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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: one-off characters who should have been companions

Doctor Who Yasmin Bannerman

One of the many pleasures of Doctor Who is the chance to meet, if only fictionally, an array of fascinating people — some of them not even human, and some of them you wish you could spend more time with. So this is something we’ve all thought about: which of those characters do you wish had become companions?

Andy Hughes at Topless Robot has thought about it, and runs down his “10 Minor Doctor Who Characters that Should Have Been Companions.” A taste:

10) Jabe Ceth Ceth Jafe, “The End of the World”

Two words: tree lady. Plus, although the Doctor has had non-earthlings in his crew before, very rarely have we seen him with non-humans. I’m sure it would have broken the makeup budget and been infeasible for a variety of reasons. Still. Tree lady.

Also: she flirted with the Doctor and he flirted back. That could have made for an intriguing dynamic from week to week.

6) Dr. Nasreen Chaudhry, “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”

An intelligent, older woman who isn’t sassy or unstuck in time somehow, Nasreen obviously wasn’t destined to make it into the opening credits. All the same, she was a compelling, sensible person. Plus, she played a significant role in talking down the Silurians and supposedly setting off a chain of events that could lead to an eventual alliance between the humans and the lizard-people.

Bingo. Nasreen would have been an awesome foil for the Doctor. Except Steven Moffat doesn’t think “older” people would want to travel with the Doctor. *grrr*

3) Jackson Lake, “The Next Doctor”

I mean, the guy didn’t get to be the Doctor, so you’d think making him the companion would have been the least RTD could have done. But no. Twas not to be. David Morrissey gave a spirited performance and outshone the material as a man who was almost a Doctor (but definitely not “The Next,” a point that still irks me to this day). I don’t know if Morrissey was ever actually considered to be the title role, but it certainly wouldn’t have bothered me if he somehow came back as number 12 in the greatest continuity boomerang arc ever.

It wouldn’t have bothered me, either. Except I might have exploded with fangirl ecstasy watching the two Davids — Tennant and Morrissey — together onscreen every week.

Check out the whole piece, then come back here and talk about whom Hughes chose and whom he overlooked. No Sally Sparrow? Madness!

Thanks to Ken for the link.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)


posted in:
daily doctor
  • RogerBW

    Since I’ve been watching the old series, a cpuple from the early days: Astrid Ferrier, who effortlessly steals large chunks of The Enemy of the World from the hijinks of the second Doctor and his companions. From the same series, Anne Travers, one of the best things about The Web of Fear.

    While she’s obviously a bit problematic, I think there are still interesting things to be said about Jenny from The Doctor’s Daughter. But not, I fear, as Moffat would handle her — she’d be turned into just another woman in love with the Doctor.

  • GeeksAreMyPeeps

    I watched a reconstruction of The Web of Fear recently and thought the same thing. My favorite exchange:

    Corporal Lane: What’s a girl like you doing in a job like this?
    Anne Travers: Well, when I was a little girl, I thought I’d like to be a scientist. So, I became a scientist.

  • RogerBW

    Compare that with the generic modern Hollywood approach: “My daddy died of [disease]. So I decided to find a cure for it.”

  • Danielm80

    I think part of the problem is screenwriting guides that say every character has to have a “story arc.” The character has to grow and change in some redemptive way, and it has to take two hours or less. Unfortunately, every scientist has the same story arc.

  • I’m still waiting for a Draconian companion. Silurian will do since they’ve got the makeup effects for it…

  • singlestick

    I liked the hat tip to Rita, from “The God Complex,” an immensely appealing character who even the Doctor acknowledged might have made an interesting companion. The actress who played Rita, Amara Karan, would also be a good choice as an entirely new character and companion.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Nope, lost me after #5 (Rita from “The God Complex”). I mean, Wilf? Seriously? Why is everyone so obsessed with Wilf? Has any companion ever blown more sunshine up the Doctor’s ass as Wilf did 10’s?

    And my problem wit “The Next Doctor”, in addition to being Yet Another Badly Written Christmas Special, is that it thumbed its nose at the most daring thing the producers of Doctor Who could ever do: include a future incarnation of the Doctor, knowing full well that, in all likelihood, this actor won’t ever play the role regularly.

  • giantslor

    Yes, I too thought Astrid Ferrier and Anne Travers would have made wonderful companions, especially Travers!

  • giantslor

    I loved that line too! A great character and portrayal.

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