Friday, December 7, 2012

The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: Doctor Who Companions

Queue the James Bond theme.  Alright, they may not be Bond girls, but the Doctor's companions hold their inestimable own as an iconic part of British science fiction thus queue the Doctor Who theme. And speaking of Doctor Who Companions recently as noted in the investigation of Doctor Who, Series 1, Episode 4 and 5, Aliens Of London and World War Three, we have companions and lots of them.  I was moved to deliver you the very best of Doctor Who Companions while reading a 2008 SFX Doctor Who special.  While putting the finishing touches on my latest look at Doctor Who Series 1, and ironically enough a fairly extensive additional commentary on the dynamic relationship of the Doctor and his companion or companions, it seemed a perfect opportunity to look back at those famous women and even some men.

We first look at the SFX Doctor Who Companions list as voted on by readers and by popularity. So if you find yourself scratching your head a little, don't blame me.  I'm just the messenger and giving full credit to SFX for compiling their own fine list.  The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: Doctor Who Companions list will follow.

35. Dr. Grace Holloway [Daphne Ashbrook].

34. Sally Sparrow [Carey Mulligan].

33. Lucie Miller [Sheridan Smith].
32.  Erimem/ Erimemushinteprem [Caroline Morris].
31. Astrid Peth [Kylie Minogue].
30. Frobisher.
29. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw [Caroline John].
28. Dr. Evelyn Smythe [Maggie Stables].
27. Polly [Anneke Wills].
26. Victoria Waterfield [Deborah Watling].

25. Ian Chesteron [William Russell].
24. Fitzgerald Michael Kreiner [Matt Di Angelo].
23. Donna Noble [Catherine Tate].
22. Nyssa [Sarah Sutton].
21. K-9.

20. Susan Foreman [Carole Ann Ford].

19. Harry Sullivan [Ian Marter].

18. Mickey Smith [Noel Clarke].

17. Josephine Grant a.k.a. Jo [Katy Manning].

16. Vislor Turlough [Mark Strickson].
15. Zoe Heriot [Wendy Padbury].

14.  Barbara Wright [Jacqueline Hill].

13. Perpugilliam Brown [Nicola Bryant].
12. Charlotte Elspeth Pollard a.k.a. Charley [India Fisher].
11. Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart a.k.a. The Brigadier [Nicholas Courtney].

10. Tegan Jovanka [Janet Fielding].

9. Leela [Louise Jameson].
8. Romanadvoratrelundar a.k.a. Romana I [Mary Tamm].
7. Captain Jack [John Barrowman].

6. Jamie McCrimmon [Frazer Hines].
5. Romanadvoratrelundar a.k.a. Romana II [Lalla Ward].
4. Dorothy McShane a.k.a Ace [Sophie Aldred].

3. Martha Jones [Freema Agyeman].
2. Rose Tyler [Billie Piper].
1. Sarah Jane Smith [Elisabeth Sladen].

This would be my list. Drum roll please. These are my favorite Doctor Who Companions based entirely on fond memories, nostalgia, male hormones and some semblance of rational thought. I give you the official Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: Doctor Who Companions.

10. Romanadvoratrelundar a.k.a. Romana I [Mary Tamm] or Romana II [Lalla Ward].  Both Tamm and Ward offered their own unique personalities to the role of Romana.  The late Mary Tamm was a gem of a time lady in her own right.  Ward brought the humor with her then soon-to-be husband Tom Baker [1980-1982].  Tamm appeared in just six (6) episodes for Season 16.  Ward was highlighted for twelve (12) episodes in Season 17 and 18.  Both appeared opposite the Fourth Doctor.

9. Astrid Peth [Kylie Minogue] or Jackson Lake [David Morrissey].  They were both featured in Doctor Who Christmas Specials for just one (1) appearance each opposite the Tenth Doctor, but they are both that damn good.  Minogue appeared in Voyage Of The Damned [2007] while Morrissey showcased in The Next Doctor [2008].  First, it's Kylie Minogue folks - Come into my world indeed.  Morrissey is simply a gifted actor and has made a big splash in his recurring role in Season Three of The Walking Dead [2012] as the arch bad guy, The Governor.

8. Harry Sullivan [Ian Marter] or Mickey Smith [Noel Clarke].  Smith and Sullivan.  It sounds like a law firm, but does have a nice ring to it.  Although tenures were indeed short and sweet both were particularly memorable for me.  Their performances were natural and first rate.  The Sullivan character, played by the late Ian Marter, was particularly ephemeral, which is why I share the eighth spot with both.  Look for Clarke in Star Trek: Into Darkness and more importantly an upcoming old-fashioned sci-fi, horror thriller called Storage 24.  Clarke, as Smith, always impressed me on Doctor Who and he continues to impress as he matures.  Truth be told Clarke is also a writer on Storage 24 and penned an episode of Torchwood [Series 1, Episode 11, Combat].  Marter appeared in seven (7) episodes during Season 12 and 13 opposite the Fourth Doctor.  Clarke appeared in several entries during Series 1 of the rebooted Doctor Who opposite the Ninth Doctor, but then ten (10) more entries for Series 2 and 4 opposite the Tenth Doctor.

