In last week’s ep, and for Verity!‘s first episode on companions, it was a discussion on Doctor Who Companions What Never Were, or Guest Characters We Really Liked And Are Bitter About Not Becoming Regulars (that may just be me.)
And I’m pleased to report that I won’t be attempting to fire anyone this week since they did mention Amelia Rumford, and no-one said anything sufficiently ridiculous that I was yelling at my computer. Hurrah! There were also cheers at Kat’s decision to not even engage with the idea that Canton (aka Mark Sheppard, that nice FBI chap in The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon) isn’t a companion. I mean, she’s wrong, he clearly isn’t, but I admire the sentiment.
Sadly, however, they missed out numerous Shoulda Been Companions, by which I mean my list, my beautiful list of a plethora of guest stars who would clearly have, um, improved things if they’d ended up on-board the TARDIS. Probably. Here they are:
1) Astrid Ferrier (Amazing agent person in The Enemy of the World, NOT KYLIE MINOGUE, omg) – You might think she should come back for the excellent performance given by Mary Peach (she auditioned for The Avengers – the proper one – and it shows), or the fact that the chemistry with the Doctor was of the decidedly awesome and non-platonic variety, but no, no, it’s for the outfits. Look at her clothes! Those collars! The sci-fi silvery goodness! (Okay possibly only silver because black and white telly, but still.)
2) Rapunzel (a woman with really long hair who turns up in The Mind Robber) – A fictional character who ends up in the real world? Smashing! And it’s 1969, so it seems like a really cool, edgy idea too. She’d probably get half a story where she deals with being unreal in a real universe and then it’s never mentioned again; luckily fandom and fanfiction exist. But think of how useful her epic hair would be in many an ill-advised escape attempt!
3) Ralph Cornish (Director of the British Space Programme – yeah, that’s right, *British* Space Programme…ah, the seventies, such optimism – in The Ambassadors of Death) – Sixties/early seventies Who makes much use of the cool-headed woman of science trope, but the male scientists tend to be a little more, uh, emotional, or with a slightly unsteady grip on reality. Happily, that trope is subverted in lovely Ralph Cornish, the wonderfully competent and patient head of British Space Things. He’s trying to save people but he’s got the military running around his base and the Doctor in full on jerk mode aimed right at him, and yet he never even raises an eyebrow in annoyance. Obv he and Liz Shaw should get whole seasons to themselves to go explore space. Yes.
4) Miss Hawthorne (total science skeptic from The Daemons; bit in love with Sergeant Benton) – The Third Doctor is pretty annoyed a lot of the time anyway, but how hilariously annoyed would he be with Miss Hawthorne along?
“A magic ship,” says Miss Hawthorne. “That sails between the stars…by magic!”
“It’s a spaceship,” says the Doctor, glaring, “fusion-powered.”
“Magic beings!” says Miss Hawthorne.
“Aliens,” says the Doctor. ”
“Ah, a mysterious faraway magical land.”
“It’s another planet.”
“A magic planet!”
5) Alpha Centauri (Totally serious business interstellar ambassador in The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon) – Because if there’s one thing every family action-adventure science fiction series needs, it’s a six foot tall penis-shaped alien with a shower curtain wrapped round it in a way that does absolutely nothing to hide that fact it’s a six foot tall penis-shaped alien.
But Alpha Centauri is so lovely! And terrified, and never wants to go anywhere. It’d be like Turlough but with less incompetent murder-planning and not actually ever being able to get them out of the TARDIS ever. And what do *real* Doctor Who fans want more than stories set entirely in the TARDIS? NOTHING, that’s what.
6) Anat (resistance leader from Day of the Daleks‘ alternate, dystopic future Earth) – So, she fights Daleks in a future Earth, then gets trapped back in time and her own future’s destroyed and it’s quite great cause it means the Daleks don’t occupy Earth and enslave humanity, but she’s now cut off from everything she’s ever known and goes travelling with the Doctor to find an exciting new purpose in life. Damn it, that actually sounds like a reasonable plot thing… that I totally didn’t steal from Big Finish and what they did with Klein.
7) Professor Amelia Rumford (old lady archaeologist investigating The Stones of Blood) – a character with a personality so forceful it can’t be dimmed even by Prime Tom Baker is something special. She’s got the determination of a concrete brontosaurus, dealing with druids, human sacrifice, hyperspace, blood-sucking alien rocks, and her girlfriend turning out to be a 4000 year old intergalactic criminal all in one night. And she was a bit in love with Romana. Clearly more adventures were well-deserved.
8) Duggan (The subtlest detective that ever detected in City of Death) – Who doesn’t want their own portable battering ram? Think of all those locked doors that could be so neatly dispensed with, even without a sonic screwdriver. Here’s Duggan! Happy to run at that lousy door and show it just who’s boss! You go, Duggan.
