5 of the best male companions in ‘Doctor Who’

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

Doctor Who Ian Chesterton William Russell

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

Doctor Who Jamie McCrimmon Frazer Hines

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

images_Blog_2011Q2_doctor who 6 7 5 sontaran rory

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

Doctor who Harry Sullivan Ian Marter

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

Doctor Who Mickey Smith Noel Clarke

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

Doctor Who Brigadier Nicholas Courtney

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–????

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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…

  • Alice

    Agreed with most of the list although i would have placed Jamie and the Brigadier near the top (1st and 2nd respectively) and awesome to see Harry get a mention as most tend to dismiss him as a companion

  • Malachi Meahl

    Where is Adric? He dies, while trying to save a planet, and doesn’t even get an honorable mention?

    • Valeyard

      I haven’t watched Adric episodes yet, but I read that he was killed off because the character was hated back then

  • JB

    How about Steven, Ben or Turlough? Ben is often forgotten because most of his episodes are lost (late season four deserves to have more episodes found).

    • rycbar

      finally someone knows Ben!

  • Asia Jaśka Jankowska

    Wilfred Mott! <3

  • zach

    how is Jack just an honorable mention? he is and will forever be my favorite <3

    • Tzu

      Yeah… I don’t see how Mickey has a number when he was never a companion… But Jack got honorable mention… I say fuck Mickey and let’s put Jack on his spot.

      • Blah

        Not saying Mickey was a great companion but he did become one after the episode with Sarah Jane, he had a short companionship before leaving the doctor and staying in the parallel world

      • Kitwench

        Mickey *is* a companion and does travel briefly with the Doctor – 10 to Rose “I let you keep Mickey!” when he wants to bring the horse on the TARDIS, lol!

  • Corey

    Turlough should definitely be on this list, before Mickey. At least Turlough didn’t spend half of his appearances with the title of “the idiot.”

  • Dave

    Harry Sullivan is number 2 while Brigadier should be number 1. 3 should be Captain Jack and 4 Wilfred. 5 would definitely be Rory and 6 (or honorable mentions) Mickey (or Rickey).

  • Patrick Slee

    Harry is great. Such a loveable buffoon. And we have that everpresent line “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!!!” Classic. Good to see the Brigadier and Ian in there and THANK YOU for not even mentioning Adric. Eurgh…

  • GenT

    They pretty much mentioned all of the Doctor’s male companions, except for Steven (he deserves a place, he was really good), Ben, Adric and Turlough. Now Jack and the Brigadier deserved more than just a mention: they are better than all on the list.

  • Harry Sullivan was my favourite, while I have to say the Brigadier & Jamie were splendid fellows too.

  • Tzu

    Mickey Smith SHOULD NOT be there. They tried to make him cool but instead he just released a crap ton of Daleks on London… I hate him.

    • Chris Sullivan

      Except 10 told Mickey that he did them a favor and that it would have happened, anyway.

      • Tzu

        I know, but that only made his character worse and more annoying. It could have been Rose, but nope. I’m sure the writer wanted Mickey to be annoying

  • Blah

    I feel that captain jack should have gotten #1 companion for 2 major reasons
    -he is the only companion(as far as I know) that has successfully destroyed a dalek
    -he also is the most similar to the doctor in the fact that he is a time traveling alien that can survive for thousands of years

    • Malachi Meahl

      Jack is not an alien. He is a human, who uses a vortex manipulator in order to time travel. He has survived for years, because Rose brought him back to life wrong, and now he does not die.

      • Blah

        Actually he said that back at his home planet was where he got the vortex manipulator and his other name, the face of bo

        • Malachi Meahl

          Nope sorry. He is human. Look him up in the tardis data core.

      • Eeep

        Your talking as if being human excludes being an Alien. It doesn’t.
        Being an Alien, by our standarts, is any living creature not from this earth.
        If Jack is from earth he is human and not an alien. If he is not from
        earth he probably is still human, but also an alien. For example everyone from Star wars is an alien to us because none of those humans are from earth. (I have not looked up yet though if Jack is in fact not from earth, but I just wanted to point out that human/alien doesn’t have to exclude one another.)

  • Robert Rasmussen

    K9 (Male Robot Dog)

  • timmy

    Danny Pink is still not a companion, Cultbox. Try breathing and thinking at the same time before you try anything harder, eh.

    • timmy

      (Oh, last time I posted I believe there were some answers! Never saw them, just sodded off– which I will do again now. Byeee)

  • DJ

    Never felt Mickey was a good companion…I’d rank him closer to the lower third than the upper third. And as much as I like Harry Sullivan, he’s probably more of a middle third.

    For me, I see Ian, Jamie, the Brigadier, and Rory, and then either Wilfred Mott, Jackson Lake or Adric in the fifth spot…and then Harry 8th out of 17.

  • leadsled

    Mickey Smith gets ranked above the Brigadier and Jack? Are you insane or just stupid? Wilf was better than Mickey who basically just whined all the time. (really was perfect for rose in that regard)

    • Kitwench

      I agree and I choose to not pay any attention to the order of the list,lol! Mickey became good, but he was not the best.

  • Kitwench

    Harry was ok, but nowhere near the man Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was!
    My list for the 5 best male Companions would be
    5 – Mickey
    4 – Ian
    3 – Jamie
    2 – Jack
    1 – Rory
    and then Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart as Best Not-the-Doctor male of show, period 😀

  • Ian

    I guess Harry. I hope the new male compnaion isn’t going to be a wimp like Mickey and Rory started out.

  • rycbar

    Where’s Ben Jackson?