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The Friday Docback Considers The Companions Of DOCTOR WHO!! + Season/Series Seven News Round-Up, And More!!






Merrick here...


Before the Docbacks became what they are (and aren’t) today, a number of readers suggested we occasionally break from episodic coverage to explore a number of macro subjects pertaining to the series.  This would be comfortably in keeping with ‘the Docback should be about all things WHO’ manifesto outlined at the bottom of this article, and allow a broader scope of discussion than our more limited focus on specific episodes sometimes does.  


Accordingly, today I thought we’d ponder the importance of COMPANIONS to the DOCTOR WHO universe - a topic especially relevant given our forthcoming Season/Series 7 introduction a new companion, played by Jenna Louise Coleman. 




More on this below.,  But first... 






BBC issued new and spectacular promotional art from its forthcoming seventh Series/Season of DOCTOR WHO.  This image is embiggenable, but variations of it can be found on BBC's site HERE

No word yet on when DW S7 will begin transmitting.'s a new trailer, from BBC America.  An identical version, ending with the the more traditional DW logo, can be found HERE.  The embed below offers HD, whereas the others didn't the last time I checked - hence its inclusion.  

 I'm sensing some awesome new action figures coming-up...

That an episode of S7 is actually called Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and that the Doctor actually utters the phrases, is Geeky perfection by my estimation.  Can't wait!  





Christopher Eccleston, who played the Doctor in the first Season/Series of Russell T. Davies' relaunch of DOCTOR WHO, is set to portray Malekith The Accursed in director Alan Taylor's follow-up to Kenneth Branagh's THOR.  

Per THIS piece at Deadline: 

He is a super-villain in the Marvel Universe, the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. In the Marvel Comics, he clashed mightily with Thor, and will go up against the hammer-wielding god of Odin


Eccleston, who also appeared in HEROES and played Destro in G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA,  is an amazing and diverse actor.  His nuance and energy should be a staggering contribution to THE DARK WORLD, which hits theaters November 2013.


As regular readers may recall, I am currently in the process of making my way through every DOCTOR WHO ever made (including audios, reconstructions of lost episodes, etc) - often, but certainly not always - in sequence.  Thus, I am not presenting myself as authoritative in such matters, and admit I may well lack the rounded perspective required to contribute fully to a discourse.  However, I’ve seen enough to formulate my own notions about the innate significance of those who travel with the Doctor - a few of which I’ll share herein.  Feel free to expand upon these assessments, offer completely different perspectives, or to shoot down my perceptions completely.  All of this is, after all, intended to promote mulling and discussion in the Docback below.  



From the earliest moments of An Unearhtly Child, the first DOCTOR WHO ever made, the template for Doctor/Companion interaction was firmly established.  This template was more-or-less maintained throughout the Classic Series‘ run, and is still very much alive in DW’s contemporary iteration.  


On the whole, Doctor/Companion(s) relationship seems distillable to four essential elements:  




1)   a companion is, quite simply, there to keep the Doctor - a very lonely man despite  his funkiness, bluster and occasional abrasiveness - company. 


2)   Companions are viewer's counter-balances for the (literal and figurative) madness of the Doctor.  He/she/they allow viewers “everyman” access to the endlessly fantastical and sometimes perplexing worlds of this show (when they react like we’d react, when the Doctor must explain what’s happening to them in laymen terms we, too, can understand, etc.) 


3)   In a similar vein, Companions help keep the Doctor grounded.  Sometimes he’s so busy being....Doctory...that he looses sight of simple, basic truths...looses touch with fundamental emotions which define us all: love, empathy, belonging, etc.  Sometimes, the presence of Companions quell Hurricane Doctor - bring him back down to Earth (figuratively).  Companions can keep the Doctor centered.  


4)  Companions are, perhaps, DOCTOR WHO’s best avenue by which audiences can explore themselves - their own hopes, their own dreams, their own sense of identities and belonging.  Some companions (like Susan Foreman) seem re-born, or newly enlightened , when their time in the TARDIS is over.  Others seem haunted and filled with antipathy towards their adventures (Tegan Jovanka).  Some (Donna Noble) seem addicted to the escape provided by the TARDIS and the Doctor.  [NOTE:  I always interpreted Donna’s arc as something of a drug parallel.  When we first meet Donna after the events of Christmas invasion, she’s been yearning for adventures in that Blue Box...longing for both it and the Doctor...she;‘s craving.  The end oif her arc basically finds her burning out, with the Doctor needing to intervene to save her.]   All of this means:  Companions, perhaps moreso than the Doctor’s own journey, are instrumental in show’s exploration of the human condition, bringing very real world confusion, desires, apprehensions, and mistakes into equations which are often over the top.  It is through companions, and their reactions to their trials and tribulations in the TARDIS, that we learn a bit more about what  makes US tick. A hugely significant driving force in DOCTOR WHO’s effectiveness and longevity.



Presuming the above assessment is any any way valid, lets activate our Imaginators (to borrow a term I use with my five year old) for a moment and conjure how far this long-standing companion model can be stretched.  Again, discussion is most warmly invited.  







In many ways, the TARDIS is a main character - I’d even posit that the TARDIS is as much a ‘main character’ as the Doctor, although the show’s writers have not regarded it as such historically.   


Sentient or not (it’s presumed sentience having been firmly established very early on, and pointedly actualized in Season/Series Six’s The Doctor’s Wife), the TARDIS impacts the Doctor as fully as any human companions by virtue of it being a random and unpredictable element with a penchant for putting the Doctor where he needs to be, as opposed to where he wants to be.  And this is a tremendously vital ingredient in any “hero’s journey.”  


The TARDIS’ actions and inaction shape the Doctor, forming who he is and determining what happens to him.  Which, in turn, ripples down through the other characters (both guests and regulars) on the show.  That’s a GARGANTUAN impact on DW’s narrative, and is as consequential as, say Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda shaping Luke Skywalker’s destiny...or a parent guiding their young child through the world.  As the Doctor is rarely without it, and as the TARDIS’s disposition is often as consequential as the state of its occupants, this would make the TARDIS a Companion not dissimilar to those who travel within it, would it not?  Or, does, it?










Like...really bad?  There are any number of ways this might be accomplished via narrative.  Considering the show’s long-standing propensity for throwing curve balls at the Doctor, and hitting him where it counts, creating a companion who is not at all who he/she presents themselves to be might be a total kick in the nuts to the character.  And, if handled correctly, this could well play as an enormous WTF moment for audiences in general. Especially if such a reveal reflected the Doctor’s significant misjudgment of someone around him, someone with whom he’s grown close. 


I.e. his sometimes fumbling efforts to remain connected might paradoxically result in severe emotional damage to a Doctor who’s never been particularly adept at relationship maintenance.  What a lovely inner-conflict this could create for the Doctor character.  Personally, I think there’s room for this and such a turn could bring a very interesting complexion to the show 0 for a while, at least.  Or, would it muddy the waters too much?







As stated above, Companions (as people) are very much an audience’s entry into the WHOverse. Would casting, say, a Silurian or Sontaran companion break down that access corridor by virtue of their inherent alienness?  Or, would it provide a fun change of pace for a Doctor who has a difficult enough time dealing with humans - and must now confront an altogether different set of issues, habits, and interpersonal challenges?  It is here that I must once again register my undying support and enthusiasm  for A Blue Blob Called Steve. You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?  



Here I want to re-assert how interesting it might be to have a companion not representative of modern culture  - at least in a traditional sense.  A while back,  I used an Aborigines as an example of a potential companion - someone who is still human (thus accessible to audiences), but also plugged into the world and the universe in way most ‘regular’ folks are not...and in some ways even the Doctor does not seem to be.  This could directly relate to the Doctor’s ongoing exploration of humanity and its potential, and cast a different spin on his interactions with those around him. 


