Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode68Time to talk transitions! Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy, as we discuss the companions who were there when the Doctor regenerated. How does a carryover companion help (or not help) the audience’s reaction to a new Doctor? Which companions handled it well? Which freaked out? All this and plenty more this week!

If you’re a day-of downloader, four of us (Deb, Erika, Kat, and Liz) are on their way to (or have already arrived in) Los Angeles for the Gallifrey One convention. If you’re attending, please find us and say hi! We have ribbons AND WRISTBANDS!


Also covered:

  • Tansy hosted a Doctor Who-themed birthday party, complete with TARDIS cake!
  • Erika
    • squees over the release of Seasons of War and the money they’re raising for charity!
    • couldn’t be more humbly honored that folks have nominated Verity! for a Hugo Award this year!
  • Lynne has only ONE MORE Doctor Who story to consume (The Space Pirates!!), and she’ll have seen/heard ALL the televised eps!
  • Deb

Bonus links:
Missing episode audios
The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
The Five Companions

Download or listen now (runtime 1:12:04) 


Comments on: "Ep 68 – Carryover Companions" (19)

  1. Hope your Gallifrey One adventures go well!

  2. Elinor said:

    Actually, you still can’t purchase The Five Companions sepparately (at least not from Big Finish, fans might sell it elsewhere). It’s solely a subscription exclusive. You must either buy a 12 release sub and pick it as your choosable freebie, or buy a 6 or 12 release sub that includes Army of Death. It is totally worth it though!

    On top of the thing about Ben, there’s also a REALLY lovely scene with Polly and Five that adresses another thing, basicly that some people’s perception of Polly ensentially is that she was there to make tea and scream and not much else, in a really great way.

    • Yes, I like that – Anneke Wills used to be quite dismissive of Polly herself, then in more recent years has stood up and looked at her actual body of work and gone HANG ON, I MADE THE COFFEE ONE FREAKING TIME (or maybe I’m just channeling Liz’s usual rant on that particular topic). I love that Big Finish often use their stories to challenge fan perception and to give companions more meaty and character-driven storylines.

      • Chris! said:

        Tansy, I agree with you about how Big Finish can flesh out the Doctor’s companions. Having listened to their recent Fifth Doctor Box Set, I was astonished at how the first story, “Psychodrome”, not only gives Tegan, Nyssa and Adric a chance to breathe, and come to terms with recent traumatic events, but also establishes/explains their rather prickly relationships with each other (if I’m not mistaken, this particular story is set immediately following “Castrovalva”). Onscreen, their rapport now seems to carry more emotional weight. The story actually enhanced my viewing experience!

        I have no idea why (yet), but the Fifth Doctor’s “crowded TARDIS” fascinates me; if Verity! were to decide to devote an entire podcast just to Tegan, Nyssa and Adric during this Year of Companions, I would be all ears (not that I don’t always listen intently regardless of your subject matter, but my ears would be particularly perky for that one).

      • Korina said:

        Oooh, Chris, what a great idea!

  3. I admit that I got lost in some of the references in this one, but you did inspire me and I watched the first episode of Robot. So far no one seems to care that the Doctor regenerated. Maybe I just need to keep watching. I agree that having a new doctor and a new companion at the same time is a great entry point for a new viewer. That is why I recommend Eleventh Hour to people struggling to get into Who. But I also agree that watching companions go through the grieving process helps me go through that process as well. So both are valuable in their own way.

  4. Richard S. said:

    Very interesting to hear Deb’s reaction to her first regeneration-watch after only 13 episodes. My first full DW story was Robot in 1974/75, and I have to count myself lucky that I had the whole of Tom Baker’s reign to get used to the idea that one day he would no longer be the Doctor.

    (Okay, technically, my first very changeover was the Jon-to-Tom change a few minutes after my Dad switched on the TV and we caught the end of the Spiders Xmas rpt, but hurrah, it meant no more Pertwee hence, quite logically, no more scary Daleks that always appeared with him on Blue Peter or Nationwide or Pebble Mill At One and made me run for cover under the dining table and refuse to watch the show, and very very unusually for the time, the next episode started the very next day!!!)

    Target Books helped me a lot in that respect, with their “Changing Face of Doctor Who” blurb on the title page of the mid-1970s book releases, explaining why the bloke on the front cover sometimes lacked that recognisable Pertweean shock or Bakerish mop of white or brown hair.

    Target also introduced me to Ben & Polly quite early on. The Cybermen were my favourite monsters at the time, but I’d only seen them in Revenge, needed more cyber, and found The Tenth Planet in the children’s section of my local library, possibly as early as summer 1976, just after the book version was released. After watching The Moonbase on DVD, I looked up further Ben & Polly TV eps and was shocked at how few of them exist.

    It’s funny hearing you guys talk about the changing face of fan appreciation, depending on which stories are hot right now on DVD. Back in the 1970s (rattles cane, adjusts dentures, checks slippers for warmth…) we really only had Target Books, the Radio Times 10th Anniversary special and the rare second-hand comic or DW annual on which to base our own classic (1960s, early ’70s) preferences.