9) Todd (Science officer on Kinda, a nice green planet with a snake problem) – Not that I think there’s anything wrong with the Terrible Trio (that’s Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan)…um, well, two of them at least, well, anyway, the point is, Nerys Hughes at least knows what to do with her hands when she’s standing still, okay? …and Adric did seem to be having fun on Kinda; they could totally have just swapped them out to the benefit of everyone…but mostly the viewing public.
10) Lytton (Mercenary who survives working for Daleks in Resurrection of the Daleks; less survival is managed when working for a race of flail-y clingfilm aliens in Attack of the Cybermen) – No longer would Eric Saward have to come up with some new mercenary character doing some new mercenary thing every story he’s script-editing on, noooo. Now, with a mercenary actually on the TARIDS he can just have the Doctor trip over and knock himself out in the console room before going on to write the mercenary space show he’s always dreamed of! Good Doctor Who? No, terrible, dreadful awfulness, undoubtedly. But at least Eric Saward would be happy, and, in the end, isn’t that what matters?
Your discerning eye may have noticed that all these options are from classic Who. For New Who options, the Radio Times has a list over here. Personally I think their choices show a serious lack of courage, what with all those actors still being alive and all.
Oh, but you know who they did miss out? Caecilius. There’s no way that could go wrong. (That’s Peter Capaldi’s character in The Fires of Pompeii, just to save anyone from having to click over to Google.)
And apparently today is extra blue Monday or something. It is V COLD, but otherwise I’m feeling okay. P’haps you are not? I cannot help really, but I have been Pinteresting a bit this weekend. Maybe pictures of Doctor Who things would be cheering, or just pictures of Awesome Things?
Need more ways to keep warm that do not involve setting self on fire.
9 thoughts on “Verity Two Cents: 10 Doctor Who Companions That Should’ve Been”
Once on a fan forum I posted a list of five people I would have liked to have seen as Companions, and you have two of them on your list, Duggan and Miss Hawthorne. My other three were Samantha Briggs (The Faceless Ones, who was actually intended to be a Companion), Herbert Wells (Timelash) and Professor Laird (Resurrection of the Daleks). I know what you’re thinking about that last one, but all we know is that she was shot at and she fell, but no one actually checked to see if she was dead!
As soon as I read the title of this post, my immediate reaction was “Nerys Hughes from Kinda!” So I’m happy to see that Todd made your list. Peter Davison and Nerys Hughes had such amazing chemistry. One of the reasons why Kinda is one of my favorite Fifth Doctor stories is because Adric spends most of the story locked up, Tegan spends most of the story possessed, and Nyssa spends most of the story asleep, leaving the Fifth Doctor paired up with Todd, which works wonderfully. Well, okay, Nyssa was a good character, she just needed better writing most of the time. But by the time I got to the end of episode four I really wanted to say to the Doctor, “Look, just leave Adric and Tegan on Deva Loka and take Todd with you!”
On the other hand, I don’t know if having Alpha Centauri traveling in the TARDIS at the same time as Jo Grant would have been such a great thing. The Third Doctor would have been experiencing hysteria in stereo!
As far as “New Who,” I do wish that Wilfred Mott could have taken at least one trip with the Doctor in the TARDIS to an alien planet. Good old Wilf. I realize the Doctor has regenerated twice since we last Wilf, but I would still enjoy seeing Bernard Cribbins come back if it was for the right story.
could you do a Worst Companions List? I’ve only recently caught on to the fact that there seemed to be some sort of competition during 5th and 6th’s to have the most useless, shrill and annoying idiots. The only thing cool about Perpugilliam Brown is her name.
Excellent list, BTW. I’m just now watching Kinda and the science officer is smashing.
oh, and… ‘The Avengers – the proper one –’ … is that really necessary? Your British Avengers came along two years after Marvel Comics Avengers and lifted the name. Can’t we all just get along? 😀
TV Avengers: 1961. Comics Avengers: 1963!
I love your list my faves are Astrid Ferrier, Prof. Rumford and Todd. I love them all so much. Ooh I have one I’d have loved to see, Captain Stapley from Time-Flight. I thought he was good fun. Or in terms of New Who, the train conductor from Flatline, the one who is so excited to ram something.
Excellent list! Now if only there had been a way to make Sharaz Jek a Companion…! There was a path to redemption — you know, once you got past the killings. Can you imagine the romps on the TARDIS? And I’m only 30% kidding.
Terrific list. I just saw Enemy of the World for the first time, and couldn’t agree more with giving Astrid Ferrier the number one spot. Mary Peach’s performance (and Carmen Munroe’s Fariah) made Victoria Waterfield look even more useless.
I’d strongly consider Anne Travers (The Web of Fear).