Imagine how the Doctor might relate to a situation such as this - and how the show might be able to utilize gags such as this creatively. 






All of the a lot to take in, and there are numerous subsets to be considered which I haven’t even posited yet (DOCTOR COMPANION ROMANCE - YAY, NAY, WHY OR WHY NOT? for example). 


What are your thoughts?  Over the show’s long history, which companions were best handled, which worked least well dynamically and in terms of story, and which ones were most promising but wasted?




Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott - Donna Noble's grandfather - in Tennant-era WHO.  For my money, the most magical and tragically under-utilized DOCTOR WHO companion ever.  




We may well be revisiting this topic - in a tweaked form - in some long-time-from-now Docback, once I've looked upon all the DOCTOR WHOs there are to see, and encountered every companion there is to meet.  I also imagine a few of these topics will be touched upon once more when Jenna-Louise Coleman’s character is introduced in this year’s Christmas Special.  Which, I'm sure, will be a medically themed episode entitled The Doc's Back.  You know I'm right.  


More to come, and stay tuned...









Next Week 


The Mind Robber (Troughton, Story #45)







Glen Oliver




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"The Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh"

"The Almost People"

"A Good Man Goes To War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"


"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)  





"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)

"The Daleks" (Story #2)

"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)

"Marco Polo" (Story #4)

"The Keys of Marinus(Story #5)

"The Aztecs" (Story #6)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release) 

"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9) 

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)

"The Rescue" (Story #11) 

"The Romans"  (Story #12) 

"The Web Planet" (Story #13) / SHERLOCK - "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Story #4)

"The Crusade" (Story #14) 

"The Space Museum" (Story #15) 

"The Chase" (Story #16) 

"The Time Meddler" (Story #17) 

"Galaxy 4" (Story #18) 

"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19) 

"The Myth Makers" (Story #20) 

"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)

"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37) 

"The Krotons" (Story #47)

"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48) 

"The Colony in Space" (Story #58) 

"The Daemons" (Story #59) 

"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition

"The Three Doctors" (Story #65) 

"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66) 

"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72) 

"Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (Story #71) and SHERLOCK: "The Reichenbach Fall" (Story #6) 

"The Android Invasion" (Story #83) and SHERLOCK: "The Hounds of Baskerville" (Story #5) 

"The Face of Evil" (Story #89) 

"The Robots of Death" (Story #90) 

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)

"The Sun Makers(Story #95)

"The City of Death" (Story #105)

"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107) 

"Kinda" (Story #118)

"Snakedance" (Story #125) 

"The Five Doctors" (Story #129) 

"The Awakening" (Story #131)

"Frontios(Story #132)

"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134) 

"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136) 

"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)

"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits

"Dragonfire" (Story #147) 

"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149) 

"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann) 


Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)

DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011

"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)

Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD

New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2



[Season / Series Seven Docbacks]

The Coming of Season/Series 7





1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)... 

2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity.  Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example.  "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well.  " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?"  Is NOT good.  
And, above all... 

3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way.  Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning.  Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated.  Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning.  One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation. 
In short, it's easy.  Be excellent to each other.  Now party on... 
Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 3, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Here come the drums!

    by martinprince

    Word is late August (25th?), which some might consider Autumn/Fall.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST


    by Hellstrom

    Great actor, and apparently he was questioned at some event recently about his time on Doctor Who and he spoke openly and warmly about it, even hinting there may be "more yet to do.."

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Those companion scenarios have all been explored to some degree

    by Kauzi Sezso

    Turlough was the "evil" companion sent to kill The Doctor. K9, Kamelion, Adric, Romana, Susan, Leela -- all non-human. Katarina, Jamie, Zoe, Victoria -- from a time that is not modern. However, none of these scenarios have really been explored in the new series, where they (especially the non-human companion) could be done better and cheaper than years ago.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    One of the engaging companion questions in Who

    by Kauzi Sezso

    Is how exactly a companion is designated as such. Do they have to travel in the TARDIS? If so, how many times? Companions often debated are Sara Kingdom, Katarina, Kamelion, Chang Lee (and Grace, for that matter), Adam.... I consider all of those as companions. Do we open the debate on who's a companion and who isn't?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Leela was human

    by SminkyPinky

    Just from the future.

  • along with a SCIENCE! related Nerdist special.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Let's go with an alien alien.. (not a human looking alien)

    by CB Chap

    I would like to see more than one companion as well and certainly no more boyfriend /girlfriend companions.... I always thought it would be good to have one of the doctors go back and pluck Adric off that ship just before it crashes.... do not forget the 'save' performed on River Song when she flew out of that ship..... I know it means a new actor but it would be something different. Doctor could also bump in to a grown up Ace. I liked her! The one theme that was not mentioned was the fact that some companions (especially the latest ginger...) are intertwined with existing story lines and time lines and are inevitable companions......

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST

    kauzi sezso

    by Merrick

    *** Adric, Romana, Susan, Leela -- all non-human. Katarina, Jamie, Zoe, Victoria -- from a time that is not modern. *** Fair enough ,and correct. However, I am thinking in more blatant terms - i.e. non-humans who actually look like non-humans, and may not act human all the time, either. Same for their points of origin - someone who is from another time, but more or less acts like they're from our time, isn't remarkably different than someone from our time. I.e. I'm contemplating more extreme (or fully developed?) cases than what we've seen so far?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:12 a.m. CST

    I love that companion poster

    by DoctorTom

    it seems to have definitely captured the essence of many of the female companions. For some reason I really like the smile and raised eyebrow on Liz. I'd like to see the artist's rendition of the female companions after Rose (Amy and River done in that style would be fantastic!) If they made little statues of those, I could easily see buying them.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Promising but wasted

    by KanekoFan

    I would definitely count Turlough as a companion who, in concept, offered exciting story potential that was ultimately only just grazed. His first few stories dealt with his duplicity in a very clunky way, and then any notion that he was a potential threat or a figure in need of redemption was largely dropped until his - again, very clunky - final story. Had Turlough been part of a more sophisticated and arc-based era of the show, he could have been one of the great companion characters.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:18 a.m. CST


    by Deagol21

    He was supposedly "evil", although he was compelled to his actions by the Black Guardian. It was an interesting story arc of a character finding redemption and forgiveness from the Doctor. K-9 was an awesome non-human companion, even if Kameleon was ... not so much. But it would be very interesting to see a companion that is truly alien, with a completely different view of the universe than humans might have.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Non-Human Companions

    by John Ary

    Spock had to wear a hat when he beamed down to less civilized planets with Kirk. While I think it would be interesting to see a Silurian or an Ood as a companion, it seems like it would limit the Doctor's exposure to Earth. There would need to be some sort of disguise device concocted that would allow for the aliens to walk freely among the humans. It could be done, but it would add another layer of complexity to the production.

