I’ve made no secret that I’m something of a Moffat fangirl when it comes to Doctor Who. The Eleventh Doctor is potentially my favorite Doctor; Amy Pond is definitely my favorite new companion. I even like Rory.
However, I’m beginning to feel like the new series needs to be shaken up a bit when it comes to companions. We’ve had three Doctors and four main companions; each of them has been a human girl, and there’s always one main companion at a time. The only recurring tag-alongs have been family members of the main companion. And the only past Companion we’ve encountered, Sarah Jane Smith, fit the mold as well.
Honestly, it’s beginning to be just a touch formulaic. Thus, for those who have only experienced the new series, I thought I’d introduce some of the past Companions, to remind us just how outside the box Doctor Who can go. Today, I’m going to talk about a few of the Companions for the Fifth Doctor. Note – all of these people were Companions at the same time.
Believe it or not, Tegan is the longest-running companion (depending on how you’re counting). However, many Americans aren’t as familiar with her. Though she began her TARDIS journey with Tom Baker, she spent most of her time with Peter Davison, and those episodes were apparently not broadcast as widely in the US as the Tom Baker years.
Tegan is somewhat of a groundbreaker in terms of Companions. She’s a “modern woman” in the 80s sense: loud, bold, and more than willing to lock horns with the Doctor. Though a human, she’s Australian. One could make the case that she’s the prototype for the new Who Companions: she’s introduced first in terms of her job (a flight attendant) and her extended family makes appearances in a few episodes. Though she jumps into her adventures with the Doctor, you never quite forget her ties to her life on Earth.
Nyssa was meant to be a one-off character, but ultimately hangs on through the Fourth Doctor’s regeneration and most of the Fifth Doctor’s tenure. Though humanoid, she’s from the planet Traken.
Though she’s quiet, reserved and just plain nerdy, Nyssa actually has one of the most dramatic back stories of a companion, involving her father and the Master. She’s sensitive (in more ways than one; she develops psychic abilities at one point) and compassionate, ultimately leaving the TARDIS to help others in need. I admit it: aside from Amy Pond, Nyssa is probably my favorite Companion of the entire show.
Oh, Adric. Some may consider him the Wesley Crusher of Doctor Who (being a precocious teen boy), but I kind of like him. Not only is he an alien; he actually comes from a parallel universe. He joined the Doctor even earlier than Nyssa and Tegan (I think he would remember K-9), but stays through the first season of the Fifth Doctor. He’s a math whiz (between Nyssa and Adric, there’s an excess of Companion brainpower), and acutely aware of his own brilliance, which occasionally makes him insufferable. In short, he’s like nearly every little geek boy I knew growing up. His last episode was pretty Earth-shattering, as well – but I won’t spoil it.
Some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who contain these three companions (mostly at the same time). If you’d like to get a taste of how Doctor Who worked with three main companions, watch the following if you can find it (in chronological order):
The Keeper of Traken
What are your thoughts on this trio of Companions? Would you like to see more than one Companion at a time?