The Best And Worst Doctor Who Companions



With a new Companion (the lovely Jenna-Louise Coleman) set to debut in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special and the latest season of Doctor Who set to air this September, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the best and worst of the many people to travel alongside The Doctor in his TARDIS.

THE BEST COMPANIONS

1. Sarah Jane Smith

The standard by which all Companions will be measured. Liz Sladen was the perfect addition to the Who universe. She was smart, sexy and quite capable of taking care of herself instead of being a damsel in distress who needed the Doctor to rescue her constantly. And when Sarah Jane reappeared in the revived Doctor Who series she completely overshadowed Rose in my estimation.
Sarah Jane also holds the distinction of being the only female Companion to have her own show.

2. Donna Noble

Donna started out rough…she was an abrasive and unlikable character in the Runaway Bride special; but when she was brought back as the regular Companion the character had been toned down a bit and Donna become one of my favorites. She broke up the pattern in new Who to have a Companion with romantic interest in The Doctor and instead the two of them developed a wonderful friendship bordering on sibling affection. Donna also had the most heartbreaking exit of any Companion.

3. Captain Jack Harkness

Capt. Jack is a charming, swashbuckling omnisexual man whore who immediately had me going “Rose who?” after his first meeting with The Doctor. It is not often that male Companions click so well with the fandom that they rival The Doctor in popularity (aside from the legendary Brigadier) but Jack did it and was even moved over to his show, TORCHWOOD.

4. Martha Jones

I love an underdog and there is no more underdog character in the Who universe than Martha Jones. She was the Rebound Companion after the departure of Rose and that seemed to apply to how the creators of the show treated her. Russell T. Davies moved her from the confident and capable woman of science that she was in her first appearance to a gooey-eyed lovesick school girl by the second episode. And Stephen Moffatt had such a seeming disdain for her that his episodes focused on other women far more than Martha (Joan Redfern in the Human Nature/The Family of Blood episodes and Sally Sparrow in Blink). Its no wonder that at the end of the season they just wrote Martha off. Despite the shoddy treatment I still found Martha to be an awesome Companion and the creators of the show ultimately realized it too as evidenced by how often she was brought back to Who and Torchwood.

5. Leela

A savage warrior woman in a leather bikini…what’s not to like? Leela was a departure from Companions before (and even those after) in that she was fine with being violent. That put her at odds philosophically with the Doctor who tends to be more on the “give peace a chance” side of things. I would love to see a new Companion in the mold of Leela added to the current show.

THE WORST COMPANIONS

1. Adric

This little douche was pretty much Wesley Crusher levels of annoying times a billion compounded by the fact that the actor was embarrassingly bad. Adric’s was the best death in all of televised science fiction history.

2. Amy Pond

Ugh…that is all that I can muster when seeing this character on my TV screen. She is just insufferable and yet another of the new Who Companions who is “The Most Important Woman In The Universe”. I am so hoping she gets the distinction of being only the second Companion to be killed off in Who history. The saddest part is that Amelia Pond (the little girl version of Amy) was way more interesting of a character. She should have become the Doctor’s Companion instead of the obnoxious adult version she became.

3. Melanie Bush

That voice! It cuts through you like a knife stabbed into your brain. Just thinking about her gives me a migraine headache.

4. Adam Mitchell

I think Russell T. Davies realized what a colossal mistake it was to add Adam to the list of Companions after the Dalek episode that introduced the character. That mistake was rectified immediately when The Doctor gave Adam the boot for being a hardheaded jerkwad. He actually thought it would be a good idea to stick an implant in his head that exposed his brain for all the world to see. What a goofball.

5. Rose Tyler

Russell T. Davies’ own personal “Mary Sue”…Rose Tyler started out awesomely. A spunky shopgirl who quickly proved herself an asset to The Doctor in all of his timey-wimey adventures but she soon was turned into “The Most Important Woman In the Universe!” and then became the one true love of The Doctor.  Gag. After a while it was more like the show should have been renamed “The Adventures of Rose Tyler and her pal The Doctor”. And it didn’t even stop when she left…the entirety of Season 3 had the specter of Rose Tyler hanging over every episode.

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35 responses to “The Best And Worst Doctor Who Companions

  1. I’m watching season 4 and 4 episodes in I’ve decided to forward through most every scene where Donna speaks, and scream in agony whenever Donna’s mother open’s her pie hole. I find the episodes move quicker and I don’t miss much plot-wise because the resolutions are pretty much pulled out of thin air, and by air I mean the great rear end of convenience.

  2. The bit where you imply that the show became focused on Rose more than the Doctor? Seems like a criticism that could easily be applied to the very first season of DW. The Doctor was a plot device, and the Companions were the focus of the story.

