My favourite Doctor Who companions

Doctor Who News Page: Radio Times Companion Poll Results

There is clearly a new-series bias, based on the top six vote-getters to the Radio Times online poll.

And just in time for the 47th birthday of Doctor Who, I’ll present a list of my favourite companions, essentially spanning all 47 years:

Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill): One of the first companions to travel in the televised adventures, Barbara was a history teacher who was presented with the ultimate temptation for someone in her profession: a chance to change history. Her attempts to stop the ritual sacrifices of The Aztecs (1964) led to one of the 1st Doctor’s most impassioned lines: “You can’t change history. Not one line!” Barbara complemented the other members of the original TARDIS crew so well that I consider that grouping one of the best in the series.

Polly (Anneke Wills): I’d say Polly was my first Doctor Who crush, back from when I started watching in the late 1990s. Sure, there aren’t many existing episodes featuring Polly, but that didn’t stop me. I also love how she was paired with Ben, who sought to protect her at every opportunity. Apart from Ian and Barbara, Ben and Polly were the only other pair of companions who entered and left the TARDIS together, which is quite remarkable for a series that had quite a revolving door in the 1960s.

Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen): Oh, Sarah. She’s high on the list of girls you’d take home to meet the parents. The longest-tenured companion of the classic series (by longevity vs. number of episodes), Sarah became part of the golden age of Doctor Who. Although her feminism was brought down during her tenure, especially after the Doctor regenerated, Sarah had the tenacious spirit that endeared her to three Doctors (3rd, 4th, and 10th) and many, many fans, both then and now, thanks to The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Leela (Louise Jameson): Created as eye candy for the dads while their children watched the program, Leela was the savage warrior whom the Doctor tried to instill some of the knowledge of the universe, akin to the Eliza Doolittle-Henry Higgins relationship of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady. She had the greatest loyalty to the Doctor, which made her departure from him all the more disappointing. Did I mention Leela mostly wore the skins from her first story?

Donna Noble (Catherine Tate): The best of the new-series companions, Donna in Series 4 was a refreshing change from the last two head-over-heels-for-the-Doctor companions. Her line to the Doctor in “Partners in Crime” (“You’re not mating with me, sunshine!”) essentially established their relationship in the TARDIS. Right from her first appearance as “The Runaway Bride,” Donna was the one who had to stop the Doctor from escalating his actions, and it was evident in the post-Donna, gap-year specials, particularly “The Waters of Mars”. Here’s Catherine Tate and David Tennant in a Comic Relief sketch from 2007:

Happy 47th, Doctor Who!

(All images from the Doctor Who Image Archive.)


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