Phan (pairing)

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Pairing: Dan Howell/Phil Lester
Alternative name(s): Dan/Phil, Danisnotonfire/Amazingphil
Gender category: slash
Fandom: YouTube RPF
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: common
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Phan is the portmanteau ship name for the Dan Howell/Phil Lester (or Danisnotonfire/Amazingphil) RPF slash pairing in YouTube RPF fandom.

Like in other 'younger' fandoms such as One Direction and the Larry ship, there is a tendency in the Dan/Phil fandom to use the term "Phan shipper" to mean "Phan tinhat".

Gen Use

'Phan' is sometimes used in fandom as a general term for Dan & Phil's platonic friendship pairing. It has been used outside of fandom to name things related to Dan & Phil in general, for example in the BBC Radio 1 page announcing the return of their radio show, titled "The Phan boys are back!"[1] However, fans' reactions suggest this is an incongruous use.[2][3]

Canon History

Dan and Phil are YouTube vloggers. They met online in the comments to Phil's videos, then IRL in 2009, becoming fast friends and starting a successful series of video collaborations.[4]

In 2011, they became roommates in Manchester,[5] before moving to London together in July 2012,[6] and working with BBC Radio 1 on various projects, including an interactive, award-winning 'fully visualised' request show.[7]

Canon Resources

Considering how entertwined Dan and Phil's lives are, the amount of canon is immense. They make frequent appearances in each other's videos, tweets, liveshows etc.

Their official joint projects include:

Ship History

This article or section needs expansion.

Pin-pointing the moment the ship took off is tricky due to fans being spread out over various sites, some of which are now defunct.

The (friendslocked) youtube-slash Livejournal community features Dan/Phil stories as early as Sept 15, 2010. The term "Phan" appears soon after, and as early as Oct 29, 2010, seems to have become the accepted smushname.[8]

The 'Phan' Tumblr tag was used as early as Jan 2011, before the boys moved in together.[9] The tag was sparsely populated at first (mostly occupied by posts about YouTube makeup guru Michelle Phan) before becoming a major fandom tag in later years. The Phandom is now particularly active on Tumblr. In 2015, Dan & Phil made the "most reblogged ships" on Tumblr list[10] and ranked number 2 in 2016[11].

As of Oct 1, 2014, the first Dan/Phil posted to AO3 is dated March 26, 2011.[12] The first Dan/Phil story on was published on Jan 2, 2012.[13]

On Twitter, anecdotal use appears as early as 2010 but the shipping seems to take off in the Spring of 2012.[14]

In 2015, the Phandom made the list of most active fandoms on AO3: in their yearly statistical round-up of works posted to the archive, destinationtoast identified it as having posted 3693 works on the archive that year, which represents 82% of the total works on the site for the pairing.[15][16]


The pairing taking off went hand-in-hand with fandom in-fighting and wank. As a general rule Dan and Phil go to a lot of effort not to address or feed the wank, and take care to acknowledge their fans and fandom in a respectful way. Some examples of controversies in Dan/Phil fandom are:

'Dangirls' vs 'Philgirls'

See for example:

Anonymous asked: "To be honest I don't think PhilGirls are a thing. Lets be real, DanGirls are a thing. There are girls out there who are so fucking obsessed with Dan they're willing to say mean nasty things about/to Phil and his fans. PhilGirls? You don't see girls running around wishing death upon Dan/his fans. Yes, there are girls who prefer Phil over Dan and those are called Phillions. And there are no PhilGirls because, tbh, Phil is more mature which causes his fans to act the same way. That's just that."

