"Look after him, won't you? He gets into the most terrible trouble."
—Departing companion Turlough to new companion Peri
The many people (and the occasional robot) who accompany the Doctor in the classic Doctor Who
As with all Doctor Who
characters, they appear not only in the televised Whoniverse
, but also in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe
branches. For their ongoing character tropes in Big Finish Doctor Who
(in which the original actors continue to play them), as well as for assorted other Big Finish audio companions, see here
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Susan Foreman (First Doctor)
Played by: Carole Ann Ford (1963-64, 1983, 1993)
The Doctor's granddaughter. When the series began, she attended Coal Hill School in London as a student for a few months in 1963, posing as a human with a fake human name. She's Constantly Curious
and extremely sweet. Returns much later, as an adult, to help out the first five incarnations of her grandfather all at the same time.
- Audience Surrogate: Word of God has it that she existed so that younger viewers could relate to her.
- Bound and Gagged: In "The Keys of Marinus: Episode 6".
- The Bus Came Back: While Susan has certainly been on a Long Bus Trip, she did return for one adventure in 1983. To this date, Carole Ann Ford is still playing Susan in the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, both in First Doctor stories and as a companion to the Eighth Doctor.
- Bus Crash: The Doctor stated he was the Last of His Kind as early as "The End of the World". In the later episodes "The Empty Child", "Fear Her" and "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor reminisces about having had children once, and confirms that he considers every last Time Lord dead.
- Possibly subverted if the reason the Doctor thought he was the Last of His Kind is because Susan was on Gallifrey at the end of the Time War. If that's the case, now that it's been revealed that the Doctor managed to save Gallifrey in a frozen moment in time rather than destroying it it's possible that Susan's still alive.
- The Cameo: She's very briefly seen, from the back, in a flashback in "The Name of the Doctor".
- Cuddle Bug: Loves to cling to people, especially Barbara and her grandfather.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: One infamous moment has her accidentally dropping a bridge on top of the TARDIS and twisting her ankle in the process.
- Human Aliens: From the same race as the Doctor, which initially the audience knew nothing about, even their name.
- The Ingenue
- It Runs in the Family
- The Load: In most of her stories, with the exception of "The Sensorites".
- Depending on the Writer: Another exception is The Daleks, where Susan, sick with radiation poisoning, makes her way through a jungle to retrieve medicine to save The Doctor, Ian and Barbara.
- Long Bus Trip: Returns in the 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors", and in the Big Finish Eighth Doctor audio "An Earthly Child" and subsequent stories.
- Nice Girl: Creates a stark contrast to her much more ill-tempered grandfather, especially in his earliest stories.
- Pstandard Psychic Pstance: In "The Sensorites".
- Psychic Powers: She's very gifted in telepathy, much more so than her grandfather.
- Put on a Bus: Done at the end of the serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" where the Doctor leaves her behind so she can marry a nice young resistance fighter and have some stability in her life. She would have stayed with her grandfather out of a sense of obligation if he hadn't. She returns in "The Five Doctors".
- Riddle for the Ages: Susan's real (Gallifreyan) name. According to the short story, Roses, it is Arkytior, High Gallifreyan for "Rose". One wonders if the reason the revival series Doctor picked his first companion based on this.
- Screaming Woman: The original screamer. That was why the actress left the show after only one season — she got tired of this role.
- Security Cling: She's very frequently clinging to either Barbara or the Doctor.
- Shipper on Deck: The Big Finish Companion Chronicle "Here There Be Monsters" opens with her talking about how she thinks that Ian and Barbara truly belong together. (The Doctor Who Expanded Universe, though, agrees unanimously with her, and a reference in the "Death of the Doctor" of The Sarah Jane Adventures made it official for TV continuity.)
- Thicker Than Water: She feels strongly about her duty to her grandfather.
Barbara Wright (First Doctor)
Accuse us? You ought to go down on your hands and knees and thank us! But gratitude's the last thing you'll ever have, or any sort of common sense either.
Played by: Jacqueline Hill (1963-65)
A history teacher at Susan's school who, together with Ian, gets abducted by the Doctor. A very down-to-earth companion who freely spoke her mind and never put up with the Doctor's lies and secrets. Quickly became a Memetic Badass
for how determined she was in defeating monsters with whatever tools she had available.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Barbara got chased by very unsavory types a few times, and on one occasion, was offered freedom in exchange for you-know-what. She was decidedly not impressed with the offer.
- Action Girl: Running over a Dalek with a truck.
- The Ageless: In "Death of the Doctor" on The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane, after doing research to find other old companions of the Doctor, says that Ian and Barbara, now married and professors at Cambridge, are said not to have aged since the 1960s.
- Audience Surrogate: She and Ian were designed in part so that viewers of roughly the same age could relate to them.
- Badass Normal: Barbara ran over Daleks with a lorry. The series' Moment of Awesome page put it best: "The first two seasons could have been renamed The Why Barbara Is Awesome Show, and no one would have noticed."
- Badass Teacher: Both she and Ian, with Barbara being the bigger Bad Ass of the two.
- Big Damn Kiss: Barbara doesn't waste any time in becoming the first person in Doctor Who to snog someone: a handsome young Thal on Skaro.
- Bound and Gagged: In "The Crusade: Episode 1".
- Brainy Brunette: She can understand the TARDIS better than the Doctor can, at times. (In one Doctor Who Magazine comic, Eleven even calls her a "beautiful, bouffanted brainbox".)
- The Bus Came Back: Both she and Ian make a surprise appearance the 50th anniversary comic book, "Hunters of the Burning Stone".
- Defiant Captive: Barbara is hardly passive in captivity. Her immediate reaction to hostile monsters is to bash their heads in.
- A God Am I: Comes off as this in "The Aztecs", although she clearly knows that she isn't one. Attempting to change history and calling yourself an Aztec god (It Makes Sense in Context) will do that.
- Good Is Not Soft: Barbara becomes less pacifist as the series continues.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Notably in "The Aztecs". Her love of history doesn't prevent her from trying on shiny things she finds in graves.
- Mistaken For Gods: In "The Aztecs".
- Morality Chain: Barbara has no problems with telling the Doctor where to stuff his "angry old git" act. He mellows out considerably around her.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Usually played straight, but the trope came back to bite her in "The Rescue", when she mistook Vicki's pet for a monster and shot it right in front of the girl.
- Odd Friendship: With Susan, and additionally becomes the first human companion to befriend the TARDIS.
- Official Couple: With Ian, eventually.
- Opt Out: With Ian, using the Daleks' time machine.
- Security Cling: Constantly hugging Susan, bordering on Parental Substitute.
- Sweater Girl: Wore an iconic sweater from the TARDIS wardrobe in season 1.
- Team Mom: Especially to Susan.
- Women Are Wiser: She has a habit of walking into a plot, seeing all possible options, and immediately steering everyone towards a solution.
Ian Chesterton (First Doctor)
We'd better keep an eye on [the Doctor]. He seems to have a knack of getting himself into trouble.
Played by: William Russell (1963-65)
A science teacher at Susan's school who, together with Barbara, gets abducted by the Doctor. Had a fondness for rescuing people, often through good old-fashioned fisticuffs. While decidedly less direct in his approach than Barbara, he adapted quickly to being a TARDIS traveller and put his Chronic Hero Syndrome
to good use.
- Aborted Arc: He was supposed to be in "Mawdryn Undead", but was replaced by the Brigadier (of all people).
- Accidental Misnaming: The Doctor called him Chatterton, Chesterfield, Charleston...
- The Ageless: In "Death of the Doctor" on The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane, after doing research to find other old companions of the Doctor, says that Ian and Barbara, now married and professors at Cambridge, are said not to have aged since the 1960s.
- Audience Surrogate: He and Barbara were designed in part so that viewers of roughly the same age could relate to them.
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: After spending months in ancient China as Marco Polo's guest, he keeps wearing his Chinese clothing for the next adventure just for the heck of it.
- Badass Normal: He had his moments of awesome, which include beating the crap out of some soldiers and outsmarting Daleks left and right.
- Badass Teacher: Uses his knowledge of chemistry and physics in a few adventures.
- The Bus Came Back: Both he and Barbara make a surprise appearance the 50th anniversary comic book, "Hunters of the Burning Stone".
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Oh, Ian.
- Good Is Not Soft: Ian probably kills more people than any other Who companion. (Excluding the Bad Wolf.)
- Hot Scientist: Yep.
- The Lancer: Oddly, the original intention of the show was to make him the hero with the Doctor being in this role.
- Nerves of Steel: He's very quick to leap into action.
- Official Couple: With Barbara, eventually.
- Opt Out: With Barbara, using the Daleks' time machine.
Vicki (First Doctor)
Oh, something else I forgot to tell you. I think I've poisoned Nero.
Played by: Maureen O'Brien (1965)
Survivor of a spaceship crash on the planet Dido, Vicki was a teenage girl who then traveled with the Doctor. Had a fondness for monsters and villains and quickly revealed herself to be a Nightmare Fetishist
. As an orphan, she grew extremely close to the Doctor (who had recently lost Susan) and the two developed a makeshift family dynamic.
- The Cutie: Absolutely adorable.
- Hands Off My Fluffy: In her first episode, Barbara mistakes Vicki's pet for a monster and shoots it. Vicki properly breaks down.
- I Choose to Stay: She decided to stay in ancient Troy and married Troilus, becoming Cressida (yep, the one from Greek Mythology).
- The Knights Who Say Squee: One of the rare companions with literal Squee moments, notably when she realizes that she's about to meet Nero.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She's first introduced with a feral monster as her pet. The episode after that has her gleefully watching While Rome Burns, delighted at how she gets to watch history unfold.
- No Name Given: Her last name is never revealed on screen. The Expanded Universe has established her full name is Vicki Pallister.
- Plucky Girl: In "The Chase" she stows away aboard a Dalek time machine and when confronted by armed Saxon villagers, tells them to hurry up and make up their minds whether she and Steven are spies or not.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Susan.
