Friends of The Doctor

“In nine hundred years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important."
- The Eleventh Doctor

The Doctor has many enemies. Luckily, he also has many friends. Here are just a few.

     There's a thin line between "companion" and "friend". Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT was a companion, even if he rarely if ever traveled with The Doctor. The Brigadier's underling, Sgt. Mike Benson (played by John Levene) is sometimes classified as a companion, but here, we call him a friend. He worked with The Second, Third and Fourth Doctors from 1968 to 1976. A loyal, level-headed non-commissioned officer at UNIT, Sgt. Benton was willing to bend or break military rules to help The Doctor face down all kinds of baddies, including Cybermen, Daleks, and The Master. According to The Brigadier in the Fifth Doctor story "Mawdryn Undead" (1983), Benton eventually left the military to become a used car salesman.

     In his hundreds of years of travel, The Doctor met many good people who joined him in an adventure, helped him defeat the villains, and then wished him good luck and Godspeed and were never heard of again. I will let thespian rogue Richard Mace (played by comedian Michael Robbins), of the Fifth Doctor story "The Visitation",  be the honorary "Friend of the Doctor" stand-in for all the one-off friends who came and went in the series. Without these characters, who show up for one story and one story only, Doctor Who would not be the show we know it to be today. Good luck and Godspeed, Richard Mace, and all the one-off friends who came before and after you!

   Mickey Smith (played by Noel Clarke) was Rose Tyler's boyfriend. She cared for him, but the moment she met The Doctor, Mickey's boyfriend days were numbered. He hung around a long time hoping for the best, and occasionally joined Rose and The Doctor in the TARDIS, where The Doctor belittled him with such names as "Rickey" or "Mickey the Idiot". Eventually, Mickey saw his relationship with Rose was dead, and, while on a parallel Earth with Rose and The Doctor, he decided to stay there and live with his grandmother, who, on the Earth he knew, had died years ago. On that parallel world, Mickey developed into a world class alien fighter, returning to the real Earth to help The Doctor several times. Happily, his love life eventually improved, by way of marrying The Doctor's friend and ex-companion Doctor Martha Jones. Lucky son of a...

   Harriet Jones (played by Penelope Wilson) was an insignificant "faithful back-bencher" in government, and her greeting of "Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North" was usually ignored. In Season One, she helped The Doctor and Rose defeat the alien Slitheen family, and her ability to calm a worried and fearful public afterward led her to becoming Prime Minister. Her greeting of "Harriet Jones, Prime Minister" was always answered with a "Yes, we know who you are."

     In Season Two, she clashed with the Tenth Doctor, who then managed to ruin her political career, thus accidentally setting up the rise of the mysterious "Harold Saxon" as Prime Minister. Harriet Jones returned in Season Four to help The Doctor and friends stop Davros and The Daleks from destroying the Universe. Even The Daleks answered her introduction of "Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister" with a "YES, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE."

     Grandfather to Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott (played by Bernard Cribbins) is one of the most lovable of all The Doctor's friends. A star gazer himself, Wilf encouraged his granddaughter Donna to stay with The Doctor, once admitting to The Doctor that her life was much better with him than without him. He was often unintentionally funny; when Rose Tyler, needing a hookup to a conference call, asked Wilf if he has a web cam, he answered that his daughter Sylvia won't let him have one because "she thinks they're naughty". He also once tried to take down a Dalek with a paint gun. His respect for The Doctor was complete and without reserve; to Wilf, The Doctor was the hero of the world. Fittingly, star gazer that he was, Wilf finally became a one-time, one-time only "companion" to The Doctor, getting to ride with him in the TARDIS near the end of The Doctor's tenth incarnation.

     Of all The Doctor's friends, Winston Churchill (played by Ian McNeice) may have been the most unexpected. Introduced in Season Five's "Victory of The Daleks", Winston Churchill was established as already being a friend of The Doctor, thus by-passing any pesky fan's questions like "How the hell did The Doctor and Churchill become friends?" A fun episode, if not a classic, with most of the praise going to William McNeice's portrayal of Churchill. While this episode is the only one featuring Churchill as a major player, he did have cameos in several other episodes, usually with stories that involved time going nuts and the need to find The Doctor to straighten everything out.

      The Paternoster Gang was one of Steven Moffat's more off-the-wall inventions, yet one of his most fun. The Gang, who ran a detective agency in the late 1800's, consisted of the reptilian "Madame" Vastra, her human wife Jenny, and their butler and driver, the Sontaran warrior Strax. Together, they appeared in five different episodes, including the Christmas special "The Snowmen". Their last appearance was in Peter Capaldi's first full episode "Deep Breath", where they helped the deeply confused Doctor get his bearings. Madame Vastra was also instrumental in convincing Clara Oswald that although The Twelfth Doctor did not look or act like her beloved Eleventh Doctor, he was still the same man and needed her guidance and friendship. Their detective agency is said to have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle creation of  Sherlock Holmes. In Doyle's stories, however, Holmes never married Watson or ate Jack the Ripper.

     One of the wonderful things about the series is that the writers have decades of history to fall back on for ideas and characters. Thus, when they needed a character to be a higher-up at UNIT, they remembered Kate Stewart, daughter of the late beloved Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who was a prominent ally of The Doctor in the original series. The character of Kate Stewart was originally created for a direct to video story called "Downtime" in the '90s, but had never appeared in either the original series or the new one. Kate Stewart (played by Jemma Redgrave in the new series) made her first official appearance in the Matt Smith years, storming at Rory and Amy's home in the episode "The Power of Three". She would return in "The Day of the Doctor" Anniversary Special, and later met The Twelfth Doctor in "Death in Heaven".

    Although he only appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who, Brian Williams, father of Rory Williams and father-in-law of Amy Pond Williams, was definitely a friend of The Doctor. Accidentally kidnapped by The Doctor in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and taken to a Silurian spacecraft filled with prehistoric creatures, Brian got a quick lesson on The Doctor from son Rory, and by the end of the episode, he was begging The Doctor to take him on trips to all the places he had always wanted to go. In "The Power of Three", he spent days just gazing at a mysterious little black box simply because The Doctor asked him to do so. He also encouraged Rory and Amy to continue adventures with The Doctor; however, The Ponds' time on the show was just about up, so that is the last we would see of Brian Williams. Played by Mark Williams, well known around the world as Arthur Weasley, father of Harry Potter's best friend Ron, and also as the title character in the Father Brown mysteries.

    Osgood (played by Ingrid Oliver) was the biggest fan of Doctor Who in the world. Not a fan of the show Doctor Who, which, of course, didn't exist in the Doctor Who world, but rather a fan The Doctor himself. Osgood was obsessed with The Doctor and his history, and would often wear question marks (pictured), a bow tie (Eleventh Doctor), a scarf (Fourth Doctor) or a sprig of celery on her collar (Fifth Doctor). Working for UNIT, she was indispensable. Osgood was so smart, even The Twelfth Doctor admired her, which is saying plenty, given that Doctor's lack of chumminess with most humans.

    Danny Pink (played by Samuel Anderson) was a math teacher at the Coal Hill School, where he met fellow teacher Clara Oswald. Their friendship was often awkward, owing to her secret relationship with The Twelfth Doctor, but over time said friendship turned to love. The Doctor was initially not a big fan of Danny, calling him "P.E." (short for Physical Education), refusing to accept that he could be a math professor, but The Doctor's attitude toward Danny was less about his credentials as a teacher and more about not thinking he was good enough for Clara. The Doctor eventually warmed up to Danny, especially when he saved his and Clara's life from a rather vicious alien.

    When The Twelfth Doctor got stuck in a miniaturized TARDIS in "Flatline", Clara Oswald, acting as "The Doctor" herself,  enlisted graffiti artist Rigsy (played by Joivan Wade) as her temporary "companion" to help find out who or what was behind the dimensional leeching of the TARDIS. Although The Doctor initially thought of him as a lightweight idiot ("Get rid of him"), Rigsy came through in the end, being instrumental in saving the day and The Doctor. Thus, when Rigsy found himself in deadly trouble in "Face The Raven", The Doctor immediately came to his aid. Rigsy may have only been on two adventures with The Doctor, but The Doctor considered him to be a friend. That might not seem like much of a reason to put him in this section, but we're talking about a Doctor who initially liked Clara and nobody else, and tended to delete people from his memory as soon as he didn't need them anymore, so if he calls Rigsy a "friend", he means it.

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"Nice to meet you, Rose.  Run for your life!"
- The Ninth Doctor