When and where did the idea come from that the Doctor hates pears?

As seen in this answer, in series 3 the Tenth Doctor (or possibly David Tennant - he was 'out of character' immediately after this bit, and I can't remember if this part actually appeared in the episode or was fast-forwarded over) said the following instruction was 'very important', even among other instructions which, if violated, might lead to people's deaths or the end of the universe:

Don't let me eat pears. I hate pears. John Smith is a character I made up, but I won't know that. I'll think I am him, and he might do something stupid like eat a pear. In three months, I don't want to wake up and be human and taste that.

Then a few years later in series 9, the Twelfth Doctor's final piece of advice to Clara was:

Never eat pears. They're too squishy and they always make your chin wet. That one's quite important. Write it down.

Does this anti-pear meme have a longer history? Have there been other references in the show to the Doctor's aversion to pears?

I dread to say it, but any level of canon is acceptable.


2 Answers 2


The anti-pear comment in the television episode Human Nature comes from Paul Cornell’s novel of the same name.

The novel features the Seventh Doctor, and formed the basis for the television episode. The Doctor turns himself into a human, and leaves his companion (Bernice Summerfield) a list of instructions:

Things Not To Let Me Do

1: Commit suicide, if for some reason I want to.
2: Do physical harm to anyone, if you're aware of it.
3: Eat meat, if you can.
4: Eat pears. I hate pears, I don't want to wake up and taste that.
5: Leave the area, or you, behind.
6: Get involved in big sociopolitical events.
7: Hurt animals, especially owls.
8: Develop an addiction.

9: Anything impossible.

Human Nature, chapter 3 (Boudiccan Destruction Layer)

That’s where this particular line comes from. I don’t think pears have a greater significance in the Doctor Who universe. The TARDIS Wikia entry only lists one other mention of pears, in another of the New Adventures novels.

  • Is that the only reference to pears in DW other than the two I mentioned? It's quite unusual for a preference like that to be consistent over more than one regeneration, and yet here we have Seven, Ten, and Twelve all expressing the same dislike of pears.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 8, 2016 at 13:08
  • @randal'thor See edit. The TARDIS Wikia lists one other very minor mention, but that seems to be it. Of course, there could be references that both I and the Wikia are unaware of.
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 8, 2016 at 13:09
  • 1
    @rand it's not Seven and Ten, it's a Seven novel reworked as a Ten episode. The two don't really coexist in continuity. Jan 8, 2016 at 14:48
  • @randal'thor And technically, it's not the same dislike. Ten said he hated the taste, Twelve said he found them too squishy and they made your chin wet.
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:36

The 12th Doctor at the end of Twice Upon a Time, also told the 13th Doctor, "Never eat pears." Right after he said that they can never share their name. That people wouldn't understand it. Except for children. Some children can hear it.

  • 1
    This is an interesting comment, but I don't see how the conduct of the 12th doctor has a bearing on the likes and dislikes of the 10th doctor (time travel paradoxes notwithstanding).
    – Valorum
    May 29, 2022 at 8:07
  • Maybe it's something the Doctor hates as a person and wants to make sure that they'll remember it for the future? I literally commented my comment right after watching that episode. Jun 3, 2022 at 3:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.