Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityExtraDefinitive Companions1-300This week, we at Verity! learned, once again, that there’s no way to cover all 50 years of Doctor Who in one short episode–at least not for us. Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we hash out who the definitive companion is for each Doctor. Do we agree? Are you kidding? In fact, we only made it through about half of the Doctors, so join us now for Doctors 11 through 6 (going backwards, of course), and stay tuned in a couple weeks when we tackle the rest!


Download or listen now (runtime 28:03) 

Comments on: "Verity! Extra! – Definitive Companions (Part 1)" (40)

  1. Pete Galey said:

    Oh man, Fitz, Charlie, Evelyn and Frobes get a mention, but no nod to Benny Summerfield? For SHAMEZ.

    • I did think of her (as she’s one of the few non-tv companions I’ve actually experienced), but I didn’t mention Benny because I never thought of her as *definitive* for the Doctor. Rather, the Doctor was definitive for her. I’m not sure I can see a truly definitive companion running off and having their own solo adventures. Well, I suppose I can imagine it, but that’s not what I think happened here.

      Anyway, remember, the point wasn’t to talk about the most awesome companions, but the ones who’re definitive for the Doctor with whom they’re traveling. Go ahead and make an argument for why she’s more definitive than Ace though–that’s what we’re here for! 🙂

      • Pete Galey said:

        Well, Bernice keeps the seventh Doctor honest in a way that Ace never quite manages, because Bernice already has a life of her own and thus doesn’t depend on the Doctor to be in loco parentis as much. In that sense she has the same quality as Donna or Barbara, in that she isn’t afraid to call the Doctor out, but even more so, because she can always leave (unlike Barbara) and isn’t reliant on the Doctor providing her with the means to have the adventures she craves (like Donna). That allowed the writers to go further to the edge of the Doctor’s darker side, safe in the knowledge that there was someone around who would always draw the line he mustn’t cross. You could argue that this makes her a somewhat semi-detached companion, but if that were enough to strike her out then Eleven wouldn’t have a definitive companion because they’re all at least semi-detached.

      • Pete Galey said:

        … She’s also fairly writer-proof, which is a handy trait in a non-TV companion; a writer could just pitch her at the level of wise-cracking bon-viveur and she wouldn’t necessarily feel out of character (This is somewhere where the EDAs always suffered, to me – Roz and Chris could be just written as good cop, bad cop / buddy movie characters, but give Sam or Anji or Compassion to a duff writer and it was an instant train-wreck). Now, this doesn’t necessarily make her more definitive, but I do think a definitive companion ought to be fairly consistent, so you can almost pick a story at random and understand why people dig that particular Doctor / companion combo.

      • I should have thought of Benny given my argument for the different media for the 8th Doctor! I definitely agree that she (and not Ace) is definitive in the books, and that for many 90’s Doctor Who fans she is every much ‘The Companion’ as Sarah Jane was for a whole generation. When we get to the audios, Ace comes back into her own and Benny of course is excellent but (again, like Sarah Jane) no longer a companion. Though I personally would argue Elizabeth Klein as the Seventh Doctor’s definitive audio companion – she brought something so powerful that reacted off his character and personality and represents the older, later Seventh Doctor only hinted at in the TV show.

      • Emily said:

        As much as I love Klein (and oh, I REALLY do, I think her storyline combines the most brilliantly plotted, deeply thought-provoking, mentally & ethically challenging, and sheer genius elements of all of Doctor Who ever), I still don’t think she’s the single ‘definitive’ companion even in the audios. For one thing, she spends a lot of her time as his primary antagonist. Which makes for a completely innovative and fascinating doctor-companion relationship, so kudos there, writers. But much like Benny in this respect, I might argue that she is more fully herself when she isn’t actually with the doctor, which makes her less definitive AS a companion. (Even though I acknowledge the fact that (spoilers!) the doctor’s influence basically shaped her entire life & personality – still, she is a totally autonomous agent.)

        As to Benny, I admit I’ve only read one of her novels and I know her mostly from her own Big Finish line. So I naturally think of her more on her own than with the doctor – not hiding my biases, here. Glad to give her a mention, especially since she is an AWESOME character, but you’ve still got to side with Ace on this one.

        Speaking of characters we’re surprised to not have mentioned, though, I’m feeling seriously bad for Martha. It’s true that I wouldn’t have ended up picking her in the end. I’m firmly in the Donna camp, partly because she is obviously the best 🙂 but also for the reasons you so eloquently put forth in the podcast. But really, not even a mention? Ouch.

