It’s been a while since I’ve done a Doctor Who ranking, so I thought I’d go all in and do one of the most contentious topics of discussion – the companions. Every companion has their fans and their naysayers, and I don’t think the fanbase has ever agreed on a definitive ranking – until today, when I show you how it’s done!
… Okay, not really, but I’ll certainly give it a go (and please don’t get mad, there’s a lot of hot-takes coming up so try to take everything I say with a pinch of salt).
You can check out some of my other related lists below:
14 – Ryan
It’s actually quite an achievement how little development Ryan got over the course of his two seasons.
Tosin Cole doesn’t even do a particularly good job in the role (even though Chibnall’s writing made it impossible to act well in the first place), and everything Ryan says and does just adds nothing to the scene and the overarching plot. It’s not an exaggeration to say Ryan is the worst television character I’ve ever seen.
13 – Yaz
Almost as bad as Ryan, except she actually gets a few character moments here and there in episodes such as “Demons of the Punjab” and “Can You Hear Me?”.
That being said, these aren’t particularly useful or interesting character moments, and Yaz is yet another piece of plot fodder that will be forgotten about in years to come.
12 – Graham
Easily the stand-out character from the Whittaker era (yes, including The Doctor) but even then Graham doesn’t have much to do and has barely any character development.
Most people would probably agree that Bradley Walsh salvaged this mediocre character with his natural charm and charisma, and the scenes where Graham has to lament the passing of his wife were some of the best acted moments of Season 11.
11 – Clara
Clara is very much a Marmite character – you either love her or hate her, and I’m much more inclined towards the “hate” category.
After experiencing the woeful Tardis Trio of Seasons 11 and 12, I can now safely say that Clara is nowhere near as bad as I thought – at least she has a personality for crying out loud!
There’s something about her that made Seasons 7B, 8 and 9 a bit of a slog to get through. We’d seen this kind of “super important companion” trope a million times, and Clara just felt like a recycled caricature of all the previous companions combined. Thank goodness she had great chemistry with Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, otherwise her era would have been a total bore.
10 – Mickey
Mickey was great, but we didn’t get much of him.
I quite liked the animosity that him and the Ninth Doctor shared, and what made it even better was that fact that it was a grounded disagreement – they both really cared for Rose, and his friendship and loyalty made his a vital companion as the series went on.
9 – Nardole
I wasn’t old enough for when Donna was announced as a companion and everyone hated it, but I certainly remember the backlash that this announcement got.
Nardole had previously appeared in two fairly underwhelming Christmas stories, and he was an annoying aspect in both of them. I wasn’t looking forward to his time on the show at all, but he provided some great moments of comic relief, and his relationship to Capaldi’s Doctor was both heart-warming and hilarious at times.
That being said, he wasn’t exactly the most memorable part of Season 10, and he’s quite forgettable in the grand scheme of things.
8 – Rory
Rory was always going to be a side player to Amy, but it kinda annoyed me how little he had to do at times.
There are definitely episodes where he comes into his own and has a couple of funny lines and moments, but the relationship between Eleven and Amy was always going to take centre-stage, and Rory just felt like a third wheel as a result.
7 – Bill
Similar to Nardole’s announcement, I didn’t get my hopes up for Bill. She was pushed to audience as the “strong / black / lesbian character that the BBC has neglected for too long!”, which isn’t the best pitch for a new companion.
Bill ended up being a bundle of joy, and she was surprisingly resilient and confrontational to the Doctor’s methods. There was still that aspect of “look how we’re breaking down boundaries!” that held her back as a character, but on the whole I really enjoyed her presence and fun-loving nature.
6 – River
I don’t think a character has ever confused me quite like River Song did across her massive tenure on the show, but each of her appearances added a fun dynamic to her ever expanding lore, and her chemistry with each incarnation of the Doctor was a sight to behold.
It’s her expansive backstory and confusing narrative that lets her down though, as her character has an unnecessary amount of baggage to get your head around.
5 – Rose
There was a time when Rose was the undisputed champion of companions, the archetype of all future travellers, but as the years go by people seem to chip away at her perfect image. Is that deserved? Well, a little bit, nobody’s perfect – but she was still a fantastic companion.
She’s very vanilla, but that’s what made her such a perfect foil to the Ninth Doctor. She questioned every ambiguous choice he made, and proved she wasn’t a pushover. Her relationship only strengthened with the Tenth Doctor, and while I agree it got a bit too lovey-dubby at times it was still one of the best pairings in the show’s history.
4 – Martha
A bit like Rose, except without any of that romance nonsense in the background.
I always felt kinda bad for Martha – the Doctor hardly gave her much of a second thought, coming straight after Rose’s “demise” in Doomsday, and I feel she deserved much better. She came into her own, though, as the season progressed, and proved to be one of the most versatile companions we’ve had.
3 – Jack
While River Song was a really confusing time traveller who’s journey intersected with the Doctor’s on numerous occasions, Jack was always just in it for the laughs (and his inclusion always made sense).
John Barrowman is a complete scene-stealer in the role, and every comedic line and moment has been included in countless compilations over the years. It’s no wonder that he got his own spin-off show with “Torchwood”, and I only wish there were more scenes of him with Tennant’s Doctor.
2 – Amy
Moffat was never particularly good with companions over his tenure – he always focussed on making compelling Doctors, and succeeded for the most-part, but the companions were always left by the wayside.
This wasn’t always the case, though, and Amy Pond’s introduction in “The Eleventh Hour” still remains the best companion introduction to this day, and Season 5 had too many great Amy moments to mention. This did dwindle a bit over the next couple of seasons, which keeps her out of the top spot, but Amy Pond will always be the definitive companion of the Moffat era of Who.
1 – Donna
Season 4 is my favourite season of the show, and one of my favourite TV seasons ever – it has Tennant doing my favourite Doctor performance, a run of the best episodes in the show’s history, and Catherine Tate absolutely nailed it as Donna.
Ten and Donna had the funniest dynamic of the show, and even when things got serious like in “The Fires Of Pompeii” or “Journey’s End” Tate and Tennant would just tear up the screen with commanding performances. Donna will never be topped, that I can guarentee.
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