There are two absolute truths to life lately;
1. The newest episode of Doctor Who premieres Saturday night on BBC America here in the states.
2. I’m kind of obsessed.
The Doctor has run across some pretty badass friends in his adventures. Here are some that never got to travel with him in the TARDIS, but made a major impact anyway.
Caution: Spoilers in the reply.
And because I’m working on a limited schedule, here are my picks for best almost-companions in almost chronological order.
1. Harriet Jones; MP, Flydale North/British Prime Minister
Episodes: Aliens of London/World War Three; The Christmas Invasion; The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End
Ms. Jones’ proved to be quite the BAMF in her three-episode arc. Her confidence, fierce dedication to the British people, and fearless leadership gained her the trust and respect of The Doctor, as well as a landslide victory in the election for Prime Minister.
Those same qualities later resulted in The Doctor planting the seed for a vote of no confidence against her in the British Parliament, leading to the election of Harold Saxon (oops).
In her third and final episode however, she redeemed herself, with tragic consequences. Rest in Peace Prime Minister, your commitment to crown and country was truly something to be admired. And, quite possibly a little underestimated by The Doctor.
Episodes: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
Nancy. Oh, Nancy. A young mother figure to around a dozen orphans during the blitz in London during WWII, she was haunted/stalked by a little boy in a gas mask who turned out to be her closest and only living relative.
Her episode is also responsible for my irrational fear of gas masks. However, The Doctor would was now a better Time Lord for having met the sweet soul known as Nancy, and is to date one of the most sweetest, most delightful endings ever in a Doctor Who episode.
3. Madame de Pompadour
Episode: The Girl in the Fireplace
Despite travelling with Rose, Mickey, and some wicked love triangle action, The Doctor has either an incredibly short, or extremely long romance with France’s Madame de Pompadour, depending on whose perspective you have.
Beautiful, talented, and in possession of the ability to rock a corset, Reinette wins The Doctor’s heart while being stalked by strange clockwork people. In the end, she leaves him a heart-wrenching love letter, breaking hearts across space and time. Or, possibly just in my living room. Bonus points for inspiring The Doctor to ride a horse through a giant mirror.
4. Tallulah (and Laslow)
Episodes: Daleks in Manhattan & Evolution of the Daleks
The quintessential 1930’s New York showgirl, Tallulah may have come off as a bimbo, but helped find a key piece of information in the blueprints for the in-progress Empire State Building, helped save mankind from becoming Dalek-people, helped to save her true love, Laszlo, even though he was turned into a freakish pig-man by the Daleks. Despite his disturbing appearance (complete with bottom fangs), Tallulah gives up the glam life to live with him in Hooverville, the makeshift community for down-on-their-luck victims of the great depression. Good on you, Tallulah – not everyone would give up everything to live in a tent with a guy who I can almost guarantee snores.
Honorable Mention: Frank, because Andrew Garfield
5. Sally Sparrow
Is it wrong of me to wish a lack of Hollywood-grade success upon an actor? Because I think Carey Mulligan would have been better off as a recurring character on Doctor Who than Shia LeBouf’s love interest in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. Come on, Carey, think of the Whovians.
Okay, fine, she’s done well, and that’s great, but Sally Sparrow was a great character in one of the best Doctor Who episodes to date, and despite the serious shortage of The Doctor and Martha Jones, still embodied the characteristics The Doctor looks for in a good companion. Also, she kept going back to Wester Drumlins, even after finding out about the whole displacement-in-time thing, to find out what was truly going on, and ultimately saved The Doctor and Martha, leaving everyone wanting more of Sally Sparrow.
Plus, she lost both her best friend and Billy Shipton who was probably going to be a hot date, until the angels got to him.
6. Astrid Peth
Episode: Voyage of the Damned
Yes, we know Kylie Minogue has more glittery, dance-fueled shows to perform than she knows what to do with, but did Astrid really have to sacrifice herself? Couldn’t she have jumped out of the forklift before it went over the cliff?
Alas, it’s not surprising that Astrid was a one-time character, but it would have been nice to let The Doctor keep this one for a few more adventures.
7. Liz 10
Episode: The Beast Below
Queen Elizabeth X was one of the first people to meet the Eleventh Doctor, but made it known stories about him had been handed down for generations. She also fiercely guarded the subjects of Starship UK, and had some of the best one-liners in Doctor Who history. (ex: “”Mysterious stranger. M.O. consistent with higher alien intelligence. Hair of an idiot.””)
Granted, she returned for under a minute in the Season 5 finale, but it still didn’t feel like enough. Maybe in future episodes… please?
8. Vincent van Gogh
Episode: Vincent and the Doctor
Oh Vincent. Such a beautiful, tortured soul. His episode was one of beauty and pain – and the hope against hope that Amy and The Doctor could have saved him. However, anyone with any sort of working knowledge of history knows that Vincent van Gogh committed suicide, but if only he could have had a few more good days, travelling through space and time, we might in the tiniest of ways have felt better about his tragic end. Wasn’t his reaction in the art gallery priceless though? Hopefully there’s a parallel universe in which that all really happened. Also, thank you Bill Nighy for the beautiful delivery of the curator’s opinion of Vincent van Gogh.
He and Amy really would have had the most ginger babies in the universe too.
9. Canton Everett Delaware III
Episodes: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Because, Mark Sheppard. Well, and his character was pretty bad-ass, and was involved in quite a convoluted plot, keeping his dry humor intact. Will he come back before the time he comes back at the beginning of the first episode of Season 6 when he was an old man? Yes, you read that right.
Episode: The God Complex
Unfortunately, Rita was lost to the Minotaur, and The Doctor came to realize he would eventually come to lose Amy and Rory too, leading him to drop them off at the new house he got them, making us wonder if they’d ever reunite.
Episode: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
Madge, the widow of a WWI – era pilot spends much of the episode trying to conceal the death of their father to her two children in order for them to have a happy Christmas. The model of the ultimate in loving and protective mothers, Madge not only saves The Doctor, but rescues her two children, an entire forest, and most importantly to them, her husband.
As a bonus, she sends The Doctor back to Amy and Rory, making her nothing short of a heroine to basically everyone in the episode, and directly contributes to real actual tears from the thousand-year-old eyes of The Doctor, as well as the rest of us.
Episodes: Closing Time/The Lodger
Craig, like many other companions, was thrown into his situation, but had zero idea what was going on until towards the end of the episode, but he was entertaining, totally in love with Sophie, and funny, which definitely counts for something. Plus, he and Eleven have an entertaining friendship we hope we get to see more of.
All images from BBC Television.