        Glad to hear Frobisher mentioned. Again he’s not one I followed, and in fact I only know him from the Big Finish stories “The Holy Terror” and “The Maltese Penguin.” But in that one snippet, my impression was that he works better with the 6th doctor than anyone else I’ve seen or heard. I desperately want to love the 6th doctor, and I usually do like him while I’m watching him, but…it can be hard, especially when I don’t really like any of his companions. Evelyn’s pretty good, but she’s not actually FUN for me. Frobisher worked. That said, I couldn’t personally call him definitive.

        Might as well round it out with the 8th doctor – where I would be seriously hard pressed to choose between Charley and Lucie. They’re so different, and both so perfect. If I choose Charley then no one will have fought for Lucie, which is a thing not to be borne. But I’ll stop now, because once again I’ve written way more than I intended to.

  2. Elvisomar said:

    I’m listening now, and I am, as always, very entertained. Here is my own list. I’m going to go through all eleven here, and will wait anxiously to hear part two one day (soon?).

    11: Amy Pond (I love, love Clara, though). Eleven and Amy really became the model of two opposite gender buddies who love/hate to get into trouble together, but always manage it.

    10: Donna — Not an easy choice, but I think Donna exemplifies the “bestest buddy and chum” thing as well or better than any companion for any doctor.

    09: Rose — Rose for iconic choice (maybe Captain Jack for personal favorite). Rose was the character to identify with as we got to know the doctor (or got to know him again, as in my case).

    08: I’m definitely diehard in the Charley Pollard camp — though I love the Mary Shelley stories, as well. I started with the Lucie Miller audio stories, and when I started with Charley I wasn’t so sure. It took me to the end of the first story to cast Lucie aside (sorry Sheridan, you’re awesome, but you’re up against a heavyweight champion companion).

    07: Ace — no question. Those two actors have a personal chemistry and the characters capture the quintessence of the maestro/student relationship.

    06: Peri — I might be with Liz on the Evelyn question, although some of her stories are excellent, I never really have liked her all that much. Peri wins for me for a complex, inside-out sort of reason: Of all the companions I think Peri is the one that I would least want to spend time with in mundane life (Tegan is next on that list). That makes Peri a strangely perfect companion for my least favorite doctor. I hasten to add that this is said with a full admission that there is a Six and Peri audio adventure loaded on my iPod at this very moment, and I am excited to hear it.

    05: Nyssa — I agree this is the trickiest doctor to pick, but it didn’t take me long to decide.

    04: Sarah Jane, although if any doctor deserves two, it would be Tom (if only because his long run has distinctly different phases), and therefore: I would include Romana (and without specifying which, I suppose may arguably have chosen three?). Sarah Jane is THE companion of my youth, whereas the rediscovery of Mary Tamm’s Romana in recent months has been my greatest delight in viewing classic Who.

    03: This is also tough, and it begs the question of who is and who is not a companion. I must say Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Sarah was wonderful. Liz (another favorite of mine) should have had a second season. I have no ammunition against arguments that Jo Grant is the iconic companion. Nope, regardless of the arguments presented I will just shake my head, close my eyes and simply repeat over and over again: The Brig. Just picture Three and Brig sitting by the fire at a gentlemen’s club, drinking brandy and sharing stories. See?

    02: Jamie. Perhaps vying with Ace as the least controversial choice. Jamie and the Brigadier are without question the two men who have been closest to the Doctor. The Brig is like an old school chum, and Jamie is like the crazy cousin or little brother in a close family.

    01: Iconic? I have to put forth Susan as the iconic companion for Billy Hartnell. Although, I could very easily be convinced to caucus with the Steven Taylor supporters, or for that matter I could become a Barbara man with the vague promise of a chocolate treat to be named later.

    Regarding “shipping”, I have no issue with the Doctor having a romantic relationship with anyone. I suspect and hope he has done, but I see no reason to make it any more a part of the television stories than it ever has been. Has there been hanky panky on the TARDIS during the course of the show? Yes. Four and Romana II—no question in my mind. I always assumed that is exactly why she regenerates at the opening of Destiny of the Daleks. I imagine it’s like a Time Lord version of trying on hats or lingerie for a new lover. To paraphrase Lynne: I think Doctor IV and Romana II are shipped first overnight priority delivery.

  3. I haven’t watched enough Sixth Doctor episodes to feel competent in choosing a companion from his era, but for the rest my choices lined up with yours. (Very boring of me, I know.)