7. Donna Noble [Catherine Tate].  Comedienne Catherine is probably an acquired taste.  My family has generally seen most of her Catherine Tate shows/specials and have generally been pretty amused by her talents.  She brings a very different kind of companion to the mix and for that she should be embraced.  She appeared in sixteen (16) entries opposite the Tenth Doctor.

6. Clara Oswald [Jenna Coleman]. Clara is quickly rising on my top ten list. She, along with Matt Smith, and now Peter Capaldi, has delivered a companion filled with grace and beauty and the kind of bouncy spunk that once made Sarah Jane a favorite. I expect quite a year between Clara and Capaldi as the Doctor.

5. River Song [Alex Kingston].  There is something incredibly sexy about talented actress Alex Kingston as River Song.  She was a terrific character component for Doctor Who and equally enjoyable as Dr. Elizabeth Corday on ER throughout Seasons 4 through 11 and Season 15 of that incredibly long-running series [1994-2009].  She appeared on 160 episodes of ER giving her the seventh slot for most appearances.  For Doctor Who she appeared eleven (11) times opposite the Eleventh Doctor in Series 6.

4. Leela [Louise Jameson].  Louise Jameson was wild, literally, as Leela.  I loved her.  Of course, I'm really terribly nostalgic about Leela.  She arrived in my hey day of Doctor Who viewing.  for me, Elisabeth Sladen and Louise Jameson were the tandem of sexy science fiction for me.  When Sladen was replaced by Jameson there was no backlash from this young lad.  I immediately embraced the wild child and easily accepted her as a natural fit for the Tom Baker Doctor Who years.  In fact, Baker and Jameson never shared the chemistry as relationships go that Baker shared with Sladen, though they do have a healthy respect for one another today.  Regardless,  perhaps the energy between the two worked incredibly well for her run on the show as she remains one of my all-time favorites.  The excellent Jameson appeared in just nine (9) episodes during Seasons 14 and 15 opposite the Fourth Doctor.

3. Amy Pond [Karen Gillan].  Karen Gillan will indeed be missed by many, but the gorgeous Scotch red head was a pistol. Plus, there isn't much better than a smoking hot red head. Gillan infused much of the chemistry and success of the Eleventh Doctor's adventures with her own special presence. She was first glimpsed in Series Four, The Fires Of Pompeii with David Tennant. Peter Capaldi guested in that same episode. Both Gillan and Capaldi would one day prove essential to the Doctor Who legacy. Gillan starred in thirty-three (33) episodes opposite the Eleventh Doctor.

2. Rose Tyler [Billie Piper].  Billie Piper was a firecracker and reinvigorated Doctor Who along with Christopher Eccleston and Russell T. Davies and company.  Her contribution shouldn't be understated.  She was full of life and a truly bright spot during that darker Series 1 with Eccleston.  She's also incredibly hot.  Piper really brought the modern beauty to the Doctor Who beast and featured in a whopping thirty-five (35) episodes opposite the Ninth and Tenth Doctors in Series 1, 2 and 4.  You can see that modern beauty in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl [2007-2011].

1. Sarah Jane Smith [Elisabeth Sladen].  I have such immense fondness for the late Elisabeth Sladen, a real lady.  She brought such charm and sweet beauty to Doctor Who.  She was a delight in my childhood.  She may be the most celebrated too.  Who else deserve their own show?  She brought her unique personality to The Sarah Jane Adventures [2007-2011] before her untimely passing in April 2011.  Sladen holds an impressive resume appearing in six (6) episodes of Season Eleven opposite the Third Doctor, thirteen (13) episodes during Season 12 through 14 opposite the Fourth Doctor and four (4) episodes during Series 4 opposite the Tenth Doctor.  Of course, we can't forget the infamous one-off K9 And Company [1981].  Sladen left a tremendous mark on the legacy of Doctor Who and for me personally which is why she gets the number one spot.

Admittedly, I tend to lean heavily on my formative years but a proper viewing of Doctor Who in its entirety will continue to shape this list. This is a dynamic thing and may change so revisit from time to time. Martha Jones has since been replaced on my list with Clara Oswald. Upon further investigation of Doctor Who I found the Martha Jones character to be flat, generally lacking in spark despite being a pretty face. Jones would easily rank among my least favorite companions at this point.

In the end, they may not be OO7 James Bond girls, but these ladies of Who are just as iconic for the geek set and certainly as memorable.


Baron Waste said...

If her career keeps not going as she thought it would, I could certainly see Emma Watson as a Companion - her 'Hermione Granger' essentially WAS, if you think about it... But she better move fast, 'cuz she ain't gettin' no younger!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

hello BW! That's a great thought. I would love her on DW.

Perhaps her star power excludes her from a regular role at this point. Perhaps she would be suited for a one-off appearance a la Kylie Monogue.

I still love the idea.