- She and the Doctor both discuss how they're looking for lost family in each other. Personality-wise, she's not too dissimilar to Susan, but she doesn't have her more alien outlook on the world.
- Teen Genius: She can talk to the Doctor at close to his own level about time travel theory.
Steven Taylor (First Doctor)
This is quite a ship you've got here, Doc.
Played by: Peter Purves (1965-66)
A very snarky marooned pilot from Earth's future, who stows away on the TARDIS. Deeply traumatised by having spent the few years before that as a prisoner, but adapts quickly to life as a TARDIS traveller.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: He doesn't believe in time travel during his first adventure, even though he has no problem with the whole "bigger on the inside" thing. The Doctor takes great delight in mocking him.
- Companion Cube: His stuffed panda, Hi-Fi. The only thing that kept him sane-ish while stuck on the planet Mechanus for two years.
- I Choose to Stay: He eventually leaves the TARDIS to mediate between two opposing factions of humans (or Human Aliens).
- The Lancer: To the Doctor.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He berates the Doctor and storms out of the TARDIS after they flee the Massacre of St. Bartholomew and leave a young Protestant girl behind.
- You Are in Command Now: How he leaves the show. Two factions choose him as their new ruler during their peace negotiations.
- You Look Familiar: Purves plays a different character in an earlier episode of the same story in which Steven is introduced.
Katarina (First Doctor)
She wanted to save our lives, and perhaps the lives of all other beings of the solar system. I hope she found perfection.
Played by: Adrienne Hill (1965)
A priestess from ancient Troy who thought the Doctor was a god. Her character was considered too limiting and she only appeared in two stories.
Sara Kingdom (First Doctor)
Played by: Jean Marsh (1965)
Outside of the Expanded Universe
, she appeared in only one, twelve episode long, story, for seven of its episodes
. She was intentionally written to serve in a companion role (taking over from Katarina) but was never intended to be a permanent character. Sara broke the normal companion mould (then and now) and worked as an agent for a sinister solar system-wide governmental security agency run by the human Big Bad
. Once she realized her error, she joined the crew of the TARDIS.
- The Atoner: After she kills her own brother and realizes she has worked for the Big Bad all along, leads to her transitioning into a more normal Action Girl.
- The novelisation of the story makes this a big part of her character. She is haunted by nightmares of her brother's final moments and continually beats herself up over the fact that she blindly believed Mavic Chen when he said that Bret was a traitor. While she does genuinely want to stop the Daleks and Mavic Chen from destroying the universe, a major secondary reason is that she doesn't want the death of Bret to be in vain.
- Dark Action Girl: At least, the story wants to give his impression when she first appears.
- Expanded Universe: When her one and only (very long) story was novelised, it was split into parts. The second began by saying six months had passed since the first. Various Doctor Who Expanded Universe works have been set in this gap. (The novelizations, incidentally, do not occur in the same continuity as other branches of the EU, or with each other.)
- Several Big Finish audio dramas featuring her are set after her death, a copy of her personality having lingered on in a wish-granting house in Ely.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Makes one.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Why she's sent to terminate her own brother.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Dressed as a badass with a zap gun, but doesn't really do much of anything after her introductory episode.
- Putting on the Reich: She belongs to the SSS, too.
- Redemption Equals Death
- You Look Familiar: Jean Marsh had already played a different character, and returned in 1989 to play a third. Oh, and she married Jon Pertwee.
Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet
Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet (First Doctor)
If it isn't allowed, Dodo would be first in the queue!
Played by: Jackie Lane (1966)
An teenaged schoolgirl from the year 1966. Although a Fish out of Water
in most of time and space, she tried her best to stay brave and ended up saving the day a few times over.
- Break the Cutie: The Expanded Universe thrives on this trope anyway, but Dodo comes in for more than her share. She comes away from her travels with a venereal disease and a nervous breakdown. And that's just the start of it...
- British Accents: Famously invoked "cor, blimey guv!" theatrical Cockney accent, which was then swiftly revoked after her debut, following a BBC fiat.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: In her brief time on the show, she manages to stand out as one of the strangest Companions the show has ever had - certainly not stupid, because she frequently makes quick connections about things the Doctor and Steven have missed, but the ways she expresses her ideas are invariably bizarre. She's also an extremely eccentric dresser (upon discovering the TARDIS wardrobe she immediately dresses up as a knight), and doesn't seem to find the fact that the TARDIS is a Bigger on the Inside time machine which can never take her back to where she came from remotely weird or upsetting at all.
- The Good Old British Comp: Dodo was in school uniform when she first entered the TARDIS.
- Naïve Newcomer: Way out of her depth in her earliest adventures.
- Plucky Girl: Very.
- The Pollyanna: Almost always peppy and upbeat.
- Put on a Bus: Didn't even get a leaving scene. She waltzed off in "The War Machines" and left a note saying she was staying on her native Earth.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Vicki, and to a certain extent, Susan. She's the last of three companions to fit the "Doctor's granddaughter" mold.
- Totally Radical: A 1960s variant of this trope.
Ben Jackson (First and Second Doctors)
Ben: The Doctor always wore this. If you are him it should fit... That settles it!
Second Doctor: I'd like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it spreads its wings.
Then you did
Played by: Michael Craze (1966-1967)
A sailor from 1966. He and Polly helped the Doctor through his first regeneration. They joined and left the TARDIS crew at the same time as each other.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Ben comes to Polly's assistance when another man at the nightclub won't leave her alone.
- In Harm's Way: When he first appears, Ben's moping every night in the nightclub because he's been given a shore posting.
- Official Couple: It's (much) later revealed they got married, moved to India, and opened up an orphanage.
- Totally Radical: Intended by the production team to show the new face of Doctor Who in the swinging mid-sixties.
Polly (First and Second Doctors)
Ben: The Doctor always wore this. If you are him it should fit... That settles it!
Second Doctor: I'd like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it spreads its wings.
Then you did
Played by: Anneke Wills (1966-1967)
A secretary from 1966. She and Ben helped the Doctor through his first regeneration. They joined and left the TARDIS crew at the same time as each other.
- Bound and Gagged: In "The Smugglers: Episode 2/3".
- No Name Given: Polly's surname is never mentioned on screen. It's probably "Wright". (In "The Faceless Ones", an alien duplicate of her gave her name as "Michelle Leuppi", but given that she was using a different forename there's no reason to suppose she kept Polly's original surname).
- Official Couple: It's (much) later revealed they got married, moved to India, and opened up an orphanage.
- Omniglot: In "The Underwater Menace", Ben has Polly try to speak to a local whose language they aren't sure of, with the expectation she can do it. Indeed, she goes through four different languages before the person speaks English.
- Only One Name: Polly's last name was never revealed on screen, but the scripts indicated it to be Wright, which has been adopted by the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. A few reference books in the 1980s gave her last name as Lopez, a mishearing of "Leuppi" as mentioned above.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Polly gets told to "Go make some coffee" a lot when she asks how she can help. Worse, when they leave the TARDIS crew Ben gets told to find his ship and become an admiral, while Polly should take care of Ben.
- Totally Radical: Intended by the production team to show the new face of Doctor Who in the swinging mid-sixties.
Jamie McCrimmon (Second Doctor)
You're the one that's foreign - I'm
Played by: Frazer Hines (1966-69, 1983, 1985); Hamish Wilson (1968)
The longest running male companion to date. The
longest running of all if you count by episodes instead of by years active. A young piper of the Clan McLaren, who came from 18th century Scotland. Became extremely close to the Doctor, both emotionally and due to a chronic case of Security Cling
. Although he left at the end of the Second Doctor's televised run, they show up together, with both of them looking much older, for an adventure with the Sixth. This and similarly inexplicable appearances have resulted in the "Season 6B" theory, put forward by several writers and condoned by the BBC, which states Jamie continued to travel with the Second Doctor for many years before "Spearhead From Space".
- Ascended Extra: His character wasn't intended written to be a companion and the production team filmed a version of Jamie's introduction story in which he stayed behind in Scotland.
- Badass: One of the few action-oriented companions, and quite keen to get stuck into the action.
- Battle Cry: "Creag an Tuire!" ("The Boar's Rock", the motto of the McLaren Clan).
- Brave Scot: And very proud of it.
- Cuddle Bug: Any time he's in the same shot as the Doctor, there's a good 50% chance they're hugging, clinging to each other's arms, patting each other's shoulders, climbing all over each other or using each other as pillows.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: To an extent; he was a quick learner.
- Heroic Sacrifice: One of Jamie's ultimate fates in an Expanded Universe tale penned by Grant Morrison in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He appears in all but the first of Troughton's serials, and this pairing is remembered as one of the best ever.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Had all but his first adventure mind-wiped by the Time Lords.
- Long Bus Trip: Appeared as a companion to the Sixth Doctor's Big Finish adventures 25 years since his last appearance in the series; 41 years since his last appearance as a Companion proper. (Well, Frazer winds up playing a fictional version of Jamie back in the Land of Fiction ... but that's fine, he's got all the same memories of Jamie.) This must be some kind of record.
- Man in a Kilt: He's Scottish, what'd you expect?
- Mr. Fanservice: Named "Best Legs In The UK" much to the disappointment of many a young starlet hoping for the title.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Mostly with the Doctor, but sometimes with the female companions as well.
- The Nth Doctor: "The Mind Robber" replaced Frazer Hines, for an episode or two, for Hamish Wilson, who looked nothing like him. The story explained this by having him run afoul of a trap in the Land of Fiction that required the Doctor to try to reconstruct his face from a bunch of options (facial features hung on a blackboard), kind of like a Mr. Potato Head. He got it wrong the first time, and fixed it the second time, which brought back Frazer Hines. The actor switch was necessary because Frazer Hines had contracted chicken pox during the filming, and so was both contagious and also visibly affected by the disease and so unfit for filming the installments.
- Running Joke: Jamie would disguise his ignorance of modern technology with a mock-casual. "Aye, that."