    The only one I’m conflicted on is 10. I’ll echo what Tansy said about wanting to say Donna, but having to choose Rose instead. Not because I’m shippy about 10/Rose (although I absolutely am…I’ll Fed-Ex right alongside Lynne on that one!) I absolutely adore Donna, and logically think her non-romantic friendship with the Doctor defined him more than any other companion in that era…but the fact is, when I think Tennant’s Doctor, I instantly think Rose. Sappy gut instinct perhaps, but so be it.

    • James C said:

      Jan’s comment captures something that I was thinking as I listened to the podcast, and that is ‘define definitive’. I think there are a couple of ways to do this. One is ‘helping to define who the Doctor is, and what the show is about’. On that score, then Donna wins for Ten hands down – she defined him in ways that none of his other companions did.

      Now this would be a problem is that was all there was to it – existing only to shine a light on the hero is a pretty poor excuse for a major character. But fortunately for Donna she came into the role of companion with her eyes wide open. She had seen the Doctor at his best and worst in the Racnoss Operation (forgotten the real name!), had time to think about it, and then done all she could to find him again. She wanted a friend, respect and adventure and she got it. And in return she offered her moral compass. In a sense their companionship defined each other.

      Clara is an instructive comparison here. As far as we know so far, she exists only for the Doctor to define her. She is giving herself a million times over, but I can’t see that she has done anything to shape him.

      The second approach to ‘definitive’ would be as a synonym for archetypal, or even clichéd. It’s the picture that forms in your head when you think of Doctor X and companion. This seems to be the definition that has been used predominantly in the podcast conversation.

      Here’s a partial list of what I think, using both definitions. When they come together in the one companion, you’ve got some cracking television.

      Eleven: Amy, both definitions. It may be that the ‘first face’ factor was so potent this time around because meeting the young, vulnerable and determined Amelia after Ten’s twilight as the Lonely Egomaniac brought the Doctor back to solid ground. His old persona resurfaced briefly in The Beast Below (“No human has any right to talk to me today!”) but Amy showed how wrong he was. She put him back on the straight and narrow, and a couple of stories later he returned the favour. In a sense these two grew up together, and Amy’s final departure left a real mark. I’m delighted that after all that Amy was given a real life to live with Rory – a first for the new series.

      Side note: Another way that she defined the eleventh Doctor – or more precisely his era, is that she came packaged as a mystery for him to solve. Amy, River and Clara have all been presented the same way. This was fun with Amy, a bit tiresome with Clara (though I do like her!) and great with River. Unlike both the others, River was in control of the mystery.

      Ten: Donna obviously for the ‘defines the Doctor’ definition. Rose for the cliché. Ten and Rose had some cracking adventures and Doomsday killed me, but with Ten, Rose only existed to love him. The huge impact of her leaving was for me just as much a culmination of her relationship with the Ninth as with Ten. Nonetheless, the two of them having fun together does convey something essential about the era.

      Nine: Rose, using both definitions. Like Amy, Rose grounds the ninth Doctor. She saves him, he saves her, and makes the ultimate sacrifice for her. The two of them running while holding hands is the archetypal image of that year, and is a mission statement for the whole series. A brief shoutout to Adam and Jack though as two interesting, intelligent and morally ambiguous characters who help to define the Doctor by showing how he treats those who either misuse or make the best of the opportunity that companionship offers.

      I think I need to stop now! Carry on, Verities.

  4. Ray Adamson said:

    11. Pond is absolutely fundamental to the eleventh Doctor for me,considering his relationship with River Song and Smith and Gillan complement each other like Sinatra and Presley.Much as i like Clara ,her relationship is definitely more formal and distant.10 Donna Noble has the best dynamic with the tenth Doctor.I enjoy Donna’s confidence issues and aggression as a character.9.That must be Rose Tyler.Ecclestons Doctor practically dependent on her.8 Since i’m not especially familiar with the assorted media around the eighth Doctor,Grace is my only choice.7 Ace was clearly the character that had the superior,more interesting relationship with the seventh Doctor.6.Peri,always long suffering but that’s needed where the Sixth Doctor is concerned.5Tegan Jovanka,brave and shouty,cricket hating air hostess.4 Sarah Jane Smith, and best friend.3 Jo Grant is the only character that demonstrates the more affectionate and personal qualities of The third Doctor.2 Has to be Jamie Mac Crimmon,personal minder and loyal friend.1.Ian and Barbara.Can’t really separate them and equally capable and respected.