    I also disagree with you regarding Amy Pond, even if she does have that “Most Important Woman In The World” nuisance about her. I don’t see her as obnoxious OR insufferable – but then, it’s all a matter of opinion, so the point is a bit irrelevant.

    • It seemed to me like Rose swallowed the show. I am all fine with the show focusing on Companions since the viewer should get to see who these people are and have their viewpoint of traveling with the Doctor be the driving force of specific episodes of the show. Seeing all of the wonders of time and space through the eyes of a spunky shop girl worked for me. Rose becoming the sun that two universe revolved around was jut a bit too much. I also wasn’t a fan of the romantic nature of her relationship with The Doctor.

      And I can understand why people like Amy; she just has never been my cup of tea and inadvertently every time another female is introduced to the cast I invariably end up liking her more than Amy and begin hoping she gets a key to the TARDIS.
      But again opinions vary and that is always a good thing because I would hate to live in a world where everyone agreed with me.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Rachel hatcher

        It hung over Rose because the doctor loved her. He didn’t love any of the others.
        Rose to me was a real person because, lets be honest, who else would have the strength like Martha to walk away? Rose might’ve been a little bratty but that’s everybody nowadays. Just my opinion! (:

      • Thanks for stopping by.
        I liked Rose until she became The Most Important Girl In (Two) Universes.
        That is when Rose stopped being real and become this over idealized character.
        And I liked her brattiness!

  3. I just can’t warm up to Donna Noble. Abrasive and arrogant IMO. She definitely lacks the feminine appeal of most of the others.

    • I hd the same opinion of her (especially after her introduction in Runaway bride) but over the course of her season Donna grew on me. That voice could still send a chill down my spine at times but I came to really like the character.

  4. I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn’t like Rose. She was certainly fun and spunky…at first. But then the show kept cramming it in everyone’s face that she was supposed to be something incredibly special without any evidence to back it up. We were supposed to accept it just because the Doctor and Captain Jack said so. Another thing that drove me up the wall about the Rose era was the constant focus on her drab home life (remember her annoying mother and her idiot boyfriend Mickey?). Rather than focus entirely on the Doctor, the show kept bringing them back to Rose’s family every three episodes.

    • You are not alone in finding the whole Rose being the most awesome woman in two universes stuff to be a bit tiresome. It was especially annoying because I liked Rose so much when she was first introduced.
      And while Rose’s mom was an absolute horror show, I do confess to growing to like Mickey over time.

  5. Yes Donna grows on you kind of like an invasive brain tumor.She is by far the most ignorant arrogant character ever in the show’s history.All she did was complain complain complain.Every episode it was just her nagging.I felt bad when temporary companions,like in the xmas specials, would die but with her I wished the Doctor would just kick her into the event horizon.The only way to stand her is to mute it whenever she talks.I wish he would have taken her Granddad.

    • Ha! To be honest with you I did feel the exact same way about her while watching Runaway Bride but the writers toned her down a bit and Catherine Tate pulled back her acting style just enough that I ended up liking her far more than I ever thought I would.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Question: I am assuming Donna is your least favorite Companion so just who is your fave?

      • I just could never get into her at all.I think it was mostly because she would butt heads with the Doctor about anything,even really stupid meaningless things.Donna is my least favorite,my favorite wouldn’t really being considered a companion.It’s Donna’s granddad.I just loved the old man he was just so sweet and smart he was also tough as nails.He is like 70 and he is still a tough old man.I mean he could go anywhere in the universe and he asks the Doctor to just park the TARDIS in space so he could sit and eat his lunch staring in to the Universe on the edge of the TARDIS.

      • Wilfred Mott is what I consider an honorary Companion from his adventure with The Doctor in the END OF TIME. And he is definitely my favorite Companion family member ever.

      • He reminds me of the 1st Doctor he was really cool but after him I would say K9 would be my next I love the cheesy robot dog

      • I love K9! I thought it was great how he was added to the Sarah Jane show. I wouldn’t mind seeing him pop up on DOCTOR WHO in the future. Also think it would be really cool to add Clyde as a co-Companion with Clara too.

  6. You put Donna on the best and Rose and Amy on the worst……geez if that isn’t back-asswards I don’t know what is. Donna has to be the worst companion ever.

    • To each their own of course but I consider Amy Pond to be the absolute worst of the new Who companions and Rose becoming Russell Davies Mary Sue spoiled the character for me. The funny thing is that I liked Rose and Amy at first then grew to dislike them over time. Donna on the other hand started out awful in the Runaway Bride but ended up becoming really awesome by the end of her run.
      Thanks for stopping by an commenting by the way.

