The Companions (general)
The Doctor likes traveling with an entourage. Sometimes they're human, sometimes they're aliens and sometimes they're tin dogs.
— Sarah Jane Smith, "School Reunion"
- Classic series companions (1963-1989, 1996)
- Revival series companions (2005 onwards)
- Other supporting cast
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Companions in general
Companions in general
- Action Survivor: Bare minimum, just surviving at least one adventure with the Doctor promotes them to this.
- Anyone Can Die: Sometimes, companions aren't lucky enough to live through some adventures. Sometimes it's a Heroic Sacrifice, other times it's simply being in the wrong place in the wrong time.
- Badass: Most, if not all companions will become some version of this if they aren't already.
- Badass Normal: The Bad Ass companions that don't have the benefit of alien powers when helping the Doctor fight evil aliens.
- Badass Unintentional: Most companions are relatively normal until the Doctor walks into their lives. Through their adventures, though, they're given the chance to regularly thwart the horrors of the universe and save lives and planets.
- Damsel in Distress / Distressed Dude: It isn't as if the Doctor or bystanders are immune, but the perils they tend to face means that companions get this right, left, and center, regardless of their gender.
- Deuteragonist: They share the stories with the Doctor. They're all sidekicks but according to some writers, they're the protagonist.
- Fantastically Indifferent: Along with Unfazed Everyman. They have to get used to weirdness to keep up with the Doctor, but it's occasionally shown that this can be unsettling to bystanders.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Regardless of whether they're from the present, the past, the future or another planet.
- Human Outside, Alien Inside: Travelling with the Doctor through the Time Vortex alters his companions on a genetic level - the results include Ripple Effect-Proof Memory.
- Jumped at the Call: Particularly in the revival, where the Doctor seems to pick companions based on willingness to enter danger.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Most companions have moments where they step up and save the day.
- Living Emotional Crutch: For the Doctor, especially in the revival. They keep him sane.
- Morality Chain: They also keep him from doing something he'll regret.
- Only Child Syndrome: All the more obvious when families started getting more screentime in the revival. Martha is one of the very few exceptions (Jack only acquired a long-lost sibling on his spinoff).
- Plucky Girl: Most female companions either start out as this (like Clara and Dodo) or later develop into this (like Rose and Donna).
- Sarcastic Devotee: The vast majority of companions will often joke at the Doctor's expense.
- Unfazed Everyman: Most of them become this after one or two adventures.
- The Watson: Barring some rare examples, such as Romana and River (who are on an equal level with the Doctor), one of the duties of a companion is to ask the Doctor "what's going on?"
- What the Hell, Hero?: Most companions will call the Doctor out on some of his more unsavory aspects.
The TARDIS (All Doctors)
Vworp! Vworp! Vworp!A sapient Starfish Alien with a symbiotic link to the Doctor. One of the centre pieces of Doctor Who, the TARDIS has been there since day one — and remained ever since, stuck in the form of a British police telephone box. Sure, she's a temperamental old Type-40 TARDIS and has almost been through more face-lifts than the Doctor himself (the interior set has changed a lot, while the outer prop has had minor changes to its police box form), but the TARDIS is a constant of the franchise. Trope Namer for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.The 2011 episode "The Doctor's Wife" unveiled many previously unknown facets about the TARDIS when her consciousness was briefly transferred into a human female's body, including the confirmation (after first being hinted at in the 1960s) that she's alive and that she feels affection for the Doctor.
Debut: "An Unearthly Child"
Played by: Several props (1963–present), Suranne Jones (2011)
- Absentee Actor: More like Absentee Prop; the TARDIS doesn't appear in a very small number of episodes, most notably the classic "Genesis of the Daleks".
- Adorkable: Especially when she's in Idris' body.
- The Alleged Car:
- Navigation in the TARDIS is notoriously hit-and-miss. The Doctor can be dead on or miss by several years. Only to be expected, really. It was a bit of a jalopy when the Doctor ran off in it hundreds of years ago, and several centuries with only one man for maintenance and repairs, jury-rigging systems so they work with one pilot instead of six, combined with the heavy living of those centuries, mean it's a miracle it still functions at all.