  5. I’m loving all the Donna love here! And I have some more evidence for that camp – the Destiny of the Doctor audiobook series. So lovely beyond words to hear Catherine Tate back in a Donna adventure, and her impersonation of Ten is excellent.

    I have to say all of the Destiny of the Doctor series make arguments for iconic companions, except possibly the Third One which features Mike Yates in his first adventure (but we get some Brig action so that’s OK). Though they’re not always my picks (you have to wait until the next extra to hear mine!), hard to argue with: Susan, Jamie, UNIT, Romana II, Tegan, Peri, Ace, Charley, Rose&Jack, Donna and… well, Clara apparently 😀

  6. laurissy said:

    Ok let’s do this first of all we’ll start with the end because timey wimey.
    11- Amy I don’t even like Amy that much, I think she’s too abrasive self obsessed and I just find her unpleasant. But considering the impact he’s had on her life from 8- to I don’t even know how old she was meant to be in angels take manhattan and the fact that 11 kept coming back to Amy even when he knew he shouldn’t makes her definitive in my books
    10- I’m going to go with Donna for 10 because she’s my favourite and I really like the dynamic they have when they’re together. So even though 10’s era is all abut the love story I don’t find it interesting enough to call it definitive and it’s not what I think of when I think of 10. I think of the doctor donna god dammit and no logic is going to stop me. Someone also mentioned Martha not being mentioned and I can’t in good conscience call her definitive but it seems a bit unfair that someone who spent a year of her life with only the faintest slither of hope that the doctor’s plan would work. She has to fend for her own survival, help people to have faith in the doctor, and be one step ahead of the master for a year and when she sees the withered broken doctor she still has hope and faith. I don’t think any other companion has been asked to give up so much with so little pay off. It’s weirdly tragic in a meta sense that not only has she not earnt the love of her doctor she hasn’t even earnt the love of us doctor who fans. I’m sure there are martha fans out there but I think even they would have a hard time calling her definitive despite all the sacrifice she endured which is odd because I think sacrifice is a pretty definitive aspect Then again the character is now happily married and the actress I believe is still very successful so I guess it’s not that tragic but that is one hell of a tangent.
    9- Rose for fairly obvious reasons. She’s the one who really helped him become the doctor again and help people and I love the two of them together. I’m not sure if i’m in the minority but I prefer 9 Rose to 10 Rose.
    8- Grace Holloway, I’ve only seen the tv movie but I am looking forward to the 8th destiny of the doctor. I’m hoping it will be a good introduction to the character and who knows maybe it will change my mind and come round to the charley cult.
    7- Ace, she’s awesome.
    6-Peri but I haven’t seen any mel stories or listen to his big finishes.
    5- I guess Tegan but I haven’t watched everything with the 5th doctor and I think I may be going of the great chemistry Janet Fielding and Peter Davidson have on the commentaries than anything I’ve seen on screen but I haven;t watched everything so that may change.
    4- Sarah Jane but I have a feeling that might change when I see more Romana.
    3- Jo Grant she was with him the longest I can see people making cases for the master or the brig. But I think Jo changed the most throughout the third doctor era and I think Jo was the one who had the closer relationship at the end of the day. She could talk him out of being grumpy. She could smile and laugh when he was felling bad about being stuck on earth and through the third doctor’s teachings she could stand up to the most evil man in the universe. God I love frontier in space.
    2- Jamie without a shadow of a doubt if you argued definitive team which I think is a fair approach with the 60’s doctors they got through a lot of companions and I think there was such a team dynamic in the 60’s rather than the focus on one individual being the COMPANION. It’s more of a team where different people will take on different responsibilities and attributes for the team. For 2 it would have to be the Doctor Jamie and Victoria but I have a feeling that might change depending on what time of day you caught me.
    1- God I think one defies being defined. I know I mentioned on an earlier comment that it was really hard for me to think of a definitive first doctor story. It’s even harder for companions they all influenced him so much and there were so many of them. If I had to pick first of all as a team, I’d go for Ian, Barbara and Vicki. There’s a mix of modern/young and Mature/Tradition in there. They’re very effective as a team and I think they redefine the doctor into what we see as the doctor. If I had to pick one companion who was definitive I’d go for Vicki not because she’s my favourite that’s Babrara but I think she enscapulates what a companion does and I think Vicki should get a lot more credit because similarly to Troughton she proved that the show could go on with a major cast change and that the companions weren’t set in stone. I think she distinguishes herself from Susan and I like how in the doctor’s and Vicki’s relationship there’s a acceptance that they’re both trying to fill the hole someone else has left behind. Vicki’s trying to put the doctor into the role her father had and the Doctor gives her Susan Role and this works out quite well and neither wants to do anything to jeprodise that. They’re both in a comfortable and truly loving role with each other and neither wants to ruin that and I think the idea that the doctor is looking for something specific in his companion to satisfy a hole in his life has become more and more relevant as the show has gone on.

