I just watched the latest edition of the Doctor Who Fan Show, Tops Tips for Being a Companion, which made me Slightly Irate. For there were a bunch of lazy jokes about old skool Who costumes, ankle-twisting, and screaming.
As jokes go about old telly, these are bleh; as jokes go on the official BBC Doctor Who Fan Show on the Youtubes, wtf? Seriously. A massive portion of your audience are old skool fans. If you’re going to make jokes about classic Who, use a little imagination, don’t go for the same rubbish that’s been thrown at the show for decades, and which old skool fans are extremely likely to get a little bit of Fannish Rage about.
I will admit though, it was almost worth it for the very final moment, which was a shot of Tom Baker from that nineties classic Dimenions in Time and a dubious yet delightful impersonation of one of his lines from the presenter, Christel Dee (who is wonderful, and did my v favourite interview with Peter Capaldi.)
Anyway, yes, tips! Their tips mostly made me a little bit sad, so I thought I’d make my own.
1) Wear whatever the hell you like – Doctor Who has featured companions from many times and many worlds and they’ve worn all sorts of things, from delightful sparkly catsuits, to personalised bomber jackets, to Andy Pandy outfits. And even when stuck in some seriously high heels, companions have always managed to run along at a good clip, battle bad guys, and save the universe. Also, miniskirts are extremely practical clothing, and you can run pretty damn fast in heels, if you really need to (I learned just how fast on a recent sprint through Heathrow).
2) Get Sarah Jane’s phone number – Sarah, in Sarah Jane Adventures, is basically the third Doctor, except she never gets anyone killed or has a crazy ex-boyfriend trying to destroy the world to get her attention, or has hubris and steals cool magic blue crystals from giant spiders. If worried, call her.
3) Read the TARDIS manual – Or, at the very least, find out which button works the doors. In fact, read all the manuals. Manuals are useful for learning how stuff works. Don’t push buttons if you don’t know what they do. Especially red ones.
4) Remember, your Doctor may not be able to control the TARDIS – so, if you want to travel with THE BEST, by which I mean Troughton obv, you risk never getting home again. On the bright side, early Doctors have minimal cosmic angst, and didn’t blow up any planets. SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS PEOPLE.
5) If your Doctor looks like Peter Cushing, you’re in the wrong continuity – I mean, I sometimes say the movies count, but I’m trolling. They don’t. Though maybe you do want to travel with Cushing!Doc, but just remember the hero here isn’t you, it’s Susie.
6) Be Scottish – Jamie, Amy, and Twelve are Scottish and awesome. Try to be like them. Or Seven, I suppose. If you must.
7) Fall in love with the Doctor if you like – WHY NOT? The Doctor falls in love with people ALL THE TIME.
8) If the Doctor’s prevaricating over whether you die, or the the universe blows up, it may be up to you to push the big red button; yeah, you’ll probably die, but you will have saved ALL OF EXISTENCE, so, y’know, nice one! – See, The Time Monster. That’s where Jo saves the universe because the Doctor can’t. The Time Monster is aces.
9) If it’s the sixties or seventies, trust the very clever woman who rolls her eyes at the Doctor – There’ll be one about. She’ll be a scientist of some sort, and she’ll be ridic brilliant, and might very well save the day while the Doctor’s off gadding about on top of a beer factory or something (*cough*TheInvasion*cough*).
10) If the Time Lord’s name isn’t Romana, don’t trust them – As a rule, Time Lords are dicks. Even Romana when she was in some terrible, terrible books that we don’t talk about. But mostly, they’re bad news. Also, as a companion, they might wipe your memory and dump you back into a battlefield to die a horrible death! Yay! Many also have a personal vendetta against the Doctor, and they’re tots cool with using his friends against him, which means YOU. Oh noes!
Bonus 11) When the Doctor returns you home, make him go outside to check it isn’t accidently Aberdeen – no-one wants to accidently end up in Aberdeen. Trust me.