  • There was a past established between Vastra and the Doctor, and he certainly didn't hesitate to get her when he needed help. We're going to see her again this season, based on some set pictures that have been published. Does the conversation between Rose and the Doctor let the horse count as a companion now? ("You're not keeping the horse." "Why not? You've got Mickey.") There's kind of a grey area where you get 'semi-companions', where there are recurring characters who might or might not have travelled in the the TARDIS. A lot of the UNIT characters fall in this category. You don't normally see the Brig listed as a companion, or Benton, and both have been in the TARDIS (Benton's "Isn't it obvious" comment being an early version of Rory's take in deflating the Doctor's ego by not making the normal "it's bigger on the inside" comment). You can't just use travelling in the TARDIS as the basis of determining a companion - Liz Shaw wouldn't count. Does Wilf count as an official companion now? Does his trip in the TARDIS make him a more valid companion than, say, Craig? Or Jackson Lake? The Doctor got to travel in Jackson Lake's TARDIS, after all - does that make the Doctor a companion to Jackson Lake? Does River Song count as a companion? She pops up, pilots the TARDIS herself - the Doctor's trusted her to run assignments with the TARDIS (Pandorica Opens). What about Adam? He got to make a trip in the TARDIS, screwed up and got dumped. Does he count as a companion, or a probationary companion who flunked the exam? If a companion, he could easily come back as a person wanting to get vengeance on the Doctor for dumping him. That would put him in a select group of companions who could be counted as bad guys. Him if he returns and Turlough are the closest we've had officially as bad guys. That is, if you don't count brief episodes of companions being possessed or mind controlled to turn on the Doctor (Sarah Jane in Masque of Mandragora or Hand of Evil, K9 in Armageddon Factor). Now, if you go with the webcasts we've had the Master as a companion, so that would definitely count as a bad guy for a companion. That said, having a reformed Master show up in the new series and become a companion for an episode or two?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:37 a.m. CST


    by Kauzi Sezso

    I assumed as much, and I mainly wanted to get past tjenpoint of "it's been done already" early on in the conversation. I agree with you -- the new series should provide better opportunities for more extreme non-human companions. The main reason there were only two appearances of Kamelion is that it was an actual robot, and it just didn't work. One presumes that they could better address the issues of such a companion with the bigger budgets and cheaper special effects available now.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:39 a.m. CST


    by Kauzi Sezso

    Fair point. Thanks.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Donna, evil compaigns, non-humans

    by Dreamfasting

    I had never thought about it that way ... that completely reverses the more common perception that she was becoming a better and better person until suddenly rebooted. They tried a "traitor compaign" arc with Turlough ( in a trilogy of Mawdryn Undead, Terminus and Enlightenment, he is used as a pawn of the Black Guardian ). As a child I didn't enjoy it - it just felt wrong. A part of that was just the age I was at - I didn't want shades of grey between my black and white hats, I wasn't ready for the idea. As for non-human companions ... I always feel a bit guilty enjoying a character played by someone who has to spend their entire work day covered in prosthetics. I think there's definitely comedic potential for a series where the Doctor takes on an alien and tries to explain humanity to them, but I don't feel the show *needs* a non-human companion. The mangerie of alien companions assembled for "A Good Man Goes to War" actually manages to communicate the idea almost as effectively as actually doing it.

  • with the Doctor showing her the positive sides to humanity, but also showing us (the viewer) more of the Silurian people than we've seen before. However, as you already pointed out, the companion acts as the viewers entry point to the show, and I'm not convinced that the show-runners have enough faith in the audience to accept a completely alien looking character as a companion.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Kamelion was a non-human companion

    by DoctorTom

    and certainly didn't act human a lot of the time he was on screen. That said, the cut scene from The Awakening helped give the suggestion that he spent most of his time "interfacing" with the TARDIS. Funny thing, K9 was seen doing that a lot too. Does Sexy have a weakness for sentient machine creatures? Kamelion (and, actually, the Doctor Who comics with the 10th Doctor, and the Vampires of Venice episode) point out how to handle a truly non-human companion. Kamelion could shape shift, while it's been established that certain types of perception filters can be used to make an alien look human. I could see having a non-human companion that might be given a perception filter to look human most of the time (in order to help the budget, possibly). Just because they look human though doesn't mean they have to act human. They wouldn't necessarily have to use the perception filter, though. The set shots from the upcoming episode that will show next year (minor spoiler) does show a Sontaran in a butler outfit. Now that I think about it, though, if we're going to have a nonhuman companion, I'd like to see Dan Starkey get to play a Sontaran companion - another clone from that batch. There could even be a minor arc with him trying to win absolution for the rest of his clone brethren from the Doctor. I don't think you'd want him all season, but just a few stories might be interesting.

  • simply because he'd always have to wrestle with the tempation to go back and see his Jesus as a man. There's a huge potential of science v faith, there. Everything about the Doctor and the Tardis seems miraculous, but it's all got science behind it. And yet the Time Lords were not gods, they can die (and have died), and the Doctor has come across beings of pure evil from beyond the universe. Fenric, the creature in the Pit, Sutekh, the Black Guardian. Even the Black Guardian has said in the past *We cannot be seen to interfere*, but he never answered the question.. be seen by whom?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Favourite companion - Bernice Summerfield

    by V'Shael

    I'd love to see her appear in the show, even if it was for just one episode.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:48 a.m. CST

    I didn't think Wilfred Mott was under-utilized

    by martinprince

    I felt like we got exactly the right amount of him...he got a soild adventure as the Doctor's companion without getting played out or tiresome.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Wasted companion: Nyssa

    by Dreamfasting

    I think Nyssa was one of the most under-used companions. She comes from a civilization advanced enough that she can understand the basics of how to operate the Tardis. She has a brutal introduction (the Master completely disrupts her society, randomly kills her father to steal his body at the end of the story and then, for good measure, her entire planet gets destroyed as random collateral damage in the next adventure). Yet she never really gets to have the Doctor's full attention with so many companions running around. Even her noble exit is overshadowed by Turlough's arc.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:51 a.m. CST


    by DoctorTom

    V'shael, I'm in complete agreement with you on that. Unfortunately I doubt that it will happen, especially now that they can use the "River Song's an archeologist, we don't need two companions like that" excuse. Although, if they used her now she could possibly end up going to the 41st - 42nd century and be a professor at the university River Song studied at.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:54 a.m. CST

    An Inception HAT

    by veteran_of_mu

    Can't wait for S7 but I've been watching Inception a few times this week trying to figure out the ending. Finally got something interesting ... should warn it's a spoiler if you haven't seen the film ...

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Mopey vs. Adventure-loving

    by ShoreDiva

    My favorite companions have always been the enthusastic dive -in-and-learn-to-swim-later types, Amy Pond being the new prototype but Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, Zoe Heriot, Romana and Jo Grant (toward the end of her travels) being right up there. What I dislike is mopey and haunted - Tegan being my favorite example of that, but to some extent even Ace and poor Doctor-pining Martha Jones bugged me in the same way. The problem is that companions always have to contrast with their predecessors, and so everything that makes Amy great will probably be tossed for Coleman's character (Clara?) I fear that she may be mopey and/or haunted by demons and therefore not very much fun in the context of the series. Prove me wrong O great Moff!

  • because I for one cannot see any blue contact lenses.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Most wasted companion - Kamelion

    by DoctorTom

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Best "wasted" companion - Adric

    by DoctorTom

    most people agree that by the end he deserved to be wasted.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    The Fifth Doctor

    by cushing1967

    Had pretty underutilised companions in my opinion purely because he had so many, three might have worked at the beginning of Doctor Who - especially in an era of longer stories but by the time it came to Peter Davison it was almost as though they had no real idea how to write for a crew of four. Tegan was bad tempered Turlough was sinister Adric was not very good Nyssa was the one used when they needed something a bit science-y said. Kamelion barely worked and so was largely used as a coat stand. And that seemed to be the dynamic. Leela has always been my favourite companion as I liked the direct contradiction between her actions and the Doctor's.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Classic WHO Colorized

    by martinprince

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:07 a.m. CST


    by Merrick

    *** He was supposedly "evil", although he was compelled to his actions by the Black Guardian. *** Yeah, my line-of-thinking was: a genuinely misjudged, very, very bad person on a grand scale. Period. Like, someone who would betray the Docvtor by destroying civilization, or something along those lines.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:27 a.m. CST

