The Blue Box Blog

Emma Lou's adventures in Doctor Who fandom

Top Ten: The Weirdest Companion Exits

Posted by emmahyam on November 21, 2011

In the world of Doctor Who the friends The Doctor travels with are just as important to the story as the good Doctor himself, they are our window into the fantastical world he inhabits. When a companion decides to leave the Doctor’s company its a sometimes a sombre occasion, or sometimes a cause for bittersweet happiness as someone take their chance to spread their wings away from The Doctor and every so often the manner in which the companion leaves is just downright strange. In this post I’ll explore the ten strangest ways in which some of our faithful friends have moved on from the Who-niverse. As always I wont be shying away from SPOILERS for this post so please read with caution, also I’ve picked this list based purely off what we see of the Doctor’s televised adventures, not any of the books or audio plays.

10) Liz Shaw

Liz Shaw is a strange case all around, although generally regarded as a companion of The Doctor by fans she never gets to travel in the TARDIS as The Doctor is confined to the Earth by the Time Lords, she is there as she’s on attachment to UNIT and ends up being The Doctor’s assistant by default as shes the only one who can keep up with him, having several degrees across several disciplines. Her odd status very contributes to her equally odd exit, she never gets one. Sometime in between the end of series seven’s “Inferno” and the beginning of series eight shown in the events of “Terror of the Autons” she just disappears, sending a message via The Brigadier that shes gone back to Cambridge to continue her own studies, stating that all the Doctor needed was “someone to pass him his test tubes and tell him how brilliant he was.” Considering that Liz is replaced by Jo Grant, perhaps the archetypal ‘ask-stupid-questions-and-get-kidnapped-a lot’ companion I don’t think she was too far off the mark.

9) Leela

Leela, daughter of Sole, warrior of The Sevateem, blasphemer, stowaway and ultra violent Eliza Doolittle, what fate would befit her? Glorious death defending her people? Leaving the Doctor to lead the Sevateem or perhaps another tribe in need of the knowledge she could bring? Nope, she declares that shes in love with someone she has virtually no screen time with. In “The Invasion of Time” while Leela traipses around the hinterlands of Gallifrey trying to jolly together support for The Doctors throughly bonkers plan, The Doctor is lumbered with dragging around Andred, the nice-but-dim Commander of the Chancellory Guard. After The Doctor’s plan somehow comes together and its time to be off on the next adventure, Leela declares that shes staying on Gallifrey because shes in love with a just as surprised as we are Andred, to which The Doctor just shrugs his shoulders and leaves. While the “falling in love with a random person from the story” exit strategy is by no means unusual for companions, Leela’s is so out of character its embarrassing and its someone she has no time alone with, she might as well as shacked up with Castellan Kelner! Also for those of us who care about such things it directly contradicts previous canon that stated the aliens are not allowed on Gallifrey, which after all why Sarah Jane Smith has to leave The Doctor!

8 ) Tegan Jovanka

Everyones favourite stroppy mouth on legs Tegan always seemed like a somewhat reluctant TARDIS traveller, she spends most of her time aboard wanting to leave and having passive-aggressive arguments with some of her fellow travellers, Tegan’s final departure from the TARDIS comes after months of painful events, the death of Adric, her possession by The Mara, Nyssa’s decision to leave and the bloody beginning of the Dalek civil war all prove too much. Tegan seemingly decides on the spot at the end of “Resurrection of the Daleks” to leave The Doctor’s company, says a extremely perfunctory and accusatory goodbye to The Doctor and Turlough and runs out of the warehouse, but then almost immediately seems to change her mind, only to see that the TARDIS has already left. I think this departure is odd as it seems to come out of nowhere and Tegan leaves the Doctor on a fairly bitter note, a pretty unusual choice.

