“If it's time to go, remember what you're leaving. Remember the best. My friends have always been the best of me.”
Eleventh Doctor, The Wedding of River Song
As the world awaits the announcement of the next companion this evening around 6pm, it seems good to me to take a look back at his or, more likely, her predecessors. But a look at the best companions is unoriginal. There are so many Best Companion lists out there!
So how about a look at what not to do? Here then are ten of the worst who have traveled with the Doctor, and since we’re looking forward to the announcement of a new TV companion I’ve limited this to on-screen only.
Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor
Nyssa is someone whose father is possessed and effectively killed by the Master, who then proceeds to destroy her entire home planet. Sounds like a good idea for a companion’s background because it could open up a fascinating character arc to explore.
Nyssa was useless and written as little more than a wet blanket. A one-dimensional boring character who does little more than stand there and get carried along by the story.
In her final appearance (Terminus – widely heralded as one of the worst stories ever made) she tries desperately to make you pay attention and remember what we were losing by… taking her skirt off?! But somehow she looks more appealing when it’s still on. Boring!
9. Dodo Chaplet
A complete personality void, Dodo is supposedly a typical sixties teenager but actually she's just a bit rubbish. It’s not without good reason that she’s one of the few companions we can ALL agree deserves to be on lists like this one.
Apparently that dislike extends beyond the fandom to the writers as well. She’s saddled with having entire storylines devoted to reintroducing the common cold and when she leaves it takes place off screen with the Doctor effectively running off when she’s not around.
And then the writers killed her off in a novel with an STD. That says it all really.
8. Melanie Bush
Sixth Doctor, Seventh Doctor
Watch this video clip...
Need I say more?
Those calling for a historical companion think again, Katarina was exactly that and she was useless. Originally from Troy (yes, that Troy) she joined the Doctor and Steven on the TARDIS only to fall afoul of an escaped stowaway prisoner who held her hostage in the airlock. She pulled a lever to open it and thus suck him, and her with him, out into space where they both died.
Thanks to the wonderful understated performance by William Hartnell you can feel sad for her, but then stop and think. This was someone who the Doctor had to explain the concept of door-keys to! It’s no wonder she was written out after less than five episodes… can you really believe she opened the airlock on purpose when that’s what we’re dealing with here?
I really don’t know what JNT was thinking when he commissioned this one, I really don’t!
Kamelion is a shapeshifting robot from an alien world who is initially under control of the Master, is saved by the Doctor, comes aboard the TARDIS and is then never seen, heard or mentioned again. That is until the Master reclaims control over Kamelion whom the Doctor is forced to mercy-kill.
On paper I guess there’s an interesting premise here, in practice he was useless and spent his entire tenure as companion to the Doctor being non-existent because the guy who programmed him died without leaving instructions. (You’d think they could’ve got around this since he can look like anyone, but apparently not.) Also he kills everyone involved with him.
5. Tegan Jovanka
Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor
Tegan is a self-confessed “mouth on legs”. An air hostess who couldn’t wear anything but her uniform, she spent the entire time in the TARDIS demanding to be taken back to “Heath-raugh” and when she finally does end up there she’s back with the “Doc-tah” in the very next story.
Annoying and bossy, she also moans a lot. When she finally left it felt long overdue. Give your place travelling through space/time to someone who’ll appreciate it already!
4. Adam Mitchell
A companion who was created with the purpose to explicitly show how a companion should not be written – that is, by RTD’s own admission, literally the ONLY reason why this guy exists!
Adam first joins the Doctor after being present to see the (not)last Dalek get defeated and Rose invites him aboard the TARDIS for no reason other than that they flirted a bit earlier. Not a great start.
Then he goes and disobeys the Doctor’s instructions and nearly changes history, all to get himself some extra cash. When Adam is booted out of the TARDIS you really can’t blame the Doctor for getting rid of him.
Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor
Adric was a boy genius maths whiz, and he knew it. He wanted to make sure you knew it too. He could have been great but the writers saw fit to make him arrogant and abrasive, thus coming across immature.
Making us care about him then was pretty difficult. It doesn’t help that he seems to only ever wear pyjamas for reasons that JNT said so, and we won’t pry further into that.
When Adric finally kicked the bucket, Eric Saward saw to it that he died the most permanent death imaginable – the one time we cared about Adric was as he died. Typical!
2. Peri Brown
Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor
Peri appeared on screen for one reason and one reason only: eye-candy. She makes her debut in a skimpy bikini and then spends the remainder of her time in various extremely tight tops and very little else, then she wonders why every villain she encounters is pervy towards her.
She spends her entire time in the TARDIS arguing with the Doctor and making for very uncomfortable viewing. Her extremely unconvincing American-in-name-only accent doesn’t make her any easier to warm to.
And then when she leaves she marries Brian Blessed for some reason. Okay then.
But there is one companion so awful that I’d rather have ALL of the nine above join the Doctor at the same time than have to put up with the next one.
1. Rose Tyler
Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor
I could literally devote an entire article to why I hate Rose – the only Doctor Who character I can genuinely claim that I hate – but I’m better than that.
So why don’t I like her? She’s a bit of a [alternative word for female canine] to every other companion she finds out about – Look at her response when she meets Sarah Jane Smith or first sees that Martha Jones exists. She’s so madly in love with the Doctor (sigh) that she’s prepared to literally destroy reality to get back to him. Then her story arc ends with her getting a “sex-toy” Doctor so everything she does goes right for her despite generally being a horrible person.
So those are my choices of the worst companions, do you agree or is there one you think was even worse?
As we await the announcement of the next companion I can’t help but worry that the newcomer will be worthy of a spot on this list. I really hope that’s not the case but we shall have to wait and see.
When he's not obsessing about Doctor Who whilst having I Am The Doctor play in his head, Dr. Moo can usually be found reading up on the latest in Quantum Physics. As you do when you're a physicist.