    I don't know if they have done this yet

    by Johnboy40

    I don't count the re-appearance of Sarah Jane or Jo Grant in recent years, but I would love to have the Doctor visit a former companion, in real time, so he visits them in 2012, and finds out how much their time with him fucked their life up. and yes, I am thinking of a more contemporary companion like Tegan, who was from Earth, was present day in the story in which she started travelling with the doctor, and so would have aged 30-ish years real time. Kind of touched on with everyone thinking amelia/amy was a bit fruit loop because of the raggedy doctor. Take that a stage further. He investigates stories of strange goings on at an asylum and finds the centre is an old companion who is utterly haunted by what she saw with him.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:29 a.m. CST

    @merrick - why would you want a bad companion?

    by Dreamfasting

    The show needs to maintain a level of trust that even if things don't work out for the best, the characters are genuinely trying. If you break that trust (which I feel they are in danger of doing with River's bad-girl routine some times), you risk breaking the bond of empathy between the viewers and the show.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    @johnboy40 - they covered that, kind of.

    by V'Shael

    The Doctor has revisited all of his old companions, and unfortunately for you, they are all doing just fine - their lives were all enriched by their time with the Doctor. Tegan, since you mentioned her, is currently working for Aboriginal rights in Australia.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Wish they`d ditch the current trends and do something new.

    by higgledyhiggles

    Daleks...again. River Song... Again. I think they`ve over-mined these threads personally. I`m sure I`m in the minority but still. After all the big Arc stuff and the Doctor dies but doesn`t...well Duh, that was a plot that was never going anywhere. Hoping they get to the new assistant fast. For a guy who can go anywhere and any-when you`d think there`d be a bit more variety. Oh and slow some episodes down and let them use their brains instead of VFX. The best episode are where stuff is used really sparingly. The Rory centurion time travel episode, the Toby Jones in the village one (was that it). I don`t know.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST

    johnboy40 - you mean show something like School Reunion?

    by DoctorTom

    Honestly, that one counts even if you don't want to count the Sarah Jane Adventures episodes with the Doctor.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST


    by DoctorTom

    This is the show that, when the TARDIS is equipped with a randomizer to keep the Black Guardian from finding him, has its first two travel locations be the planet of his greatest enemies (a planet he has visited twice before then) and the planet he keeps popping up on all the time. So it's not like we haven't seen this before. I don't think they've necessarily over-mined those threads - it's obvious that Moffat wants to do more with River Song, and I see her being around now and then at least until Matt Smith regenerates. The Daleks - we're getting all the different types of Daleks back, and based on the trailer it looks like we're going into different territory with them. Someone could as easily claim "Episode on a spaceship....again" or "Episode on modern day Earth...again" as you are claiming with the Daleks and River Song. It's not just whether the character or alien or setting have been used before, it's what's done with them that really matters. The Daleks had been feeling pretty mined out with similar stories by the end of Pertwee's era, but Genesis of the Daleks threw everything into a different light with them.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by Johnboy40

    that was the sja adventure death of the doctor, wasnt it, that they mentioned she was alive and well? I would have thought it's easy enough for a decent writer to get round that and the 2006 audio. (Ive just been wiki'ing, so there may be other appearances I'm not aware of) If not, bugger. I kinda like the idea of a companion thats gone completely hatstand since her travels with the doctor were over, just because of what she saw. It just works better for me using a contemporary companion, cos then you can have them aged in real time and use the same actress (it would work better with a girl, IMO)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:59 a.m. CST

    I would be happy with it being Peri too

    by Johnboy40

    Cos she had a splendid set of norks. At the SFX weekender, Sylvester McCoy (came across as a lovely old fella, btw. Took control of the roving Mic for the Q&A himself) told of the 2nd doctor crossover that he did, filmed in spain, and some of the equipment got held up in transit Him, Troughton, Frazer Hinds and Nicola Bryant spent a few days of in the villa, and they started pool wrestling, split into their respecyive teams. apparently, McCoy spent many happy hours with a bikini clad Bryant sitting on his shoulders.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST

    TARDIS as mentor

    by Colin Blair

    Looking at the parts and roles of The Hero's Journey, I think the TARDIS best fits in the Obi-Wan Kenobi role as "guide and supernatural mentor" insted of the companion role. The TARDIS is guiding The Doctor and providing him with the tools he needs to complete his journey. Those tools include the TARDIS herself, the screwdriver, and the companions. An interesting attribute of a mentor (Obi-Wan, Gandalf, etc.) is that they tend to move off-stage alot so that the hero and companion have to face challenges on their own. That has always been a hallmark attribute of the TARDIS.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Johnboy40

    nah, several steps past that..have the ex companion actually in an asylum cos they have completely lost it, gone doolally, gone completely hat stand, and many other euphemisms that only a british reader of viz would get ;)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    valid companions

    by baba-lou2

    If their names ever appeared in the title credits (not the ones after the title of the episode) then they count as official companions.

  • The Daleks, doesn`t matter how many there are or what shape, they`ll all try and conquer everything and fail, they never learn. You expect them to turn around and go`Doooooohhh! I`ll get you Gadg.. i mean Doctor.. Next Time!` because they keep forgetting that as a vicious conquering race they never seem to conquer anything for more than 5 minutes. Th Doctor sees to that. I guess there a fan fave so what the hey. River Song, actually like the interaction with the Doctor, good chemistry, just after last season I was thinking maybe thats enough of that, time for someone else because didn`t they do a Benny the Button reverse aging thing so how they keep meeting at their current ages seems a little coincidental. They`ll probably only be an episode anyway. I`d just like a few eps where the Doctor has to use his brain a little more rather than grandiose threats and wand waving to solve stuff. He is supposed to be cleverer than every one else. FanFic.. Doctor breaks down at the Dharma initiative on the island, meddling in time etc. a more real world situation with some sciencey science. I do know it`s a kids show. Maybe I want a Sapphire and Steel reboot. But I`m rambling and avoiding work.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    Actually BF did that with Tegan. She was seriously messed up because of her time with the Doctor.

  • I think a lot of fans would have liked to see Mel consigned to an asylum.

  • Classic series has the names at the end of the episode, even for the Doctor. The only credit you got in the opening was for the writer of the story.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:40 a.m. CST

    higgledyhiggles - several stories refute your Dalek comments

    by DoctorTom

    Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks changed things from before, and they had certainly learned from them. the end of 2005 certainly changed up things - they had learned and worked things in the background. They had 100 years at least controlling Earth (NOT "5 minutes"). And the Doctor didn't defeat them, if we didn't get Rose Ex Machina, everybody would lived would have been speaking Dalek. Victory of the Daleks certainly doesn't fall in with your assertion - it wasn't an episode where they were trying to conquer everything. They were playing the Doctor in that story so that they could revive their race - and it worked. The Doctor lost. The Daleks looked to be one of the primary groups who had worked out that the Doctor was causing the cracks in the universe, and came up with a plan to cage the Doctor to stop him. No plans to conquer the universe, just a plan to stop the Doctor. And it worked. Their only problem was not having the information that it wasn't the Doctor but something else controlling his TARDIS. They had their plan though and they achieved it. So, it's not the "same old, same old" with the Daleks under Matt Smith that you're moaning about. River - I figure she's going to at least be at Trenzalore. I couldn't tell if that shot of her in the trailer was in the Dalek episode but it wouldn't surprise me. They still haven't really established what has occurred between her and Daleks that would make a Dalek ask for mercy merely upon hearing her name. I'd be up for a Sapphire and Steel reboot also. But who would you cast? For some reason I keep thinking Cuberbatch for Steel, but I don't see him taking the part. On the other hand, I could see getting Lara Pulver to play Sapphire. Maybe get Mark Gatiss to play Steel?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Companion concept expanded: The Master?

