Now that Jenna Coleman has officially departed the confines of the Whoniverse, we can begin the much loved task of breaking the internet with speculation about who might succeed her at the Doctor’s side in the TARDIS. But the swirl of uncertainity about her status leading up to the official annoucement got us thinking about other Doctor Who companions, and how they fared after their time with the Doctor.
Setting aside expanded universe audio, comic and literary stories, it wasn’t often that we met up with companions after they departed the TARDIS, but most left the crew on good terms. Ian and Barbara finally got home, Jo Grant got married, Adric…
Well, anyway we assume companions go on to live fulfilling lives of acheivement and contribution, their experiences with the Doctor inspiring them to be a force for good in the world.
But there must have been some companions who didn’t have much of a life after ditching the Tardis. In fact we’re quite confident that these 5 companions were miserable, diseased or dead within days….
NYSSA – Nyssa was the ultra smart, orphaned daughter of Tremas who joined up with the Doctor after the Master horrifically killed her dad and stole his body (and for his sake hopefully changed underwear soon after because…GROSS)
Through a couple of series she proved to be a terrible actress under developed character who was written out in TERMINUS, after contracting Lazar’s disease on a Leper colony. After inexplicably stripping her way through most of the episode (this is why guys shouldn’t be allowed to write for TV) meeting a few lepers, and stumbling on to a potential cure, Nyssa decided to stay on the doomed ship and treat the residents while looking for a long term fix.
WHY HER LIFE WAS MISERABLE: She almost certainly died within weeks. Although Nyssa was a genius, let’s be real…with no resources, no scientists to help and no test subjects, there was no way she was finding a long term cure. In Terminus, she contracted the disease but was “cured” after being exposed to radiation, and ok…maybe the radiation/cure worked on her, but she isn’t even the same race as the terminus crew! Who knows if it would have worked on them?
And being surrounded by dying, hungry aliens with access to weapons and a scarcity of food, her life expectancy was at best, like, a week. To say nothing of the Terminus incorporated villains, who were probably waiting around the corner to blast the crap out of the ship as soon as it was convienent. So yeah, good on you Nyssa for being the space equivalent of Florence Nightingale, but you probably died, rather horribly.
VICKI – Another orphaned daughter/smarty pants, Vicki was from the year 2479 and was actually the first companion to be invited by the Doctor to join the TARDIS crew, perhaps thinking that having a young girl on board in need of nuturing would distract the other companions from his vodka habit.
She left the crew after after a trip to ancient Troy, deciding that seeing all of time and space was old and busted and that the savagery of ancient Greece was the new hotness.
WHY HER LIFE WAS MISERABLE – To begin with, she left the luxuries of the TARDIS to live in a society devoid of basic mod-cons such as toilets and vodka. Nobody deserves to be without Vodka. Also, she didn’t so much fall in love with as thrust her love on Troilus, who we didn’t know very well, but based on what we did see was a paranoid, depressed, occasionally violent warrior with some serious PTSD going on, who on top of a new girlfriend just took on the high stress, demanding job of rebuilding Troy. That probably meant that barring sessions with a good therapist, he was likely a wife beater, a career man who ignored her, a serial cheater or just flat out killed himself.
And although the Greeks weren’t dumb, as an almost genius educated in the 25th century, having to muddle through discussions with the locals about the latest in robe fashion and where sunlight came from probably drove her to drink. Which would have been impossible. Because ya know…NO Vodka.
JAMIE – Jamie was the kilted, wily, friendly Scottish cousin we all wished we had but never wanted to actually meet or go anywhere with. His main contribution to the crew was being good at fighting burly bad guys and asking dumb questions at criticial times, but because he did so with that awesome accent, and boyish haggis charm, everyone liked him.
He didn’t leave the Doctor voluntarily, as he was zapped back to his regularly scheduled time stream by the Time Lords following the second Doctor’s trial, who put him back at the same moment he left.
WHY HIS LIFE WAS MISERABLE – To begin with, his memories were erased so he didn’t even have the memories of his awesome adventures of travelling space and time and kissing cute chicks to look back on while cooking haggis. On top of that, he was placed back into his time stream at exactly the moment he left, which meant as a surviving highlander of the battle of Culloden, he was likely about to get hanged or sold into slavery by the English victors, as soon as he materialized. Where is Braveheart when you need him?
LEELA – Leela was the female version of Jamie: a knife wielding, primitive companion who asked a lot of questions and wore short skirts. She joined up with the Doctor because producers wanted a leggy girl to entice more male viewers because she wanted to repay a debt of honor after he saved her from a Wizard of Oz type psychic manipulator. After running out of things to beat up, she hooked up with some Time Lord nomads on Gallifrey, fell in love with a guardsman and left the Doctor to stay behind with her husband.
WHY HER LIFE WAS MISERABLE – Two words: Time War, during which vast chunks of Gallifrey were obliterated by the Daleks. Assuming Leela survived the fall of Arcadia and the other carnage, it’s probable her husband didn’t, since he would have been pressed into service, meaning she was a war widow. And since Leela was such a bad ass, she probably joined up herself to get in some licks, which means she probably died horribly or worse, got captured. And we wouldn’t put it past the Daleks to torture her, tape it and use it hurt the Doctor.
Even if she survived all of that, she would now be trapped in the other universe with the rest of the time lords. And we’re not sure there is vodka there.
MELANIE – “Mel” is the companion equivalent of the uninvited party guest; you don’t know how she got there but feel bad about asking her to leave. She first appeared during the Sixth’s doctor trial, although due to some timey wimey jargon the Doctor hadn’t met her yet, making it akward when at that meeting she reamed him out for not restocking the TARDIS washroom with tampax.
She left the Doctor on Iceworld to travel with Glitz, a nefarious smuggler who apparently came from a planet where the razor was banned, because the producers just weren’t trying.
WHY HER LIFE WAS MISERABLE – An overly perky IT programmer, Mel wasn’t exactly a survive at all costs kind of girl, yet she decided to leave the Doctor, a traveller with a indestructible time-space machine, vast intelligence and an unerring capacity to escape even the most dire scenarios…FOR GLITZ. A selfish con man. Wanted in every part of the galaxy. Who probably had multipule hits out on him. With a scumbag like that in charge, the best case scenario for Mel would have been that he sold her to pay off gambling debts to a creepy loan shark with a thing for red heads.
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