Archive for the ‘companions’ Tag

A pattern emerges?   Leave a comment

Or maybe it’s deliberate, or at least obvious, and I’m slow.

It was the teaser for next week’s story, featuring… someone spoilery… that tickled my brain. Just like Ryan, Yaz, and Graham, Rose Tyler met the Doctor when something weird turned up in her hometown… was then whisked away to someplace alien… met a famous person from the past… and returned home for more weirdness. Is Chibnall following the same arc?

The pattern recurs with “The Christmas Invasion” (weirdness at home); “New Earth” (someplace alien); “Tooth and Claw” (Queen Victoria); and “School Reunion.” In S3, though Martha doesn’t return to her own time for episode 4, the rest of the trend holds with “Smith and Jones,” “The Shakespeare Code” (past first this time), and “Gridlock.” Donna’s season follows both patterns, with history and sci fi switched and followed by a trip home: “Partners in Crime,” “Fires of Pompeii” (Caecilius being less famous but still notable), “Planet of the Ood,” “The Sontaran Stratagem.”

It makes a certain amount of sense to arrange stories this way. First, the new companions must meet the Doctor somehow: where better than in the course of their ordinary lives? Then, the full range of the show’s potential must be explored, past to future, Earth to outer space. In S1, RTD’s choice for episode 2 was very deliberate: aliens and sci fi would make or break his show, and he wanted to know right away which. Afterwards – again, a deliberate creative choice by RTD – the companions return home for character development and grounding, as we get to know their families and their lives before the Doctor.

It’s the last bit I’m most excited about. There’s been plenty to like about Moffat’s era lately, but I’ve missed RTD’s grounded characters: companions that seem like someone I could know or be, with families and jobs and histories of their own, separate from their adventures in time and space. I loved getting to know Rose and Donna this way, and I’d love the opportunity to do the same with Ryan, Graham, and most especially the delightful Yaz.



“Everything that’s ever happened or ever will… where do you want to start?”


Announcement!   Leave a comment

The Doctor has companions!


Bradley Walsh, aka Token White Guy, has been rumored for some time. Per Twitter people either love him or hate him: he’s great, he should have been the Doctor, he’ll ruin the show, never watching again, blah blah blah. Having never seen him in anything I couldn’t say. While I do feel that his type has had plenty of representation on DW and elsewhere, I was intrigued by the potential of this dynamic: the typical figure of power and authority playing intellectual and executive second fiddle to (someone appearing to be) not that. I don’t hate the idea.

The other two are a surprise. Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole are soap opera stars, previously known for something called Hollyoaks. Cole has also appeared in the Star Wars universe. Gill’s Yasmin will be the Doctor’s first South Asian companion – impatiently awaited since the too-brief appearances of Rita (The God Complex) and Nasreen (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood). It’s nice to have some color and gender balance aboard ship – and I kinda hope Walsh turns out to be an alien. 🙂 Just for variety, you know.

I’m surprised at how strongly people are reacting to the number of companions. Three is apparently a crowd for some, in spite of  Ian/Barbara/Susan, Ben/Polly/Jamie, Tegan/Nyssa/Adric, etc. I think it will be a nice change of pace. A single companion is more susceptible to an annoying romantic subplot. A team can tackle a story from a number of different, brilliant angles. (“Boom Town” comes to mind as a fun example.)

I am also intrigued by the inclusion of Sharon D. Clarke. Everyone seems equally confused by the “returning role” bit, since we’ve never seen her before; in fact it seems to have sparked rumors of a return of the Rani. But I think they actually meant “recurring” not “returning.” (Or is that what I’m meant to think?) Either way, looking forward to it.

If only we didn’t have to wait so long.

Posted October 30, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Speculation, Squee!

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Companion news   Leave a comment

Probably everyone’s seen it by now, but just in case:

Official BBC Announcement

Mackie is a 28-year-old stage actor and children’s acting teacher. She apparently has minimal screen experience – which I like, I love it when they pick an unknown. She also has amazing hair.

It seems I’ve been out of the rumor loop: the last I heard was Rakhee Thrakar months ago, though a number of other names have come up since. I was intrigued by the possibilities Thrakar offered – favorite one-off companions have included Rita from “The God Complex” and Nasreen from “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood” – but I have no complaints about Mackie. I’m very happy to have another woman of color in the role. I wouldn’t have minded someone a bit older, but at least she’s not 19. And an older companion may be a better match for a younger Doctor: can you imagine the Eleventh Doctor running around with Evelyne Smythe, or a less-vampy River Song?

So far we don’t know much about Bill*. She’s mouthy, full of questions, apparently fearless – in other words, excellent companion material. I look forward to getting to know her.