    by Murphy7

    They've given each other plenty of grief, have travelled together, have flown each other's TARDISes, which has to be the Gallifreyan equivalent of trading braces-elastics. Can the Master be considered a companion of sorts? If travel in the TARDIS is not strictly necessary - Borusa's arc is certainly that of a companion going from good to bad while dealing with the Doctor in a few incarnations.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST

    doctortom: yowza I see you have a smattering of Who knowledge. Touche.

    by higgledyhiggles

    I`m not surprised my arguments don`t hold up. It`s only feelings after watching the show since reboot. A bit of a reliance on the the Daleks and others. I guess the short answer is I prefer the smaller quieter stories. I like it when they run out of money and have to write a lot of dialog. Tom Baker seemed to have a lot of interesting stories or maybe it was just because of the lack of money and his presence, I don`t know. It`d be nice to have a better Master. An intellectual equal but with their own set of interests and priorities. Imagine Frost/Nixon with the Doctor vs the Master. As for Sapphire and Steel, Cumberbatch would play a much better Silver. Think of the last episode. Who can replace Mcallum and Lumley, tall order indeed. I`m not for Gatiss as he`s too broad an actor I think. Someone who has that intensity and also apathy to the people around. Michael Sheen maybe (yeah they can afford that) ? I`m not the one to ask for up and coming actors. Well for us in the UK, the weekend starts here. Toodle-pip and thanks for setting me straight.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Very much like your priest idea, v'shael


    The science vs faith debate could certainly be quite interesting, if the right writers were involved.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Companion's names in credits

    by Kauzi Sezso

    By that logic, nearly everyone who appeared in the TV Movie is a companion.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Best two? Tied, even ...

    by The StarWolf

    I'd have to say, no question, Leela and Riversong. Leela ... well, how many companions could take out an armoured Sontaran warrior the way she did ... and still look that great in skimpy leathers? No 'Oh, woe is me', shrinking violet here. And Riversong? How many could keep up with him intellectually, were as fascinating a character concept and, oh, yeah, married him? Not to mention had the *best line, ever*? (Yes, the one about the parking brake.)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Daleks - @doctortom/higgledyhiggles

    by Dreamfasting

    Although there have been counter-examples, the "Daleks want to destroy everything but then get blown up" theme has been strong in the Daleks for some time, old series and new. Even their more subtle motives so far in 11th Doctor's era have not really dented that aura around them. And the new trailer feeds this notion: a huge number of Daleks and then a whole lot of dead Daleks. What's interesting is that the new technicolour Daleks seem to be a tiny minority in that trailer. There did seem to be a couple of them in the back which seems to only confuse the issue of what this new episode will be about.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Kappa Sigma!

    by dalybear

    That's my fraternity in the video!

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Turlough did commit a Who sin, of sorts...

    by Disgruntled_Chinaman

    One of the adventures opens where he found an old scarf of Tom's and he is tying vicious knots in it. So... utter bastard!!! He was snarky as hell, too!

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Master from early in his own timeline as companion

    by Jimbobsq

    The Master in his pre-evil days, early in his own personal timeline, could make for a great companion - maybe even have the Doctor be responsible somehow, unwittingly and unintentionally, for the Master becoming a twisted villain.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Evil Companion

    by Faulkopf

    I've been entertaining the notion of an anti-Doctor lately. Someone who isn't evil per se but who wholeheartedly believes humans are a virus and focuses on eradicating them. Having that person start off as a companion of the Doctor's, as Merrick suggests, would add a nice former friends element. I imagine friendly chats around the TARDIS console about humanity's relative worth and place in the universe. Of course, this sounds a bit like the Master, but since he's dead . . . .

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST


    by Faulkopf

    It looks like we have similar ideas.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST

    John Noble = best potential Dr. Who--- ever!!??

    by Michael Lunney

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Bring back Romana!

    by StatelyWayneManor

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST

    mcgootoo - eh?

    by Mister Vertue

    I don't recall seeing cyborg cowboys patrolling Albert Square or dinosaurs roaming a spaceship called Coronation Street. However, if you're referring to science fiction with character interaction or development as being like a 'soap opera', maybe you're watching the wrong show? I know the old show didn't focus on the Doctor and his companions as much as the new show does, but it had to change to survive in the modern tv arena. Please don't take this as an attack, I'm just confused by your statement. If you can expand and give some examples, I'd love to hear more from you.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Merrick - re: email

    by Mister Vertue

    I'll see what I can do!

  • You say: I know the old show didn't focus on the Doctor and his companions as much as the new show does, but it had to change to survive in the modern tv arena. No it didn't. Why do you make this assumption, without ever knowing if anothewr way eould or would not have succeeded? I love Dr. Who, but with the latest bad choice of a Dr., and the slide to the companion taking center stage, it is just not as fun as it ussed to be. I am not watching the wrong show- the wrong show is what Dr. Who has become. it can still morph into something different, and better, than what it is now. And I liked Amy Pond at first.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST

    hornosilk and doctortom

    by Johnboy40

    Hornosilk, if you mean the 2006 audio when she had a tumour and a year to live, from the synopsis i read, It doesnt go anywhere near as far as I'm thinking. I'm thinking complete breakdown, institutionalized, padded room, straight jacket, all the mashed banana you can eat descent into madness...think 12 monkeys asylum with the doctor coming for a look see. Doctortom..the dreaded Bonnie Langford. I think if she got back onto who, we would have a generation of children needing the padded room and mashed banana...I wouldn't want who to be responsible for that. It's probably too horrid an idea anyways..I couldn't see it being done, but I for one would love to see it. btw: whilst I were wiki-ing, I found an interesting snippet. Janet "Tegan" Fielding spent a period of time as Paul McGann's agent. I'm y'all knew that anyway, but I found it amusing.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Merrick - first idea sent to you!

    by Mister Vertue

    More to follow...

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:40 p.m. CST

    mcgootoo - now you have me confused

    by DoctorTom

    you're complaining about the Moffat/ Matt Smith stories compared to RTD, because there's soap opera in the show? It seems to me that there was plenty of soap opera well before Matt Smith. We had one full season of Martha Jones moping about her unrequited love for the Doctor, after two years of Rose "when will she and the Doctor say they love each other" Tyler. The whole thing about the Doctor's death and trying to get around a fixed point in time, which resulted in a continuum where time impoded on Earth with everything there at the same time when someone crudely tries to bludgeon through what happens - that's NOT sf, or using sf just as a spice? We're getting more sf now than we were before, especially exploration of the ramifications of time travel (something rarely tackled on the show). Don't confuse story arc with soap opera - they're two different things.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Like the idea of the companion working against the Doctor

    by sunspot_mike

    But we had the "sleeper" companion in the TARDIS last year with Ganger Amy (which was such an awesome reveal (that I completely didn't see coming!) Turlough was great though and everyone loves The Black Guardian, even with that crow they put on his head (what a ridiculous costume!)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:45 p.m. CST

    johnboy40 - I can fully understand that position about Mel

    by DoctorTom

    The glee of what you can do to the character is tempered by the fact of bringing the character back in the first place. (And, oddly, I won't even blame Bonnie Langford for this - she's actually had a few very good audios at Big Finish. It's how the character was handled by production - considered how they handled aspects of the 6th Doctor it's not surprising they'd bungle a companion also). The question I have is whether Ace would be doing what RTD suggested in the Sarah Jane adventure, whether she went off to become a Time Lord (original idea for Season 27), she goes off to become Time's Vigilante (Virgin's New Adventures, or if she'd just be around now doing protests like the Occupy movement, and trying to bring the UK government down. Given her like of explosives, I suspect she'd have ended up branded as a terrorist by now even though she wouldn't go out to hurt innocents.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 3:52 p.m. CST

