Companions are characters that travel with and/or share adventures with the Doctor in the popular BBC science fiction show, Doctor Who. For 50 years, companions have worked their way into audience’s hearts. From 1963 through to the 2005 revival series, the Doctor has had a number of companions that have played important roles. They have become the Doctor’s friends and not only keep him company, but provide knowledge, alternate perspectives, and help the Doctor on his often dangerous journeys. During these journeys, they grow as people and help the Doctor grow himself. Some companions are more beloved than others, but they all hold an important place in the series. They also provide the point-of-view of the audience, as they are humans discovering new worlds and time travel. Here is a top ten list of the companions in the modern Doctor Who series, also known as “New Who.”
This article may contain spoilers for viewers that have not seen the modern series in its entirety.
10. Wilfred Mott
Although not a companion for long, Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble’s grandfather, was one of the Doctor’s biggest fans. He was the final companion that would travel with the Tenth Doctor. Wilfred looked out for the Tenth Doctor and deeply cared for him like he was his son. He tried to sacrifice himself for the Doctor, but instead, the Doctor sacrificed himself for Wilfred.
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9. Mickey Smith
From the start, Mickey felt inferior to the Doctor, who his then girlfriend, Rose, cared for. He butted heads with the ninth Doctor, but eventually gained the Tenth Doctor’s respect and was offered a place on the TARDIS. He declined at first, but eventually tagged along only later decide to live in an alternate universe to spend time with his late grandmother and join others in fighting the Cybermen. He returned from the alternate universe on two occasions and eventually stayed in this dimension, married Martha, and fought evil aliens with her.
8. Rory Williams
Rory Williams was Amy Pond’s boyfriend and later husband. He was intelligent and always put Amy first. He waited for Amy and was always loyal, even though he was jealous of the Doctor’s and Amy’s relationship. He held the Doctor accountable for his actions and was never afraid to challenge him or stand up to him.
7. Clara Oswald
Clara is the Eleventh Doctor’s “Impossible Girl,” having met him throughout his time stream as different incarnations of herself. She exists as a character outside this mystery and calls the Doctor out on him trying to compare her to others telling him, “I’m not a bargain basement stand-in for someone else.” She sticks by the Doctor and reminds him of the good qualities he possesses. She has been a companion for only the second half of Season 7 and 2 specials so far. When series 8 begins, she will be going on adventures with the newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor.
6. Martha Jones
When we first met Martha, she was a nurse training to become a medical doctor. She quickly developed feelings for the Doctor but she was so much more than a love interest in an unrequited story. She went on to save the world from the master without using weapons. She then left the Doctor to stay behind with her traumatized family, move on from the Doctor, and continue training as a doctor herself. She realized she was not second best. Her departure as companion does not mark the end of her friendship with the Doctor or Jack. She later returned in season four and was featured in a few episodes of the Torchwood spin-off.
5. Amy Pond
Amy met the Eleventh Doctor when she was a child. Due to a time travel glitch, the Doctor disappeared for longer than planned, and Amy grew up with others believing he was her imaginary friend. Amy Pond later got the chance to be his companion when he returned, after she waited for so long. Amy was a strong character that often saved the Doctor and proved him wrong on a number of occasions. One of her most memorable moments was when she helped Vincent Van Gogh by giving him inspiration and allowing him to see that he became an inspiration to the world.
4. Captain Jack Harkness
Captain Jack Harkness was the charming, immortal con man that found his way into fan’s hearts. Jack briefly traveled with the Doctor (while poking fun at his sonic screwdriver) and became a self-sacrificing hero. He was very adventurous, brave and loyal, becoming so popular that he got his own spin-off series, Torchwood, after only his first five episodes of Doctor Who.
3. River Song
River Song was more than just a companion to the Doctor, she was his wife. She was a strong character that challenged the Doctor. She didn’t need him to protect her, and she could fly the TARDIS better than he could. She was comical, sarcastic and very smart. River trusts the Doctor more than anyone else, and it appears that this trust it mutual, as the Doctor revealed to her what his real name is.
2. Donna Noble
Donna Noble balanced the Doctor perfectly. There wasn’t any romantic tension like there previously was with Rose and Martha. She was his best friend. Donna was smart, cheeky, and unapologetic. She demanded just as much attention as the Doctor did onscreen. She also demanded respect, pointing out that she is just as important as a Time Lord and that he isn’t better than she is. Donna taught the Doctor how to not be so harsh and remember that he is there to help, not punish. For example, “Runaway Bride” with the Racnoss babies, and also in “The Fires of Pompei.” During her time with the Doctor, she also was able to find herself and discover her own value.
1. Rose Tyler
Rose Tyler was the first companion of the new series and she quickly became a fan favorite. Rose brought out the Ninth Doctor’s humanity, and helped him to heal. She “made him better.” Also, a companion to the Tenth Doctor, Rose’s journey unfortunately ended when she became stuck in an alternate universe, returning to the series only briefly before heading back. From being with the Doctor, Rose learned that you should not just sit back and let things happen, you have to fight and have “the guts to do what is right.” Throughout their time together, they both showed each other a better way to live.