I see where you are coming from but ‘philgirls’ are there. There just aren’t as much of them compared to ‘dangirls’. I have seen messages on other peoples blogs that have been directed towards Dan from ‘philgirls’ saying he doesn’t deserve Phil and that Dan doesn’t appreciate him. True that there are many more ‘dangirls’ but ‘philgirls’ can be just as bad. It’s just that you don’t come across them as often. - T[17]

Dan's response in a 2013 YouNow livestream:

I really have a fricking problem with the word 'Dangirls'. [...] If someone likes Phil and they don't like me, I don't get offended. If someone likes me and doesn't like Phil, that doesn't mean they're a 'Dangirl,' you shouldn't go attacking them. However if someone is mean to somebody, that doesn't make them a 'Dangirl,' that makes them a twat, no matter if they're hating on Phil, if they're hating on me, if they're hating on anyone. Life is too short to hate. Do not be a drama llama. [...][18]


Just like in many other RPF fandoms, there is a contingent of Dan/Phil tinhats who believe that "Phan is real".[19][20]

All this 'tinhatting' begins with the romanticization of the reconstruction The Phan Timeline made of every internet trace Dan and Phil left at the moment they met. As they met over the internet, lots of people within the Phandom, can see themselves in the image of Dan as they youtube fanboy who managed to become friends (or more) with his favourite Youtuber, AmazingPhil, for then to move in with him and live together for 5 years and counting. Dan and Phil 'met' on the internet midway through 2009 and they first met in person in October 19th 2009 since Phil was living in Manchester at the time and Dan was living in Reading. Dan would take the train to visit Phil various times that year and the following. All of this has been recounted by the several tweets, posts and videos.

In 2011, Youtube glitched and accidentally unprivated a few videos from lots of channels, including Phil's second channel LessAmazingPhil. Two videos have been confirmed to have been leaked this one time, one of them being a 2 minutes vlog, where Phil is his room and talks addressing Dan recounting his favourite moments of them as a couple as a 'gift' for 2010 Valentine's Day (A year prior the leak, the video had been uploaded on February 14th, 2010). The contents of the other video are unknown. At this point, few people were talking about it on twitter, devianart and tumblr and were messaged by Dan for them to just not talk about it. Sadly, one person managed to save the video and it has been resurfacing the internet ever since. It's latest copyright removal dates as soon as May 2016. Officially Dan and Phil have said countless times that the video was a prank they were planning to do and accidentally leak it on April's Fools, but they decided it would be 'too mean' and didn't went with it. Of course this doesn't stop tinhatters to disregard the explanation as a 'cheap excuse' and claim it's real.

With their audience growth, the internet scavenge for old tweets, pictures and youtube comments is, more or less, what cemented the roots of the Phandom back in 2012 with tumblr blogs such as Phanlentines (deleted at Phil's request) and The Phan Directory (half it's contents have been copyrighted by Dan and Phil, including the timeline yet, the author has kept reuploading them). This blogs, plus a bunch of others, started to push this narrative as the definitive proof of the ship, which commenced a war not only between shippers and non shippers, but also Dan himself who at the time started to get involved in the Phan tag wank and going as far as to create a sideblog named Costumer Service Blog (deleted) in which he replied questions in an askbox. At this point he, reaffirmed the explanation for the Valentine's Day video, made rant-y posts about shippers, denied a lot of the so-called proof these previous blogs had come up with and tried to separate the danisnotonfire brand from the AmazingPhil brand (he mentioned not being joined at the hip, not being a double-act like Ant and Dec). Many people refer to 2012 Phan as 'The Dark Times' and also managed to get it's own fanfiction headcanon as the Angst archetype.

In December 2013, Dan deleted all his previous tweets by accident. Many people believe that it wasn't. Also, Phil deletes old tweets when they start getting retweets or likes. The Phandom self-polices themselves in the way that it is seen as wrong to post shipper things on the main tumblr tags (danisnotonfire and amazingphil), to tweet them directly said content or other youtubers, to post the Valentine's Day video or to even talk about it. A few incidents of relevance have been, like the time in 2014 when online magazine TenEighty did a piece on slash youtuber fanfiction and during its Twitter promotion, the online magazine decided to tag Dan which propelled a full-on wank. On another occasion in 2015, Youtuber Evan Edinger tweeted someone about how every Youtuber of the UK Community had seen the infamous Valentine's Day video and had dicussions about it, which again propelled wank within the Phandom. It is generally adviced to not mention it either from the shipping side (they believe it's real and it shouldn't be posted because it was clearly a personal video) and the non-shipper side because of the rumour mill it seems to generate.