    bonnie langford

    by Johnboy40

    I still have nightmares about Bonnie Langford from Just William

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Rouge Companion

    by Michael_Jacksons_Ghost

    Adam Mitchell being the only companion to be kicked out of the TARDIS would be a #1 canadate. Another choice would be The Tenth Doctor's duplicate. My canadates for two "should be" companions: Elton, and Craig.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:11 p.m. CST

    mcgootoo - where we disagree

    by Mister Vertue

    I say the show had to change because *all* long-running shows have to change as society and the audience change. Blue Peter changed. Coronation Street changed. The nightly news format changed. Imagine if Dixon of Dock Green aired in 2013 in its original format. It wouldn't last very long, would it? It would have to be revamped to fit what modern viewers want to see. I'll also add that one of the remits of the show on its return in 2005 was to compete on a global scale. It would be in direct competition with science fiction shows being produced by the US, and again, it had to appeal to a wider audience. I know there are Doctor Who fans who want the show to stay the same forever and be exactly the way it was in Pertwee's era, or Baker's era, but it would die a thousand deaths and plummet in the ratings (where it is currently performing very well). You may dislike Doctor Who in its current format, but when Moffat and Smith eventually leave, the show will change again with the new showrunner and maybe it'll appeal more to your tastes then? And who knows, maybe the new series will be a big enough change for you to enjoy it once again? I do hope so. And sorry for saying you're watching the wrong show, I worded that very badly. Too aggressive of me! Would love to hear what other Docbackers have to say on this subject. Has the show changed *too* much? Did it *have* to change? Could it have remained in its pre-2005 format and performed just as well in the ratings?

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST

    @DoctorTom - Actually I think Ace would have

    by V'Shael

    calmed down a lot with the Doctors influence, and relied a lot less on terrorist type activities to bring about change.

  • And while Sylvestor McCoy truly is a great fellow, I believe your story about Frazier Hines, Peris nawks, and the pool, is a Colin Baker anecdote. (Colin Baker also being a truly great fellow.)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    In defence (good grief) of Bonnie Langford...

    by V'Shael

    Let me start by saying that I too had skin crawling nightmares from her Just William days ... *I'll scweem and scweem and scweem until I'm SICK!!* *Shudder* And as companions go, Mel was a bit of a badly written joke. All true. But Bonnie Langford is a wonderful human being. She can act the hell out good material when she's given it. If she is told to act like an annoying twat, she'll be the most annoying twat the director or writer could ever have wished for. That's her job. Don't we mock the sort of clueless viewers who can't distinguish the character from the actor? The ladies who bashed Dirty Den on the street, instead of praising Leslie Granthams acting abilities as a scumbag? (Okay, bad example, he is a dirty perv after all) Give over the Bonnie bashing. The lady is a class act if you ever meet her in person. And just once it'd be nice to see people speak well about some actors before their obituary hits the web.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    I meant unwavering, not unrequited....oops...

    by Michael Lunney

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Evil Companions

    by vadakinX

    I have an idea that would actually involve a reformed Master becoming a companion. Of course everyone would be waiting for him to go bad again but the way I would do it would be so tragic that the scene where 10 begs the Master to regenerate would never happen again because the Doctor would never be able to forgive the Master after what I'd have him put the Doctor through. In fact he wouldn't be out to stop the Master he'd be out to kill him.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST

    I find the whole evil thing...

    by dj_bollocks

    ...quite hackneyed really. Turlough was an interesting premise executed poorly. I still remember the Evil Leaper in Quantum Leap and what a mess that was. The only way that you'd get a huge impact is to take a major face companion and turn them heel (wrestling parlance). Take a much loved companion and then turn them evil, less hackneyed if written and executed well. Even better (and you talk about multiple Doctor stories for the 50th) you bring back Tennant as a conflicted apparently "evil" Doctor. Pit Doctor against Doctor and you have a REALLY interesting dynamic. Doctor 10 contacts Doctor 11 who needs to change something, an event that prevents Doctor 10 regenerating... Boom... That would totally mess with people's minds, a great regeneration swerve... Plausibility factor -1, but as far as evilness goes much better than to shoehorn a new evil character...

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST


    by pat

    That promo image suggests we're going to see multiple types of Daleks. That'd be neat to see but don't the new Daleks consider the old ones inferior? Or were the Daleks from Victory of the Daleks impure because they were made from Davros? Never quite understood that. This site has a VERY detailed history the classic series Daleks: uk/index.htm

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:59 p.m. CST

    You all burned!

    by pat

    That's what the 9th Doctor told the first Dalek he encountered- they all burned in the Time War. The Daleks from multiple eras & fire surrounding them me makes wonder if we are finally going to see part of the Time War.

  • My confusion comes purely from the facts not matching up with your complaints about the current regime's stuff vs. the RTD stuff.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Dr. needs a new Historical Companion

    by blueant

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Old Who vs New Who

    by Michael_Jacksons_Ghost

    I would have to say that the Doctor Who from 2005 and up is what the old Doctor Who wanted to be, but couldn't. The older series always had problems with budgets, and if money allowed, the older series would of been on par with Star Trek TOS, Battlestar Galatica in terms of greatly produced Sci-Fi. Since the BBC gave such small budgets to the production of the shows that came out, Doctor Who, Blake's 7, and Red Dwarf have this feel to them like college students made the shows for public access stations, and could not compete with the Sci-Fi big dogs. But, that also gives those shows their charm. Another thing that hurt the older series was the stories broken into 30 minute episodes. With the hour long format, the show flows better story wise. So, as I love the lower budget drama versions of Doctor Who, I much prefer the New Who.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 6:16 p.m. CST


    by The Yellow Kid

    Each Doctor has his ideal companion, the one that really seems to touch him- fleeting though the effect may be. But the template, really, to be honest, was set late in the era of The Third Doctor, with Sarah Jane Smith. Certainly other companions have been important- even crucial supports for The Doctor. Jamie comes to mind, as well as Barbara and Ian and The Brigadier.... but the combination of independent and inquisitive mind, affectionate nature and an insistence on being taken seriously... that started wholesale with Sarah Jane. I mean... imagine The First Doctor's lordliness or the Second Doctor's often exasperating attitudes working on Sarah Jane. She'd have bit their heads off- exactly as she did when The Third Doctor tried his patronizing act on her. Sarah is particularly the template for the modern era companions. They didn't look at Ace or Mel or Tegan or Nyssa when they created Rose and the rest. Of course... I admit to my bias. Tom Baker was my first Doctor, and Sarah my first companion.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 7:34 p.m. CST

    @v'shael on HATs

    by veteran_of_mu

    If they weren't half-arsed they wouldn't be Half-Arsed Theories now would they? The fun in them is like rock-climbing. If you can just hold on to this one ... shift your weight ... then you can just about almost reach this next one ... If you manage to get 10,000 feet up a sheer cliff, plot holes yawning beneath you, old bad writing falling past you like stones, the basic premise as tenuous as a frayed rope, it doesn't much help to have good old v'shael hovering next to you in a helicopter pointing out the perfectly ordinary stairwell that rose only 100 feet above the ground, but in perfect safety. You might prefer the stairwells and helicopters. I like the Eiger and K2. That's okay, plenty of room for diversity in this big old noospace of ours.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Sara Kingdom: "Disputed" companion (!)

    by obijuanmartinez

    Although her only televised appearance happened during the megalithic 12-episode "The Daleks' Masterplan", she is listed in many DW publications (Doctor Who - A Celebration, The DW Quiz Book, The DW Programme Guide, to name a few...) as a "companion" of the Doctor, yet the official BBC DW site does NOT list her as a companion. She began as a more sinister figure (killing her own brother, played by future Brigadier Nicholas Courtney), then came to aid the Doc & Stephen vs. the Daleks, ultimately dying. Played by Jean Marsh (who had been married to Jon Pertwee from 1955-1960). She returned in the Sylvester McCoy serial "Battlefield" to act opposite Courtney's Lethbridge-Stewart, and appeared as Sara Kingdom in several audio adventures...