7) Romana I

After her adventures searching for the Key to Time with The Doctor everything seems fine and dandy with our resident Time Lady, as the fourth doctor chats to her from the console room Romana enters, looking completely different she apparently decides to regenerate just for the hell of it, eventually settling on a form resembling Princess Astra. This is an odd exit for me as not only do we  not get a chance to say a proper goodbye to a character but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the regeneration at all.

6) Peri (Perpugilliam) Brown

Peri’s adventures with the Doctor were always a bit… troubled to say the least, poor old Peri could make lists like this several times over, its not many companions who are nearly throttled to death by the Doctor, however its when we get to her final appearance in “Mindwarp” part of the infamous “Trial of a Timelord” series that things get really weird. At the end of the episode Peri is killed when Lord Kiv replaces her brain with his and Kiv-in-Peri’s-body is killed by Yrcanos (as played by a typically bombastic Brian Blessed). Just as you’re getting over this out of the blue death of another companion, it is revealed to the Doctor, in a pretty “oh by the way” style by The Inquisitor, that Peri was rescued from the time stream at the last second and allowed to live out her days as a warrior queen alongside Yrcanos. As if that wasn’t demented enough the episode “The Ultimate Foe” chooses to portray this by showing Peri and Yrcanos in the only scene they’re in together in “Mindwarp” inside a pink loveheart (see picture above), and the Doctor never bothers to go back for her.

5) Dodo Chaplet

I guarantee that anyone playing the “name all the companions of The Doctor game” will probably forget one along the way and that one will probably be Dodo, although she travels with The Doctor for all of series 3 most details of Dodo’s life, her childhood, the reasons she started and stopped travelling with the Doctor, and even her death are shrouded in a confusion created by several highly contradictory and speculative accounts. Her departure is extremely bizarre, in “The War Machines” after being brainwashed by WOTAN The Doctor sends Dodo away to recuperate in the country, however she never returns, sending her key to the TARDIS back with Polly, no explanation, no goodbyes, very strange indeed.

4) Adam

There isn’t really a lot to say about Adam, the forgotten companion of the new series (I think its telling that Adam is just about the only character that doesn’t make a return appearance in “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End”) however is exit is remarkable as he is the only companion that has ever been ‘fired’ by The Doctor for not being good enough and messing up. Lots of companions make mistakes or disobey The Doctor, indeed quite a few stories would never happen if it wasn’t for a companion wandering off somewhere or touching something they shouldn’t, I think The Doctor just plain didn’t like the guy.

3) Kamelion

Poor, poor Kamelion, the unfortunate, malfunctioning, weak willed android disaster, seemingly realising he was just too rubbish to live, he asks The Doctor to put him out of his misery and kill him, which the Doctor does, if the Doctor effectively murdering one of his companions isn’t weird, then I don’t know what is.

2) Adric

Oh goodness me, Adric. He dies heroically saving the Earth, crashing into the prehistoric planet, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, the reason why I find this one a weird exit is The Doctor’s reluctance to save him from his fate, the TARDIS is damaged in “Earthshock” but he still chooses not to travel back in time and save him once its started working again. The introduction of the “fixed points in time” concept in recent series actually lends us a nifty piece of possible retcon, if Adric’s death is a fixed point in established history then it would cause a paradox if he saved Adric, however the Doctor doesn’t bring any of his up at the time so it really seems like he just can’t be bothered.

1) Susan

Put yourself in Susan’s shoes, you go to an Earth devastated by a Dalek Invasion, you’re separated from your Grandfather and friends and meet a freedom fighter called David Campbell, you fall in love with him and your Grandfather, deciding from completely out of nowhere that you’re far too dependent on him, locks you out of your home and leaves you with a near total stranger in a destroyed, terribly dangerous city after making some half hearted promises that he’ll pop back and see you sometime. Couldn’t The Doctor have least dropped them off somewhere nice instead of leaving them in a post apocalyptic wasteland? Susan’s enforced exit is made all the weirder by the fact that The Doctor is stranding his own grandchild in a total hellhole with someone shes only just met!

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