    Hah, nowadays I keep forgetting Sarah Jane was a Pertwee companion, in fact I associate her more strongly with DT than with JP. And Castrovalva doesn’t really seem like a Davison story, more Ainley & Adric & Nyssa & Tegan (Oh Rabbits!). Quite frankly, it seemed like Tom Baker would never leave… er, I mean I couldn’t imagine the show without Tom, but once more luckily, the transition was made easier by Davison being a real family favourite of ours from his roles in BBC1’s All Creatures and Sink Or Swim (a sitcom co-starring Androzani’s Robert Glenister).

    Hmmm, perhaps changeover companions have less of a burden to carry for me when I know and enjoy the work of the actor coming in to the title role. (Local Hero, featuring a young Capaldi, superb film, one of my faves, whereas Sylvester McCoy, weird bloke used to be on kids’ TV, and he was paired with the decidedly naff Bonnie Langford of Just William infamy. I’ve really only started to appreciate & enjoy Bonnie’s genuine warmth & sincerity in the past few years.)

    In case anyone out there still hasn’t read the excellent excellent Peter Purves interview in the past two issues of DWM (482 & 483) about his time as Hartnell companion Steven Taylor, he makes several references to the high turnover of companions, for which he blames the producer John Wiles. There’s a case to be made for Steven being the very first changeover companion, in terms of getting the audience used to DW without its starring actor in the Hartnell-lite eps.

  5. Chris! said:

    I haven’t finished listening yet, but a thought just crossed my mind. What about the robotic version of the Master who seemed to serve as a sort of companion to the Doctor in Scream of the Shalka? Just what was going on there? Has Paul Cornell explained this? How do the Verities feel about this storytelling choice, particularly in light of the Master’s return this past season? OK. Back to listening!

    • My theory is that the Doctor wanted to build himself a humanoid robot companion just for fun, like the many versions of K9 only able to appreciate a good cup of tea and maybe do a little light housework, and he subconsciously gave it the Master’s personality for reasons he could never quite figure out.

      My FAVOURITE theory is that he did this about seventeen times and they all turned into the Master, no matter what he tried to do (“Even the AI toaster? Really?”) and they are all still rattling around in the TARDIS, highly embarrassed about the whole thing.

      It’s like how Tony Stark built this amazing AI and gave it the voice and personality of the only person who ever paid attention to him when he was a kid.

      • Chris! said:

        I love these theories: they wonderfully sum up the Doctor’s twisted relationship with the Master. The Iron Man analogy is a good one 🙂

        I hope a future showrunner finds a way to work this idea into the show somehow; imagine the sparks that would fly between a Robot Master and an actual flesh-and-blood companion!

      • Korina said:

        Not to mention the trauma involved in making toast.

  6. Jennifer said:

    On the subject of Ben and Polly, like Erika, I have only actually seen stories with them with the first Doctor, and my knowledge of them with the second is more abstract, but I still think of them as second Doctor companions because of the greater degree of warmth with which Anneke Wills speaks of Patrick Troughton than William Hartnell.

  7. Saxon Brenton said:

    There’s also a brief but interesting variation on companions who are experience versus unexperienced with regeneration with the Rose/Jack/Donna grouping in Journey’s End. Rose wants to rush to the wounded Doctor’s side, while Jack tells her to get back because he’s starting to regenerate and you know what that means, prompting Donna to exclaim that no, she doesn’t know what that means.

  8. Korina said:

    Lynn, thanks for explaining my feelings about Rose much more articulately than I ever could. They really saved each other, didn’t they? (I also thought they had butt-loads of chemistry, more than with Ten, but that’s a different podcast.)

  9. Jonathan Young, Smithfield, RI, USA said:

    I heard mention, early on in the podcast, of a monstrous spreadsheet to track your Who-watching. I have made such a thing. you mark off the episodes you’ve seen and it tots up the total minutes watched and percentage watched per Doctor, etc etc. Feel free to ask me for a copy. It’s in .ods format so you can open it with libreoffice, openoffice, MS Office ,etc.

    • That sounds like one of the best (nerdy) things ever! I would love a copy of it! Please send it to (that way my fellow Verities can partake as well should they wish).

      I’ll actually be starting a new Doctor Who podcast soon (with my spouse Steven), in which we’ll be watching all Who from the very beginning. I’d love to keep track this way and see just exactly how far I’ve come at any given time!

      • Jonathan Young, Smithfield, RI, USA said:

        Oh my gosh, are you going to have a podcast on EACH episode of Classic Who? **SWOON**

        Spreadsheet will be sent home when I get home tonight. I neglected to mention that there are tabs for Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures as well. I also reproduced, completely without permission, L.M. Myles episode ranking in one of the sheets because her brief but pithy comments on each serial are astoundingly good.

      • It’ll be a podcast with no rules, so while we will cover everything, there won’t necessarily be a single episode of the podcast for each episode of the show. One podcast ep could cover one ep–or it could cover 3 or 7 or 16. It just depends on how much Who we watch in any one sitting!

        Watch for more details coming soon! 🙂

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