- Security Cling: All the time, especially with the Doctor.
Victoria Waterfield (Second Doctor)
Second Doctor: You look very nice in that dress, Victoria.
Victoria: Thank you. Don't you think it's a bit...
A bit short? Oh, I shouldn't worry about that. Look at Jamie's.
Played by: Deborah Watling (1967-68, 1993)
A well-brought-up young lady from 1866. She was taken in by the Second Doctor after the Daleks blew up her home and exterminated her father, but she didn't take well at all to a lifestyle of constant danger. Gradually got broken.
- Break the Cutie: In her first couple of stories she's plucky, adventurous, and a dead shot with a pistol. By her last, she's been reduced to a nervous wreck who can't sleep for fear of the Monster of the Week. According to Deborah Watling, this gradual shift in character was deliberate.
- Badass Adorable: She's sweet and small and nervous and she will totally shoot you or attack you with a rogue speeding cart.
- Damsel in Distress:
- The Dulcinea Effect: In her first story, she has this effect on Jamie and then in every story afterward.
Jamie: Victoria. Victoria. Say something. No. No, you can't be dead. Victoria, if anything happened to you, I'd never forgive myself.
- Expanded Universe: Got her direct-to-video spinoff together with Sarah Jane and the Brigadier, called Downtime.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Almost everywhere.
- I Choose to Stay: She leaves Team TARDIS because she just doesn't want adventures anymore.
- Identical Daughter: She "looks just like" her late mother, and there's a portrait to prove it.
- Letting Her Hair Down: She's a proper Victorian woman at the beginning with all the baggage that entails. She loosens up quickly around the other two. She doesn't even seem to have any religious hang-ups, unusually for her time and background - in "The Web of Fear", she even wears a mini-skirt.
- Opt Out: See I Choose to Stay
- Proper Lady: Comes with her upbringing.
- Punny First Name: Even if it wasn't intentional.
- Screaming Woman: So much so that Deborah Watling was nicknamed "Leatherlungs". Her screams are even used to resolve the plot of one serial.
- Vague Age: In her first serial, she's wearing the full-length dress of an adult, but her hair is still down (an adult would have it pinned up).
Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart CMG CBE DSO (Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and Twelfth Doctors)Note on appearances
One of the most significant and recognisable companions, although he rarely travelled away from Earth. The head of UNIT in the 70s (or in the 80s
, "depending on dating protocol"
), the Brig worked alongside the Doctor and many of his companions in that era and beyond — often defending the Earth from various threats. He retired from UNIT in 1976, though still met up with the Doctor on occasion, as well as with Sarah Jane (in The Sarah Jane Adventures
, 2008). Trope Namer
for The Brigadier
- Agent Scully: Has a tendency to keep this up even when up to his eyeballs in aliens. First time in the TARDIS, he dismissed the inside view as "some kind of optical illusion".
- Anti-Hero: Normally he's clearly on the good team but he dives headlong into this in "Doctor Who and the Silurians" where he orders the total genocide of a hibernating race. He also showed no hesitation about gunning down an unarmed prisoner in "Battlefield".
- Ascended Extra: Appeared as simply Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in "The Web of Fear". Brought back the next season and given a bonus promotion.
- Awesome Mc Cool Name
- Back from the Dead: In "Death in Heaven", he, along with every other corpse on Earth, comes back as a Cyberman. And breaks his conditioning to save his daughter and to defeat the Master one more time.
- Badass Beard: In old age.
- Badass Mustache: Ironically, a fake one in almost all of his appearances outside "The Five Doctors". This allowed the actor to turn The Brigadier into the "Brigade Leader" in the Mirror Universe tale "Inferno". There, the character sported an Evil Scar-and-Eyepatch combo. Quite jarring.)
- Badass Normal: He doesn't know the first thing about time travel or Time Lords, but he knows how to lead an army. After all, they don't name you to the Distinguished Service Order for sitting around.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Despite his constant politeness, stiff upper lip and occasional goofy moments, he's probably the most ruthless regular character on screen.
- Brave Scot: It doesn't come up all that often, but he's very proud of his heritage.
- The Brigadier: Trope Namer!
- The Bus Came Back: In "Death in Heaven" comes back as a Cyberman. But breaks his conditioning.
- The Character Died with Him: He is stated to have passed away offscreen in "The Wedding of River Song", Nick Courtney having died a couple of months before Series 6 began.
- Colonel Badass: Before his promotion to Brigadier.
- The Comically Serious: The embodiment of Keep Calm And Carry On. Lethbridge-Stewart is going to remain in charge, and no squid aliens, chaps with wings, giant robots, creatures from the Black Lagoon, or killer mannequins are going to have anything to say about it!
- Commuting on a Bus: In Seasons 9-13 after UNIT no longer appeared in every story. After the final end of UNIT as a regular part of the show's set-up, he made three more appearances in the 1980s, and a final appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures. (Poor health repeatedly prevented him from appearing in the main show during the 21st century.)
- Cool Old Guy: After he retired.
- Deadpan Snarker: Got into many a mutual snarking match with Three. Two and Four liked to just run circles around him intellectually instead. Five and Seven, on the other hand, were kinder and fairly more respective of the Brig.
- Drink Order: According to one of the nurses at his retirement home, before his death, he enjoyed a glass of brandy in the evenings and always made sure they poured an extra glass for the Doctor, in case he ever showed up.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Coming back from the grave, actually. He's able to summon the truly unfathomable willpower required to resist Cyber-conversion after being three years dead, and saves his daughter's life before blasting the Master away so the Doctor won't have to do it.
- Eyepatch of Power: His scary alternate-universe self in "Inferno".
- Expanded Universe: More than you can shake a stick at. Apart from his extensive work on Big Finish Doctor Who, he got his own direct-to-video spinoff together with Sarah Jane and Victoria, called Downtime.
- Expy: Resembles Colonel Breen from Quatermass And The Pit. So much so, that originally Julian Glover from the then-recent movie adaptation would have played him had the original actor not dropped out.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: His rival those of David Tennant.
- Five Rounds Rapid: Also the Trope Namer.
- Flanderization: He was introduced in Season 5 and made a regular in Season 7, serving as an action-oriented non-scientific foil for the Doctor. Despite being a somewhat stubborn and closed-minded military man who depended upon the Doctor in dire circumstances, he was shown in his first 2 seasons as crafty and capable. Starting in Season 8, his most obvious traits were magnified. It got so bad that by Season 10 he was incapable of getting anything done when the Doctor was away, failed to understand even simple scientific principles, and was incredulous of any unusual phenomenon. This trend was reversed somewhat when his character was reintroduced in Season 20 after an absence of 7 years.
- Like Father Like Daughter: His daughter, Kate, from the expanded universe, who later appears in the TV series.
- Immune to Bullets: Again, the Trope Namer, though not immune himself by any means.
- Knight Fever: Gained a "Sir" in Big Finish, which was later confirmed in the TV series. Even before that, he was a Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, and a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
- Man in a Kilt: Wears the hunting Stewart tartan during UNIT's adventure in Scotland.
- Nerves of Steel: He knows no fear.
- Pornstache: Interestingly, his fascist Mirror Universe counterpart is clean-shaven. (Although the actor was clean-shaven throughout the series — the famed moustache was actually a fake.)
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In The Sarah Jane Adventures, he gives modern day UNIT one after a Bane disguised as a UNIT major has the cheek to insinuate that his era had it easier.
Brigadier: In my day, we took on Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Zygons, and all manner of space thuggery! And it doesn't come more hostile than that!
- Retired Badass: In SJA, just because he retired doesn't mean he won't remind you of just why he is the Brig.
- He walks with a cane by this time. It fires harpoons.
- Running Gag: In both Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the Brig has a disturbing tendency to be "stranded in Peru" when all the important, UNIT-related alien stuff is going on.
- Sarcastic Devotee: He can snark and be irritated by the Doctor and whatever catastrophe he now has to deal with, but it's clear that beneath it all, he's secretly having the time of his life.
- Shoot the Dog: Very much so in "Doctor Who and the Silurians".
- The Snark Knight: Especially towards Two.
- Staff of Authority: His swagger stick.
- Stiff Upper Lip: No matter whatever weird menace the Universe throws against him, the Brig takes it completely in stride.
- Too Spicy For Yog Sogoth: His love for his daughter, as well as his sense of duty for his country, allow him to break from his Cyber-converstion when reanimated as a Cyberman by the Master during "Death in Heaven".
- Vitriolic Best Buds: His friendship with the Doctor starts out very uneasy, and he and Three spend most of their time insulting each other. His encounter with Five is naturally a lot calmer, and by the time he meets Seven, they've moved securely into this trope's territory.
- In Big Finish, he later (for him) meets Six and Eight (in that order), and gets along very well with both regenerations.
- We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Doctor often criticizes his unimaginative and often violent response to every alien threat. How justified this criticism is varies according to the circumstances. The Brigadier is simply using the tools he's most familiar with against aliens who are frequently hostile or at least acting in a sinister manner. Coming up with other options is the Doctor's job.
- You Look Familiar: Nicholas Courtney played Bret Vyon in "The Daleks' Master Plan" before he got the role of the Brigadier, making him the only actor to act alongside all seven (eight if you count the audio dramas "Minuet In Hell" and "Zagreus") of the original Doctors at some point in his career.
Zoe Heriot (Second Doctor)
My head has been pumped full of facts and figures which I reel out automatically when needed, but I want to feel things as well.
Played by: Wendy Padbury (1968-69, 1983)
A teenaged astrophysicist from the 21st century (as seen from 1968
). Stowed away on board the TARDIS.
- Action Girl: Has shades of this.
- Badass Adorable: As seen in The Mind Robber, she's very capable of taking care of herself, when facing off and winning a fight against her favorite fictional character, The Karkus. And the smile on her face when she got Karkus to submit? Priceless.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: There's a widespread belief that the catsuit she wore in "The Mind Robber" was purple, and it's frequently drawn like this in fanart. This seems to have originated from fan colourizations of black and white screenshots; there are colour photos on the DVD showing it was actually silver.
