Over his fifty years of time and space travel, it is clear the Doctor enjoys the company of women. As well as his granddaughter Susan, he has travelled with teachers, a journalist, students, orphans, a kissogram and the best temp in Chiswick.
The ladies are not the whole story though, as there have been a number of male companions too – sometimes there to handle the rough and tumble, on other occasions just along for the ride.
With the recent announcement that Samuel Anderson is set to join Series 8 as Danny Pink, one of Clara’s fellow teachers at Coal Hill School, CultBox takes a look back at Doctor Who‘s best male companions (in no particular order!)…
Ian Chesterton (William Russell), 1963–1965
Initially, the mysterious owner of the TARDIS was not the hero of Doctor Who and it was up to science teacher Ian Chesterton to fulfil that role. Following Susan home, Chesterton and his colleague Barbara Wright became embroiled in adventure when the Doctor kidnapped them in order to preserve their silence.
A dashing figure, charming the mums as much as the children, Ian turned his hand to sword fighting, became a roman galley slave, wrestled with numerous aliens and was even knighted by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades.
One thing than sustained Ian was his unspoken affection for Barbara and their relationship was the source of much fan speculation. Confirmation finally came in the SJA episode ‘Death of the Doctor’, where Sarah Jane mentioned them as a couple. Eagle-eyed viewers may also have spotted an I Chesterton as the Chairman of the Board of Governors at the Coal Hill School in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ – does that make him Clara’s boss?
Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), 1966–1969, 1983, 1985
First appearing in Patrick Troughton’s second story, Scottish highlander Jamie became a permanent feature at the second Doctor’s side.
Fiercely loyal, Jamie’s 18th century background never held him back as he translated the wonders around him into concepts he could understand. He became the Doctor’s best friend and their travels together were only curtailed when the Time Lords exiled the Doctor to Earth and returned Jamie home.
Despite this, Jamie made a brief cameo in ‘The Five Doctors’ and also returned alongside Troughton for 1985’s ‘The Two Doctors’. He even gained a name check from the Tenth Doctor in ‘Tooth and Claw’.
Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), 2010–2012
Nurse Rory joined the Doctor on his travels to be with the woman he loved. Engaged to Amy Pond, they subsequently married and even conceived a child onboard the TARDIS.
Despite being a somewhat reluctant traveller, Rory’s love for his wife carried him through and he became a truly heroic figure, guarding her in the Pandorica for nearly two millennia, making tough decisions and fronting up to a whole fleet of Cybermen. He also had an unfortunate habit of dying and being brought back to life.
Rory (and Amy’s) time with the Doctor came to an end after facing the Weeping Angels in New York, with the pair of them zapped back to the 1930s and the Doctor unable to return for them.
Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter), 1974 – 1975
Assigned to evaluate the Doctor’s health after his regeneration, Surgeon-Lieutenant Dr Harry Sullivan joined Sarah Jane Smith as a companion for Tom Baker’s first series. A true gentleman, although somewhat accident prone, Harry was a brave and reliable soul – just the sort of chap you’d want at your side while saving the universe.
Cast before Tom Baker, the role of Harry was designed to handle the action if they went with an older Doctor. As it was, Baker was more than capable and Harry politely remained on Earth after ‘Terror of the Zygons’, with Marter appearing one final time as Harry in ‘The Android Invasion’.
After UNIT were a few mentions of him in the series, with the Brigadier recalling his work for NATO and Sarah Jane revealing that he developed vaccines which saved millions of lives.
Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), 2005–2006, 2008, 2010
Plotting the course admirably from zero to hero, Rose’s boyfriend Mickey Smith was hardly companion material when we first met him. However, after being accused of involvement in Rose’s disappearance and proving himself against the Slitheen, the Doctor offered him a place on board the TARDIS.
He did not take it up, however, until an encounter with Sarah Jane and K-9 made him evaluate his place. Mickey went on to be a Cyberman-busting hero living on a parallel Earth.
After coming to the Doctor’s aid in ‘Journey’s End’, Mickey remained in our reality and went freelance, last seen taking on a Sontaran with his wife – a certain Dr Martha Jones.
Honourable mention: Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), 1968–2008
More than just a companion, the Brigadier became one of the Doctor’s best and closest friends, knowing him though a number of regenerations. They initially met while battling Yeti on the London Underground and the Brig went on to provide the Doctor with a job and a family of sorts during his exile to Earth.
Working as his Scientific Advisor, the Doctor did not always agree with UNIT’s methods, but he and the Brigadier became close and the Doctor continued to pop in and out of his life.
Though we sadly heard of the Brigadier’s death in ‘The Wedding of River Song’, his legacy continues in the form of UNIT’s current leader, his daughter Kate Stewart.
Honourable mention: ‘Captain’ Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), 2005–????
Successful enough to front his own series, Jack Harkness was a time-travelling conman who had his life turned around by an encounter with the Ninth Doctor. After a few adventures, plus his death and resurrection by the time goddess Rose Tyler, Jack was left behind.
Fronting Torchwood from a secret base in Cardiff, Jack was reunited with the Tenth Doctor and helped to defeat the Master, as well returning to deal with Davros.
Irrepressibly cheesy and charming, and unable to die, we feel Jack outgrew mere companion status and became something more. With that plotline still dangling about missing years from his memory, we are waiting to see him come back again!
Who’s your favourite male companion? Let us know below…