Dan and Phil moved to London together and work on BBC Radio 1 while maintaining more or less this 'separate brands' arrangement. Around the end of 2014, they created the Dan and Phil Shop, launched DanAndPhilGames.

Around this time, another flock of new viewers joined the community and so it propelled another place of discussion La Vita Ricca (deleted), which discussed from body language analysis to behaviour in liveshows and videos. It had seem, that Dan and Phil had been getting more comfortable with the notion of shipping and many people believed they were on their way to "come out" until March 2015, Dan and Phil announced the release of the Amazing Book Is Not On Fire, accompanied by a world tour of a theatrical performance, which propelled the blog's owner (with many other people backing them up) to claim the way they had been relaxing towards shippers was just a manipulation from them to keep us interested, plus the general sh*tstorm of calling them sell-outs. This would be known as the second 'Dark Times'. Dan and Phil did not refer to the drama at all, but so did other Youtubers.

Dan and Phil, ever since the 2012 wank, have neglected to even touch on the subject of shipping except for counted occasions such as Tumblr Tags videos and a few tweets, but always referred to it as joke regarding fanart.

A 2015 auto-generated self-made survey that managed to get 30,000 responses, estimated that 84% of the Phandom ships Dan and Phil.

Genres and Tropes

  • Hurt/Comfort, often with Dan as the woobie,
  • Deathfic, as bemoaned by Phil himself,[21]
  • Shockfic, such as the infamous Skin Fic, a ficlet in which Dan peels off Phil's sunburnt skin and eats it,[22] and other Darkfic like the Chair Fic, in which Phil tortures and abuses Dan in horrific ways.[23]

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  • Come What May by PhantasticFiction: epic noncon fic, most-kudosed Dan/Phil fic on AO3 as of Oct 1, 2014.[24]
  • A List of Available Smiles by ficster28: Summary: This is the truth of depression: it doesn't stop you laughing. It just stops you feeling happy. And it tugs at you, nags you: this laughter doesn't last, it tells you. Laughter never lasts.
  • Wait Until it Hits You Round the Face, Dan by eiqhties: And Dan’s going to call everyone that they’ve ever known and tell them to all pay up however much they've bet now, because he’s finally got it. Alternatively titled: Five Times Dan Didn't Get It, And One Time it Was Really, Really Obvious.
  • You're The Straw To My Berry a popular phanfic on Wattpad from 2013.
  • Let Me Be Your Call Boy by auroraphilealis and embarrassing_myself: won 1st place in the "Best Smut" category in the Phanfic Awards 2016, over 260k word AU epic where Phil is a call boy who is hired by Dan's friends for one night when Dan comes out as gay.


Infamous Phan shockfics that are still often talked about, read and shared today. These fics are described as disturbing and are often followed with a "do not read it!" and other warnings (do heed the warnings), which of course just encourages this phenomenon further. Although most have now been taken down by the original authors, they are often reposted by phans. Dan (mostly) and Phil have read and/or are aware of their existence, sometimes referencing or mentioning them in their vids.[25][26][27]

  • The Skin Fic [6] [7] by WeirdFicGirl, reposted to DeviantArt Dec 25, 2012 (now taken down). A ficlet in which Dan peels off Phil's sunburnt skin and eats it.[28]
  • The Cherry Fic [8] by Mycatshipsphan
  • The Hat Fic [9] by Kittycat496. In this fanfic, Phil buys a hamster, but then wakes up in a room, to a naked Dan. Dan proceeds to kill the hamster, making Phil drink it's blood along with Dan's own semen.[29]
  • The Chair Fic [10], Prequel: Into the Attic and Sequel: A Very Chair Fic Christmas (missing Christmas scene) by strykeroptic. Phil is basically possessed by a chair, and forced to do horrible things to Dan, involving things like physical abuse, snakes, ants, boiling oil, ect.[30]
  • The Kitten Fic (Kittens and Steamrollers) [11] by phillesterspenis
  • The Tentacle Fic