- Brainy Brunette: Possibly the smartest human companion the Doctor's ever had.
- Emotionless Girl: In her first serial.
- Though she did seem a little hurt when Leo called her 'all brain and no heart'.
- Future Spandex: Her uniform in "The Wheel in Space", and her sparkly catsuit in "The Mind Robber" and "The Invasion".
- Genius Ditz: She doesn't know much history.
- Good with Numbers: Extremely.
- Hair Decorations: She always wears an Alice band.
- Hot Scientist: With skin-tight catsuits. (Her role on the Wheel made her a Hot Librarian, too).
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Same as with Jamie, thanks to those Time Lords. Temporarily removed for the odd Big Finish adventure; usually returns.
- Little Stowaway: How she joins Team TARDIS.
- Long Bus Trip: Much like Jamie above, Zoe is returning to the franchise for a Big Finish story 27 years after her last appearance in the franchise and about 41 years after the actual character left the TARDIS. Like Jamie, this has to be some sort of a record. (Unlike Jamie, though, this was the real Zoe. But she doesn't remain.)
- Ms. Fanservice: Her sparkly catsuit is particularly fondly remembered, especially that bit in "The Mind Robber", and that's not even mentioning the miniskirts and short shorts. It was The Sixties, after all.
- Photographic Memory: Has one.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: In "The Dominators" (and the novelisation of "The Mind Robber"), she thinks dresses are impractical and doesn't wear them by choice. In "The Invasion", Isobel introduces her to miniskirts, which she seems to like better.
- Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: As befits someone from the space-age future that is the 21st century.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Heriot or Herriot? The original script used the single-R version.
- Straw Vulcan: A bit.
- Teen Genius: Although it's never specified just how old she's supposed to be.
- Vague Age: Depending what source you consult, she's anything from 12 to 21, though Word of God tends towards 15 or 16. The only onscreen mention of her age is in "The Invasion", where the Brigadier estimates it as 19.
- Waif-Fu: Adept at it.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: In just about any Expanded Universe work where her Laser-Guided Amnesia is undone, she's amnesiac again (and stands a good chance of being worse off in other respects) by the end.
Sergeant John Benton (Second, Third and Fourth Doctors)
Benton: Right then, Doctor. You'd better get busy.
The Doctor: What?
You'd better start overpowering me, hadn't you? You know, a bit of your Venusian oojah?
Played by: John Levene (1968-75) note
A kind and determined UNIT sergeant. Benton was down-to-Earth and often had common sense that others around him seemed to lack. He always stood up for what he believed was right, even if it meant defying orders or getting into fights with his direct superiors. Together with Captain Yates, he was one of two recurring characters during the UNIT years who were subordinate to the Brigadier. After the Golden Age incident that led to Yates's forced retirement, he was promoted to a Warrant Officer to make up for the absence of a Captain under the Brigadier's command.
- Adorkable: Extremely badass, but has his moments of being this very much, like his being proud of making the best coffee in UNIT.
- Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: While Captain Yates certainly fits the bill of this duo, Benton is an absolute teddy bear of an NCO.
- Commuting on a Bus: In Seasons 9-13 after UNIT no longer appeared in every story.
- Expanded Universe: Got his own direct-to-video spinoff, Wartime.
- The Fettered: He even lets the Doctor knock him out in "Invasion Of The Dinosaurs" so he doesn't have to break the law to help him.
- Number Two: The Brigadier often confers to Benton when he needs something done, even though Mike Yates outranks him.
- Only One Name: John Benton was only "Sergeant Benton" until the 1987 spin-off video Wartime, though his first name was decided upon back in the 1970s. The name was simply not used until then, but has subsequently appeared in the Expanded Universe as his name.
- Put on a Bus: Appeared to be killed in action by an android duplicate, but it turns out that he retired from UNIT in 1979 and has since become a used car salesman.
- Rank Up: Happens twice.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Benton embodies this trope, especially all over "Invasion Of The Dinosaurs".
Finch: You’ll be court martialled for this, Sergeant!
Benton: Yes, sir. Very sorry, sir!
- Sergeant Rock: Eventually became UNIT's Regimental Sergeant Major, and often served as the Brig's senior enlisted man in the field. He's always calm, always on-the-ball, and very quick to react when a situation completely changed — best seen when he very rapidly kicked, grabbed and overpowered Mike Yates after the latter's Face-Heel Turn.
- Those Two Guys: With Yates.
- Unfazed Everyman: Adapts with equanimity no matter what gets thrown at him. Exemplified in his first time inside the TARDIS.
Third Doctor: "Well, Sergeant? Aren't you going to say 'it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside'? Everybody else does."
Sgt. Benton: "Well, it's ... pretty obvious, isn't it?"
Dr. Elizabeth "Liz" Shaw
Dr. Elizabeth "Liz" Shaw (Third Doctor)
I deal with facts, not science fiction ideas.
Played by: Caroline John (1970, 1983, 1993)
The Third Doctor's first assistant when he was exiled to Earth. Scientific advisor to UNIT, before the Doctor showed up and casually took her job. Rarely in the mood for the Doctor's shenanigans. Because for her one season, the Doctor was Earthbound, she has the curious distinction of being the only regular companion who never once set foot inside the TARDIS (at least, not on screen).
- Agent Scully: Initially.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Starts off as being rather unhappy with being pulled away from Cambridge.
- Deadpan Snarker: Towards UNIT and Three.
- Expanded Universe: Eventually got her own direct-to-video spinoff, P.R.O.B.E., in 1994.
- Fiery Redhead: She could even out-stubborn the Third Doctor.
- Hot Scientist: Spends a lot of time in Three's lab.
- Ms. Fanservice: If her penchant for mini-skirts is any indication.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: She holds degrees in medicine, physics, and "a dozen other subjects".
- Prim and Proper Bun: Sports one in her first story, when her relationship with the Brigadier and UNIT is at its frostiest. In subsequent stories, with the ice broken, she lets her hair down.
- Put on a Bus: Left for Cambridge offscreen in "Terror of the Autons", apparently dissatisified with her job of "passing the Doctor test tubes". Returned to UNIT and was stuck in the moonbase as of the The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Death of the Doctor". Barry Letts apparently didn't like the character, but she was already under contract, which he didn't renew.
Josephine "Jo" Grant
Jo Grant (Third and Eleventh Doctors)
I thought you said you took science at A-Level
I didn't say I passed.
Also appeared with the Eleventh Doctor in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures (2010).
Assistant to the Third Doctor during his exile on Earth. Joined UNIT when a high-placed uncle got her the job, and was quickly shoved onto the Doctor by the Brigadier. However, Jo is far from useless, and will not stand to have someone belittle her. She's an expert in escapology and can easily get out of a jam, or fight back when she needs to, so don't let her cute looks fool you. However, she truly is a passionate and gentle soul who deeply cares about people, and will do what she can to help them, even if it means risking her life. But sometimes Jo will get a little too focused on them and forget about her own safety
, and she can be really excitable
. Returned briefly as a companion to the Eleventh Doctor in The Sarah Jane Adventures
Captain Mike Yates (Third Doctor)
Rank has its privileges.
Played by: Richard Franklin (1971-74, 1983)
Mike Yates was one of several subordinates to the Brigadier over the years. Despite being a soldier, he was also somewhat of a radical hippie. He left UNIT after the events of "Invasion Of The Dinosaurs"
, but returned once more for the final Third Doctor tale
. It's unknown if he rejoined UNIT after or simply faded into obscurity.
- Aborted Arc: Franklin currently believes that the original intention of the serial "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" was to kill off Mike Yates. This is indeed quite possible, though his appearance in a subsequent story might suggest otherwise. Less disputably, his planned romance with Jo never came to be.
- Bi the Way: A throwaway line (suggested by the actors) had him asking the Brigadier for a dance. (A fertility dance, to be precise.) The Expanded Universe ran with the idea and saw him ending up with a guy named Tom.
- Bound and Gagged: In "Planet of the Spiders: Episode 5".
- Brainwashed: "The Green Death" left him just a little bit traumatised, and he ended up taking an extensive vacation to clear his head. It didn't go well.
- Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Fulfills his half of the dynamic with Benton, but the good Sergeant is far too much of a cuddly sort for it to be played straight.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Both the Brig and the Doctor draw attention to it in "The Mind of Evil". It irks the Brig, but deeply amuses the Doctor.
- Commuting on a Bus: In Seasons 9-11 after UNIT no longer appeared in every story.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Flirted on and off with Jo Grant for his time on the show, and looks utterly crestfallen when she announces her marriage... according to an interview with Richard Franklin, the stage directions actually called for this.
- Face-Heel Turn
- Those Two Guys: With Benton.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With the Doctor. Gets along marvellously with him and has the occasional snarky Friendship Moment.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist / Heel Realization: In "Invasion of the Dinosaurs".
Sarah Jane Smith
Sarah Jane Smith (Third, Fourth Tenth and Eleventh Doctors)
Sarah Jane: So, providing we don't burn up on re-entry and aren't suffocated on the way down, we'll probably be smashed to a pulp when we land.
Fourth Doctor: Exactly. Sarah, you've put your finger on the one tiny flaw in our plan.
Sarah Jane: Our
plan? It's your plan!
Sarah Jane was a journalist from South Croydon, who met the Doctor while posing as her virologist aunt Lavinia. Perhaps the most archetypal companion (many older fans grew up with her as their companion), and the longest-serving if you count by number of serials. So popular that she got two
spinoffs: the didn't-go-anywhere K-9 and Company
pilot, and eventually the very successful Whoniverse
tie-in spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures
(2007-2011), in which the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors also appear. Still the only
classic series companion to show up in the new Doctor Who
TV series played by the original actress.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Kind, sweet Sarah Jane has, among other things, blown up a rocket by sniping an explosive the Doctor planted there, and almost convinced the Doctor to commit genocide against the Daleks and was prepared to do it herself but for getting interrupted.
