Saturday, October 25, 2014

Doctor Who Weekend: The Elusive Male Companion - Part Two

Hi there! Dave-El here and get a load of this: it's another Doctor Who Weekend here on the blog! Cool! 

Tonight we get to watch episode 10 of Doctor Who Series 8 as the Doctor and Clara along with Danny Pink and some school kids find themselves In the Forest of the Night. (My review of the episode will be posted on the blog Sunday.)  

Yep, it looks like that for the first time, Clara's boyfriend Danny is actually going to join in on an actual TARDIS adventure with the Doctor. What does this bode for the future? Is Danny destined to be one of those rare creatures, the elusive male companion?

Last Saturday, I looked at the subject of male companions on the classic series. Today, I'm going to pick up with the series relaunch in 2005. 

But first...

In the 1996 Doctor Who movie, in addition to Dr Grace Holloway who is considered the Doctor's companion for this adventure, there was also Yee Jee Tso. Grace is considered a companion but does not go off with the Doctor at the end of the movie. Well, neither does Yee Jee Tso. Is he a companion? I'm willing to say yes but looking at the Wikipedia entry for the Doctor Who movie, only Grace is listed as a companion; Yee Jee Tso is listed among the rest of the cast known as "Others".  I suppose I should really check other more definitive sources on this subject but to be honest, I'm not that vested in the topic so let's jump ahead about 9 years instead.  

When the revived Doctor Who was launched in 2005, the template of one companion who is young and female was followed with Rose Tyler joining the Doctor in the TARDIS. The first male traveller to join the Doctor and Rose was Adam who came on board at the end of Dalek but was summarily fired by the Doctor by the end of very next episode so I would not list him as a proper companion. However, the arrival of Capt. Jack Harkness on board the TARDIS at the end of The Doctor Dances was a far different matter. While we have Jack as part of the TARDIS crew for only three episodes, the dialogue at the beginning of Boomtown suggests that the Doctor/Rose/Jack trio has been knocking about on a number of adventures while we haven't been looking. So Jack is the first true male companion of the revived series. 

A dark-haired man in military clothing stands stoically, facing away from the camera. In one ear, he wears a telecommunications device.

The next series sees Mickey Smith actually join the Doctor and Rose. Again, like the previous year, we only have three episodes with Mickey travelling with the Doctor but unlike with Jack Harkness, there's nothing to infer Mickey has been with the Doctor and Rose any longer than those three episodes. Mickey's comment at the beginning of The Girl in the Fireplace about getting to a space ship "on my first go" suggests a direct continuation from the end of the previous episode. And there's nothing to infer that any other adventures took place between Fireplace and Rise of the Cybermen. Still, Mickey is travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS for more than a one off journey so I count him towards the male companion total.  

Mickey Smith.jpg

Mickey and Jack would return for subsequent reappearances on the program but no one new was added to the list of male companions until The End of Time when Wilfred Mott joins the Doctor in the TARDIS. It may be a bit of a one-off type of deal but Wilf was such a popular character on the show that I don't think any Whovians would begrudge him the honor of being at least an honorary companion. This also makes Wilf only the 2nd male companion to travel with the Doctor without a female companion.  

Wilfred Mott.jpg

However it would not be until the 2011 series that Doctor Who would have a formally recognize ongoing male companion in the form of Rory Williams.  Rory actually joined the Doctor and Amy in the TARDIS the year before where Rory was in 4 episodes before he was killed. But then he got better, he and Amy got married and our first husband and wife team joined the Doctor on his travels. I would also like to note that while we didn't get to see any actual scenes on camera, the inference is that Rory was the sole companion between the end of The Almost People and the beginning of A Good Man Goes to War


Since the departure of Amy and Rory and the advent of Clara Oswald, there has not been any one who could be deemed a male companion although it looks like maybe Danny Pink will actually be joining the Doctor and Clara for an adventure in the latest new episode airing this evening, In the Forest of the Night

Whether or not this becomes a thing or not depends on the path of the Clara/Danny relationship or even if Jenna Coleman who portrays Clara is coming back.  

Will we ever see a scenario with a Doctor having only a single male companion on an ongoing basis? Probably not. It's important for the companion to provide a significant contrast to the Doctor and that is best demonstrated by having the companion be female. 

Now if the Doctor ever regenerates into a woman.....


Tomorrow, I post my review of In the Forest of the Night

Next Saturday on Doctor Who Weekend, I take a look at how some Doctor Who performers are doing outside of Doctor Who.

Until then, be good to one another.

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