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST


    by The Transformed Man

    A shapeshifter companion who enjoys being a penguin so spends most of his time as a penguin. And he has a New York accent! He needs at least one onscreen appearance. We have the technology!

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by Bad Wolff

    But the evil leaper idea was fabulous on Quantum Leap, and produced some of the most memorable episodes of that show. On a side note, I love that Bernice Summerfield as a companion still gets love out there in places like this.

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:10 p.m. CST

    so Smith lacks a time lord...?

    by bongo dummy

    I'd reckon a time lord could pretty much be anything anyone wanted it to be. If you think the actor's a wuss about things, so be it. But, I don't really think it matters as much as people seem to want it to matter. It's like those people who say the actor who plays Walter from Fringe should be a Doctor. C'mon. Kick his portrayal of Walter out of your heads. Be more imaginative than that. As long as the stories are good and the show keeps being made, give it time. You'll probably get the Doctor you want again. In the meantime, let it roll and roll with it. (ditto with all of these serialized, rebooted, franchised out the yinyang properties of beloved characters)

  • Aug. 3, 2012, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Name in credits = Companion....

    by Chuck

    If that's the case then the Master is a companion too.

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Name in credits = someone appearing in Doctor Who.

    by SminkyPinky

    Nothing more.

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Never mind Peri, where's the Tegan love?

    by BiggusDickus

    Janet Fielding was absolutely filthy!

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Eccleston recent interview...DW and Rickman comments?

    by Barrymore

    I saw on Blogtorwho that Eccleston did a recent interview (in July at the National Theatre), but I can't get it to play. I was wondering if anyone knew what he said (is this where he mentioned possibly doing more DW?) and what his thoughts were on Alan Rickman (like him/hate him?)

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 7 p.m. CST

    Someone hit the nail on the head--Matt Smith lacks gravitas

    by Barrymore

    I think that is also what has been bothering me about the recent seasons as well (besides Moffat's overly-clever writing and the unending storylines--I'm still not sure if we know what the crack in Amy's wall was, why the TARDIS blew up, and who River Song REALLY REALLY REALLY is). When Eccleston and Tennant were The Doctor, you couldn't take your eyes off them. They drew your attention. They stood out from the rest of the characters. Matt Smith, while a great guy and sometimes terrific actor, just doesn't draw a person's attention like the previous two Doctors. I also really want to see him with new companion Jenna to see if they have a better dynamic. Amy was cute and all, but she and Rory definitely lack charisma. (It kind of reminds me of when Sylvester was Doc #7, and I didn't like him much when his companion was Mel, but when teamed with Ace, is one of my favorites.)

  • Aug. 4, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Smith lacking gravitas?

    by chiwrtr72

    His first episode where he faces down the aliens. And then the pandorica speech. Both of these times come to me immediately as times where he portrays the gravitas of a time lord. Please... I didn't think anyone would knock Tennant from his pedestal (well maybe it's still Tom Baker for me, I need to rewatch some of his episodes), but Smith is well on his way of doing it. Yes Smith's version is silly and child-like, but he can also switch to something deeper and stronger. Am I the only one would like a return of the Doctor's granddaughter for the 50th?

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Smith's gravitas kind of sneaks up on you.

    by Chuck

    I think that's definitely his greatest strength. He can be silly and weird and full of genuine wonder one minute, but when shit starts going down, he can turn dead serious at the drop of a hat. He goes from goofy, nerdy man-child to centuries old warrior who has seen the absolute best and absolute worst of the universe without missing a beat. This is the sort of performance that propels him past Tennant and Eccleston in my book.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Wherearetheducks - agreed

    by Murphy7

    When Smith's Doctor returns to "the Lodger" to find him married with child - there is plenty of silly with the Doctor speaking baby and the like... but the scene and I remember most is when the Doctor says of himself that he is so very old. Matt Smith suffers a bit the same way Peter Davidson did - too young a face following too beloved a Doctor.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Smith has plenty gravitas when he needs it.

    by veteran_of_mu

    Not the bloody Pandorica speech. I mean moments like his evilness in TGWW, the painful silence in that clip where the Tardis won't materialise, his tenderness with Vincent Van Gogh, almost all of Amy's Choice, not to mention that wonderful bit in TWORS when he tells Churchill that time was broken by ... a woman. It's okay for people to hate Smith. Everyone hates some part of DW. Me, I can't stand even a moment of Colin Baker. But the notion that Smith lacks gravitas is just a bit unfounded I think.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    wherearethe ducks - I agree with you on the gravitas

    by DoctorTom

    The ability of Matt Smith to go from silly and weird to dead serious at the drop of a hat is something that he shares with Tom Baker, which might go some ways towards those two being my favorites. (Although Matt Smith's silly is different from Tom Baker's silly.) Caractuspotts, about the 6th Doctor - don't hate the playa, hate the game - to me, what seems to be the bad stuff about CB's era was stuff he was lumbered with from the production crew. If anything, hate the coat. Or, hate the production decisions to have a weak opening Doctor story like the Twin Dilemma right after the Caves of Androzani, and finish a season with it so people aren't sure if they wanted to keep watching. If they had done Attack of the Cybermen as his first story, jettisoned the garbage with the Cryons and done more with Lytton and his crew on Earth, and (more importantly) dressed him in black the way Colin Baker wanted, he probably would have been far more popular.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 12:32 p.m. CST

    barrymore - Eccleston National Theater interview

    by Kathryn Gail

    I have the July Eccleston National Theatre interview running a second time through (also available at the Nat. Th. website) and. . . either I keep being distracted by shiny things or his DW comments happened during audience questions that weren't recorded?? But about 35 min. in, he talks about improving flat Hollywood movie villains with a touch of subtle camp humor as Rickman does so well.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Old Who, New Who

    by Kathryn Gail

    I've watched not all but a lot of the old series and love its knack for dropping the viewer right into a sense of being the recurring characters' off-camera best friend while tossing out these utterly random premises you almost couldn't have done withOUT a low budget and a certain level of disinterest from execs, but then it was standard for 60s-80s TV serials to lean hard on their characters' set-in-stone traits for continuity since viewers weren't re-watching shows so much (or at all, really, in the 60s!). So many shows since 1989 have really raised the bar for having characters' realistic growth (rather than fixed personalities) ground viewers through highly re-watchable storylines. There's some terrific retro magic in how the old show could really wear on its sleeve a "history can be fun" or "ethical debate = adventure" premise without worrying whether regular characters did much but run + defeat enemies with logic/science, but today that would feel more like a send-up than a reboot, or like a poorly-disguised science issues show with presenters rather than companions. Some of us would love it, but probably not enough to carry it through Season 7 and beyond! And while I've got my keyboard all pressured up, here: yes to Frobisher, to Susan in the 50th anniversary, and to Matt Smith's gravitas hitting the right note for an old, old, tired entity with a young man's form. I'm just sorry it's too late to push for getting Kevin the anxious tyrannosaurus into Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. . .