- Bound and Gagged: In "The Masque of Mandragora: Episode 3".
- Brainwashed: Holds the companion record for most times hypnotized. It seemed like she was hypnotized in every episode. Lampshaded in "The Hand of Fear" and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- Brick Joke: One that took around 30 years to land. When we last saw her in Tom Baker's day, he'd dropped her off in a place he assured her was Croydon. We find out in David Tennant's time that it was actually Aberdeen, Scotland.
- The Bus Came Back: Did it ever.
- Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Is put on one in "The Seeds of Doom", but to be fair she also (later in the story) rescued the Doctor from said same fate.
- Casual Danger Dialog: After she starts getting used to the lifestyle, she can go almost toe to toe with the Fourth Doctor in terms of making jokes and quips in tense situations and happily reels off nursery rhymes along with him, although she much more obviously uses Casual Danger Dialog to release stress than the Doctor.
- Character Outlives Actor: The Eleventh Doctor mentioned to a fan in a parallel universe that Sarah Jane lived beyond her actress' death.
- Cool Old Lady: After "School Reunion".
- Expanded Universe: Has more Expanded Universe appearances than anyone can list sensibly (though here's a good attempt). She notably appeared in the direct-to-video release Downtime together with Victoria and the Brigadier, and had her own Big Finish spinoff for a while.
- Friendly Sniper: Though it doesn't come up much because (like most companions to the Doctor) she doesn't usually even touch a weapon, in "Pyramids of Mars" it is established that she is a crack shot with a rifle.
- Friendship Moment: The only companion the Doctor has called his "best friend."
- Going for the Big Scoop: She typically runs into danger in order to get the story, especially early on.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Decades after leaving the Doctor, she's still fantastic.
- Hot Scoop: Sarah Jane features highly in the sexy companion polls on a regular basis.
- Insistent Terminology: Frequently called just Sarah in the classic series, but insists on "Sarah Jane" by The Sarah Jane Adventures series 2.
- Intrepid Reporter: Who actually reports on things during her time at UNIT.
- Lady of Adventure: Jumps at the chance for space/time travel.
- Older and Wiser: She's become increasingly Doctor-like.
- Plucky Girl: Starts out as this.
- Rummage Sale Reject: The Andy Pandy outfit from "The Hand of Fear".
- Screaming Damsel, Hidden Badass: She has a penchant for screaming... a lot. And for getting captured. Or brainwashed. However, the second she believes her Doctor to be in more trouble than he can handle, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will keep her from getting to his side and (with quite a frequency) rescuing him.
- Straw Feminist: In her early appearances; this got toned down later.
- The Watson: Gives a very human perspective to the very alien Fourth Doctor.
Dr. Harry Sullivan (Fourth Doctor)
Steady, steady on, old girl, steady on.
Played by: Ian Marter (1974-75)
A surgeon lieutenant at UNIT, of the old-fashioned gentleman variety. He joined Team TARDIS after the Brigadier told him to keep an eye on the Doctor, which Harry took to mean "across time and space". Had a habit of getting stuck down gentle slopes and being attacked by entirely stationary animals.
- Author Existence Failure: Ian Marter wrote a novel about his character Harry Sullivans War. He'd planned to kill Harry off at the climax, but was prevented by the publisher, who was considering a sequel. Unfortunately Ian died the same month the book was published.
- Badass Normal: No matter what Four says, Harry had his badass moments.
- The Bus Came Back: After his departure as regular character in "Terror of the Zygons", he made one more appearance later in the season, in "The Android Invasion" (the last 1970s UNIT story to feature any recurring characters from the organisation).
- The Character Died with Him: Implied in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- The Chew Toy: The Fourth Doctor picked on him a lot.
- Distressed Dude: All the time. Infamously got nearly eaten by a Skaro clam, despite clams not exactly being known for their high velocity or their predatory abilities.
- Informed Ability: He's a doctor (a literal one of medicine), but always seems out of his element. The Doctor teases him about it and jokes that Harry's only qualified to operate on sailors.
- Big Finish states that he ends up working as a virus researcher for NATO. Later, in The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane confirms that after his time with the Doctor, he did pioneering work with vaccines, saving thousands of people.
- Just Following Orders: His reason for joining the TARDIS crew.
- The Medic: He certainly does a fair bit of harm for someone who's medically trained, though.
- Mildly Military: He's a Royal Navy Surgeon-Lieutenant, but he rarely ever acts like it.
- The Nicknamer: Continually referred to Sarah Jane as "Old Thing" and had similar nicknames for other characters.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: "I say!"
- Remember the New Guy: He's first introduced as an established member of UNIT, who's apparently already very familiar with the Doctor. In fact, the Brigadier makes a phone call to the medical officer "Lieutenant Sullivan" in the story before his actual debut.
- Straw Misogynist: Can be pretty sexist and condescending towards Sarah Jane. This was deliberate by the production team in order to contrast with Sarah Jane's Straw Feminist traits.
- You Look Familiar: Ian Marter had a minor part in the Third Doctor serial "Carnival of Monsters" before being cast as Harry.
Leela of the Sevateem
Leela of the Sevateem (Fourth Doctor)
Don't worry, Doctor. I found the answer: knife them in the neck!
Played by: Louise Jameson (1977-78, 1993)
A human Noble Savage
, descendant of an ill-fated colonization expedition and genetically altered into a perfect warrior. Primarily remembered for her Fanservice
leotard and trying to kill anything that looked hostile — however, though she was (initially) quite ignorant, she was definitely not
stupid and made up for her lack of knowledge with her own insights, kindness and Simpleminded Wisdom
- Action Girl: Her first instinct when faced with trouble was to hurt things until trouble went away again.
- Anti-Hero: Unlike the Doctor, Leela doesn't have any qualms about hurting or killing others. The Doctor pretty much caves in during their third story together and just lets her kill whatever's attacking them.
- Badass: With one of her most notable moments being when she killed a Sontaran by stabbing its probic vent with a throwing knife. Really, she's probably the most outright badass, combat-focused companion the Doctor's ever traveled with.
- Badass Boast: She has some of the most memorable in the series.
Leela: Before I die I'll see this rathole ankle deep in blood. That is a promised thing.
- Blood Knight: A rare example of a blood knight who's both female and one of the good guys.
Leela: Enjoy your death, Rutan! As I enjoyed killing you!
- Bound and Gagged: In "The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Episode 6".
- Cargo Cult: The Sevateem turn out to be the descendants of a crashed Survey Team, and ended up worshiping their own broken technology after a few generations of mucking about in tents.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Her father dies in their very first scene, taking the tribe's trial instead of her after she's convicted for heresy.
- Detect Evil: Has the ability to sense evil.
- Expanded Universe: Though Leela gets name-dropped by the Doctor in a couple of TV episodes (and in an "I wonder how Leela's doing" context), she doesn't return for real until the audio play "Zagreus", where she teams up with Time Lady President Romana. The two then went on to star in their own spin-off which ran from 2004-2013. Big Finish also sees her starring in several seasons of the Jago & Litefoot series.
- Fur Bikini: More precisely, a leather leotard and knee-high boots. Actress Louise Jameson once showed off a letter she received from a young girl viewer asking if Leela would "please wear more clothes". In a scene filmed for the Series 5 DVD release, Amy Pond comes close to uttering the trope name when she asks if Leela (seen in a photograph) is wearing a "leather bikini".
- I Choose to Stay: She remains on Gallifrey and marries a Time Lord named Andred after the events of "The Invasion of Time".
- Interspecies Romance/Mayfly-December Romance: Andred is Gallifreyan, and thus Human Outside, Alien Inside and Long Lived.
- Jumped at the Call: Simply walked into the TARDIS and pushed buttons until she was a companion, despite the Doctor's protests.
- Nerves of Steel: Her "fight or flight" response has no "flight" setting. She screams exactly once (not counting war cries), and that was when a giant mutant rat started chewing on her leg.
- Noble Savage: Very proud and headstrong.
- Nubile Savage: Didn't wear a lot of clothing most of the time.
- Only One Name: As with the rest of her tribe.
- Parent Service: Conceived as such.
- Psycho Sidekick: She kills or inflicts potentially-lethal violence on quite a number of mooks, and the Doctor's protests often seem only token.
- Pygmalion Plot: The original idea (without the "falling in love with her" bit). Leela defies the trope by learning just enough about technology and manners to get by, but intentionally staying very true to her savage origins. On more than one occasion, she ends up convincing others that her way of life is just more fun.
- Refusal of the Call: Much like the Fourth Doctor, she has zero desire to become the president of anything after she's accidentally elected, and — with a quick Screw This, I'm Outta Here! — runs off in the TARDIS instead.
- Screaming Woman: Defied. The times she's screamed in terror can be counted on one finger, specifically when her leg is getting eaten by a monstrously-sized rat in The Talons of Weng-Chiang. She tends to plot how to kill/ defeat the baddies every other time.
- Simple-Minded Wisdom: Upon encountering some Three-Laws Compliant robots, she snarkily posits that the second law must be "men can not harm robots" — since they obviously can't be stabbed.
- The Strategist: She's extremely adept at planning war tactics (though many of them in the end come down to "stab things really hard"). The episode "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" has her striking out on her own without the Doctor for a while, during which she manages to navigate Victorian London on her own and find exactly the allies she needs.
- Transhuman: Her tribe was the result of an ill-fated eugenics experiment involving two groups of humans. Her group had its courage and strength boosted; the other group got enhanced reasoning skills and telepathy.
- Weapon of Choice: Her knife.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Her fate in the Time War is unknown. In Big Finish episodes "The Catalyst", "Empathy Games" and "The Time Vampire", her decades spent on Gallifrey without aging start to catch up with her after Gallifrey is gone, and she lives out her final days reminiscing before dying in an alien prison.
