The Importance of Companions in Doctor Who

Since its debut in 1963, Doctor Who has been a sci-fi television phenomenon, capturing the imagination of audiences worldwide. The show’s longevity and success can be attributed in large part to the iconic companions who have traveled through time and space with the Doctor.

These companions serve not only as the Doctor’s trusted allies but also as a human perspective on the fantastical universe of Doctor Who. In this post, we’ll explore the crucial role companions play in the show, how their characters have evolved over time, and some of the most memorable companions to date.

Section 1: The Role of Companions in Doctor Who

Companions serve as our window into the world of Doctor Who, allowing us to experience the adventure and wonder of the show through their eyes.

Companions as grounding agents: As an alien time traveler, the Doctor can sometimes seem removed from humanity. Companions help him stay grounded and relatable by providing a human perspective and emotional connection.

Doctor Who often tackles complex themes like love, loss, and loyalty. Companions provide a relatable human element to these themes, giving them emotional weight and depth.

Section 2: The Evolution of Companions in Doctor Who

Doctor Who began with Susan, Ian, and Barbara, who served primarily as passive observers.

Over time, companions have become increasingly integral to the show’s plot and character development. In recent years, the show has become more diverse and inclusive in its portrayal of companions. We’ve seen characters of different races, genders, and sexual orientations, bringing a broader range of perspectives and experiences to the show.

Today’s companions are far more than just passive observers. They’re integral to the show’s plot, often driving the action and making key decisions.

Section 3: Memorable Companions in Doctor Who

Sarah Jane Smith is undoubtedly one of the most beloved and iconic companions in Doctor Who history. Portrayed by the late Elisabeth Sladen, Sarah Jane was first introduced to the series in 1973 as a journalist investigating the mysterious goings-on at a nuclear research center. From there, she became a recurring character, traveling with both the Third and Fourth Doctors and quickly establishing herself as a fan favourite.

What made Sarah Jane so special was her intelligence, her bravery, and her unwavering moral compass. She was never content to sit on the sidelines and watch the Doctor do all the work – instead, she was always eager to get involved, using her investigative skills and quick thinking to help save the day. Sarah Jane was also an incredibly empathetic character, always putting the needs of others first and standing up for what was right, even when it was difficult or dangerous.

After her time on Doctor Who came to an end, Sarah Jane went on to star in her own spinoff series, The Sarah Jane Adventures. The show followed Sarah Jane as she continued her adventures in the world of aliens and time travel, and introduced a new generation of fans to the character. Sadly, Elisabeth Sladen passed away in 2011, but her legacy lives on through her iconic portrayal of Sarah Jane.

Overall, Sarah Jane Smith is a true legend in the Doctor Who universe, a character who exemplifies everything that makes the show so special – intelligence, bravery, empathy, and a sense of wonder and adventure. Her impact on the series and on fans around the world cannot be overstated, and her memory will continue to inspire and delight viewers for generations to come.

Donna Noble was a standout character in the world of Doctor Who, brought to life by the talented actress Catherine Tate. With her quick wit, sharp tongue, and no-nonsense attitude, Donna quickly became a fan favourite. Unlike many other companions who may have been in awe of the Doctor, Donna was never afraid to challenge him and push back against his sometimes overbearing personality. This made for a dynamic and entertaining relationship between the two characters.

In addition to her comedic timing and strong personality, Donna’s backstory was also a key aspect of her character development. In the episode “Turn Left,” it was revealed that Donna’s life had been shaped by a chance encounter with the Doctor, which led to her experiencing a series of traumatic events. This backstory added depth and complexity to the character, showing how her experiences had shaped her into the person she was when she became the Doctor’s companion.

Donna’s friendship with the Tenth Doctor was a highlight of the show’s fourth series. The two characters had a special bond that was different from the Doctor’s relationships with other companions. They challenged each other, supported each other, and shared a deep respect and affection for one another. This was evident in their final scenes together in the episode “Journey’s End,” where the Doctor erased Donna’s memories to save her life. The scene where Donna tearfully pleads with the Doctor to not make her forget their time together is a poignant moment that showcases the strength of their bond.

Overall, Donna Noble was a standout character in the Doctor Who universe, with her comedic timing, strong personality, and dynamic relationship with the Tenth Doctor making her one of the most memorable companions in the show’s history.