- Time Lords repeatedly remark on the age of the TARDIS and how it was an obsolete design. The Doctor's mentor, then in his final incarnation, even pointed out that the Doctor's TARDIS was obsolete when he was young. "Journey's End" and "The Doctor's Wife" expand that despite its age, there's not actually much wrong with the TARDIS. Any "mistakes" are due to a) the Doctor still not quite working out all the details of her operation for 700 years, b) the fact that she was designed to be piloted by a minimum of 5 more Time Lords and c) the TARDIS takes the Doctor where she thinks he needs to go instead of precisely where he wants to be.
- We also have to include the fact that the TARDIS survived fighting on the front lines of the Time War - one situation involved smashing through a wall and decapitating Daleks.
- Badass: Burning an Eldritch Abomination to death inside your body will earn you this status.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As the House Entity learnt, you do not want to make her angry. Things that will make her angry include tearing her from her home and dumping her into a human body that will die and threatening the Doctor. Oh, and Daleks - though she can take off their heads if necessary.
- Big Damn Kiss: With the Doctor in "The Doctor's Wife".
- Bigger on the Inside: At least once described as "infinite", though other episodes suggest it's just "very large". The House Entity which earned her ire inhabited a large planet. She still surpassed him.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: She is a living ship able to exist at every point of time in the universe.
- Bond Creature: She has a strong mental connection with the Doctor, and the two are literally bonded through the Doctor's symbiotic nuclei and the TARDIS'... body things. The translation field stops working when he's comatose in "The Christmas Invasion", and he can feel how close she comes to being destroyed in "Journey's End".
- The Bridge: The console room.
- Chaos Architecture: Can change its rooms as if it were a "desktop theme", and can also create echo rooms and rooms that loop around one another as a defence mechanism.
- Character Focus: "The Edge of Destruction", "The Doctor's Wife", "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, and "Clara and the TARDIS".
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- As shown in the Big Finish audios towards Charlotte Pollard, although to be fair, she was having a pretty bad day at the time (and an Eldritch Abomination roaming about inside her).
- This is possibly the reason the TARDIS doesn't like Clara. In the Doctor Who Magazine strip, she effectively throws a massive snit when the Doctor sells her to save Clara in "Pay the Piper", and goes off with her buyer. This turns out not to be a good idea. This stops when Clara goes through all of the Doctor's lifetimes to save him, so it's implied that she bonded with the TARDIS over time.
- In two made-for-DVD mini-episodes, "Meanwhile in the TARDIS Part 1" and "Clara and the TARDIS", the TARDIS appears to enjoy taking new female companions down a peg by revealing to them that they were hardly the first women to travel with the Doctor.
- In "The Doctor's Wife", she dismisses the Doctor's companions as "strays" he brings home.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Even if one takes the whole "multidimensional Starfish Alien" thing into account, she still comes across as this.
- Up to Eleven during the time she inhabited Idris' body.
- Companion Cube: To the Doctor.
- Cool Ship: One of the coolest. Even looking like a police box. The Doctor says so directly on many occasions.
- Damsel in Distress: All the time. She's able to home in on the nearest safe spot if she really gets lost in outer space, though.
- Deadpan Snarker: When the TARDIS gets stuck in a human body, she turns out to be quite snarky.The Doctor: Do you have a name?
The TARDIS: Seven hundred years, finally, he asks.
- Disposable Vehicle Section: In "Castrovalva", we learn that in an emergency the TARDIS can eject one quarter of itself in order to propel it. Problem: You can't decide which quarter will be ejected, it just might be the part you're standing in at the time. When something similar happens in "The Doctor's Wife" the Doctor explains that he's now added a safeguard: the occupants of ejected rooms are moved to the main control room.
- Eldritch Abomination: A pandimensional Living Ship masking as a blue police box that contains an infinite Pocket Dimension.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Appropriately for the Eleventh Doctor (who loves things that spin), her second console room during his Eleventh regeneration is full of circles and spinny bits.
- Expanded Universe:
- She gets a lot of Character Development in the Big Finish Doctor Who episodes "Zagreus" (where she's played by Nicholas Courtney!) and "Unregenerate!", and in the comic series "The Forgotten". For her Big Finish character tropes, see here.
- Aside from examples mentioned elsewhere in this list, one short story, "The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe", has the TARDIS, in a fit of jealousy, force Romana into regenerating after impersonating her (the implication being that the version of Romana seen in "Destiny of the Daleks" is actually a manifestation of the TARDIS).
