You would think that Doctor Who is watched solely by OAPs who can’t stand the sight of purty young things traveling in time and space the way that some ‘people’ go on. Yes, Matt Smith is young but he’s only a couple of years younger than Peter Davison was back in the day. And now Karen Gillan. She’s young too but there are many others who have battled monsters and such who would be more readily ID’d at their supermarket for booze than she would. It should also be noted that both Billie Piper and Bonnie Langford were just a few months older than Gillan is now when they started on Doctor Who but did people complain then? Uh oh, I see they did. Oh well. (Please note: the ages supplied in brackets are the age that the actress or actor was when they started filming.)
DODO – Jackie Lane (18)To kick off we have the rather thorny issue of the youngest companion to travel with The Doctor. I’m gonna stick with Jackie Lane as Dodo though some places state her date of birth a few years earlier than 1947 (a problem that crops up again later). Probably most memorable for her collection of rather nifty headgear.
NYSSA – Sarah Sutton (18)Peter Davison felt, and has said often enough since, that the best pairing for the show would have been The Doctor and Nyssa. And whilst it’s not wise to contradict Petey D, I feel I have to. I shan’t use the phrase ‘wet blanket’ when referring to Nyssa but … I’ll stop there. Her character was given an excellent start in Keeper of Traken and Logopolis (witnessing the transformation of her father into The Master and the destruction of her home world) but beside Tegan she fell a little short of interesting. Nice outfits though.
ADRIC – Matthew Waterhouse (18)And so we come to the first of the boys. Young Matthew Waterhouse played mathematics whiz Adric and despite walking around as if he just been to the toilet in his trousers he did receive the most memorable send off a companion has received to date. The boy from Alzarius sacrificed his life, in order to defeat the Cybermen and save the Earth, during the dramatic closing scenes of Earthshock. So dramatic, in fact, that the end titles were dispensed with in favour of silence. They wouldn’t do that these days.
VICTORIA – Deborah Watling (19)One of the original ‘screamers’, Watling has proved to be one of the most enduring of companions. A firm favourite with the fans nowadays, she was barely old enough to drink when she landed the role of Victoria alongside Patrick Troughton.
ZOE – Wendy Padbury (20)Another fave with the fans though she tarted up the TARDIS console a bit more than Victoria did. Padbury had the audacity to wear a skin-hugging sparkily one piece and then writhed all over the Time Rotor like she was in a flippin’ Russ Meyer movie. Won’t someone please think of the children???
VICKI – Maureen O’Brien (20)To be utterly frank, Vicki isn’t what I’d call a ‘classic’ companion – but she was young. The sex-o-meter, however, was firmly shelved for her time with The Doctor and she let all the attention drift onto the dreamy Steven (played by Peter Purves). Most interestingly, and I use the word quite wrongly, her surname was never revealed onscreen. Like, wow man – the Sixties were a crazy time.
JO GRANT – Katy Manning (20)She was young, she was blonde, she was hot. And then she posed nude with a flippin’ Dalek plunger between her legs. Katy Manning, we salute you!
PERI – Nicola Bryant (21)Whilst we’re at attention, let’s not forget the little gal who re-introduced sex into the show after a decade or so of frumpy outfits and daft hairstyles (and that’s just Tom Baker!). Perpugilliam Brown (Peri for short – though don’t get the Sixth Doctor started on that) bounced onto our screens during Peter Davison’s closing stories flashing more skin than Leela, in a flimsy bikini with some tight camera work. This, was in Lanzarote. The dirty….
TURLOUGH – Mark Strickson (21)Barely scraping in by a few months (and again dependent on which DOB you use), Mark Strickson was only just twenty one when he started filming Mawdryn Undead. And like Karen Gillan, Turlough was a redhead. (Though it should be remarked that Strickson is not and was paid for the ‘inconvenience’ of dying his hair. I wonder what Cathy T and her flame-haired brigade would make of that? Gingerism ahoy in the Eighties!) His defining traits were looking behind him in every scene or buttoning up his jacket. The Eighties were crazy, man.
KAMELION (??)The sequel companion if you like to K9, this robotic assistant was neither sexy or annoying. He was just there. Kamleion’s exit from the show was as memorable as his entry (ie. not at all). What age was he again? I guess we’ll never know (or care).
SALLY NOBLE-SONG (AKA THE RANI) – Karen Gillan (21)If this were Britain’s Got Talent, we’d call her KaGi. Thankfully, it’s not. So we find that Kazza G is not nearly the youngest actress (or even actor) to accompany The Doctor in the TARDIS which means that all you moaning grandads out there should give your gobs a rest, wait ’til 2010 and then start grumping about how much you prefer the ‘previous one’. And by the time Gillan does appear on screen we’ll have been subjected to the geriatric antics of Catherine Tate, Lindsay Duncan and Bernard Cribbins. Heck, Davey T is pushing forty! We’ll all be ready for some younger faces on the world’s greatest television show.