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Colin Baker wears no clothes.

    by veteran_of_mu

    @Doctom, Apologies, but I can't agree. I don't think the problem with CB was his coat, or his production crew, or even his damned scripts. You put a young Tom Baker in the same position, you don't get the same result. TB had stinkeroo scripts on occasion. He wore a garish and uncouth outfit too. And while he was blessed with 4 of the best companions ever he'd have arched Peri into quivering awe without once attempting to strangle the dear little pumpkin. Doesn't matter what the script said - Tom had guts enough to stare producers down. CB whinges about all the nasty things that he was asked to wear. Well, damnit, the man was playing the Doctor, he had to have some guts. Can you imagine any of the others standing for it? He should have turned up naked and let the bastards deal.

  • Aug. 5, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Caractuspotts - others standing for it

    by DoctorTom

    JNT had a much firmer hand controlling the costuming (and you couldn't really stand up to him on it). That's why we had 10 years of question mark collars, which Peter Davison had a decorative vegetable on his lapel and why McCoy had the question mark jumper. The costumes (and with JN-T they were indeed costumes, not clothes) were being geared for marketability.

  • Aug. 6, 2012, 2:28 a.m. CST

    I demand some Who! (Christmas special news/spoiler)

    by Master of Zinj

    Doctor, wait! I have a heart condition. I have a heart condition; if you sonic me it's murder.

  • Aug. 6, 2012, 2:45 a.m. CST

    Smith and gravitas

    by Master of Zinj

    May as well throw my loose change in while I'm logged in... Having finally got round to absorbaloffing (sorry, sorry, I know) some Old Who these past few months, I think the main difference to me between new and old series is not just the scale of the scifi but also the profile of the Doctor. The former I'm a bigger and bigger fan of. I've moaned in the past about too many ideas clouding the episodes, and while I still feel that's the case occasionally, I do think we're absolutely spoiled to have not just great stories but wonderful, untold back stories that can grow and develop in our heads. AGMGTW is a great example of this (and it looks like some of those back stories will be told this series, which is fantastic). Now, the latter... Hmm. The latter is tricky. I'm trying to place when it first happened, but the Doctor has increasingly become the centre of the universe in the new series, where he was for a good deal of the old series (as far as I can tell from my limited exposure) the "unknown quantity". Being British, I love a good underdog story, which may colour my judgement on this, but it does feel like the newest stuff is making the Doctor the solution to / question behind everything. And I'm not sure I like that. It's harder to identify with a Messiah/superhero-like Doctor than it was to make a connection with the traveller/explorer Doctor. I loved the hints last season that the Doctor's going to recede into the shadows, but the only thing that's worried me about the trailer has been the big Dalek shot, where he's shouting "what are you waiting for?" I know he's their mortal enemy, but it does bring back (for me) the feeling that he needs to be less prominent. Mind you, it still gets me jiggling up and down in anticipation. So, to get round to the argument, my take on the whole gravitas thing is this. Smith is a fantastic actor. I LOVED The 11th Hour and I think he absolutely owned the character straightaway, which shows just how much gravitas he has. I wonder though, whether this gravitas has steadily become bombast and overimportance...?

  • Aug. 6, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Cindy-loo Who?

    by veteran_of_mu

    @Doctom, I accept that a whole bunch of bad human beings, JNT being one of them, contributed to the insufferable thing that is CB's Doctor. But I don't think it's reasonable to think CB was not one of those bad humans. @Moz, Completely agree with you on all counts. The bombast worked in the pandorica speech because it was new. We never had the Doc reading the riot act to all his foes before, and it was just too cool to see him stand up there and declare them all stupid. But there's just a bit too much "I am talking!" in Smith now. He comes across as so self-satisfied, self-assured, believing his own PR. He has the game rigged all the time and there's never any real risk that he and his family - yes, I'll go there, the Whos down in Whoville - perhaps Whoville as one of those specs of psychic pollen from the candle-meadows of Karass Don Slava - anyway, that all the people he loves are just always going to get saved, and they all will live one way or another happily ever after. In short, I am now barracking for Smith to lose. I want a pay-off for all the big mistakes he's made. I want the Smith that's locked out of his own timeline, the Smith whose bones are sunken beneath Lake Silencio, the one who has to send River to her death because that's the only way he can save her from a worse fate, the guy who discovers that he's not really the Doctor at all - just a shadow puppet for the Tardis. I want Smith's doc to suffer so deeply he just closes the doors of the Tardis and walks away. I want him fallen and in despair, and really truly dead. And then - and then! - I want a new time lord completely to take up the mantle. Not a regeneration, not a ganger, not the master turned face - a whole new Doctor with no baggage whatsoever. Yet. I want the Tardis to give up on the old Doctor as a bad lot and go steal herself a new one. And I want him to have no frickin' idea what's going on at all. I want him to keep bumping into people and them going, haha, doctor, I have you at last! and him going, what? who the devil are you? You certainly are ugly ... Maybe with young JLC as, of course, Jenny to nudge him around whispering, doctor, that's what your predecessor used to call a sontaran, rather nasty customers, don't pick a fight ...

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 3:41 a.m. CST

    @caractacuspotts Nicely put.

    by Master of Zinj

    You've summed up my unease well there: it's that there's no real risk. I don't mind the Doctor having stuff up his sleeve. But my favourite moment in the last two series comes from The Doctor's Wife, where he stops and goes "I don't know what to do". It's when he's got nothing and he conjures something out of it that the programme's most thrilling and the character is at his most amazing.

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Hello DocBackers!!

    by gotilk

    I have missed you. I just suffered a huge loss, and I have been busy with everything that lead to that loss. I'll explain next week, but I just wanted to say hi and express how excited I am about the new trailer. I really miss the DocBacks.

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 2:26 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    *without once attempting to strangle the dear little pumpkin* That literally made me lol. I think I have missed you most of all.

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 2:43 p.m. CST


    by DoctorTom

    My condolences on your loss. It's good to see you back here, though, Pop in to get cheered up! (It seems we have 2 threads this week - there's a separate thread on Richard E Grant's showing up in the Christmas special, so it looks like either thread's applicable this week

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST

    @gotilk Very sorry to hear about your loss

    by veteran_of_mu

  • Aug. 7, 2012, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Who lives outside "the local time bubble"?

    by veteran_of_mu

    in TWORS, why was the Doctor angry with River? Who lives outside "the local time bubble"? How could the Doctor be "embarrassed"? These are questions about TWORS we've never discussed ... is all of S6&7 happening inside CAL?

  • Aug. 8, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Caractuspotts - local time bubble

    by DoctorTom

    At the time, the local time bubble was the Earth - where all time had collapsed. Outside that bubble was the regular universe. Presumably, since time had collapsed, the universe at every point in time existed outside the time bubble and could contact it, even though time hadn't collapsed outside the bubble yet. There had been the talk about the bubble expanding until it encompassed the entire universe. So, to tackle your questions: Everyone not on Earth, at every time. It is quite possible that there could even have been messages from the Doctor in other regenerations, or even the Time Lords (though this is debatable - we don't know how the whole "time lock" on Gallifrey works relative to Gallifrey's past interacting with the universe as a whole. If you want to float a WHolly Assed Theory (a WHAT?), it could theoretically have been possible that the signal was picked up in the past on Gallifrey by a younger Hartnell Doctor who wondered why he needed help, was moved by the universe thinking him so important after hearing some of the other messages, and decided to take his granddaughter along on a trip to find out why the universe cares about him so much... The Doctor was embarrassed because he hadn't properly realized that so many people cared about him. With his tending to leave right at the end of taking care of things, he usually didn't stay around for proper adulation. It probably didn't occur to him that he was that well known and popular through the universe, even though River hinted at it earlier in the series when she told him that many races got their word Doctor from him. No, it's not happening inside CAL. Everyone is very much alive and not "saved".

  • Aug. 8, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    @Doctom - that's not a WHAT. It's a ...

    by veteran_of_mu

    Fully Arsed Realistic Theory. And I think you know how little I care for those ;-)