti-trans rhetoric. He said trans people have been used as a scapegoat, and openly attacking trans people is being normalised, leading to an increase in hate crimes against the trans community.

Doctor Who airs on Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC One. It is available now on BBC iPlayer.