Classic Who has seen its fair share of supporting characters, throughout the first 26 years. As background scenery – and as plot devices interpreters. These characters helped propel the stories along. However, some were more memorable (than others) – and some could even have laid claim to being “potential” missed companion material.
Here are Old Who’s Top Ten : Missed Companion Opportunities.
10) Duggan – “City Of Death” – Fourth Doctor
Duggan (Tom Chadborn), was an undercover private ‘gumshoe’ [detective]. Sent to Paris to sniff around the art world. This was, just as the biggest heist – in history takes place and the Mona Lisa is stolen, from the Lourve.
Duggan was not the sharpest tool in the box but was tough – and was not afraid to break a few faces, to complete his mission.
Indeed, the Fourth Doctor complimented Duggan on his right hook. Referring to it, as the “most important punch in human history”, which Duggan used to lay out the time-travelling Count Scarlioni. Preventing the Count, from stopping the creation of life on Earth, via the accidental explosion of the last Jagaroth ship.
Duggan, was good comedy-relief to the hyper-serious and intelligent Romana – and would have made an interesting foil; for the remainder of season 16. Especially, as techno-babble audience mouth-piece interpreter. Duggan’s role would have been to ask for the simple explanation from the Doctor and Romana – and punch things.
It would definitely have been interesting, to see Duggan lay-out a Minotaur – or three, with his fists.
9) Ky – “The Mutants” – Third Doctor
The Third Doctor was instructed by the Timelords, to help the Solonians overcome their repressive “Overlord” masters.
One of these Solonians, Ky (Garik Hagon); took a shine to companion Jo. Initially, kidnapping but then helping Jo – in their escape from the Overlord’s base.
Ky would have made a young and strong male-counterpoint to the Third Doctor – and the dippy Jo. Much drama could have ensued, from this new dynamic.
Some backtracking in the writing, would have had to have been performed though. As Ky metamorphasized into a non-physical angel, at the end of The Mutants. Still, that could have been interesting in the Tardis too!
8) Samantha Briggs – “The Faceless Ones” – Second Doctor
Samantha Briggs, (Pauline Collins) was a passenger at Gatwick airport, who companion Jamie met – and got to know; during the events of The Faceless Ones.
Played by – a young Pauline Collins, who would later go onto play the title role in the 1980’s film Shirley Valentine. Samantha Briggs character, came across – as a younger version, of the same Shirley Valentine character – all hopeful and naive.
Originally slated, to join the Second Doctor’s crew. It wasn’t to be though, as Collins was unable to commit to the rest of the series. So this was a one-off appearance only.
7) Sabalom Glitz – “Trial Of A Timelord/Dragonfire” – Sixth/Seventh Doctor
Glitz (Tony Selby), represents Who’s take – on a slightly more clownish and bumbling version; of Han Solo.
Glitz was a rogue operator, treasure – and bounty hunter. Who first crossed paths, with the Sixth Doctor – in The Mysterious Planet and then, the Seventh Doctor – in Dragonfire.
Glitz had the “gift of the gab” and was fully adept, at talking himself out of – or into trouble. He also wasn’t against turning on his allies, to further his own cause.
Therefore, his time in the Tardis would have been a wary – and unpredictable affair. Perfect foil, for the arrogant Sixth Doctor.
6) Astrid Ferrier – “The Enemy Of The World” – Fifth Doctor
Astrid Ferrier (Mary Peach), was the ‘Antipodeian’ Emma Pearce – Avengers adventure girl of the “Australasia Sector”, in The Enemy Of The World. Working against the despotic world-leader; Slamander. Most impressive, was Ferrier’s skill with weapons, hand-to-hand fighting skills and helicopter flight skills.
