Joan Redfern was a widow who worked at a school in Norfolk. In the early 20th century, she fell in love with the Doctor, who had transformed himself into a human called "John Smith"; however, Smith's transformation back into the Doctor put an end to their relationship. (PROSE: Human Nature, TV: Human Nature, The Family of Blood)

This happened "many times" in "different ways" throughout the Doctor's life, (WC: The Shadow in the Mirror) including to the Seventh Doctor (PROSE: Human Nature) and the Tenth Doctor. (TV: Human Nature, The Family of Blood)

The Joan Redfern encountered by the former's human identity was a science teacher at Hulton College, near Farringham, and the widow of Arthur Redfern; (PROSE: Human Nature) meanwhile, when the Tenth Doctor's human avatar became romantically involved with her, she was the Matron of Farringham School for Boys and the widow of an Oliver Redfern. (TV: Human Nature)


Joan's husband died in combat (PROSE: Human Nature) at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900. (TV: Human Nature) By one account, his name was Arthur; (PROSE: Human Nature) by another, it was Oliver. (TV: Human Nature)

Meeting the Tenth Doctor[]

In one "instantiation" of the alien family's encounter with the Doctor, (WC: The Shadow in the Mirror) Joan worked as a nurse at Farringham School for Boys from September to November 1913. While there, she met and fell in love with John Smith. He showed her a journal in which he had written down his dreams, which were really echoes of the Doctor's adventures with Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, and later took her to a dance. However, their affair was interrupted by the arrival of the Family of Blood, who were looking for the Doctor. (TV: Human Nature)

When John Smith was forced to open the fob watch and let the Doctor's mind take over his body again, Joan was devastated, considering that Smith had "died", robbing them of the future they could have had, a normal life which the Doctor would never know for all his adventures. After the Family were defeated, she had a tense interview with the Tenth Doctor, during which she made her position clear that John Smith was not him and was dead because of him, making any further association between her and the Doctor uncountenanceable. She also berated the Doctor for having chosen Farringham "on a whim" as the place to lure the Family of Blood, and consequently caused the needless deaths of all the humans the Family had killed before the Doctor's return. After she coldly dismissed him, she broke down sobbing, clutching John's journal. (TV: The Family of Blood)

Meeting the Seventh Doctor[]

Joan Redfern as the Seventh Doctor knew her. (PROSE: Human Nature)

By another account, Joan Redfern was working as a science teacher at Hulton College in early 1914. She became involved with John Smith, the Seventh Doctor's human identity. In April, after meeting the Seventh Doctor himself, she gave her cat Wolsey to his companion Bernice Summerfield, to remember her by. (PROSE: Human Nature)


Many years later, Joan's diary was found by her great-granddaughter Verity Newman. Verity published A Journal of Impossible Things, the story of Joan's romance with the Doctor which Verity told people who bought the book. As his regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor approached, the Doctor bought Joan's book and asked Verity, who realised who he was, if Joan was happy in the end. Verity confirmed that Joan did live a happy life after the Doctor left, but the Doctor left without answering when Verity asked if he too had been happy. (TV: The End of Time)

Alternate timeline[]

In an alternative future viewed by Joan and John Smith, she became his wife. They had two children and a number of grandchildren as they lived long, happy lives together. (TV: The Family of Blood)