K9 (Fourth and Tenth Doctors)
I am not a dog. I dislike the terms "heel", "sit", and "boy".Spelling
Voiced by: John Leeson (1977-79, 1980-81, 1983, 1993, 2006, 2008); David Brierley (1979-80)
The first robot-buddy of the franchise, hailing from the 51st century. Several versions existed. Shared a spinoff
with Sarah Jane Smith and is a recurring character on The Sarah Jane Adventures
, being a regular for series 3. Also got his own Australian-made spinoff
K-9 Mark I, the original built by Professor Marius, was a highly advanced robot built to resemble a dog. Known for his laser nose, propensity to speak in Literal-Minded
terms, and his constant uttering of "Affirmative", or "Negative", which stuck with his descendants. He had a short run and remained with Leela on Gallifrey. This was because his prop's maintenance sucked
. Prone to break even if it hit a simple bump on the floor, he was quickly replaced by Mark II. Mark I was later brought back in his own series but due to design copyrights, he got destroyed in a fight with the Jixen and regenerated through a special repair unit into a brand new appearance with Laser-Guided Amnesia
to sever all explicit ties with the Doctor Who
K-9 Mark II was the replacement for Mark I, who would now only stun, not kill things. Affectionately referring to the Doctor as "Master", Mark II was conceived because K-9 was popular with the kids, but the prop needed a redesign after breaking down all the time. He stayed with Romana II when she stopped travelling in the TARDIS.
K-9 Mark III was the model who got given to Sarah Jane Smith as a gift from the Doctor, in the One-Episode Wonder K-9 and Company
. He turned up in a few comic stories and "The Five Doctors", and that was it. After that, he got badly damaged, fell into disrepair, and rusted in Sarah Jane's attic because she didn't know how to fix a robot dog with futuristic technology, nor could she reveal said technology to anyone before its time. Mark III's functionality was somewhat restored by the Tenth Doctor, long enough for him to give his life by defeating the Krillitanes.
K-9 Mark IV was given to Sarah Jane by the Tenth Doctor as a replacement for Mark III, along with a sonic lipstick inside his casing. Mark IV was better associated as Sarah Jane's K-9 than the Doctor's, and this loyal robot called her "Mistress". He sported a more computerized-sounding voice and did not have as many locomotion woes because he could hover up stairs. He served as Sarah Jane's loyal pet and had an ongoing rivalry with Mr. Smith, the Xylok supercomputer. However, licensing issues left him trying to close a black hole after a Switzerland experiment went awry
for the first three seasons of the The Sarah Jane Adventures
. Then, he had a more active role in the plot, until the Australian K-9
series came out and the licensing disputes resurfaced, causing him to go to college with Luke Smith and return to light roles in the show.
- Badass Adorable: Especially in the revival series.
- Breakout Character: Like Sarah Jane he got his own television series, even if it only lasted one season.
- The Dog Came Back: The first K-9 (Mark I) was left with Leela on Gallifrey, the second K-9 (Mark II) was left with Romana II, a third and fourth K-9 (Mark III and IV) were given to Sarah Jane Smith...
- Badass: With a dash of Badass Adorable.
- Canine Companion: The Doctor insisted on treating him like an actual dog.
- Catch Phrase: "Affirmative." "Negative." "Master/Mistress?"
- Cute Machines: Adorable.
- Do-Anything Robot: Laser beam, hacking computers, defensive protocols, beating the Doctor at Chess, being a Deus ex Machina...
- Family Friendly Firearm: K-9's ever-convenient laser beam has a kill option, but is always set on stun.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Particularly if viewed specifically as The Doctor's sidekick.
- Kid-Appeal Character: K-9 was a huge hit with children.
Romana: Uh, K-9, what is tennis?
K9: Real, lawn or table, mistress?
Romana: Never mind. Forget it.
K9: Forget. Erase memory banks concerning tennis. [whirring sound] Memory erased.
- Made of Iron: Subverted, K9 gets damaged often despite his claims of not being made of tin.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Serves as a beeping Robot Buddy for The Doctor in the original series.
- The Nth Doctor: Largely subverted in that each K-9 unit is essentially the exact same thing as the previous model (except the version in the K-9 spinoff, which looks drastically different).
- Only Sane Man: K9 seems to cater to this.
- The Other Darrin: Leeson wound up replaced by Brierly in Season 17 for one reason or another, but came back for the other appearances.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: His laser weapon helps him take care of opponents often twice his size.
- Punny Name: Get it? K-9? Because it looks like a dog! K-9! As in CA-NINE.
- Robot Buddy: To the Doctor, Romana, Leela and Sarah Jane.
- Robot Dog: A medical robot, originally.
- The Spock
- Smart People Play Chess
- Think Nothing of It: Used a few times.
- Zeerust: Lampshaded in "School Reunion".
It looks so...disco
Tenth Doctor: Oi! In the year 5000 this was cutting-edge!
Romana (Fourth Doctor)
Fourth Doctor: Well, here we are. We've tracked him to his lair.
Romana I: Yes, we've got him exactly where he wants us.
A Time Lord, or more properly a Time Lady, like the Doctor, and therefore has multiple regenerations. (Two were seen onscreen, dubbed Romana I and Romana II by fans; the Expanded Universe
added several possible thirds.) Sent to assist the Doctor against his will in the search for
the Key To Time
. She was initially what one would call "book-smart": extremely well-educated (her academic record trounced the Doctor's), but quite young and with little practical experience.
Tropes common to both incarnations:
Romana I: You have absolutely no sense of responsibility whatsoever!
The Doctor: What?
Romana I: You're capricious, arrogant, self-opinionated, irrational, and you don't even know where we're going!
The Doctor: Exactly!
Played by: Mary Tamm (1978-79)
A tall, leggy, dark-haired woman; the initial concept of her was a "Grace Kelly
" sort of character. Had a penchant for armchair psychology. According to the Big Finish Audios, she regenerated when forces beyond her control were drawn out by the Key to Time and started to weaken her body, but she passed the reasons off as a whim.
- Action Girl: Occurs unexpectedly in "The Pirate Planet" when she gets into a laser gun fight and wins.
- Agony of the Feet: Romana's fashion statement got the better of her when she made a really bad choice of shoes in "The Stones of Blood" and wore high heels in a terrain filled with rocks. Naturally, she switched to bare feet before the end of the first episode to alleviate the pain and then put on some pragmatic boots.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She relaxes a lot over the course of her tenure.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: Without actually getting rid of the character. Since she's the same race as the Doctor, she could regenerate and stay on as a character. However, the regeneration comes with basically no explanation and is a lot like a standard Put on a Bus. She doesn't even get a death scene — Romana just happily walks into the console room with a new face and announces that she's regenerating, and the Doctor is absolutely baffled. Even the Expanded Universe doesn't know what to make of it- there's multiple canon accounts that all stack together about what influenced her regeneration colliding with each other.
- In short, Romana was possessed by an evil entity. She also absorbed the piece of the Key to Time contained in Princess Astra, and the strain of these two events caused her to regenerate. A Short Trips novel goes on to say the TARDIS got jealous of her and made her regenerate into Astra's form.
- Love Redeems: The whole thing with the Shadow.
- Pimped Out Cape: Made of white feathers — a gift from the Doctor on their first trip together.
- Rich Bitch: Quite posh.
- Ship Tease: One Christmas Bonus Material short had the Doctor and Romana I very obviously kissing just out of view, following by a rather suggestive look from Tom Baker.
The Doctor: Psst, you are wonderful.
Suppose I am. I've never really thought about it.
Played by: Lalla Ward (1979-81, 1983, 1993)
Also appeared with the Eighth Doctor in the BBCi webcast version of "Shada" (2001)
Shorter, with strawberry blonde hair. Still snarky, but a lot more bubbly and Constantly Curious
. And if anything, her style flair got even more creative.
- Bifauxnen: At times.
- Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: Wears a very St. Trinian's style uniform in the "City of Death" serial. Lalla Ward, judging by interviews and the production notes, came up with the idea and had no concept it was a fetish.
- Cosplay: Many of her outfits have a distinct "fancy dress" flavour: the school uniform in "City of Death", the pink version of the Doctor's costume in "Destiny of the Daleks", the fox-hunting gear in "The Horns of Nimon"...
- Expanded Universe: Her Big Finish audio spinoff with Leela, appropriately called Gallifrey (which has its own tropes page), spans eleven years (2004-2015). Big Finish is also one of the various franchises to provide a third regeneration of Romana.
- Gendered Outfit: Wore a pink version of the Doctor's outfit at one point.
- I Choose to Stay: After three serials of trying to get out of E-Space, she decides to stay at the end of "Warriors' Gate" to help a race of enslaved time-traveling lion people.
- Lady of Adventure: More keen on adventuring than her first incarnation.
- Nerves of Steel: An adventurous Time Lady like her picked them up really quickly after jousting against the Daleks.
- Never Found the Body: May have died in the Time War.
- Plot Hole: Her regeneration scene, written by Douglas Adams, is one of the series' most infamous ones. Basically, Romana shows up in Princess Astra's body and clothes and announces that she's regenerating for no reason whatsoever. When the Doctor scolds her for copying someone else's body, she merrily cycles through a series of different bodies until settling on the Astra look permanently. This type of regeneration contradicted just about everything in the series, was never explained in any way on TV, and was never heard from again.
- The Big Finish Gallifrey series, dives into the question headfirst and offers a very good explanation. Other bits of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe have also taken a stab at it: the short story "The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe", for example, suggests the TARDIS forced her to in a fit of jealousy (after impersonating Romana during the events of Destiny of the Daleks).
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Big Finish audios see her becoming the Lady President of Gallifrey — which was eventually confirmed as canon in "The Day Of The Doctor", although only in tiny print in the background of a scene.
- Romance on the Set: With Tom Baker. They got married, realized they'd accidentally fallen in love with each other's characters instead of with each other, and got divorced again just as quickly.
- Ship Tease: The Australian commercials for Prime Computer made it more explicit with the Doctor proposing to Romana — and she says "Yes!" before he even finishes.