Astrid Ferrier, would have been a major progressive step up – from the simpering and whiney Victoria Waterford – any day
5) Herbert – “Time Lash” – Sixth Doctor
Herbert, or to refer to his full title “Herbert” George Wells was the “H.G. Wells” – of Victorian science-fiction fame. Supposedly inspired, to write his contemporary classic The Time Machine – and possibly War Of The Worlds, after a visit – and adventure with the Sixth Doctor, in Timelash
It was an interesting premise. To have H.G. Wells inspired by his travels with the Doctor and it could have been taken further; with Herbert becoming a resident companion; onboard the Tardis.
It would have introduced an interesting male/female dynamic, into the Tardis alongside Peri. Herbert, would have – no doubt been inspired by a future battle against the Daleks or the Cybermen.
Infact, any ‘influenced’ historical figure, who travelled with the Doctor for more than one episode; would have been a good thing.
4) Lytton – “Resurrection Of The Daleks/Attack Of The Cybermen” – Fifth/Sixth Doctor
Lytton (Maurice Colbourne), was a humanoid/alien soldier of fortune – from planet ‘Vita 5’. Who we first met in Resurrection Of The Daleks. He again popped up, as a double-agent – in the employ of the Cybermen and Cryons; in Attack Of The Cybermen.
Lytton was a dapper and cultured man, who had no allegiances. Therefore, he was known to double-cross for profit and gain. He did, however – betray a hint of a good-side; when he helped the Cryons, defeat the Cybermen invaders. For profit, of course!
Lytton, would have made a tricky customer – aboard the Tardis and his relationship with the Sixth Doctor would have been an interesting battle of wills. Unfortunately, he was killed, after a botched partial Cyber-conversion.
3) Sarah Kingdom – “The Dalek’s Masterplan” – First Doctor
Sarah Kingdom (Jean Marsh), was another Avengers-style all-action security agent, in the employ of the dastardly Mavic Chen. Kingdom eventually discovered the truth of Chen’s Dalek alliance – and joined forces with the Doctor and Steven; in The Dalek’s Masterplan.
Jean Marsh – was sounded out, about joining the cast but (as with Samantha Briggs) was unable to commit to the show. Marsh did reappear alongside Nicholas Courtney, in the Seventh Doctor adventure; Battlefield – in 1989.
Kingdom’s standout moments, included; ruthlessly (and coldly) gunning down fellow security agent Brett Vyon, (Courtney) for perceived treachery to Chen – and a grotesque melting death, after a Dalek “Time Destructor” bomb, went off near her.
2) Kamelion – “The King’s Demons/The Planet Of Fire” – Fifth Doctor
Kamelion was a robotic lifeform, capable of shape-changing into any form. Kamelion was prized away from the Master, by the Doctor – in The King’s Demons and stored in the Tardis.
Kamelion only figured once more, in The Planet Of Fire. When the Master established a mental-link to reclaim Kamelion. The resulting battle, left the Master incinerated – and Kamelion destroyed.
What we did get a flavour of, whilst Kamelion was a resident – onboard the Tardis, was Kamelion’s ability to mimic any lifeform. This would have made for a weekly plot-device which meant Kamelion could become a different character or famous Earth person (from history), week-in-week-out.
In terms of a resident companion, the scope here would have been endless.
1) Brigadier Winnifred Bambera – “Battlefield” – Seventh Doctor
Winifred Bambera (Angela Bruce), was the tough and uncompromising Brigadier, of a new-look NATO-style UNIT. Who found themselves drafted into action, against dimension-hopping Knights, in Battlefield.
With the help of the Seventh Doctor – and now retired Alister Lethbridge-Stewart, Bambera excelled in her role of Earth protector.
Being a strong minority character, in Classic Who – in the original era; when few broke through. Bambera even had to battle Lethbridge-Stewart, who had conflicting experiences – and ideas for the UNIT brigade.
It would have been interesting, to take Bambera and soften off the edges a bit – and see what sort of a character she could have become. Sadly, with another tough-cookie already in the Tardis, Ace. It was not meant to be.
Well that was our top-ten, missed companion opportunities. We hope you liked the list, which we whittled down – and not everyone could be featured. What other potential companions from the classic series, would you pick?