In the early years of Doctor Who, companions often came aboard the TARDIS because they had nowhere else to go. Orphans and stowaways joined the Time Lord on his adventures, along with less reluctant fellow travellers.
These days, he is a touch more selective, as the Ninth Doctor famously said: “I only take the best.” Of course, for every Amy Pond, Donna Noble or Jo Grant, there are the ones who got away, either ill-fated or unsuited to the demands of a life with lots and lots of running.
With a selection of potentials from episodes since 2005, here’s how over 4,000 of CultBox‘s readers voted…
12. Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley) from ‘Dalek’ and ‘The Long Game’
Who? A boy genius from the then far-flung future of 2012, Adam worked for Dalek ‘owner’ Henry Van Statten. Taken on board by the Doctor, at Rose’s behest, he proved untrustworthy and tried to profit from his future knowledge.
Last seen? Unceremoniously dumped from the TARDIS, he was left to a quiet life with some disturbing alien tech in his forehead.
11. Joan Redfern (Jessica Hynes) from ‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family of Blood’
Who? Matron Joan Redfern was the lady captured the Doctor’s heart while he was transformed into the body of John Smith, a human teacher.
Last seen? After falling in love with his human form, Joan could not accept the Doctor as a Time Lord nor get round the fact that his arrival at her school had wrought so much death and destruction.
10. Jackson Lake (David Morrisery) from ‘The Next Doctor’
Who? Victorian Maths teacher Jackson Lake ended up thinking he was the Doctor after a mind-altering encounter with the Cybermen and a backfiring of infostick.
Recruiting a companion and fashioning his own TARDIS of sorts, he went on to tackle the Cybermen.
Last seen? Back in possession of his faculties and after ensuring the real Doctor was praised for his actions for once, Lake insisted a Christmas dinner onto the Tenth Doctor.
9. Lynda Moss (Jo Joyner) from ‘Bad Wolf’ and ‘The Parting of the Ways’
Who? Much to the annoyance of Rose Tyler, Lynda ‘with a Y’ Moss was a young lady that caught the Doctor’s eye. Fleeing from one of the Gamestation’s Big Brother houses, she bonded with the Time Lord over their mutual love of a reality game show.
Last seen? Sadly, though she escaped the Davinadroid, Lynda fell victim to the Daleks when they began their terrifying assault, suffering death by explosive decompression.
8. Rita (Amara Karan) from ‘The God Complex’
Who? Medical student Rita was a one of the guests of the Minotaur’s space faring prison. Intelligent enough to catch the Doctor’s eye, he even went as far as to tell Amy Pond she was fired!
Last seen? Sadly, Rita fell victim to the Minotaur and did not survive her first adventure.
7. Astrid Peth (Kylie Minogue) from ‘Voyage of the Damned’
Who? Waitress on the Spaceship Titanic, plucky Astrid assisted the Doctor through one hell of a Christmas disaster. Eventually, she saved the planet by taking out devious magnate Max Capricorn with a forklift but plunged to her death in doing so.
Last seen? Partially reconstructed by a teleport system, Astrid ended up as little more than an echo and the Doctor allowed her atoms to scatter into space.
6. Canton Everett Delaware III (Mark Sheppard) from ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and ‘Day of the Moon’
Who? This former FBI Agent, called in by President Nixon to investigate odd telephone calls to the Whitehouse, ended up aiding the Doctor in is fight with the Silence. Handling both aliens and time travellers with his dry wit, Canton became a trusted ally.
Last seen? Either in the Oval Office 1969, asking the impossible of Richard Nixon, or arriving with the fuel for the Doctor’s funeral pyre in 2011, depending on your perspective.
5. Brian Williams (Mark Williams) from ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ and ‘The Power of Three’
Who? Rory’s father Brian accidentally came along for the ride when the Doctor took the Ponds to investigate a spaceship in 2367. A practical man, he had his eyes opened to the universe and discovered a sense of adventure, as well as an admiration for his son’s abilities.
Last seen? Brian took on the duties of plant watering after Amy and Rory went off in the TARDIS once more, and was last seen meeting his adoptive grandson Anthony in the lost scene ‘P.S.’.
4. Madame de Pompadour (Sophia Myles) from ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’
Who? Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, or Reinette as she was known, became the Mistress of King Louis XV of France. She grew up with the Doctor popping in and out of her life, as she was being monitored by the clockwork droids of a 51st Century spaceship on which he had landed.
Last seen? The Doctor was prepared to ‘take the slow path’ and live out his life with Reinette, but they were separated and she died before he could return.
3. Craig Owens (James Corden) from ‘The Lodger’ and ‘Closing Time’
Who? Sometime housemate and friend of the Eleventh Doctor, Craig Owens was oblivious to the fact that a time machine was masquerading as the top floor of his house. Living with the Doctor was a life-changing adventure that prompted him to declare his love for best friend Sophie.
Last seen? After helping to fend off a Cyber attack from below Colchester, Craig remained playing happy families with Sophie and their son Alfie, formerly ‘Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All’.
Nearly 15% of you voted for Craig, perhaps a return appearance might just be welcome.
2. Jenny (Georgia Moffet) from ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’
Who? Extrapolated from a cell sample, Jenny was a generated clone of the Doctor. Although expected to fight, the Doctor showed her another way to live – once he had recovered from the shock of being a parent again.
Last seen? Although apparently shot dead after taking a bullet for the Doctor, Jenny survived, promptly stole the nearest spaceship and headed out into the stars for adventures and lots of running.
A close second with 21% of the vote, we remain eternally hopeful for Jenny’s return, as reportedly it was Steven Moffat who suggested she should survive.
1. Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) from ‘Blink’
Who? Encountering the Weeping Angels in an abandoned house, Sally Sparrow got entangled in the Doctor’s life though a series of messages left by him. From writing behind wallpaper to DVD extras, together she pieced together a puzzle to reunite the Time Lord with his TARDIS.
Last seen? After finally meeting the Doctor in person, earlier in his timeline, she provided all the information he would need to instruct her before watching him hare off with Martha to deal with some crisis or other.
Fan favourite Sally Sparrow topped our poll with nearly 25% of the vote. Sadly, actress Carey Mulligan has barely worked on British TV since her 2007 Doctor Who appearance, instead appearing on the big screen with the likes of Ryan Gosling in Drive and Leonardo diCaprio in The Great Gatsby.
What’s your favourite companion-that-never-was? Let us know below…
Watch the 50th anniversary trailer…