- Wholesome Cross Dresser: Although she just likes men's clothes rather than actually being a transvestite. Described in one DVD extra as the only woman who could pull off wearing a fruit salad on her head.
- You Look Familiar: The actress was a guest star as Princess Astra of Atrios in the story immediately preceding her debut. This was referenced in-story as Romana choosing that form to regenerate into.
Adric (Fourth and Fifth Doctors)
Could anyone pass the sodium chloride, please?
A snotty teenage maths geek from E-Space, annoying in the way that snotty teenage geek-boys usually are, but a well-meaning kid all the same. The Doctor saw him as an incompetent underling, despite the fact that Adric was an absolute genius when it came to maths — just one who had a lot of learning to do about personal skills. As a result, Adric felt ignored, unwanted and rejected, and tried coming up with his own creative solutions to solving each episode's problems. Usually very unsuccessfully.
Nyssa of Traken
Nyssa of Traken (Fourth and Fifth Doctors)
Do you have any books on telebiogenesis?
Played by: Sarah Sutton (1981-83)
A teenaged biologist and the daughter of Tremas, who got his body possessed by the Master at the end of Fourth Doctor serial "The Keeper of Traken
". Quiet, stoic and very handy with electronics. One of the most accomplished TARDIS pilots among the companions; she was even able to fly it solo (with assists from Tegan in "Castrovalva
" and Adric in "The Visitation
- '80s Hair: A big mess of brown curls.
- Angst? What Angst?: The implications of her tragic backstory are barely mentioned in the show, but the Expanded Universe would make use of all her emotional baggage.
- The Stoic: It's implied, on the show and in the expanded universe, to be why her pain rarely shows.
- Ascended Extra: Was never intended to be a companion, until producer John Nathan-Turner decided otherwise.
- Even as a regular, Nyssa tended to have less to do than everyone else: unlike Adric, Tegan, or Turlough, she was rarely ever the focus of a story, with the sole exception being her final appearance in "Terminus." The character really ascended in the Big Finish audios, though: the fact that both Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse initially declined to reprise their roles as Tegan and Adric (and Nicola Bryant's Peri appearances tended to be split with Colin Baker's sixth Doctor) meant that Nyssa was one of the most frequent companions for Peter Davison's fifth Doctor in the early years of the range.
- Beware the Nice Ones: "Arc of Infinity". She pulls a gun on the Time Lord President, amongst many others. Sarah Sutton notes in the DVD commentary how unusually trigger-happy Nyssa was in this story.
- Brainy Brunette: Very clever. She was able to fly and repair the TARDIS, and could talk about space and time on the Doctor's own level, although she lacked his experience.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: While an expert on many subjects, Nyssa was not much use when it came to subterfuge.
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: Wore them at times, but was eventually forced to discard the dress for something practical.
- Hot Scientist: Her first season had her covered from head to toe, after which (as Peter Davison put it) she suddenly magically lost half of her clothes.
- Human Aliens: Looks completely human, like Adric.
- I Choose to Stay: She leaves the TARDIS crew to stay on Terminus and try to restructure it into a proper hospital.
- Identical Stranger: Ann Talbot, a blue blood from the roaring 20's.
- Innocent Aliens: From a planet where evil is outright banned.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Famous for the skirt removal bit in "Terminus", which the actor herself has described as "a gift to the fans".
- Last Of Her Kind: The rest of Traken died in "Logopolis".
- Limited Wardrobe: Her burgundy velvet ensemble throughout Season 19.
- Literal-Minded: A running gag in the serials and audios is Nyssa's imperviousness to jokes.
- Nice Girl: Really sweet.
- Odd Friendship: With Tegan, who is almost her polar opposite, and with Adric, who becomes like a little brother to her.
- Plucky Girl: Eager to see the world.
- Pretty in Mink: One of her outfits had a fur-trimmed jacket.
- Proper Lady
- The Quiet One: In comparison to Adric and Tegan.
- The Reliable One: Stoic, quiet and capable.
- Teen Genius: Able to understand the TARDIS.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Wore make-up, feminine styled hair, and skirts, in addition to being a practical intellectual and adventurer.
- Vapor Wear: Especially noticable in "Terminus".
- Written-In Absence: An unfortunate side-effect of being added to the cast at a relatively late stage, many of the scripts following Nyssa's introduction had relatively little for her to do. The most notable example of this was the serial "Kinda," where she inexplicably faints and naps off-screen in the TARDIS for the remainder of the serial.
Tegan Jovanka (Fourth and Fifth Doctors)
Fifth Doctor: How do you feel now?
Tegan: Groggy, sore, and bad-tempered.
Almost your old self, then!
Played by: Janet Fielding (1981-84)
Also appeared with the Sixth Doctor in "A Fix with Sontarans" (1986)
A brash Australian
, inadvertently kidnapped from 1981 just as she was about to start a new job as a flight attendant. Created to help sell the show to Australia. Once described herself as "just a mouth on legs". One of a very few companions seen to pilot the TARDIS, albeit not very well. Longest-serving companion if you count by consecutive years active.
Vislor Turlough (Fifth Doctor)
What is it about Earth people that makes them think a futile gesture is a noble one?
Played by: Mark Strickson (1983-84)
An alien noble exiled to Earth after a revolution on his planet, Turlough is posing as an English schoolboy when the Doctor meets him. Gets drafted by the Black Guardian with a promise of freedom if he kills the Doctor, but Turlough just isn't evil enough to go through with it. While the Doctor and Turlough have had their differences, Turlough eventually grew to consider the Doctor his closest friend. Just don't expect him to admit it.
Kamelion (Fifth Doctor)
Unexpected as it may be, I do have a mind of my own.
Voiced by: Gerald Flood (1983-84)
A shape-changing robot that the Master acquired as a sort of souvenir from the planet Xeriphas
, this character quite literally vanished into the TARDIS rather than becoming a Companion. (The robot was a prop from some other project that was never made, was shoe-horned into Doctor Who
, and was promptly written out again as soon as the crew realised how silly it looked.note
) Showed up in "The King's Demons
" as a villain
and puppet of the Master, got cut from an appearance in "The Awakening
" and made a final appearance
in "Planet of Fire
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He dies. The end.
- Expanded Universe: Actually fleshed-out in several novels, and makes one key appearance in the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Circular Time".
- The Crystal Bucephalus by Craig Hinton, decides that Kamelion's unfortunate weakness would often work against both the heroes (in that Kamelion would be aiding the villain of the week, in this case a mobster/corrupt religious leader) and the villains (by specifically trying to undermine the villain in key ways that wouldn't be disobeying him). Said novel also took Kamelion and turned him from a robot into a complex sentient mathematical equation that likes taking the form of a robot instead. At least, this helps explain why the Master was so interested in him, as well as the way Kamelion changes form.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Never mentioned again on the TV show, whatsoever; though he does appear in an easily visible photograph, among those of many other former companions, in "The Day of the Doctor". Paul Cornell did bring back Kamelion for the Big Finish "Circular Time" audio drama, in a short episode that delves into the Fifth Doctor's rather unusual Regeneration scene.
- Mercy Kill: The less said about this one, the better.
- Punny Name: Get it?
- Robot Buddy: Literally.
- Shapeshifting: His main power.
- Shoo Out the New Guy: Technically he was a companion for nearly a full year. In practice, he only showed up in 2 stories, the one where he joined and the one where the writers Dropped a Bridge on Him.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Was conceived as a successor to K-9, just not looking like a dog.
- Weak-Willed: Very easily manipulated by the willpower of others.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Only appears twice.
Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown
Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown (Fifth and Sixth Doctors)
The Master: I am the Master!
So what? I'm Perpugilliam Brown, and I can shout just as loud as you can!
Played by: Nicola Bryant (1984-86)
The series' only regular American companion (supposedly
), Peri was a botany student who stumbled into the TARDIS while she was on holiday. Got a bit of a shock during her third televised adventure, when her kind gentlemanly Doctor suddenly regenerated into a peremptory Jerk Ass
and tried to murder her in the middle of his regeneration trauma. Developed a lot of attention from fans due to her tendency to wear tight clothes
Melanie "Mel" Jane Bush
Melanie "Mel" Jane Bush (Sixth and Seventh Doctors)
Played by: Bonnie Langford (1986-87)
A computer programmer from Pease Pottage, Mel was well known both for having a particularly piercing scream and being obsessive about her health (and the Doctor's, for that matter). She had a cheerful disposition and a perfect memory.
- '80s Hair: Giant red curls.
- Characterization Marches On: Her obsession with the Doctor's health. Possibly justified as he did end up changing physically, just not in a way she expected.
- Ditzy Genius: She's very clever, but very ditzy.
- Fiery Redhead: Without the typical fighting capability.
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: With polka dots.
- I Choose to Stay: With Sabalom Glitz, for some reason. (She was supposed to leave in the previous serial, Ray would have been the Doctor's companion, and Ace would have stayed with Glitz — her lover. Things got shuffled around during production and Mel ended up staying with Glitz instead.)
- Informed Ability: Mel supposedly had a Photographic Memory, but this never came up. Similarly, about the only time her experience as a computer programmer comes up is when she inexplicably identifies the Valeyard's doomsday machine as "a megabyte modem."
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Bonnie Langford was hired because she had a scream "that could tear the paint off walls". It's not far from the truth.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Since Mel never got a proper televised introduction (see below), the expanded universe novels and audios have built a cottage industry out of creating one for her, most of which are mutually contradictory.
- Nice Girl: She's very sweet.
- No Indoor Voice: Infamously so.
- No Name Given: Mel's last name is never mentioned on screen. It was established as Bush in studio documents and a book written by the series' producer at the time, and also appears in the Expanded Universe.
