Ahead of the debut of Pearl Mackie as Bill on Doctor Who tonight, we take a look at every companion of the show’s modern era and rank them from worst to best…
N.B. We are not counting the one-off companions that have littered many of the Christmas specials – e.g. Astrid Peth, Jackson Lake, Wilfred Mott – as we would be here all day.
Honorary Mention #1: The Paternoster Gang (2011-2014)
Appearances: Series Six: ‘A Good Man Goes To War’, Series Seven: ‘The Crimson Horror’, ‘The Name of the Doctor’; Series Eight: ‘Deep Breath’; Specials: ‘The Snowmen’.
The real heroes of Victorian London – Sherlock who? – good samaritan Silurian Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny Flint and their Sontaran butler Strax were collectively known as the Paternoster Gang and aided the Doctor in his Eleventh and Twelfth incarnations. They didn’t actually travel in the TARDIS, though, so we can’t count them as companions.
Honorary Mention #2: UNIT’s Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and Osgood (2012 -)
Appearances: Kate – Series Seven: ‘The Power of Three’; Series Eight: ‘Dark Water/Death in Heaven’; Series Nine: ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, ‘The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion’; Specials: ‘The Day of the Doctor’.
Petronella Osgood – Series Eight: ‘Dark Water/Death in Heaven’; Series Nine: ‘The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion’; Specials: ‘The Day of the Doctor’.
Like the Paternoster Gang, the modern incarnation of alien-busting organisation UNIT has aided the past two Doctors several times but they don’t actually travel with him. Unlike the male-dominated days of the classic era, modern UNIT is led by two women – Kate Stewart, the daughter of the Brigadier, and her chief scientific officer Osgood.
12. Adam Mitchell (2005)
Appearances: Series One: ‘Dalek’, ‘The Long Game’.
Adam has the (dis)honour of being the only companion to be kicked out of the TARDIS after just one adventure for bad behaviour – he attempted to bring information from the future back to the present. It was a clever idea to show how the Doctor only entrusts the gift of time travel to the best people but it meant we hardly got to know Adam.
11. Craig Owens (2010-2011)
Appearances: Series Five: ‘The Lodger’; Series Six: ‘Closing Time’.
Are we breaking our own rule here? Craig didn’t actually travel in the TARDIS but as an ordinary human who tagged along with the Doctor’s adventures he was much more of a companion figure than the Paternoster Gang and UNIT. Craig was a really loveable character and would definitely come higher in this list if he had appeared in more episodes.