The fictional worlds of Doctor Who have introduced us to many a character who possess the right kind of chemistry with the venerable Time Lord yet ultimately don’t get the opportunity to travel with him. Looking at each Doctor’s era in turn, here are just some of the potential companions-in-waiting.
Anne Chaplette The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve Annette Robertson played the French serving wench Anne Chaplette to whom Steven and the Doctor are particularly taken. Her death during the massacre robs them of a companion. However, when Dodo Chaplet runs into the Tardis at the end of the story, Steven is convinced she is the modern day descendant of Anne.
Samantha Briggs The Faceless Ones Samantha Briggs is Liverpudlian and streetwise. Samantha was searching for her missing brother when she met the Doctor and Jamie. Her scenes with Jamie show a wonderful rapport and hint at what a great companion she might have made. A ballsy and refreshingly confident performance from a young Pauline Collins, who was sadly unable to commit herself to a long-term contract.
Isobel Watkins The Invasion Sally Faulkner played photographer Isobel, the niece of Professor Watkins, who has been captured by the evil Tobias Vaughan. Like Samantha Briggs, Isobel is a feisty young woman with attitude. Ironically the Troughton era presented many a feminist role in the supporting cast yet the companions of the time (especially Victoria) were some of the most notable screamers in the series history. Despite a forthright rebuke of the Brigadier’s chauvinism, Isobel is ultimately seen as merely company for Zoë whilst the Doctor and Jamie investigate Vaughan.
Dr Ruth Ingram The Time Monster The Pertwee era saw a change in format and introduced more regular characters. As a consequence the most significant potential companions are very much supporting cast. Doctor Ruth Ingram in The Time Monster is initially working for The Master but once she and the Doctor have reversed the polarity of the neutron flow she swaps sides. She even saves the Brigadier. Wanda Moore’s character was perhaps a bit too akin to Liz Shaw, the kind of scientific companion the production team were moving away from at the time.
Duggan City Of Death Detective Duggan played with some panache by Tom Chadbon was a brilliant foil for the wise-headed Time Lord and Lady in this story essentially created at the eleventh hour by Douglas Adams. The boorish Duggan abilities extended to opening a bottle of wine by smashing the top off. His “punch first, ask questions later” methods made him the “Gene Hunt” of potential companions. Despite his well-timed punch at the conclusion of City Of Death Duggan’s attitude and actions would inevitably lead the Doctor into far too much trouble so it was “bye bye Duggan!”.
Will Chandler The Awakening Keith Jayne was marvellous as the urchin-like 1643 throwback in Eric Pringle’s The Awakening. Will Chandler was charmingly naive and understandably confused by his sudden transportation into a village obsessed by the world of sealed knot recreation. Could have been the new Jamie.
Herbert Timelash The era of the Sixth Doctor is so short potential companions a very few and far between. In Timelash the Doctor and Peri are assisted by an enthusiastic young man named Herbert (David Chandler). The young H.G. Wells it emerges, who in turn is fascinated by the TARDIS and even gets to see the console room. The idea of H.G. Wells being a regular companion is just a bit too weird – even for Doctor Who!
Ray Delta and the Bannermen Sara Griffiths was Ray, a Welsh girl on a motorbike from the Fifties – a part which Sophie Aldred, later cast as Ace, had also auditioned. Given her competition for the Doctor’s companionship here is Bonnie Langford’s Mel, it’s perhaps easy to see how she and the Time Lord formed such a strong bond.
Lynda “with a y” BadWolf/Parting of the Ways Played by former No Angels star Jo Joyner, Lynda was initially seen as a Big Brother contestant in the game show dystopia of Satellite Five. Lynda almost made Rose jealous with her devotion to the Doctor. The Daleks, sadly, had the final word on this potential companion.
Sally Sparrow Blink Carey Mulligan’s performance as Sally Sparrow in Blink is mesmerising. As the main protagonist, she really makes the episode work and somehow the feeling she may return isn’t completely out of the realms of possibility. A creation from the pen of soon-to-be show runner Steven Moffat, there is a great deal of anticipation that the Doctor and Sally Sparrow may eventually team up. Moffat is on record saying Carey Mulligan is “one to watch” though his recent pronouncement that his Doctor Who will see fewer returning characters suggests her future may not lie with the Doctor…