- Remember The New Girl: She was introduced as being from the Doctor's future, which means that the manner in which she first encountered and started traveling with the Doctor wasn't shown then. At the end of the season, she's seen departing with the Doctor, whom she has already met, but who hasn't yet met her. The production team apparently intended to explain all of this and give her a proper introduction the following season, but the forced departure of Colin Baker as the Doctor made that impossible. So, ultimately, Mel was just... there, with no real introduction ever shown, at least until the expanded universe got their hands on her.
- Screaming Woman: And how! The actress was hired for her scream which could "tear the paint off walls".
Dorothy "Ace" Gale McShane
Dorothy "Ace" Gale McShane (Seventh Doctor)
I'm ready for them. Question is, are they ready for me?
teenager rescued from an ice planet where she was working as a waitress (long story). Notable as one of the relatively few classic series girls who actively attempted to beat up the monsters rather than scream at them. She also liked to deploy her favourite weapon, a homemade explosive she called Nitro-9. Always called the Doctor "Professor", even after he asked her not to. This started out as an example of her anti-authority bent, then turned into an affectionate nickname between them. Oh, and she was the reason the Crowning Moment of Awesome
trope page was created.
- '80s Hair: A tight ponytail or braid near the top of her head.
- Aborted Arc: Had the show not been placed on hiatus, the Doctor would have enrolled Ace in the Time Lord Academy so she could undergo training to become a Time Lord. The planned episode dealing with this plan, "Thin Ice", was eventually recorded by Big Finish in audio format, and Ace eventually gets into Time Lord Academy in the Big Finish Gallifrey series under Romana's presidency. A version of this also happens in the BBC webcast audio play "Death Comes To Time."
- Action Girl: She defeated a Dalek with a baseball bat.
- Allergic to Evil: In the "Remembrance of the Daleks" novelization, any sign of racism brings flashbacks to the fire in Manisha's apartment.
- Ambiguously Gay: Very much Depending on the Writer. Creator Ian Briggs wrote a sexual liaison with Sabalom Glitz into her character outline, although it was never made explicit in the series. Other writers, like Rona Munro, intentionally wrote her as a Butch Lesbian (as much as the BBC would permit anyway). Ace occasionally has chemistry with male guest stars (notably Captain Sorin in "The Curse of Fenric"), but it's much more common with the ladies. In the Expanded Universe, she Really Gets Around, although she's only seen hooking up with men. Her TV series appearances average out to Bi the Way, which Sophie Aldred herself agrees with.
- Anti-Hero: She's not a very mentally stable person, and she's gotten in trouble with the law before.
- Ascended Extra: The original plan was for Ace and Glitz to leave Ice World at the end of the episode, and Ray (from "Delta And The Bannermen") would have been Seven's companion. When that didn't pan out, Ace became an Ascended Extra and Mel stayed with Glitz instead. This is also the reason Glitz knows where Ace lives — it was originally meant as Fore Shadowing. Word of God has it that Glitz and Ace were sleeping together and that he took her virginity.
- Badass: She once beat up a Dalek. With a baseball bat. Inspired the Crowning Moment of Awesome trope. Also Action Girl, Bad Butt.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT call her 'small'. One Dalek made this mistake, and Ace's reaction, well, see for yourself...
- Boots Of Toughness: Favours rugged Doc Marten boots, where most companions' footwear tends to the flimsy and fashionable.
- Broken Bird: The girl had issues. And guidance counsellors.
- Cartwright Curse: Became close to Mike Smith, Gwendoline Pritchard, Captain Sorin and Karra; none of them made it to the end of their respective serials. The Doctor Who New Adventures continued the trend.
- Catch Phrase: Enjoyed shouting "Ace!" (meaning "cool"). Since this is also her nickname, it almost seems like she is engaging in Pokémon Speak.
- She said "Wicked!" so often that the Doctor himself was inspired to say it once.
- Also "Oi!"
- Crazy-Prepared: Even before meeting the Doctor, she was in the habit of taking a portable rope ladder with her wherever she went.
- Dark and Troubled Past: The epitome of this trope, to the point where the type of Doctor that Ace really needs is a therapist.
- Dark Action Girl: Already shows it in the TV series, and really becomes this trope in the Doctor Who New Adventures novels.
- Delinquent: Stated to have been one in her backstory: she was excluded from school for blowing up the art room, burned down an abandoned house, and (probably for this) was cautioned by police. She is also able to drive a car despite not being old enough to hold a licence, suggesting illicit joyriding.
- Expanded Universe: One of the most frequently appearing companions in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, especially during her friendship with Bernice Summerfield in the Virgin New Adventures series. In Big Finish, two versions of Ace appear: the regular one, and the one in the Big Finish stories that take place in the Virgin New Adventures series (still following us?). She's also all over the Doctor Who Magazine comics. All Expanded Universe incarnations of Ace have her gradually becoming even more badass.
- While there's usually at least a token effort made to reconcile various contradictions in expanded universe fiction, the writers basically seem to have given up trying with Ace. She has four or five completely contradictory fates in the novels, comics, and audios, and though there have been some ideas floated to try to reconcile them all (usually involving clones or alternate timeline duplicates), none of them appear to have gained much traction to date.
- Girl of the Week: The censored Word of Gay version. Ace appeared in nine stories, and rapidly established a close friendship with an attractive young female character in at least five of them.
- Good-Looking Privates: Ace always falls for men in uniform who later turn out to be the enemy.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Much of the Totally Radical comes from the writers' attempts to have her insult people or express emotion without swearing.
- I Have Many Names: Is her birth name Dorothy McShanenote or Dorothy Galenote ? Or Dorothy Gale McShanenote ? Later on, she abandons the "Ace" nickname in favor of "McShane"note . Or possibly "Dorothee"note .
- Kill It with Fire: Her preferred method.
Seventh Doctor: I don't believe you've met my young friend Ace, an expert in calorification† , incineration§ , carbonizationº , and inflammation‡ .
- Killed Off for Real: In the infamous Doctor Who Magazine comics story "Ground Zero". As noted, though, Ace had several conflicting fates in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. And this one got ignored by Russell T Davies, who wanted Aldred in The Sarah Jane Adventures, were it not for the untimely death of Elisabeth Sladen.
- Ace is an inverted example of a Multiple-Choice Past. Her origins are pretty straightforward, but her future is in considerable doubt. Ground Zero itself contradicted the story told in the earlier novelizations and New Adventures novels, which had her adopting the name Dorothee and retiring to late nineteenth century France with a time ring that allowed her to travel approximately 100 years into the past or future. And it was in turn contradicted by the BBC Books novels by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry, which killed her off in an entirely different way. The Big Finish audios haven't provided a conclusion to the character yet, but the direction they've taken the character in is hard to reconcile with any of the preceding three. And, finally, the audio drama "Death Comes to Time" has her becoming the last of the Time Lords, but that story has a difficult relationship with the rest of Doctor Who canon even leaving that aside.
- The Lad-ette: Although she only fully achieves this trope in terms of debauched lifestyle after her Doctor Who New Adventures age-up.
- Mad Bomber: She's very quick to whip out those homemade explosives of hers. The Doctor is more than aware of this.
Seventh Doctor: "ACE! Hand me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying."
- Meaningful Name: Her name's Dorothy, and she ends up in the future by a "time storm". If that wasn't enough, her middle name is ''Gale''. Does this remind you of anything?
- Nerves of Steel: She does get scared occasionally, but pushes on regardless. When she doesn't want to push on, the Doctor makes her.
- The Nicknamer: She's best known for calling the Doctor "Professor", but she invented names for other characters as well. Mel ended up as "Doughnut".
- No Name Given: Her surname is not given on screen, but audios use Dorothy Gale McShane.
- The name given by the audios is itself a compromise: her full name had originally been given in the New Adventures novels and Doctor Who Magazine comic as "Dorothy McShane." When BBC Books took over the novel license, the writers gave it as "Dorothy Gale." Big Finish was more closely tied to the earlier New Adventures novels restored it to "McShane," but with the addition of "Gale" as her middle name.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Just don't call her small.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Look closely at her jacket, and you can spot (among other things) a Watchmen pin, two Rupert Bear pictures, several Blue Peter decorations, a Gerry Anderson fan club membership button, and a Thunderbirds patch.
- Psycho Sidekick: Downplayed, in that a vague description of the dynamic between them would make Ace seem like a Psycho Sidekick, but the Seventh Doctor is much more ruthless than she is, in a less personally violent way.
- Especially in "The Curse of Fenric" where the Doctor cruelly calls her an "emotional cripple". It's in order to save her life by forcing her to lose faith in him so the big bad can't destroy the world. But it's still a pretty nasty thing to do to a character established as carrying a lot of emotional baggage.
- Really Gets Around: Not on television, but in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels, Ace seems to shag someone in every novel.
- Stable Time Loop: She meets her grandmother, who she helped rescue her mother, therefore causing her own existence.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The Doctor's companions are generally there to help minimise collateral damage, but she bucked the trend by bringing her own supply of home-made explosives (Nitro-9) on her travels. The Doctor tended to discourage this... except when it was useful to him ("Hand me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying").
- Supporting Protagonist: When Andrew Cartmel tried to re-instil some mystery into the Doctor and made him a conniving Chessmaster, Ace ended up getting the most character development of any companion from the classic series.
- Tomboy: She's not even remotely like previous companions.
- Totally Radical: Try and listen to some of the dialogue and the slang she uses without cringing. Go on. We dare you. (Ian Briggs, the writer who created her, gave her a speech pattern based on teenagers he knew, but was forced to change the slang because his real teenagers were using words the BBC wouldn't allow its fictional teenagers to say.)
- Weapon of Choice: Explosives!
- Wholesome Crossdresser: In "Ghost Light".
- You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: If Ace calls the Doctor "Doctor" instead of "Professor", it's a sign she's genuinely upset.
Dr. Grace Holloway
Dr. Grace Holloway (Eighth Doctor) note
Doctor, I only have
one life. Can you try to keep that in mind?
Only on-screen companion of the Eighth Doctor, Grace also has the dubious distinction of having killed
the Seventh Doctor. She's a cardiologist from 1999 with a fondness for opera.