Those Passing By: The Top 10 Would-be Doctor Who Companions

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For the month of September I plowed through the entire Ninth Doctor era. Admittedly a simple task, and because it was so simple I decided to really drink this one in. Upon reviewing “The Parting of the Ways” and seeing the tragic death of sweet little Lynda with a ‘Y’ it got me thinking what would have happened if she had survived the ordeal and subsequently joined The Doctor and Rose on their travels. Then by a natural progression of the fandom-related thought process it got me to thinking about many other brave souls who have accompanied The Doctor in his adventures.What would’ve happened if they had decided to continue onwards with The Doctor. Well here is my list of characters who could’ve had a bright future with The Doctor.

10) Lynda with a ‘Y’ from “Bad Wolf” and “Parting of the Ways”

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Of course we should begin with the aforementioned, Lynda with a ‘Y’. The sweet girl who escaped the Big Brother Charnel House. The one interesting thing that we always fail to notice about her is that she is unflinchingly brave. Which is one of the prime characteristics of any good Doctor Who companion. For most people when they meet The Doctor they mistake his bravado for madness, but not her. She wholeheartedly believed in him and immediately put her life in his hands. Throughout all of “Bad Wolf” she’s been able to keep up with The Doctor and Captain Jack as they take over The Game Station, and though she was clearly scared that never deters her from doing her part in the battle against the Daleks. The Doctor clearly saw this because he was eager to invite her aboard the TARDIS, which she would’ve accepted. So clearly only death was the only deterrent.

9) Lady Christina DeSouza from “Planet of the Dead”

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The interesting fact about the concept of a jewel thief joining the TARDIS is that had the classic series continued on The Seventh Doctor would have travelled with one after Ace had taken her leave. One could indeed imagine Lady Christina DeSouza to be the character concept. A bored aristocrat who steals more for the thrills as opposed to the monetary gain. It’s safe to say that if she had caught The Doctor at a more pleasant time in his life the adventures would’ve had the derring-do factor amped up to eleven. One thing we’ve actually never had with companions is one who is all about the adventure of fighting alien menaces and doing utterly mad things. It would be wonderful to see a companion that The Doctor can’t keep up with.

8) Isobel from “The Invasion”

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With as much as she goes through during the eight episodes of the Cybermen epic, you could automatically elevate Isobel to the status of a companion. She is held hostage on multiple occasions, engaged in daring helicopter escapes, and menaced by a malfunctioning Cyberman in the London sewers.  All along the way she never loses her infectious aplomb. She continues to bravely click away with her camera documenting every moment for posterity. With that in mind would the idea of traveling through time in space be a photographer’s dream come true? What better reason is there to want to see new and exciting horizons than to capture it on film? Who better to entertain that notion than Isobel herself?

7) Miss Hawthorne from “The Daemons”

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What a spectacular combination it would be if The Doctor were to team up with a white witch. One of the things that made “The Daemons” one of the defining classics of the Pertwee era was its willingness to debate the line between science and superstition. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to constantly challenge The Doctor’s solid commitment to his scientific approach to otherworldly phenomena by teaming him with a woman with powers of the otherworldly and the supernatural. Especially when you take into consideration if she were to travel with the Third Doctor, whose inclination towards scientific reason was substantial. When you think about aren’t the best companions known for challenging The Doctor on moral and philosophical levels.

6) Sophia “Spring-Heeled Sophie” Shepherd from “Dead London”

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A mischievous, tightrope-walking, thief  with the old-school spirit of adventure of the Eighth doctor and the new-school sass of Lucie Miller. Frankly it is a wonder that the good people at Big Finish didn’t think that she would be a brilliant addition to the TARDIS crew. Especially with her spry ability to wriggle out of many-a-dire situation with her skills as a thomnambulist combined with her voluminous bag of tricks. Then there’s the potential inherent in the fact that we really haven’t had a surrogate sister dynamic since Nyssa and Tegan. Seriously, imagine the camaraderie between Lucie and Sophie as they constantly take the mickey out of The Eighth Doctor’s old fashioned disposition.

5) Lorna Bucket from “A Good Man Goes To War”

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One day with The Doctor, running in the Gamma Forests was enough to profoundly change young Lorna Bucket’s life forever. She soon sought The Doctor out in whatever way she could ultimately joining the Clerics as they seek to wage war on The Doctor. For her though it was simply for the chance of seeing him again. When she finally does she fights alongside The Doctor’s army to protect Amy and her newborn daughter. While she never survived the battle she still got the chance to prove her worth to The Doctor. Though wouldn’t it have been brilliant if she had done so travelling with him.

4) Richard Mace from “The Visitation”

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Everyone loves a scoundrel. Particularly when they present themselves with grace, sophistication, and charm, and Richard Mace had that in abundance. From a one-time thespian to full-time squatter. Mace has learned to live off the fruits of society whilst never having to pay a brass farthing. All of a sudden through mere coincidence he’s thrown into a plot to destroy the human race with plague carrying rats.  Normally he would cut and run but somehow he finds his courage and  seeks to make good for his freewheeling lifestyle. It does seem to compliment his grace under fire that he can be thrown so erratically into The Doctor’s life and soon find himself helping to fight a blazing conflagration to which he indirectly started. If he had said yes to The Doctor at the end of “The Visitation” how do you suppose he would have reacted meeting the Cybermen or the Daleks?

3) Jago and Litefoot from “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”

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One of Robert Holmes’ greatest gifts was giving us classic double acts which gave all his stories a wonderful sense of fun and comedic gusto. Whether it be Horg and Shurna, Garron and Unstoffe, or Glitz and Dibber. The most famous of which was the oddest of odd couples, theatre owner Henry Gordon Jago and police Pathologist Professor Litefoot. It seems so strange that these two would be such a solid pairing on their own. Funny thing is they don’t even meet until the latter half of “Talons.” That didn’t stop audiences from seeing their potential, when whispers began of a spin-off featuring the mismatched duo. In time Big Finish decided to explore that potential and created another highly successful radio series featuring the two as they continue their investigation into the macabre. The question still stands what would have happened if they continued to join The Doctor in his travels… Oh, wait a minute Big Finish answered that too!

2) Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale from “Blink”

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It can indeed be safe to argue that Sparrow and Nightingale were a precursor to Amy and Rory. Lord knows the dynamic isn’t far off but back before Amy and Rory even popped up in Moffat’s head the whole of Doctor Who fandom was clamoring for these two to make a return appearance. Fair to understand why. At the time we never really had a couple in the TARDIS before we were always left to wonder what their lives would have been like if they had joined The Doctor in the TARDIS. In retrospect now we can see it with the Ponds but they aren’t like the inquisitive Sally Sparrow and the hapless tech nerd Larry Nightingale. After all fair dues they were able to fight with The Weeping Angels and technically they never even met The Doctor till afterwards.

1) Duggan from “City of Death”

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Oh, the missed opportunities! So many intergalactic menaces that haven’t been punched yet. When you have two flippant, barmy, and brilliant Time Lords heading up your series don’t you need and silly ape for the audience to click with. Well Duggan fits that bill perfectly. He’s rash, impulsive, overly destructive, albeit rational, and morally abundant. Duggan’s tendency to neutralize a situation with physical violence is a constant source of frustration in “City of Death” so it’s a divine example of Adams-esque irony that this quirk winds up saving the day. Though he definitely seems settled in his way and has no inclinations of wanderlust, but you just got to wonder if after his first adventure with them if he would want more of the same. Because after all once you go into the TARDIS nothing else can even remotely compare.

Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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