Where would the Doctor be without his Companions. That’s Companion with a capital C. There have been even more companions, than there have been incarnations of the Doctor, but as far as fan art goes, Rose Tyler, Amy Pond and Jack Harkness are clearly in the lead. Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Rory Williams, River Song, and the impersonated Tardis follow suit – while the older companions don’t seem to have much traction with the fan artists on DeviantArt. Not even Sarah Jane Smith, whom one might have expected to see portrayed more often.
In the fifty years – half a century! – since the first episode aired, the role of companion – and especially that of the female companions – has evolved quite a bit: no longer is their function mainly to sprain an ankle, and create an opportunity for the Doctor to valiantly come to the rescue.
What I, personally, like best about the revival of the show (and particularly the episodes under Russel T Davies’ and Julie Gardner’s tenure) is how the companions are fleshed out as characters: they all have distinct personalities, social lives, histories, personal strengths and flaws, and they do not only exist in relation to the Doctor. Indeed, there is a whole episode in season four – “Turn Left” – where a present and former companion interact with each other, and the Doctor is barely present at all: he only appears briefly in the introduction, and in the final scene, when Donna, with Rose’s aid, has restored the original timeline.
The other obvious novelty in the “new” Doctor Who is the fact that the Doctor is now allowed to have a romantic interest in his companion. The Doctor’s romance with Rose Tyler has certainly captured the imagination of the fans, and the fan artists. I thought it was a great storyline, too.
Next to Rose, it is mostly Amy Pond – and her rather different relationship with the Doctor – who features in artwork. And there are a number of votes for Jack Harkness: clearly, not everyone thinks that the Doctor’s companion always needs to be a woman!
Then again, the most steady companions of the Doctor will always be his monsters.
All images are copyright the respective artists, and may not be reproduced without permission.