    God that was long

  7. Is there a definitive villain podcast on the horizon?

    • Well we hadn’t thought of that! I’ve added it to our spreadsheet. No promises, but you never know what we’ll get around to! Thanks for the idea!

      • James C said:

        While on the subject of the list, is world building on there? I reckon you could have a great conversation about that.

  8. My picks:

    First Doctor: Susan
    Second Doctor: Jamie

    Third Doctor: Jo

    Fourth Doctor: Sarah

    Fifth Doctor: Tegan

    Sixth Doctor: Peri (by default)

    Seventh Doctor: Ace

    Eighth Doctor: Grace (by default)

    Ninth Doctor: Rose

    Tenth Doctor: Rose

    Eleventh Doctor: Amy

  9. Two of you mentioned, with great enthusiasm, Evelyn Smythe for the 6th Doctor. I had a hunt on the Big Finish website and downloaded the Marian Conspiracy (only US$3 – a bargain). OMG – she is a DELIGHT. She is more than a match for the 6th Doctor’s more abrasive character (although he is a huge improvement in the Big Finish audios compared to his TV persona). I then downloaded (another $3!) The Spectre of Lanyon Moor (and big squee, it had the Brigadier too).

    So thank you so much, for introducing me to a new companion, and she is definitely worth the bargain price downloads

  10. Going to put my list up for comparison and argument debate.

    I’ll start the whole thing of by saying that, no matter how much I love and enjoy it, I can’t include any Big Finish companions as Big Finish simply isn’t canon. It breaks my heart to do that with the 8th Doctor but the anally retentive geek in me won’t allow me to do anything else.

    The list is therefore:

    11th Doctor – Amy Pond. It’s the Doctor and Pond. No matter how much I love other characters, these two just go together. They formed each other and found it a struggle to live apart. Also, River isn’t a companion. Not a detriment to her – the Brig proved that you don’t have to be a companion to be important to both the Doctor and fans.

    10th Doctor – Rose. I actually prefer Donna but everything about who the 10th Doctor was is influenced by Rose. How he interacts with Martha and Donna is a result of losing Rose and coming to terms with it.

    9th Doctor – Rose. Breaks my heart to not pick Captain Jack (my only ever man-crush) but it is simply and obviously Rose.

    8th Doctor – Grace. She may have killed 7, only appeared in one story and have dubious companion status but she’s the only thing we have that’s canon. On a related note – if Moffat could find some way to include 8 and have him reference Lucie Miller in the same way that 5 remembered Adric then it would make my entire existence (“make my day” or “make my year” just weren’t good enough)

    7th Doctor – Ace. Big crush on Sophie Aldred as a kid helps here but think Ace is a shoe-in anyway. The best mentor-pupil relationship the show has ever had and a character development arc I always lamented not having a true completion.

    6th Doctor – Peri. I really like some of the Big Finish companions but even if they were canon I’d still pick Peri. She’s not perfect and bits of the portrayal (whether in the script or acting) grate occasionally but that just makes her fit even better with 6 (and that coat).

    Looking at the length of this I’m going to split my comments and come back with the other Doctors when you release part 2.

    Loved the debate for part 1 and looking forward to it!

    • Emily said:

      I’ve embraced the idea that canonicity is open to interpretation in Doctor Who, as opposed to something more strictly canon-regulated like Star Trek. I was with you for a while, until I realized that I’d be a happier person if Big Finish were canon, and who’s to say it’s not? Mostly other fans who don’t have much more to back it up with. Is there even an “official” position re: Big Finish canonicity? And if so, firstly I don’t actually care, and secondly who has made it up?

      • Elvisomar said:

        The whole idea of “what is canonical and what isn’t” can be an interesting question for me. But it is an intellectual exercise with no real meaning. The current show runner Mr. Moffat has publicly cast the concept of “canon” aside. To paraphrase him: this is a show about a time lord who can change history.

        Because Moffat knows that he and his writers will honor the tradition and history of the show as best as they can, but that if they have a story that flies in the face of “canon”, but they think it’s really, really good and worth telling; well, they are going to tell the story and to hell with what is canonical or not. Case in point: Anyone who thinks that the show will end when all of the twelve regenerations are used up is bonkers. Some things shown on screen in the program do get changed. Another case in point: The faces of the doctor shown to Doctor IV in the Brain of Morbius. That’s canonical. Yeah, I know, the official and fan interpretations of those events was ret-conned. Duh. That’s how it always works. And that is how it always will work.

        In response to the comment from Jezbez that sparked this aside about “canon”: The people who asked this question are the women of Verity!, and they did not stipulate that the iconic companion for each Doctor must be from the aired BBC televised series. So, you answered the question the way you wanted to, and good on ya for that. But it does appear that Charley won hands down as the iconic companion to McGann’s Doctor VIII, nonetheless, and that makes me happy.

      • Elvisomar said:

        … and when I say Charley won hands down, I mean: I didn’t count votes, I celebrated the fact that I am not alone in choosing her as the awesome and iconic companion I think she is. And like I said for my choice of the Brigadier as a companion, any arguments to the contrary will be met by me with fingers in ears going la-la-la-la-la-la…

      • Yeah, when I saw an interview with Moffat where he basically said “you can’t say what’s canon, but when I say something it’s canon” (not an actual quote, but a close paraphrase), I became sad with the way of things. But, then I figured that I can be just as good at ignoring things I don’t like as he can, so I became much more content. Since you mention it, I kind of wish the floating heads in Brain of Morbius hadn’t been so thoroughly retconned, because that could have led to some really cool backstory…but anyway. I approve of making whatever canon choices you like, and it makes for an interesting conversation starter to ask “so what’s your canon?” In mine, the Eighth Doctor left San Francisco and found himself on the R101 not too long after, and the rest is history 🙂

        Oh, and Jezbez, as to wishful thinking about even the tiniest reference to Eight & Lucie Miller in the show — this! A thousand times this!

      • Agree entirely that there certainly nothing that even gets close to *official* canon in the show and if it hadn’t been for the show breaking its own canon (even if you restricted the definition to just TV episodes) then some of my favourite episodes and moments would never have existed!

        The problem inside my head (phrasing it that way as I’m FULLY aware that inside my head is the only place the problem actually exists) is that each of the strains of other Doctor Who media generally keep their own canon and can be seen to contradict the show on numerous occasions (Lungbarrow anyone?). The best example of this is Human Nature. Was it experienced by the 7th Doctor, the 10th Doctor or did history repeat itself (which would be quite embarrising for the Doctor)? Same issue with Shada.

        In my head (again) the solution is something akin to the Marvel Multiverse. I’m aware that most people will know what this is but a quick recap for those that don’t – Marvel have two main threads of comic books (the normal ones and the Ultimates) and the movie/TV work they do. These all contradict each other but they are all correct as Marvel officially has the multiverse theory written into canon and each one is therefore correct but in its own universe – normal is 616, Ultimates is 1610 and the cinematic universe is 199999 and our real one is 0. They’ve even had cross-over storylines.

        In my head the Big Finish work and the New Adventures books are different universes the Doctor exists in. The fact that they mirror ours a lot is fine because that’s more likely than not. It also allows two different Doctors to experience the same adventure via different media. It’s all correct as it’s not in the same universe.

        There are even Big Finish audios (Jubilee) and TV stories (Army of Ghosts/Doomsday) that officially allow for alternate universes.

        That’s how I fix it in the troubled world of my own head anyway.

        As for Charley, I’m going to have to finally admit my ignorance – I’ve never heard/read/whatever a Charley story. Financial restrictions mean that my experiences of 8 are the TV movie, a chunk of the stories with Lucie, both versions of 8 Shada and Sirens of Time. I’ll readily admit that leaves a gap you could drive a galaxy through but there’s only so much you can beg, borrow or steal when you don’t have a circle of friends who are into the audios or books 😥

  11. baticeer said:

    My choices of the definitive companion:

    11: Amy, no question, although I do prefer Clara. (Not that I dislike Amy – I just particularly enjoy Clara.)

    10: Honestly, everyone said it would be Rose, but for me it’s Donna that jumps to mind first. I can totally understand the arguments towards Rose, but my reason for it being Donna is completely personal; I still haven’t watched all of series 2 (oops) so I don’t feel like I have the best idea on how the Doctor and Rose are together.

    9: Of course it’s Rose.

    8: Charley in the audios, Fitz in the books, naturally. I haven’t yet heard the audio stories with Lucie but I doubt she can unseat Charley in my mind.

    7: Ace! For the same reasons you gave.

    6: Peri. Not one of my favorites but she’s certainly definitive.

  12. mikeb said:

    Sabalom Glitz cruelly overlooked once again 😦

    • I actually love Glitz as a Sixth Doctor companion, even though he really only got to play for two episodes in that specific role (less than Katarina even!). If Canton counts then Glitz certainly does.

      • I really hope we see more of Canton just to get rid of the question mark over him. I refuse to believe that they had the kind of relationship we saw at Lake Silencio just on the basis of events in Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon. There HAS to be more to it!

    • Someone who only appeared in one story per Doctor for 2 Doctors, didn’t travel with either and actively worked against one of them has been overlooked as a companion? However did that happen? 😉

      • mikeb said:

        ha, don’t worry, I wasn’t being entirely serious. I do like to think about what Glitz and Mel got up to after Dragonfire though. Maybe someone should pitch the Glitz and Mel Adventures to Big Finish

      • I would write the Mel and Glitz Adventures in a hot second! “How do you lose an ice planet??” “I parked it right over there, it must have been towed by the space fuzz.”

      • mikeb said:

        Oh gosh, I want this to happen now.

  13. Chuck C said:

    Sooooo …. has McGann now ‘canonized’ Charley (and all audio companions for the 8th?)

  14. I’m late in responding here because I stopped listening to podcasts back in August, and have only now caught up to this episode.

    I really have to take exception to your Charley hyperbole. “Ten years”, my foot. There is a big difference between how many years India Fisher has been working for Big Finish, and how many consecutive years she was actively and regularly working with Paul McGann. Her first appearance with McGann was in 2001, and her last regular appearance was in 2007. No one ever says that Tom Baker was the Doctor for ten years, so I don’t think you get a pass on rounding up so vigorously with Charley.

    It’s also important that a “year” during the Pollard era was four releases, while a year during the Miller era was eight. In other words, Charley counts with Ace-sized years, and Lucie fonts with proper, Barbara-sized years.

    Well, that’s just a joke, obviously. The longest these actors were together in production was something much more like a couple of weekends than a year. But still, to our perception as the audience, Charley was in rotation as a part of the main range, mixed into releases with older Doctors. Lucie was a part of her own range, and therefore we heard twice as many stories out of Lucie in a given calendar year than they ever did Charley. Even though Pollard episodes are longer, there was more content. To take an example from television, the runtime of season 16 is essentially the same as series 4, but it feels like there’s more Catherine Tate than Mary Tamm because there are more stories.

    And there’s the little, tiny point that Lucie Miller is the only companion in the entire history of Doctor Who to debut on radio. All of her first season was broadcast on radio, globally, for free before it was ever shipped as A CD. Though the remainder of her tenure was not broadcast on radio first, it was (almost) all made available on global radio. Lucie also notably got a Chrismas episode was simulcast on radio while David Tennant was having one of his Christmas specials on TV. And when asked to submit stuff for the 50th anniversary on Radio 4 Extra, Big Finish chose to go with Lucie, not Charley.

    Lucie, after all, was the only human companion since Barbara and Ian to know Susan. She’s the only human companion, full stop, to know other parts of the Doctor’s family. Without giving away plot-ending details, she’s the only companion to leave of her own volition and come back — and to do many other things. Her final departure leaves a huge, meaningful emptiness in the Eighth Doctor that stays with him through following companions.

    She’s like Charley’s level of emotional closeness, mixed with Izzy’s youth and tragedy, mixed with Fitz’s practicality and roguishness, and Destrii’s disregard for the Doctor’s authority as a Time Lord. She’s a little bit of every Eighth Doctor companion that came before her rolled up into a bundle of awesomeness. And she was with the Doctor for more stories in a little less overall time than Charley.

    Indeed, Lucie outlived Rose, Martha, Donna and Amy. She was the current radio companion from the introduction of the Eight/Lucie combo on the last day of 2006 to January 2013. Think about that for a second. She was the current companion on radio from “The Runaway Bride” to “The Snowmen”. In episodes that were free. Globally. With a healthy time on ListenAgain.

    And if you missed those broadcast, the Lucie episodes were the most consistent bargain on the Big Finish website. I know of tons of people who took a gamble on Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor range because they were less of a financial risk. And once they started, they just keep buying them.

    All this amounts to one probable truth. If you were introduced to Doctor Who because of the new series, the chances are that your audio experience of Doctor Who includes this very long-lived, high-profile partnership more than it does that — I’m sorry — relic from the past known as Charley Pollard.

    I, of course, cannot claim to be so young as to have been introduced to DW by Eccleston. I have listened to every bit of the Pollard era and every part of the Miller era. And, for me, there’s absolutely no question: Lucie is the definitive Eighth Doctor companion. By a country mile.

    If Martha is not thought of as definitive for Ten because she’s “the rebound”, Charley cant be definitive for Eight cause she’s clearly “the warmup”. Often with Pollard episodes, McGann seems to be phoning it in. She just doesn’t make him sparkle comedically, even though she’s a reasonable dramatic foil for him. The writing just isn’t of consistent quality during the early 2000s. “The Chimes of Midnight”, though rightly lauded, was largely the exception, rather than the rule. If you’re going to stress that one, you have to honestly mention “Zagreus”, “Minuet in Hell” and much of that Divergent Universe arc, which was pretty blah. So sure, Charley’s adventures with Eight were released over six years, but the last three were pretty lacklustre. There’s a definite, irremediable downturn in the quality of Charley stories at “Zagreus” that sends the Charley stories well and truly off the rails. Put another way, before “Zagreus” more stories were good than bad; afterwards the reverse is true.

    And I get the definite sense that Big Finish learned from the mistake of “Zagreus” and the Divergent Universe arc.

    Lucie, or perhaps more to the point, Sheridan Smith, along with more seasoned writing by Briggs, Robson and Barnes, makes him a completely new, funnier, more interesting character. Simply put, since everyone had the luxury of the warmup provided by the Pollard yeas, everyone is more on their game when they finally land an award winning actor to be the companion. The five Lucie years demonstrate a general consistency of quality. There might be the odd story you don’t like, but there’s no “Zagreus” in there. There’s no “Scaredy Cat” or “The Creed of Kromon” or “Caredroia” of “Faith Stealer”. The worst feeling you get out of a Lucie Miller story is “Eh, that was fun but inconsequential.” Charley has actively bad episodes.

    A huge part of this is because Lucie is definitionally a better character than Pollard. Charley’s supposed to be some kind of “Edwardian Adventuress”, but she loses that trait to the same choppy waters that took away the Jamie of “The Highlanders” and “The Underwater Menaace” and replaced him with the Generic 1960s Dude With A Kind Of Scottish Accent that he is by season 5.

    Lucie by contrast is a very well-plotted character. From hello to goodbye, you know who she is. You feel the truth of her character echo through every major decision she makes. She leaves the Doctor twice and both times you get it. Both times it breaks your heart, but it feels right. Both times it feels like a logical extension of her first season. When Charley leaves Eight, there’s no particular angst because she’s immediately picked up by Six. So there’s no cause for the audience to grieve. Indeed, her central character “issue”, as introduced in her first story, isn’t resolved by Eight at all, but by Six. Her story is bigger than a single incarnation of the Doctor, whereas Lucie’s story absolutely, positively has to do with Eight and no other. Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, Lucie has her own, personal villain. Well two of them, really. And she directly tangles with the Time Lords. I mean, she is just so much more central to the narrative of her stories than Charley usually was.

    I’m sure I could find other reasons to extol Lucie’s virtues, but it comes to this: you guys were just plain wrong to dismiss her with the vague clause, “the Lucie Miller factor”. If you’re gonna posit Fitz and Izzy as possibly definitive, you’ve gotta, in fairness, give Lucie at least a full sentence.

    • Elvisomar said:

      Wow. Maybe next time you’ll tell us how you really feel. Sorry mate, you obviously present a lot of facts. You also obviously have a strong opinion. Neither objective facts, nor a single set of strong opinions can make or break the Definitive Companion question for McGann’s Doctor.

      You find Lucie to be definitive. Good on ya. I happen to have based my own opinion on what feels right to me: Charley Pollard. It’s not even about who had more or better stories, or more and better time. It’s about an intangible quality. The pursuit of quality is the core of a wonderful book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where author Robert Persig ultimately identifies with quality not as a destination, but rather as a journey. A person is better off performing maintenance and preventing problems, than one would be by fixing them only when problems occur.

      Just as we each get to decide which actor or era is “my Doctor”, we each get to decide which companion is the definitive one for each of them. It’s a personal journey, and never an objective destination.

      Speaking only for myself, I guess I can say thanks for being so… um… thorough and impassioned with your arguments.

      P.S. I genuinely thought Zagreus was memorable and excellent.

      • So, wait a second. Lemme get this straight. Because I gave a few facts in support of the notion that Lucie Miller might be worth talkin’ about, I now have to read some 1970s metaphysics? Man, this is the podcast that makes you WORK to express your opinions!

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