Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?

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Jenna Louise Coleman: Can She Match Doctor Who's 11 Greatest Companions?

by Scott Varnham
28 March 2012

The Doctor has been met with some interesting companions, so it's time for a little nostalgia

Hot on the heels of the news that Jenna Louise Coleman is to play the new companion in Doctor Who, we decided to take a look back through the history of the Doctor’s companions.

First Doctor – Susan Foreman


Even a man like the Doctor Who finds it difficult to keep track of linear time has to start somewhere. So I feel it’s appropriate to start with the first companion. Susan is the only one who is directly related to him; “River Song is The Doctor’s daughter OMG!” theories aside. In those days it was worrying if an older gentleman was seen hanging around with a young lady who was not related to him. How times have changed…

(She’s known for being a bit of a screamer – perhaps where the image of a stereotypical Doctor Who companion came from – and for her last serial, in which William Hartnell’s Doctor leaves her and makes a rather touching speech explaining why.)

Second Doctor – Jamie McCrimmon


With a younger Doctor (Patrick Troughton) taking over the title role in 1966, a young male companion came to settle in somewhat more permanently than others. Enter Jamie McCrimmon, a young Scot who has starred in the most episodes of any companion.

(He’s known for having a rather tragic end to his last Troughton-era story, for being replaced in two episodes by an actor who looked nothing like him and for being Scottish. Incidentally, if they ever want to bring him back, Frazer Hines is still around.)

Third and Fourth Doctors – Sarah Jane Smith


The next companion on the list spans two different Doctors (Third and Fourth, played by Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker respectively), Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith. She was almost universally beloved by fans, and had two spinoffs to her name by the time she passed away (the one-off K9 and Company back in the 80s and the more recent and much more successful Sarah Jane Adventures). She also spent time with David Tennant’s Doctor and looked damn good for 65! (She’s known for being hypnotised a lot and for the magnificent chemistry between her and Tom Baker.)

She was almost universally beloved by fans, and had two spinoffs to her name by the time she passed away (the one-off K9 and Company back in the 80s and the more recent and much more successful Sarah Jane Adventures).

Fifth Doctor – Vislor Turlough

As Sarah Jane left Tom Baker’s Doctor a few years before he regenerated, she’s not there to take us into the Fifth Doctor’s territory, so we’ll skip ahead a bit to the time when Vislor Turlough was one of the Fifth Doctor’s companions. He was actually an alien in disguise, although this wasn’t known until his last episode when it was also revealed that he initially planned to kill the Doctor. (Sorry for the spoilers to a 27 year old story there.)

Sixth Doctor – Melanie Bush


Unfortunately, my only experience of the Sixth Doctor is watching a broken DVD of Revelation Of The Daleks and part of The Two Doctors (which is also how I’ve experienced Jamie, incidentally). So I can only say that one of his companions, Mel Bush, is played by Bonnie Langford and is known for having a scream which can peel paint from walls (this is allegedly part of the reason she was hired, having listened to a clip on YouTube I can sort of see what they mean).

Seventh Doctor – Dorothy/Ace

From screams that make your ears explode to a girl who can blow you up. Dorothy, mainly known as Ace (played by Sophie Aldred, who now stars in a new CBeebies series), made a memorable companion to Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor. She set herself up to be included in “Greatest Moments in Doctor Who” features for years to come by doing two awesome things, both involving Daleks: she blew up a Dalek and she beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat. She was also the last on-screen companion of the Classic Series, as it got cancelled in 1989.

From screams that make your ears explode to a girl who can blow you up. Dorothy, mainly known as Ace (played by Sophie Aldred, who now stars in a new CBeebies series), made a memorable companion to Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor.

Eighth Doctor – Grace Holloway


And now we come to the Doctor whose complete works it’s easiest to obtain on DVD, seeing as he only had one television movie in 1996. He also only had one companion, Dr. Grace Holloway, who was played by Daphne Ashbrook. Proving that humans don’t know best, she ends up accidentally killing the Seventh Doctor on the operating table, which leads to Paul McGann taking over from Sylvester McCoy. She then dies only to be resurrected by what is, for all intents and purposes, the heart of the TARDIS. She was also given the hilariously cheesy line “I finally meet the right guy…and he’s from another planet!”

Ninth Doctor – Rose Tyler


A new series of Doctor Who brought with it a new companion in the pleasing form of Billie Piper. She would stick with us long after the new Doctor came and went. Rather too long, some would say, as she popped up to make cameos even after she left this universe. Yes, you read that correctly: removing her from this universe will not keep her away. She’s known for having acquired a bizarre lisp for her return appearances in Series 4, causing the spin-off series Torchwood to spring into being by giving it a central character that can’t die and basically being the author’s pet of Russell T. Davies (the showrunner who brought the show back).

Tenth Doctor – Donna Noble


When Bridezilla Donna Noble teleported into the life of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in The Runaway Bride, nobody could’ve foreseen the success they would’ve had if they got a full series. What baffles me is that if you read Russell T. Davies’ The Writer’s Tale (and you should), you’ll see that it took them astoundingly long to ask her if she wanted to do a full series and I for one am glad they did. Some of the new series’ best episodes came from her time in the TARDIS, such as the excellent two-parter Silence In The Library/ Forest Of The Dead or the fantastic episode Turn Left.

Some of the new series’ best episodes came from her time in the TARDIS, such as the excellent two-parter Silence In The Library/ Forest Of The Dead or the fantastic episode Turn Left.

Eleventh Doctor – Rory (and Amy)


I was going to give this section to Rory Williams alone but I realised the marriage between the Eleventh Doctor’s companions is such a key part of the team dynamic that I couldn’t do it. They’ve been on our screens for the last couple of years and Rory in particular has proven himself to be one of the best male companions. A lot of fans were sad to see them leave during The God Complex but knew it probably wouldn’t take (and it didn’t). Bringing us back neatly to the point of this article, Rory and Amy are apparently leaving for good around Episode 5 of the 7th series and while it will be sad to see them leave for the last time, I hope they stay gone. Doing anything else will kill any sense of closure the viewers had and it will make it hard for them to appreciate the new companions to come. Seeing as the fans will inevitably judge her because CHANGE IS BAD, I’m going to wish her all the best in the role. Unless she genuinely does turn out to be shite, in which case she’d join the likes of Mel and…err…the other Mel from Let’s Kill Hitler. And that would be a sad day for us all.

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