Fandom Resources


  1., The Phan boys are back!, posted Oct 2, 2014.
  2. namrachel, Tumblr post: the Phan Boys…… Now who is the biggest phan shipper. posted Oct 2nd, 2014.
  3. btwhowell, Tweet: ive finally stopped crying but im laughing at 'the phan boys are back' bbc pls, posted Oct 2, 2014.
  4. The first 'Phil is not on fire' video was posted Oct 25, 2009.
  5. Amazingphil, Living With Robert Pattinson video, posted Aug 10, 2011.
  6. Amazingphil, The Wardrobe video, posted July 30, 2012.
  7. BBC, Dan And Phil, published March 2013.
  8. LJ user in locked 29-10-2010 youtube-slash post: Previously, I had severe annoyance of the brain when I realis'd that we know DanIsNotOnFire's surname... but not AmazingPhil. Now, thanks to KickthePJ I now know that it is Lester. So, when typing out Dan/Phil in full, just in case there are any other Dans or Phils that pop up, and to save us having to type out Danisnotonfire and Amazingphil, we can now write Dan Howell/Phil Lester. Thank you, KickthePJ!! <3 (Of course we could just type Phan, which is what the pairing is called... but where's the fun in that? :D) (retrieved Oct 2, 2014).
  9. phanblog, Bridge!, posted Jan 21, 2011, retrieved Oct 2, 2014.
  10. Tumblr 2015 Year in Review: Most Reblogged Ships.
  11. 2016’s Top Ships
  12. namelikefairytale, you could go swimming in those eyes, posted 2011-03-26 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  13. phantales, Would You Rather?, published Jan 2, 2012 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  14. dan + phil + phan since 2010-01-01 Twitter search, retrieved Oct 2, 2014.
  15. Toasty Stats: 2015 A (statistical) Year In Fandom, posted to Tumblr Jan 2, 2016, retrieved Jan 12, 2016.
  16. Toasty Stats Year in Fandom:2015 Gdocs spreadsheet, accessed Jan 12, 2016.
  17. phandomopinions, Response to anon Tumblr ask, posted in 2013, accessed Oct 2, 2014.
  18. Danisnotonfire on dangirls - Younow 3/5/2013, posted by canariesrcute on March 5, 2013 (accessed Oct 2, 2014).
  19. "Phan is Real" since 2009-08-01 Twitter search, first use: Feb 6, 2012. (Retrieved Oct 2, 2014.)
  20. elligalaxies, Tweet: Does it actually matter if Phan is real or not? Stop causing fandom wars over it omfg. Dan and Phil would be ashamed of you lot., posted June 22, 2012 (retrieved Oct 2, 2014.)
  21. See My Tumblr Tag 2! (with Dan): "Why am I always dead? I swear whenever I read fanfiction I'm dead!"
  22. Dan and Phil discussed the Skin Fic on several occasions, such as Dan & Phil vs. Tumblr dramatic reading of "The Skin Fic", posted July 11, 2013 and follow-up Dan & Phil discuss the "Skin Fic", YouNow livestream extract posted by omgitsphan on July 11, 2013 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014),
  23. See phanfic's infamous fics list, with the Skin Fic, Chair Fic & others.
  24. As of Oct 1, 2014 on AO3: 46/? chapters, 204k words, 1611 kudos, 49679 hits.
  25. [1], Dan and Phil Present : A Dramatic Reading of 'The Skin Fic'.
  26. [2], Phanfiction@tumblr: INFAMOUS FICS.
  27. [3], Phanfic@tumblr: Infamous Fics.
  28. Dan and Phil discussed the Skin Fic on several occasions, such as Dan & Phil vs. Tumblr dramatic reading of "The Skin Fic", posted July 11, 2013 and follow-up Dan & Phil discuss the "Skin Fic", YouNow livestream extract posted by omgitsphan on July 11, 2013 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  29. hatfic, [4], Urban Dictionary: the hat fic.
  30. chairfic, [5], Urban Dictionary: the chair fic.