*I can’t help being reminded that “Bill” was David Tennant’s nickname for Billie Piper. Still love them… ❤

Posted April 23, 2016 by Elisabeth in Companions, Season 10, Speculation

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‘Class’ potential   Leave a comment

A number of the Doctor’s past companions are alive and well in modern-day London, any of whom could make a surprise appearance – or become regular characters – on the BBC’s new spinoff, Class.

  • Ian Chesterton taught at Coal Hill School, the series’ setting, in the 1960s. In ‘Day of the Doctor,’ his name appeared under “Chairman of the Governors” on the school’s sign. I don’t know what sort of role that is, but I’d love to see William Russell turn up to play it. He’s 90 years old, so we probably shouldn’t expect much, but he did turn in a charming performance in ‘An Adventure in Space and Time.’
  • Dodo Chaplet left the Doctor in 1965. While Jackie Lane left acting to become an agent (representing Tom Baker and Janet Fielding, among others) she might still be persuaded to appear briefly, perhaps as some student’s grandmother.
  • Polly Wright returned home in 1966 with Ben Jackson, whom she married in the minds of many fans. While Michael Craze passed away in 1998, Anneke Wills appeared recently in both ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ and ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot,’ and could easily crop up as a teacher or grandmother.
  • Victoria Waterfield stayed behind with the Harris family in 1968. Deborah Watling appeared in ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ and might be convinced to appear here too.
  • Jo Grant is alive and kicking all over the world. Katy Manning, busy as ever, appeared on the Sarah Jane Adventures in 2010; it would be a treat to have her back as a regular. While Jo’s passel of children and grandchildren have for the most part been unconventionally educated, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that one or two might finish up at Coal Hill School.
  • Sergeant Benton and Captain Yates, though retired, could easily turn up anywhere UNIT might be called.
  • Tegan Jovanka left the Doctor in 1984. Janet Fielding has reprised her role for Big Finish. A flight attendant in her youth, Tegan is capable of anything, leaving the field wide open for her return.
  • Ace McShane’s fate is a mystery, in canon anyway: she went off the air with her Doctor in 1989 and never returned to television. While researching the Doctor’s other past companions, Sarah Jane came across a “Dorothy something” heading up a charity known as A Charitable Earth, or ACE. Sophie Aldred remains active, and as with Tegan, with Ace anything is possible.
  • Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, freelance alien hunters, could turn up anywhere.
  • Wilfred Mott too is likely to appear anywhere there’s a chance of a glimpse of the Doctor.
  • Courtney Woods, a current student at Coal Hill School, could play a major role. Ellis George’s internet presence offers no hints.

Any of these would help persuade me to watch the show – if not on the air (wrong country) then maybe later, on DVD as we did with Sarah Jane. Jo’s and the Brig’s appearances were powerful draws there. I look forward to what Class has to offer.

Posted October 7, 2015 by Elisabeth in Companions, Speculation

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Top ten moments of Rose Tyler   1 comment

For Billie Piper’s birthday, the Radio Times counted down Rose’s best moments from her time on Doctor Who. As any regular reader knows, Rose is my gal: my #1 companion, the one I want most to be, the one I’d want along if I were the Doctor – one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. An ordinary person with an ordinary life, she found in herself courage, compassion, a drive to do the right thing, a zest for the opportunity of life in the TARDIS. At the same time, she’s a flawed, authentic human being, with petty jealousies, unkind words, selfish moments. Like the best of us she strives to overcome these things, and it’s her struggle that makes her real.

Taking advantage of the Radio Times’ hard work, I’m going to comment on their entries one by one.

#10: Rose meets Sarah Jane Smith


At first blush this is not one of Rose’s better moments. The Doctor’s old companion puts her instantly on the defensive, and she skilfully shreds the older woman with her scorn. However, after a brief Mean Girls-style skirmish, Rose stops herself. She pushes her jealousy aside and opens herself up to friendship. Having more in common with one another than almost anyone else on Earth, the two women form a fast bond. The scene is a great example of Rose overcoming her faults, a model for us all to live up to.

#9: The Moment


This isn’t really Rose Tyler, though the Moment finds her face in the Doctor’s timeline and recognizes her significance. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Billie to expand as an actor and have a little fun. It’s also an acknowledgement of Rose and Billie’s impact on the success of the show. So while not a Rose Tyler moment, it’s a great Moment, and I understand why they chose to include it.