  7. Shame, I loved Rose but everyone’s opinion should be respected. :) Everyone seems to be at complete ends of the spectrum with her.
    Yep, I loved Jack and Donna. (Do you watch Torchwood? Jack is great in that too) A lot of people find Donna annoying but I love her. Series 4 had some great episodes so that probably helped a lot.
    My least favourite character (although I’m never quite sure if she counts as a companion) is River, who seems more of a Mary Sue than anyone else. Clara’s sweet but hasn’t really grown on me.
    For the classics I love Sarah Jane and Jo, but I’m still on Tom Baker’s era and haven’t quite finished yet. Wasn’t overly keen on Leela.

    • I started out loving Rose too but over time the writing for her made it hard to continue doing so.
      Donna annoyed me in Runaway Bride but once she became a regular Companion I loved her.
      As for River Song, I enjoyed her in her first appearance in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. She was such an intriguing character but Moffat’s writing really ruined her.
      Sarah Jane is still my favorite Companion though. Y’know a non-Companion I really liked and would be happy to see again? Lady Christina de Souza from the Plant of the Dead special. She was a fun character and I am a fan of the actress who played her, Michelle Ryan.
      And I loved Torchwood (except for that awful season that aired on Starz) and wish they would do another BBC season. I’m still upset over what happened to Tosh and Owen, their send off was so sad.

  8. i loved donna and rose wayyy better than martha. Martha was annoying! i loved her only when she returned engaged to another man and all of a sudden she didnt think the world revolved around the doctor and that was admirable considering how awesome the doctor is. but she was like eh. and she was bossing people around and everyone called her Doctor jones. she became independent and you can tell she was truly happier with her fiance. THATS when martha became awesome. she was badass. i barely recognized her. she was pathetic before and i dont even blame the doctor for it. he told her their kiss was only a genetic transfer and she took that to mean that he had feelings for her even though he specifically told her it was nothing romantic! get a hold of yourself Martha!
    i loved rose because yes. its not a very good reason but i cant help myself. even the daleks like Rose. She was desperate for attention but wouldn’t you be too if a handsome charming time traveling alien shows you a different way to live your life. Id give him air from my lungs. she was charming and spunky although shes not as smart as martha she had the ADD she needed to find the leads to the solution. She was always wandering off and that pissed him off but it helped him in the end. Like in the empty child , she strayed away and that led her to everyones favorite hobag Jack harkness. also in idiots lantern the doctor was rushing her to leave so they can run after the car that took the old lady away but she got all ADD on him and started staring at the television so he left her behind and she found out about magpie televisions. And when the doctor was a doodle in Fear her.
    I loved Donna from the get go (runaway bride episode) because she was so different from Martha and rose. she was loud and not afraid to call him out on his shit. she could teach (series 3) Martha a thing or two. The doctor was so rude to Martha (rude and not ginger) that i wish the doctor had been there with Donna so she can slap him a couple of times when he did something insensitive to poor pathetic Martha. I don’t understand the Donna hate in that episode. just because she was a bit rude to the martian… i mean doctor. so what he was a big boy he can handle name calling. She doesn’t really look up to him and i think that what bothered a lot of people. but if it didn’t bother the doctor why should it bother you. Rude was her thing and Ten was EXTREMELY rude! rude and not ginger. i think they balanced each other out perfectly. for some reason i never looked at Donna as his understudy in anyway the way Martha and rose were where his job was to protect them. Donna was a tough cookie and there was never a part of me that felt bad for her because i was always confident she would make it out alive. For rose i was a nervous wreck. I should know better than to think that they would kill off a companion but i was always afraid she was gonna die and the doctor would have a nervous break down about losing her. Even though i LOVE rose more, because i have never shipped any couple this hard, Donna was the BEST in terms of companions.

    • I think my affection for Martha comes from two things: how awesome she was in her introductory episode and how obvious it was that the writers for her season of Doctor Who were not really interested in writing for her for most of the season.Aside from the first ep and the finale two-parter they wrote her like a lovesick schoolgirl when she should have been portrayed as a whipsmart woman of science.
      As for Rose and my growing to dislike her over time it was a combo of her being Russell T. Davies Mary Sue and I absolutely despise the whole idea of The Doctor being romantically involved with his Companions. The whole shipping phenomenon misses the mark with me.