Amy Pond was one of the most beloved companions in the history of Doctor Who. As a character, Amy was complex and multifaceted, with a rich backstory that was central to her personality and motivations. Her childhood encounter with the Doctor, where he promised to return but failed to do so for many years, led her to develop a strong sense of abandonment that would shape her relationships with others throughout her life.

Karen Gillan’s portrayal of Amy was masterful, capturing both the character’s fiery determination and her underlying vulnerability. Her chemistry with Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor was electric, with their playful banter and undeniable chemistry making them one of the most memorable pairings in the show’s history.

Amy’s eventual departure from the show in the episode “The Angels Take Manhattan” was a heartbreaking moment for fans, as she and her husband Rory were sent back in time and forced to live out their lives in the past. The scene where the Doctor reads Amy’s final message to him, in which she tells him that she lived a happy life and that he should always remember her as the girl who waited, is a tear-jerking moment that still resonates with fans today.

Overall, Amy Pond was a pivotal character in the Doctor Who universe, with a backstory and personality that made her one of the most interesting and compelling companions the show has ever seen. Her impact on the Eleventh Doctor and the show as a whole will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Captain Jack Harkness: Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) is an incredibly important character in the Doctor Who universe. Introduced in the 2005 reboot of the series, Jack quickly became a fan favourite due to his charismatic personality and his ability to add humour and lightness to even the darkest of situations. However, Jack’s significance goes beyond his entertainment value. He is a complex character with a unique backstory and a deep understanding of the dangers and responsibilities that come with time travel. As a result, Jack often serves as a moral compass for the Doctor and his companions, challenging them to think critically about the consequences of their actions. Additionally, Jack has his own series, Torchwood, which explores themes of secrecy, morality, and the consequences of power. All of these factors make Jack Harkness an integral part of the Doctor Who universe and a character whose impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

Section 4: Big Finish Companions

Big Finish is a production company that has been producing licensed Doctor Who audio dramas since 1999, featuring both classic and new series Doctors and their companions.

Big Finish has created a number of original companions, including Evelyn Smythe, who traveled with the Sixth Doctor in a series of audio dramas.

Evelyn, played by the late Maggie Stables, was a history professor who brought a unique perspective to the show. Her intelligence and no-nonsense attitude made her a fan favorite and added an extra dimension to the Sixth Doctor’s character.

Other notable Big Finish companions include Charley Pollard, who traveled with the Eighth Doctor and has since made appearances in other Big Finish productions, and Bernice Summerfield, who originally appeared in the New Adventures novels and has since become a staple of Big Finish’s Doctor Who universe.

Big Finish companions have become beloved additions to the Doctor Who universe, expanding on the show’s mythology and giving fans even more ways to experience the adventures of the Doctor and his companions.


The companions of Doctor Who are more than just sidekicks; they’re an essential part of the show’s success. Their role has evolved from passive observers to active participants, and their diversity and complexity have made them relatable and memorable. As the show continues to evolve and change, we can expect to see even more diverse and compelling companions, each bringing their own unique perspective to the universe of Doctor Who.

More than just an impression-episode 3

Chris has released the third and final episode in the first series of his podcast, ‘more than just an impression‘.

The podcast is run by actor and Impressionist Chris Walker-Thomson, who interviews other well-known talented individuals who continue the legacies of big stars no longer with us.

In episode 3, he talks to the brilliant writer and actor, Sadie Miller, about playing the role of Sarah Jane Smith for Big Finish Productions, a role previously played by her late mother, Elisabeth Sladen… and much more!





Book Review-Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography

I can’t be critical about this book. Lis was a lovely, affectionate person who touched the heart of everyone she met and, everyone she didn’t. I remember hearing that she was going to be in the series 2 episode, school reunion. Despite never having seen an episode with Sarah Jane in, I knew who she was. Sarah Jane is the definitive companion.

Sadly, Elisabeth died in April 2011. Even now, a few months away from the anniversary, it still feels fresh and somehow unreal. It isn’t just the older viewer who has lost someone; it’s also the millions of younger viewers that knew her from The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The role of Sarah-Jane Smith is arguably her most famous. The book charts her early life in Liverpool, as well as her career on the stage, her break into TV and radio, her marriage and motherhood, and her return to the Doctor Who family, in 2006. Every tale is recounted in glorious detail. It’s easy to see how children have always been spellbound by Lis.