#8: The Reunion


In the closing seconds of ‘The Stolen Earth,’ Rose and the Doctor finally find each other – only to be torn apart again by a Dalek blast. This is one of those overhyped, melodramatic moments that I normally despise, but because I love these characters so much, I wasn’t bothered. I also saw it coming eight miles away – but somehow, Tennant’s era is full of things I saw coming and loved anyway. Anticipation isn’t always a bad thing.

#7: Captain Jack


I think Rose embodied most people’s first reaction to Captain Jack in this scene. Flirting is such an ingrained part of the show now, but here it’s still new and fresh: an interested woman and an interested man having a bit of safe, consensual fun. I kind of miss the relative innocence of their interaction; no one since has had John Barrowman’s charm.

#6: Father’s Day


This one is an absolute winner. She begins with a mistake, she defends her decision, she brushes off the Doctor’s rage. Then, as she realizes the impact of what she’s done, she experiences all the horror and remorse that go with that. Most of us won’t endanger the universe with our errors, but everyone knows the pain of unintended consequences.

On the plus side, she gets to know her dad, and to see him as the hero she always believed he could be. Rose matures a lot in this story, and takes her relationships – with herself, her family, the Doctor – to a new level.

#5: Making a stand


In ‘The Parting of the Ways,’ the Doctor sends his friend home for her own safety. However, she’s no longer willing to stay home safe while he gives his life for her people. She makes a stand; she says no. She has the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away. Even when she doesn’t know what to do.

#4: Dalek


This episode showcases Rose’s compassion like no other. The Doctor sees only a killing machine: Rose sees a creature in pain, that only wants a chance to feel the sunlight.

#3: The Sycorax


Here, Rose’s courage takes center stage. The Doctor lies sleeping, out of reach. The Earth is under attack. Her home, her family, everything she knows is in danger. She wants to hide – she tries to hide – but when circumstances require a hero, she steps up. She overcomes her fear and acts anyway. She doesn’t know what to do, she knows she’ll probably be killed, and she doesn’t let it stop her.

#2: Bad Wolf


As the Doctor says later, “Everything she did was so human.” Gaining godlike powers from the Vortex, she uses them to save her friends and the Earth below, with no thought for her own safety.

#1: Doomsday


Rose’s first goodbye is everyone’s favorite moment. It’s melodrama, but decently executed, and the acting is beyond compare. (A later reviewer of a stage play of Billie’s commented that “no one can cry more convincingly” than she can.) I wouldn’t have ranked it #1 – I’d give that spot to ‘Father’s Day’ or ‘Dalek’ – but for Rose Tyler, it’s a pretty definitive scene.


I can understand why the Radio Times left this one out, as it’s more the Doctor’s moment than Rose’s. However, it so beautifully embodies who she is – for him and for herself – that the list feels incomplete without it.

"I bet you're going to have a really great year."

“I bet you’re going to have a really great year.”

Happy Birthday, Billie Piper, and thank you for Rose Tyler.

Posted September 22, 2015 by Elisabeth in Companions

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After Life   Leave a comment

Last night I read the Eleventh Doctor’s first volume of collected comics, After Life. In it he picks up companion Alice Obiefune, whose life has fallen apart, and together they have some very Doctory adventures.

I’ve read the first installment of this book, the first issue of Eleven’s run, three times now, and it just keeps getting better.

It begins with the funeral of Alice’s mother. Every panel is shades of gray, like Alice’s life. Everything she cares about has faded away, leaving her numb and colorless.

And then the Doctor bursts into her life, full of bright energy and color, and nothing is ever the same again.

I’ve been reading a lot of comics lately, DW and Marvel and a scattering of other things, so I’ve looked at a lot of art. The art’s job is to carry the story, set the scene, even color the mood. Likenesses vary, and clarity, and attractiveness; some I like, some not so much, but for the most part the art is invisible. Like the words it creates an image in the reader’s mind and then vanishes.

The art in this issue is some of the most effective I’ve seen.

Not just the gray, and the color the Doctor brings. Alice’s face is incredibly expressive: her grief, her doubt, every emotion clear as if it were spelled out in words. The story is about emotion, and the art brings those emotions powerfully to the fore. Even for the mysterious character at the end, one of the most alien beings we’ve seen in Doctor Who, feelings are crystal clear.

It’s a good story too, a great arc. The rest of the book isn’t bad, but its beginning remains the best of everything.

Posted August 20, 2015 by Elisabeth in Comics, Companions, Themes and Ideas

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Scotsmen on set   Leave a comment

If only this meant something…

The Doctor and Jamie, together again

I’d love to have Jamie come back to the show. Not as much as I’d love to have Jo, but still quite a lot.

The fabulous Katy Manning

Classic fans, feel the love.

Posted July 6, 2015 by Elisabeth in Classic, Companions

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