Characters: Doctor Who Companions And Supporting Cast
The Companions (general)
I'm being extremely clever up here, and there's no one to stand around looking impressed. What's the point in having you all?
— The Impossible Astronaut
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- 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 usually are of this variety, unless they were already some other form of Bad Ass already.
- 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.
- Character Development
- Damsel in Distress / Distressed Dude: It wasn't as if the Doctor or bystanders were immune, but the perils they tended to face meant that companions got this right, left, and center.
- Deuteragonist: Though according to some writers, they're the protagonist.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Regardless of whether they're from the present, the past, the future or another planet.
- 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).
- 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).
The TARDIS (All)
A sapient Starfish Alien
with a symbiotic link to the Doctor. One of the centrepieces 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
- Adorkable: Especially when she's in Idris' body.
- Alleged Ship: 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.
- 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.
- 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 it 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" and "Journey to the Centre of 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.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Even if one takes the whole "multidimensional Starfish Alien" thing into account, she still comes across as this.
- Companion Cube: To the Doctor.
- Cool Ship: One of the coolest. Even looking like a police box.
- 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.
- 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 Ten lamented while stuck behind a porthole window. Programmed to find the nearest safe place if otherwise compromised, as Eleven 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 Eleven 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.
- 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's gotten over it in "Journey's End" though. Presumably, this might be gratitude towards Jack for being the one to free 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.
- Assuming she ever really did; since we have only the Tenth Doctor's word for it, and he later admits being guilty of this as well, finding it "hard to even look at him" sometimes. Rule One.
- She similarly appears to dislike Clara because she exists as multiple incarnations across all of the Doctor's timeline. She's gotten over this by "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.
- 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.
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...
- 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.
- 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?!
- 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.
- Happily Married: To the Doctor, obviously.
- I Call It Vera: The TARDIS likes to be called "Sexy Thing", or "Old Girl". 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.
- 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 Mother Like Daughter: Both the TARDIS and "child of the TARDIS" River Song consider themselves to be married to the Doctor.
- Living Ship
- Magic Powered Pseudoscience: Runs on "Huon Energy," which the Doctor periodically needs to refuel it with.
- And of course, the Eye of Harmony, which is a star collapsing into a black hole, frozen in time.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Especially when she's in Idris' body.
- Although as multidimensional Starfish Aliens go, she definitely qualifies as well.
- 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.
- Towing Earth required some help from Mr. Smith and K-9 to use the Torchwood facility as a tow hitch, though. 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.
- One-Gender Race: Apparently, every TARDIS is female. The TARDIS herself refers to the others as her "Sisters".
- 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.
- Phone Booth: The TARDIS is jammed in this form, though the Doctor has grown to admire its chic.
- More specifically, the Doctor could fix its camouflage device if he wanted to, he just doesn't.
- Pocket Dimension: How its interior is sometimes described.
- 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".
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".
- 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.
- 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. Also, it's harder to misplace the damn thing when it's a big blue box as opposed to something cleverly camouflaged or invisible.
- He tries to fix the chameleon circuit in "Logopolis", and actually does in "Attack of the Cybermen" (but quickly becomes annoyed with it, and leaves it alone after it breaks again).
- 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). 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 Mum: To everyone, and quite literally since River joined the team.
- This Is My Time Lord
- 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.