As Jodie Whittaker makes history as the first (technically) female iteration of Doctor Who, another eclectic cast of companions joins the Doctor on a trip through the cosmos. The Chase’s Bradley Walsh is already proving to be a fan-favourite, but how does he stack up against the rest of the Whoniverse’s sensational sidekicks? It’s time to take a look back through the pages of history and pick the 10 best Doctor Who companions of all time.
When Doctor Who returned to the BBC in 2005, who’d have thought that ‘90s pop star Billie Piper would become such an iconic travelling partner to the troublesome Time Lord? Although Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor only stuck around for one series, Rose Tyler had a lasting legacy.
Not only having the first revamped episode named after her, Rose went on to be known as Bad Wolf and had an arc that extended long beyond her tenure with the Doctor. Giving fans some of the show’s most emotional moments ever, Rose Tyler also had the honour of becoming the Doctor’s true love — albeit in an alternate reality.
Another out-there choice for Doctor Who saw comedian Catherine Tate hop in that blue box. Donna Noble was more than just comic relief, showcasing the acting range of Tate as well as the loveable character companion.
There were sometimes hints of something more between Donna and the Doctor, but instead, they remained nothing more than friends until the end. It was here that Doctor Who delivered anther signature punch to the gut. That DoctorDonna reveal gave viewers a heart-wrenching twist and forced Tennant’s Doctor to wipe Donna’s memory of their time together.
From a bygone era of Doctor Who, Louise Jameson’s Leela is a legend in her own right and even inspired Futurama’s leading lady of the same name. Despite only featuring alongside Tom Baker’s Doctor for a single year in 1977-1978, the fearsome warrior woman is still remembered as one of Doctor Who’s best companions.
Sadly, while the likes of Sarah Jane Smith and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart reprised their roles with the original actors, Leela has vanished into the depths of the TARDIS — bar a cameo in the 1993 charity special.
Amy Pond and Rory Williams
It would be too hard to split up the pairing of Amy and Rory, so the Pond-Williams family come as a set. The Girl Who Waited and the Last Centurion became part of history as Amy and Rory influenced more of the Doctor’s life (and history) than we’d ever thought possible.
Amy was pretty lucky during her time, while Rory seemed to largely be around just to die in tragic ways and have us reach for the tissues. Speaking of which, we’ll never get over the dynamic duo being zapped into a Doctor-proof paradox by those Weeping Angels.
Sticking with Amy and Rory, it just wouldn’t be a list of companions without giving their daughter her own entry. Melody Pond is another fan-favorite addition to the TARDIS. When we first met River Song in the Vashta Nerada-filled library, it was the start of a very long relationship between the Doc and his eventual wife.
Alex Kingston was brilliant alongside Tennant, Smith, and Capaldi, rounding off the story of River Song in style. It’s hard to think of Doctor Who without River Song, but thankfully, we don’t have to imagine it.
Captain Jack Harkness
Some may argue that Captain Jack Harkness isn’t an ‘official’ Doctor Who companion, but we have to add him to the rankings anyway. The larger than life Captain Jack was introduced in 2005’s “The Empty Child” and Doctor Who hasn’t looked back since.
The sexualised Captain Jack has always had an air of mystery about him and confirmed his own Doctor Who fan-theory with the jaw-dropping twist that he is the immortal Face of Boe. Captain Jack was so popular, he joined the elusive ranks of having his own Doctor Who spin-off with Torchwood. Fans are hopeful that they’ll see that trench coat flapping in the wind at some point in the near future, so keep everything crossed.
Peter Capaldi’s days as the Doctor represented a more mature era of the show, but that didn’t stop Jenna Coleman’s chirpy Clara Oswald adding a sense of whimsy to Doctor Who. Coleman’s arrival was first shrouded in mystery when her characters of Oswin Oswald and Clara Oswin Oswald died during their only episode.
Luckily, the showrunners decided to keep Clara around and eventually revealed that she was peppered throughout time with multiple lives and was always destined to be by the Doctor’s side. As the longest-running companion since the show rebooted in 2005, it isn’t hard to see why people love Clara Oswald so much.
Bernard Cribbins was once linked to play the Doctor, so it seems only right that his career came full circle and the actor was the one to usher out Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. Some light relief as the funnyman grandfather of Donna Noble, the show never felt like it made the most of Wilf.
Wilf first appeared in the 2007 Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned” but became so much more than a throwaway character. Notably, Wilf was the man who knocked four times and was about as loyal as a Doctor Who companion comes. You’d struggle to find anyone who didn’t love Wilf, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
Sarah Jane Smith
Another classic companion was Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith. Introduced as a plucky reporter, Sarah Jane Smith was a no-nonsense addition to the TARDIS who shared some of the Doctor’s most memorable adventures.
Sarah Jane Smith was the first ‘classic’ companion to return for the revamped era of the show and rightfully got her own spin-off. Sladen played the role up until her tragic passing in 2011 when Doctor Who lost one of its most familiar faces.
Away from your standard human (and sometimes alien) companions, K9 lived up to being man’s best friend. First introduced in 1977, K9 was the invention of the dog-loving Professor Marius. His bark wasn’t always worse than his bite and K9 lay down his life several times over the decades.
Introduced to appeal to the kids who watched Doctor Who, K9 was never designed to be a recurring character. That being said, he’s gone on to appear in three spin-off shows (K-9 and Company, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and K9) and is tipped to have a chrome-plated future ahead of him with Whittaker’s Doctor. Alongside Yoda being synonymous with the Star Wars series, K9 and Doctor Who go hand in paw.