- The Faction Paradox stories give her a (pretty dysfunctional) family.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Not everyone is impressed when they first see the console. One memorable moment from "Inferno":Greg Sutton: Well, I thought it'd be a bit more impressive than that.
Third Doctor: What did you expect? Some kind of space rocket with Batman at the controls?
- Failsafe Failure:
- Programmed to seek out the nearest planet if left adrift, as the Tenth Doctor lamented while stuck behind a porthole window. Programmed to find the nearest safe place if otherwise compromised, as the Eleventh Doctor realised with horror when the TARDIS appeared inside the TARDIS. Programmed to teleport anyone who's present in a room into the control hub when the room is deleted, as the Eleventh Doctor cleverly weaponised. Eleven however comes to regret reinstalling the HADS,note which protects the TARDIS by dematerialising it and relocating to a safer location whenever it senses danger. He ends up requiring a lift to the South Pole to retrieve her, while he was at the North Pole at the time.
- The TARDIS has a whole bevy of functions that just simply don't work when they need to. Among them is its State of Temporal Grace, a field that prevents weapons from being fired inside the TARDIS' interior, which has worked on and off (mostly off) throughout the show. It rather says something in "Terminus" that the Doctor is surprised when an emergency system actually starts working like it should be.
- Just her appearance is one. The TARDIS isn't supposed to look like a police box most of the time. It's supposed to be able to change form and blend in with its surroundings. Apparently, the part that allows for this, the "Chameleon Circuit", has been broken for a long time, leaving it stuck as a blue box. The Doctor has just grown so used to it that he hasn't bothered fixing it. (A deleted scene from "The Doctor's Wife", later published, would have indicated that the TARDIS retains the police box shape because she knows the Doctor likes it.)
- Fantastic Racism:
- Discussed in-universe: the TARDIS apparently really doesn't like Jack Harkness and even tried fleeing to the end of the universe to escape him. It's explained that this is because he's a Fact of the timeline, which is never supposed to happen. She might have gotten over it in "Journey's End" when Jack freed her from her year-long captivity by the Master in "Last of the Time Lords", after she'd been perverted by being forcibly turned into a Paradox Machine. However, we have only the Tenth Doctor's word for it (rule one: the Doctor lies), and he later admits being guilty of this as well, finding it "hard to even look at him" sometimes.
- She similarly appears to dislike Clara because Clara exists as multiple incarnations across all of the Doctor's timeline. She gets over this by "The Day of the Doctor", even opening and closing her doors at the snap of Clara's fingers.
- Receives this from other Time Lords, who wonder why the Doctor insists on travelling in an obsolete piece of junk.
- Dismisses the Doctor's companions as being mere "strays".
- Felony Misdemeanor: Her only complaint about the Doctor is that in all the time they've travelled together, he ignores the instructions on her door that informs him that Police Box doors are supposed to open outwards. Amusingly, over the show's run those instructions have indeed tended to become more prominent on the sign, as if the TARDIS herself was desperately trying to get the Doctor's attention. And keep in mind that the Doctor has both hit her with a hammer and made a very large hole in her console with an axe and the only thing she complains about is the way he opens the doors.Doctor: I think after 700 years, I have the right to open my doors how I like!
TARDIS: Your doors? Now who's being childish...
- Fire-Forged Friends: The TARDIS really doesn't like Jack and Clara, but forms alliances with them in the end. The reason for the former is due to Jack being a Fact of the Timeline, while her hatred for the latter may be due to her being, as the Doctor notes, impossible?! Eventually, however, she comes to trust Clara enough to give her the rare ability to operate her doors by snapping her fingers (an ability only recently bestowed upon the Doctor).
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Cloister Bell, the TARDIS' Red Alert signal.
- Foreseeing My Death: Much of the finale of series 7 takes place inside her corpse. The Doctor has to physically force her to even go near it.
- Ghost in the Machine: In the audios, this is portrayed by The Brigadier himself. The Doctor Who Magazine strip opts for a veiled grey lady, and in IDW's The Forgotten, she projects herself as nearly every companion the Doctor has ever known — starting with Martha and ending (at the Doctor's request) with Susan.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors:
- The Master jimmies the TARDIS into a "Paradox Machine," giving it an infernal red glow.
- The interior also has a Sickly Green Glow when possessed by House.
- Happily Married: To the Doctor, obviously.
- I Call It "Vera": The TARDIS likes to be called "Sexy Thing", or "Old Girl" and when asked in "The Doctor's Wife" to give herself a name, she chooses "Sexy" and identifies herself by this name when she first meets Amy and Rory in her human body. On the other hand, she calls the Doctor "her Thief" or "Beautiful Idiot".
- Iconic Item: Of the series as a whole. Thanks to the show (and, admittedly, increases in technology which saw the need for phone boxes decline), the police box outer shell is immediately associated with Doctor Who. The BBC has acquired the legal rights to the image of a British police box, taking them away from the British police. It's that iconic. In recent years, a TARDIS-style police box has been installed at Earls Court in London; although intended for actual public safety uses, it doubles as a mini-tourist attraction due to its identification with the series.
- Insistent Terminology: In "The Doctor's Wife" it's revealed that the TARDIS affectionately refers to the Doctor as her "thief" and insists that while he was stealing her, she was actually stealing him. Also established that it is not "borrowing", as that implies the intention to eventually return that which was taken.
- Like an Old Married Couple: The TARDIS' relationship with the Doctor, which is fully explored in "The Doctor's Wife".
- Like Father, Like Son: Both the TARDIS and "child of the TARDIS" River Song consider themselves to be married to the Doctor (though in the latter case, the marriage was actually made official).
- Living Ship: The TARDIS has sentience, though in normal conditions it cannot speak and only occasionally directly affects a story of its own volition. It's also stated that at least some of it is "grown".
- Love Transcends Spacetime: The fact the TARDIS actually loves the Doctor is established in dialogue in "The Doctor's Wife". Given the nature of the TARDIS, which is capable of seeing future and past events simultaneously, this trope can be applied literally.
- Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: Runs on "Huon Energy", which the Doctor periodically needs to refuel it with, and the Eye of Harmony, which is a star collapsing into a black hole, frozen in time.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: As multidimensional Starfish Aliens go, she definitely qualifies. Especially when she's in Idris' body.
- Most Wonderful Sound: In-universe, several characters comment on the beautiful sound of her engines as she de/rematerialises.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Chronic example.
- A small list of powers that have been revealed by the series include invisibility, telepathic communication, temporarily granting God-like powers, bringing back the dead, temporarily granting God-like powers to bring back the dead and towing a planet, through the last one required some help.note However, considering that the Time Lords apparently mastered gravity and invented black holes, being capable of towing a planet is tame in comparison.
- But one thing it apparently can't do is teleport itself to the Doctor's location (apart from the very occasional example where she suddenly develops this power, both in the TV series and in Big Finish). Several episodes involve the main characters being separated from the TARDIS.
- "The Two Doctors" revealed that a remote control exists that allows one to summon the TARDIS from anywhere, but it's only seen this once; the Second Doctor has been temporarily given one by the Time Lords, while the Sixth Doctor openly covets one.
- One-Gender Race: Apparently, every TARDIS is female. The TARDIS herself refers to the others as her "Sisters".
- The Ophelia: As Idris. Experiencing the whole of time and space all at once can make anyone a little mad.
- Perception Filter: Trope Namer, possibly. The perception filter makes anyone who doesn't know what the TARDIS is instinctively ignore it, even in places where a police box would be out of place (which is to say, everywhere except for the UK from about the 1930s to about the 1970s). The natural Weirdness Censor also helps.
- Vividly demonstrated at the end of "Death in Heaven" when the TARDIS dematerializes right in the middle of a public plaza and the people walking by do not notice.
- Phone Booth: Well, a police public phone box, to be precise (which is not the same as a phone booth). The TARDIS is jammed in this form, though the Doctor has grown to admire its chic to the point that he could fix its camouflage device if he wanted to, he just doesn't.
- Pocket Dimension: How its interior is sometimes described, such as in "Under the Lake".
- Raygun Gothic: A secondary console room that the Fourth Doctor uses for quite a while.
- Really 700 Years Old: She was an obsolete model when the Doctor was young and slated for a scrapyard when he stole her. As of Series 6 of the revived series, she's been with him for nearly 1000 years (or so he claims), although much like the Doctor's precise age, it's implied he's forgotten how long they have really been together.
- Robo Ship:
- A very rare in-universe example. She and the Doctor love each other quite romantically, insofar as a humanoid and a transdimensional Starfish Alien can and in "The Doctor's Wife", they finally get to meet on the same plane of existence and have a bit of a snog.The TARDIS: The first time you touched my console, you said...
Eleventh Doctor: ... I said you were "the most beautiful thing I'd ever known".
- And this exchange;The TARDIS: I think you call me... "Sexy".
Eleventh Doctor: [embarrassed] Only when we're alone!
- The same episode also reveals that while she doesn't appreciate all the "strays" that the Doctor picks up on his travels, she does have a bit of a thing for Rory, referring to him as being "The Pretty One".
- Just before she loses the ability to communicate directly with the Doctor, her final words to him are "I love you" - placing her among a very select company of characters to say this directly to the Doctor.
- Even the comapnions notice this - in "School Reunion":Sarah Jane Smith: Does he still stroke bits of the TARDIS?
Rose Tyler: [giggling] Yes, he does! I'm like "do you two want to be alone"?
- A very rare in-universe example. She and the Doctor love each other quite romantically, insofar as a humanoid and a transdimensional Starfish Alien can and in "The Doctor's Wife", they finally get to meet on the same plane of existence and have a bit of a snog.
- Sapient Ship: Wanted to see the universe, so she stole a Time Lord and ran away.
- Sarcastic Devotee: To the Doctor. While she has a habit of ignoring the Doctor's attempts to properly steer her, she doesn't take him where he wants to go, but instead she takes him to where he needs to be.
- Scenery Gorn: She really takes a beating in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" and her future self's corpse looks incredibly worse for wear in "The Name of the Doctor".
- Scenery Porn: It comes and goes, but occasionally, she can be really gorgeous. The TV movie and "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" are prime examples, as well as a few elaborate tours of her interior in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
- Inverted in "The Invasion of Time" when her interior, rather disappointingly, takes on the appearance of a power station for the most part.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: A rare case where the viewers only see it in the "locked" form. The Doctor has long since grown too attached to the police box look to change it. He tries to fix the chameleon circuit in "Logopolis", and actually does in "Attack of the Cybermen". Unfortunately, the TARDIS proves rather out of shape at no longer being locked, changing into forms that stick out like a sore thumb and/or are difficult to get back into. The Doctor leaves it alone after it breaks again in the same story.
- As of 2016, the only time the TARDIS has been seen in her original form on screen has been in "The Name of the Doctor" when one of the Claras directs the First Doctor to take it. (Other TARDI Ses have been seen in their uncamoflaged form as well.)
- Shipper on Deck: Although she is dismissive of the "strays" the Doctor brings home, on at least two occasions - the minisodes "Meanwhile in the TARDIS Part 1" and "Clara and the TARDIS", the TARDIS has recognized that the Doctor has a tendency to travel with pretty young females.
- Ship Tease: While she's quite Happily Married to the Doctor, the TARDIS seems to fancy Rory, calling him "the pretty one". It later turns out that at that point, Amy's already pregnant with Rory's and the TARDIS' child. Don't think about it too hard.
- Spaceship Girl: In "The Doctor's Wife", and elsewhere in the EU.
- The Speechless: She's able to communicate with speech through her voice interface, but it only allows for unemotional, pre-programmed communication (although she still manages to make it sound snarky, especially in episodes such as "Hide"). For actual communication, she needs to be taken out of her regular body. Her inability to talk became a huge problem in "The Edge of Destruction".
- Starfish Alien: Perhaps the weirdest creature the Doctor has met in all his travels is the one that he actually does the travelling in.
- Team Mom: To everyone, and quite literally since River joined the team.
- This Is My Human: More like "This Is My Time Lord". In "The Doctor's Wife", she insists that she "stole a Time Lord" as much as the Doctor stole her. They both did it for the same reason (wanting to get out and see the universe).
- Time Abyss: The TARDIS matrix exists in all points of time and space. Simultaneously.
- Time Travel Tense Trouble: In Idris' body, she has some difficulty in processing linear time, because she's used to existing in all of time and space simultaneously.
- Translator Microbes: She psychically translates languages for the companions' benefit. This is in some way connected to the Doctor, as it stops working during "The Christmas Invasion" when he is unconscious.