She is also warm and praising about her Doctor’s, although Tom Baker comes across slightly better than Jon Pertwee. She then praises her later Doctor’s, David Tennant and Matt Smith, as well as the young cast of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
This is a brilliant book, with a lovely message from her daughter and a foreword by David Tennant.
Russell T Davis summed it up best when he said, “The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis.”

Elisabeth Sladen: the autobiography, is published by Aurum Press and costs £18.99

Listen to our review of the final series of The Sarah Jane Adventures

Review-Doctor Who: The BBC Radio Episodes

Here’s a beautiful box-set of BBC radio plays. So beautiful in fact, I almost didn’t open it.

It’s a collection of radio adventures; there are three different Doctors, the 3rd, 4th and 6th.

The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space

These are 3rd Doctor stories which feature Jon Pertwee, Elizabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney.

Neither story really works that well and they introduce an extremely annoying, new companion.

In N-Space we meet the Brigadier’s uncle, in an awful ghost tale.
The performances are strong, but the scripts aren’t that great. You can make bad audio out of a good script, but you can’t make good audio out of a bad script. It does, however, try to capture that era of Doctor Who, which even though it failed, was an interesting experiment and given the recent passing of Nicholas Courtney, it was great to hear him again

Doctor Who and the Pescatons

This is a fun little tale, which features the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane. The Doctor and Sarah are battling monsters, that are bringing panic, to the streets of London. This is less than an audio play and more of an audiobook, with Tom Baker narrating and Liz Sladen throwing in the odd comment. It’s a fun story, but I couldn’t help but feel that it would have suited Patrick Troughton’s 2nd Doctor better.

Exploration Earth

This is the real clunker in this box set. It features the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane investigating the start, of life on Earth, only to run into the Megaron Lord of Chaos. The performances feel a little “phoned in”.

Whatever Happened To… Susan?

This is a tongue-in-cheek tale of what Susan did after she left the TARDIS. Jane Asher takes over from Carol Anne Ford, as Susan and is talking to a documentary crew, about her life after leaving the TARDIS.

There is some laugh out loud moments here, including her tale about how The Doctor gets younger and younger with each regeneration and how companions fell in love with him.

It’s an amusing story that runs at about 30 minutes, but it completely contradicts continuity. If you’re willing to switch your brain off and just listen, then you’ll have an amazing time, if you get bogged down with continuity, you won’t enjoy it.
I couldn’t help but wish that it was a proper, serious audio drama, with Carol Anne Ford reprising the role of Susan and telling the tale. Done seriously, this could have been a brilliant audio drama


Now, this was the first Doctor Who story made for radio and was broadcast during the show’s enforced hiatus, in 1985.
This was a very Douglas Adams story – I could imagine Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect in this. This isn’t a great story; the computer is annoying but likeable. The performances of Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are quite good and you get a foreshadow of the chemistry that would later work so well on Big Finish.

It’s a good enough box set with a few decent tales, but also with a few poor episodes. I’d say this is one for true, die-hard Doctor Who fans. Viewers of the new series will get very little for money.

Episode 20: K-9 and Company

In which Martyn and Gerrod look at the 1981 pilot for K-9 and Company.

God help us all.

K-9 and Company is a one-episode television pilot, for a proposed 1981 television spin-off of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features former series regulars Sarah Jane Smith, an investigative journalist played by Elisabeth Sladen, and K9, a robotic dog voiced by John Leeson. Both characters had been companions of the Fourth Doctor, but they had not appeared together before. The single episode, “A Girl’s Best Friend”, was broadcast by BBC1 as a Christmas special on 28 December 1981, but was not taken up for a continuing series.

“A Girl’s Best Friend” is set in the fictional English village of Moreton Harwood in 1981. In the programme, Sarah and K9 investigate the disappearance of Brendan Richards (Ian Sears), the ward of Sarah’s Aunt Lavinia (Mary Wimbush), in the wake of increasing reports of witchcraft.

Under a different production team, the overall concept of a Sarah Jane and K9 series did eventually come to fruition: The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011), featuring both of these key characters and actors (though K9 and Leeson only appear in some episodes).

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Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind