Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode73We thought this provided some nice symmetry with our episode about companion arrivals. Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we talk about how companions leave the TARDIS. Many are forced out, some choose to leave, a few even die. We have some definite favorites and some just-as-definite least favorites. Also, Deb objectifies hair and Lynne wants to spray King Yrcanos with a spray bottle. It’s lots of good fun!

What’s your favorite/least-favorite way to see a companion take their leave of the Doctor? Which stories do you love, and which don’t hold water? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Chicks Unravel Time (in which you can find Tansy’s essay about Peri)
Peri and the Piscon Paradox

Download or listen now (runtime 1:27:03) 

Comments on: "Ep 73 – Farewell (& Not-So-Well), Companions" (23)

  1. microtoast said:

    Here to back you up, Deb! No matter how much I love Big Finish, and the Eighth Doctor, my loathing for Zagreus (and indeed pretty much the whole arc that follows) knows no bounds.

    • Yeah, I’ll back you up too, Deb. “Zagreus” was a train wreck. And after so much build up, I was expecting something really grand, something that would remind me of “The Five Doctors.” Instead, it reminded me of “Paradise Towers.” And nothing should ever remind me of “Paradise Towers.” Believe me, there are better Big Finish stories and better Big Finish stories FOR you.

      • GAH! Sorry, I meant “Ghost Light!” Nothing should ever remind me of “Ghost Light!” Sorry, that whole Sylvester McCoy era is, for me, a blur of awful writing. In fact, as much as it broke my heart when the show was taken off the air, it was kind of a mercy-killing.

  2. Pausing the podcast so I can post this: Time Eddy is a DW con coming to Wichita, Kansas, this October. Guests include Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Katy Manning, Peter Purves, Ellis George, Andrew Cartmel, and more. Here’s the link to the website for Time Eddy:

    Back to listening!

  3. Oh, Deb, you are my hero! Thank you for confessing your obsession with Mr. Capaldi’s hair. I have entirely too many pictures on the same subject was well. I just can’t believe you didn’t also mention the recent set pictures of him in costume on Jenna’s birthday. But perhaps that’s considered a spoiler so I’ll stop there. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know someone is obsessing with you! Now, back to the show.

  4. Another fun podcast!

    I wanted to say, I agree with the appreciation for Nyssa’s leaving story. It’s sudden, but it makes so much sense for the character. Turlough’s exit was good, too.

    As for New Who, the only exit I like is Amy’s, because it’s her choice to leave for love rather than keep running. It’s almost like she was compelled to choose between being a child and being an adult. That’s just how I saw it.

  5. Richard S. said:

    Thanks for the thoughtful analysis of Angels In Manhattan. I’ve avoided rewatching the Amy & Rory eps since that one was first broadcast, because Oh The Too Many Feels. But I’m getting there.

    Ironically, the Matt Smith DVDs are the only ones in stock at my local WHSmith. I do have a choice to buy them & watch them again, if I want to. This really was not the case back in the olden days, a couple of years after I began watching the show, when I was confronted with my first proper companion departure, Sarah Jane Smith. (Or, more likely, a weeks-in-advance Daily Mail article about phwoarrr upcoming new leggy companion in animal skins.)

    I’m grateful that the show gave Sarah Jane a decent script for The Hand of Fear. But, after a major companion departure, certainly in the UK in the 1960s and 70s, it was like: one repeat showing of a few recent episodes, during the school holidays, if you’re lucky, and then You Will Never Ever See This Character On TV Ever Again! Ever!!

    Took me a long time to get over Sarah Jane’s departure, don’t know if I fully warmed to Leela. And then dammit if it didn’t happen all over again after Romana’s first season, which I’m only just now getting to watch again (and in colour, at last) on the Freeview repeats.

    Brand new issue of DWM has an interesting feature on the early days of DW on home video, specifically aimed at the UK where nightly repeats were not an option. We were deprived, but strangely contented. NOt like today. Instant gratification. Grrr. And before I burst into a rousing chorus of “Automatic” by Miranda Lambert, I’ll conclude with…

    Best companion departure: easy, Jo Grant, very sensitively scripted, a proper leaving do that literally ended with a proper leaving do. Worst one: Peri. My jaw dropped. And then, a few weeks later, it dropped some more.

    • Richard S. said:

      Not Angels In Manhattan. The Angels Take Manhattan, of course. Just seen Miranda Raison pic in DWM, must be why I said that.

  6. I fear this will be a controversial thought- I even reserve the right to change my mind! However, I say the best New Who leaving story is River. Now, hold on…let me explain. In my mind, River’s leaving was not in the Library, but rather at the Doctor’s grave in The Name of the Doctor. Whichever way you want to look it, this was the last time in both character’s timelines that they met. River wanted, and deserved, a goodbye. The Doctor needed to face what he had done by writing River to the Library hard drive.

    They parted as equals in experience, knowledge and connection to each other. They faced their greatest fears (she to be unknown by him, he that he couldn’t handle the goodbye), they saw each other, affirmed their love, and said goodbye with a kick-ass kiss. For me, it was perfect. (Of course, I’m dying to have River back.)

    On another note, I have a conversation suggestion. You all mentioned several endings that you didn’t like. In a similar vein to the podcast during which you imagined the TARDIS you would each build, I would love to hear you riff on alternate endings for the companions you feel weren’t served by their original endings. A game of Let’s Pretend it Went Like This, if you will.

    Another topic I would love to hear you discuss is why you love Doctor Who as you do. You’ve talked about how you discovered the show, and each other, but I don’t recall a meta conversation about what draws you so powerful to these stories and characters.

    OK-that’s plenty of comment. Thanks again for another great episode!

  7. Matthew said:

    Great episode. I’d say that in the classic series, it’s a toss up between Jo and Tegan for me. Jo has the most satisfactory, Tegan the most agonising. Although I have to agree about Turlough. (In all honesty, I love Turlough’s character, but that’ll be partly because I struggle to distinguish between TV and BF stories, so I don’t really remember him being badly written).

    A quick shout out though to include BF companions in this. To the Death is just about the best Doctor Who story ever written (IMHO), and I love Charlie’s final stories because of how well (and how hurtfully) they fit into her character arc. (An example of a returning companion can be written well that actually adds to rather than undermines the original character development).

    The difference between new and Classic Who though is interesting. Ultimately, there is the sense that the companions, certainly from Pertwee onwards, were accessories for the Doctor that could be disguarded with a few lines of witty dialogue. Whereas the new show is all about the companion. While the later is obviously an improvement in many respects, there’s the sense in which they overwhelm the narrative as a result. It almost seems that the whole of season 4 is Donna’s departure story (in the same way that the whole of the specials year is Tennant’s). Season 7a is too, but that’s very self-conscious on Moffat’s part and comes on the back of 2 years of the Ponds. I think what I’m saying is that so much is made of their departure in the new series that you find yourself thinking, “just go already, so we can get on with the story”. Ironically, that’s actually what I think works so well about season 8 – it’s all about Clara leaving, so when she doesn’t it leaves a lot more going on. I’m hoping she just announces one day that she’s going, that she’s found her vocation in the universe and is off to do something that she does best – no build up, no premonition. Preferably with a new companion installed in the TARDIS to make the whole thing seamless and unweighty.

    Of course, you could argue that the entire of the E-Space trilogy is Romana’s leaving story…

  8. Good leaving Story-
    1. Classic Series – Romana. She was, and still is, my favorite companion… both 1 and 2. And I still think there is ample opportunity to see Romana 2 regenerate into Romana 3 in the series without messing with the audios, and then eventually having her regenerate into Romana 4 (Troy), again without messing with the books or audio. I think she left to do something amazing and her story away from the doctor has been, at least on the audios, extremely powerful.

    2. New Series – I think it’s only fair to point out that just because a companion is only a companion for one episode doesn’t mean they’re not a serious companion. I’m thinking of Perkins from “Mummy on the Orient Express”. For some reason, I really appreciated his turning the Doctor down. It just seemed… right… I guess… that not everyone would be up for those adventures.

    I can’t choose any of the major companions, to be honest. If I were forced to, I guess I’d go with Amy and Rory (I consider the story to be their leaving story, as opposed to just Amy’s… and I do feel like Rory should have been their for Smith’s regeneration, too). I’m ashamed to admit that I was never that big a fan of Rose. I mean, I enjoyed most of her stories, but I kinda felt meh about her, and so her leaving story just didn’t hit me that hard. And I feel the same about Martha. perhaps it doesn’t help that by the time I started watching Doctor Who, Amy and Rory were long-established as the companions, and by the time I caught up (from the start of Eccleston’s season), Clara was just starting out.

    Bad Leaving Story-
    1. Classic Series – I’m just gonna agree with Perry and leave it there.

    2. New Series – Donna. I refuse to get started, because my rant on that might get this place shut down… or at the very least get it rated Adult… for language…so yeah…


    Okay, I’m done.

  9. Zagreus taking time apart,
    Zagreus fears the hero heart,
    Zagreus seeks the final part,
    The reward that he is reaping.

    I’m with Erika on this one. She was right about The First Sontarans, and she is right about Zagreus. I mean c’mon: Nicholas Courtney as the TARDIS?! It’s terrific.

  10. Ari B. said:

    What was the plan for Ace on Sarah Jane?

    (Also, Zagreus was fun, if weird. It was also my first Big Finish. Not the best choice there.)

    • Something about her rolling up in a sports car and being some kind of fancy executive or someone running a charity, I think? I don’t remember now but I remember going “UH WRONG” when I heard it. If she doesn’t turn up as the new Brigadier, what’s the point of anything?

      • Paul A. said:

        I actually don’t mind the idea that Ace is back on Earth and running a major charity – as long as it’s clearly understood that “Ace is back on Earth and running a major charity” is precisely as complete and accurate a statement as “Sarah Jane is is back on Earth and working as a journalist”.

  11. Henrik said:

    I like Tegan.

  12. Henrik said:

    You should’ve talked more about Tegan, and how fantastic Tegan is and how amazing her leaving story is. The leaving story makes total sense for her character. It makes sense for just about any sensible companion.

    Yeah. Tegan.

    In the new series there’s only been one good leaving story and that’s ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’. ‘Doomsday’ could’ve been great if it had been final. But then all of series 3 was about Rose and then all of series 4 was about Rose and then Rose was even back in the abomination that was ‘The End Of Time’.

    River’s had some great leaving stories too, but I’m still hoping it’s not yet the end for her.

    I’m worried about Clara though. She’s had two fantastic opportunities to leave. Two potentially classic leaving stories, one after another no less, but she’s still going on. I can’t help but think that when the character does leave it won’t be as good. Maybe I should just trust that Moffat has it in him to write a third great ending for Clara.

    • Tegan is great and also has the double leaving story that has become such a thing in New Who! Ahead of her time.

      By my count, Clara has had more leaving stories than any other companion, if you count Oswin and Governess Clara in there too… though Amy had a good number of them as well 😀

      The thing I meant to talk about on this episode and didn’t is that while I didn’t mind how Angels Take Manhattan turned out (yay for them not killing Amy like they threatened), I think The Power of Three was by far the strongest of Amy and Rory’s leaving stories, and the final beat of the story where they resolve to stay and then do a weird 180degree shift at the end was disappointing to me, because it went against everything that the episode had been building towards.

      The year of the slow invasion resolved their story with the Doctor for me completely – and a quiet suburban ‘yeah we’re done but we still love you’ story would have made me happy rather than all that EPIC IT’S SO EPIC WE’RE GONNA MAKE YOU CRY of their actual finale.

  13. Chuck C said:

    So, after hearing all the hoopla, I decided to purchase and listen to Zagreus.

    Sorry, Deb, but you’re just plain wrong. 😉
    It is a brilliant, wonky, dark, fun romp.

  14. […] Companion Farewells – I haven’t heard this one yet, so naturally assume everyone’s wrong about […]

  15. Paul A. said:

    For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the extra scene where Rory’s dad learned what happened to him was never intended to be part of the actual episode: that was always going to be Amy’s big moment. The plan was for it to be a DVD extra on the box set, like “Night and the Doctor”.

  16. As requested, it is not a Doctor Who convention, but John Barrowman is the main guest at Shore Leave this year. I put a note on twitter about it.

    Even less of a Doctor Who convention is Balticon over Memorial Day Weekend, but there may be a panel or two about it there.

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