  9. Excuse me!? I named my daughter Amelia after Pond. That character has changed my life in so, so many ways. Yes, I admit that Amy’s got flaws. But I love her personality, aditude, her faith in her best friend and her husband, her never-ending love for Rory and, her entire story. I understand and respect your opinion but,I love Amy Pond. Cheers:)

    • I still have a soft spot for Amelia Pond but Amy Pond just makes my teeth ache.
      I can fully appreciate your affection for the character though…I feel the same way about some characters too. Amy just never did it for me through a combo of writing and Karen Gillan’s acting.
      Thanks for stopping by though.

  10. politicsandmotherhood

    I am new to Dr. Who. I record them on BBC America with my DVR. Anyway I came here by searching “Amy Pond is the worst companion” in google. She sucks so awful and I guess she won’t get any better. :( Great post and good intro to the other companions for a newbie. And yes Captain Jack is great.

  11. I love this! Thank you for saying what others would not! I can’t stand Amy and Rose got so annoying. Plus I despise cheaters (Amy kissing the Doctor on the night before her wedding) and the fact they ran off on Rory and Mickey still pisses me off. Sure Rory joins them after, but that is only because the Doctor when and got him. And I wanted to bash Rose’s head in when she was a bitch to Sarah Jane! Sarah Jane was amazing and I love the look on 10′s face when he first sees her. But Donna has to be my favorite! I think people are missing the point of her. She is supposed to start out annoying and then she grows as she travels with the Doctor. That’s what makes it so heartbreaking when she goes back to the way she started out. Plus without her there would be no Wilf and he was such a sweetheart. :)

    • A lot of people don’t look at Donna’s time as a Companion as a journey for her to grow and become the amazing woman she was destined to be. It was that journey and her growth that made how everything ended for her so heartbreaking because she lost all of it and reverted back to the superficial and generally unlikable person that the audience first met in The Runaway Bride.
      And you are right, even she didn’t become so awesome I couldn’t hate Donna just because she gave us Wilfred.

  12. Gosh, Rose Tyler is an epic Mary-Sue (Chav!Sue if you like). Where to begin?

    I didn’t warm up to her so much when she first showed up mostly because from the first episode she did something that was just a big no-no; dumping her boyfriend and abandoning her family just like that. As the show went on you can see how much of a selfish character she really is because of how she treats everybody else around, especially those who love her (for instance look at her complete disregard and lack of respect for Mickey, who loved her unconditionally; she treated him like he was beneath her). Another example has to be when Mickey joins them on their adventures; she is so condescending towards him and always shoots down everything he says, acting like she knows everything when in fact she was in the same boat when she first started out. Then there’s the whole treatment towards her mum; oy vey *face palm*

    Rose could have been made into an endearing/slightly tolerable character but instead she had to be come the center of the universe. Doesn’t it annoy fans of the show that this woman, in typical Sue fashion, thought it was ok to just about destory the two universes simply because she couldn’t be away from her precious doctor? Talk about selfish, but no surprises there. Remember her meeting with the lovely Sarah Jane Smith? On the first go she tries to cut her down, but those not blinded by her “speshhyul powers of teh awwsumness!!111″ saw how truly possessive, clingy and jealous she gets. Worse than that if you watch her episodes you can see how she treats almost everything like it’s a game, not at all caring about the consequences (a concept very unfamiliar to her).

    Something that always makes me laugh is that when you try to point out her flaws to the fans they get all clingy and possessive. They defend her actions with flimsy evidence. For instance, they say that the reason she acts so reckless is because she had no ‘father figure in her life’; nice message to send – that means Jackie was surely a horrible mother who couldn’t raise her child proper (therefore implying that single mothers suck at their job) and that children with just one parent are unbalanced people (another nice message to send out). I have met many people who lost their own folks (some of them losing both, tragically) but here you go – they haven’t gone malarky bananas and done some of the stupidest decisions in the world. Even if a character is shaken to the core by this unfortunate tragedy, the death should never be used as an excuse to justify their moronic choices; at the end of the day they chose to do what they did, not some ghost or demon from their life.

    Another sore point to the show is that they decided Rose was the most amazing thing since sliced bread (or bananas; take your pick) so they not only centered everything around her (s1 was about rose, s2 was about the rose and the doc’s ‘totes amzzinn!!1 bond”, s3 was about getting over her and s4 was the frustratingly disappointing ghost of Rose). They then decided to take her Sue scale one step further by portraying the Doctor as being so irrevocably in love with her, as if he has never fallen in love with other people before. Though I haven’t seen the older series yet, my friend has told me of other companions long before Rose who set the whole idea of the Doctor “falling in love” in the first place.

    Rose is so amazingly one-dimensional, she’s the Whovian equivalent of Bella Swan or Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way. I think she could have been saved, which is a shame that they didn’t take that direction.

