5 Could Have Been Companions
Guest contributor Holly Illis looks at the ones that got away.
Following the news that we might have another companion joining Capaldi, Coleman and Anderson in the TARDIS for Series 8, I thought I would take a look back at some of the ‘could-have-been’ companions. I’ll count down my top five one-offs (or two-offs), whether they vanished because they turned down the offer to travel in the TARDIS, or even if it’s because they died. Feel free to post who you would’ve liked to see stick around for a little longer as well.
These are the ones who got away. I think they are unconventional, with interesting skills, abilities and personalities, which would have made them great permanent companions. So, take a look:
I know she seems kind of the obvious choice, and that’s partly why I chose her. I didn’t think the episode The Doctor’s Daughter was that amazing, but the title says it all. Think of the potential! The Doctor’s biological daughter, who’s almost the opposite of him in every way, travelling with him, getting to know him… After one episode when we thought she had died I was pretty sad. After a whole series, developing that bond, a tragic series finale is practically inevitable. It’s irresistible! I would love to see that.
It could be really interesting if they played it out right, especially opposite Capaldi. He’s old enough to feel like a proper father figure, but that’s not really the Doctor we know. The Doctor we know is a wanderer, he’s dangerous, he’s dark at heart and if he felt tied down by Jenny, well, even better. Together they could do anything, but first they’d have to really get to know each other, and it’s that development that I think we missed out on when they went their separate ways in The Doctor’s Daughter.
4. Canton Everett Delaware III
First off, who doesn’t like Mark Sheppard? He’s a brilliant actor, a huge fan of the show, and while he was far from wasted in the two episodes he starred in, I feel he had so much more potential as Canton.
In terms of actual usefulness, I think he proved himself in The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon. With FBI training, he was level-headed and didn’t panic when he came face to face with one of the Silence for the first time. He was able to adapt quickly to the unfamiliar environment that was a world where time travel and aliens existed. And he was good with a gun. As a general rule, the Doctor hates guns, but that may not be a bad thing, as the friction armed Canton produces might be interesting.
But it’s not just his skill that makes me think he would’ve made a good companion. I loved his personality; he was full of dry wit, and obviously very smart. He was very loyal, and he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind:
Nixon: You were my second choice for this, Mr. Delaware.
Canton: That’s okay. You were my second choice for president, Mr. Nixon.
I loved the way he bounced off the Doctor. I loved his calmness and his control, like you could always rely on him. And I would love to see him back.
3. Craig Owens
Any excuse to see Alfie again! Well that’s not true, I also loved Craig and James Corden’s performance, but the Dark Lord Of All was adorable. Anyway. I’m not entirely sure why I would like Craig back, I just found him instantly likeable, and very human. I immediately empathised with him, he wasn’t the perfect copes-well-in-a-crisis companion you sometimes come across. He was genuinely scared when he saw the Cybermen, but not so scared in The Lodger that he couldn’t do something about it. In that same episode, he gets jealous about the Doctor’s success at football and his interaction with Sophie.
And he was funny. He had a great chemistry with Matt Smith that just worked, and I think Closing Time was one of the funniest episodes in Series 6. The banter was hilarious, and when people thought they were a couple… I loved Closing Time, just for those two together, because I didn’t think the episode was that great.
Craig: Doctor, please—
The Doctor: Shush!
Craig: No you shush!
The Doctor: Shush!
The Doctor: No you shush!
While I no longer have faith in Moffat to write stories that make complete sense, I still trust in his abilities to write very funny dialogue, and who better to deliver that dialogue than James Corden?
I think part of why I love Idris so much is that she was in The Doctor’s Wife, and that has imprinted a positive association of anyone and anything in that episode onto my brain permanently, because it’s pretty much my favourite episode from the whole Matt Smith era. It would be a shame in a way to bring her back and ruin the ending of that episode:
The Doctor: Goodbye.
Idris: No. I just wanted to say, Hello. Hello Doctor. It’s so very very nice to meet you.
(I love that line), but I still think she would make a great companion. Being the TARDIS would make her the Doctor’s equal, if not even someone who he actually looked up to.
I think she’s very different. She’s like nothing we’ve ever seen on the show before, certainly not in the new series. And it’s fine having human companions, usually young, usually female, usually pretty, but a new Doctor deserves a bit of a break from tradition. The TARDIS personified, older, (ok, still female), and not conventionally attractive (much like Doctors shouldn’t be, according to Moffat.) I like the sound of that.
One of the problems with this of course is that with the TARDIS’ “soul” inside Idris, how would the box work? Good question. Fortunately, I don’t have to answer it.
1. Adelaide Brooke
Surprised? I don’t blame you. She didn’t exactly leave on good terms with the Doctor, she’s definitely not your traditional companion, and she died. No one said the return of people on this list had to be possible.
Lindsay Duncan is a fantastic actress. She had so much more to give, and while I completely loved The Waters of Mars, I felt that there was still more to discover about her.
She is entirely theoretical of course. If she hadn’t died, if the Doctor had offered to take her on and if for some reason she had actually said yes, I think she would’ve made a fantastic companion.
After their final confrontation in The Waters of Mars, it was clear that Adelaide didn’t like the Doctor.
Adelaide: And there’s no one to stop you?
The Doctor: No.
Adelaide: This is wrong, Doctor! I don’t care who you are! The Time Lord victorious is wrong!
A bit like what I said with Jenny, this would mean focusing on their relationship for a lot of the time, a relationship which I always envisaged would finish up a bit like the Doctor/Donna relationship. There would almost certainly be no romantic interest, but I think if they got to know each other they could become good friends.
From a practical point of view, she would probably be the best equipped companion yet – she has experienced space travel, she’s brave, she’s clever and resourceful. But she was also used to being the leader – in the TARDIS, this wouldn’t be the case, but she might still be able to keep the Doctor in check.
Yes, I think she would be interesting. But I also loved her character. So while I think the ending of The Waters of Mars was fitting, I also think it’s a shame she never got her chance to travel with the Doctor.
So there you have it. Each have the makings of a great companion, and each would be interesting to see, with a different dynamic against Capaldi’s Doctor. But I like them all for different reasons, and to be honest I was so spoilt for choice, you’re bound to disagree somewhere down the line. Like I said, post in the comments who you would like to see back!