    I think the whole romance angle is what just kills the show, honestly. Look love is perfectly nature and all of that stuff, but it’s just too much when it becomes the focus of everything. It can be handled better. One example to contrast and compare with is of a character my friend told me about; Romana. In many ways she surpasses the Doctor yet it has never gone to her head/ego, and though she likes the Doc it has never affected her judgement nor has it dazzled her blindly that she has an unhealthy attachment to him (like a certain chav) – in fact Romana is forced into one situation where she can be with the Doc forever or stay behind to help a capture society gain their freedom; guess which choice she makes? Haven’t seen the show, but good on her – what an excellent example of strong character.

    Seriously, I don’t know what this show has against making likeable characters. For instance, Martha Jones; I really hoped she would be an awesome companion simply because she was brave, she was brilliant and she could make tough decisions – then the show doomed her by having her go and fall in love with the doctor who naturally didn’t return her affections (because no one can replace the SPEYSHUL Rose). *face palm* The only redeemable thing they did to her was to have her make the healthy choice and decision of leaving the Doctor, staying with her family, becoming a doctor and starting a new (and smarter) life.

    Does everybody have to be so dazzled by the doctor? Seriously? I love how they portray the relationship between Donna and the Doctor; zero romance, totally platonic – what’s wrong with showing that? It’s not like it’s hihgly unrealistic for a guy and a girl to be friends (kind of reminds me a bit of When Harry Met Sally in the sense that the directors chose to have them fall in love and be a couple rather than show that people can be strong friends without messy stuff like sex and romance getting in the way).

    Excellent article here.

    • I disagree about Rose being a Mary Sue. This word gets overused. River is the only obvious Mary Sue of the show.

      • I agree that the Mary Sue label gets tossed around a lot but I think both characters fit the Mary Sue bill…MOffat made River the smartest, coolest, most capable character on the show even more than the Doctor which is prime Mary Sue while Rose seemed to be the stand in for Russell Davies on the show and was the “center of the Who Universe” which are both traits of a Mary Sue.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting…you make some really good points and our shared dislike of Rose Tyler immediately bonds us! :)

      On the subject of Romana, she is the one character from Classic Who that I really would like to see brought back because I think there is a ton of potential there. I enjoyed the original Romana when played by Mary Tamm but the 2nd Romana played by Lalla Ward was just awful. I would love to see a newly regenerated Romana make an appearance in the current series and there are so many cool actresses that could bring something special to the role.
      I would suggest checking out some of the Romana episodes on Youtube. The character had a nice chemistry with Tom Baker’s Doctor.

      • Hey Derek. Definitely will do that; my friend has been suggesting the same since she wants to show that romantic chemistry with the doctor doesn’t always have to be dramatic and can be captured tastefully :D

        What I find curious is how people are blinded by Amy and Rose? All characters have flaw but what redeems many of the companions is that they do have a nice balance with their strengths, and their flaws are not always played/milked dramatically; they get handled very well.

        So my friend invited me to a dinner and just about the entire group (save two people) are Who fans and have watched nuwho (with a few watching the oldwho). Naturally we got into a discussion about the companions, and oddly enough many of those who haven’t watched the old show were taken in by Amy and Rose. Most of us were very opposed to the characters, and we explained why this was and gave examples as evidence to show what we mean. The funny thing is one of them looked at us and was like, “Wait a minute…I never realized that about Amy (or Rose) until you brought it up).” and yet they still like the characters :P

        Which is their choice, for sure, but it’s a shame when people those characters more appealing although I can understand why. One of the girls who is a fan of both rose and amy was saying that she loves those girls because she can relate to them, and she feels like sometimes she’s watching herself in their place instead; and I guess that’s what most fans are after. But it does say a lot about their character if they feel like they can relate to Amy and Rose when you consider their overall personality *cringe*

        Another made us laugh when she said that Amy was not a palette swap for Rose as I suggested, only to go silent and not think of an answer when I pointed out their many similarities (the biggest and clearest one being the rory/amy and rose/mickey dynamic) – that was priceless :D

  13. I’m a new DW fan, & I’ve just finished watching season 6 on netflix….and Amy Pond is the absolute worst. I can’t tell whether Karen is a bad actress or it was terrible writing or both, but I really hate the whole damsel in distress like in every single freakin episode, and ditzy steez. Her dialogues were really terrible & her story lines were ridiculous & just over reaching it. Her character should have been written off after her Rory got married, even before that. Donna is actually my favorite companion so far.

    • Thanks for posting! You and I agree on the terribleness of Amy Pond and on the awesomeness of Donna Noble.
      And I found Karen Gillan lacking as an actress which was a major part of why I didn’t like the character aside from the way she was written.

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