Monday, 16 May 2016

Doctor Who: 10 Best TARDIS Teams

With Pearl Mackie's Bill joining Peter Capaldi for Doctor Who Series Ten, we have a brand-new 'TARDIS Team' for the first time since 2012. So what are the best Doctor-companion groups ever? Let's take a look...

12. The Fifth Doctor & Adric, Nyssa and Tegan 

For the early part of the Fifth Doctor's area, it certainly got very crowded in the TARDIS. With three young companions and a twentysomething Doctor, it was more like watching a sci-fi themed student housing drama than a time travel show. Still, there is a unique feel to this group and the dynamic results in one of the biggest surprises in classic Who, when Adric dies fighting the Cybermen.

11. The Sixth Doctor & Frobisher

The best TARDIS teams aren't just from TV Doctor Who, as this comic strip pairing proved. While on television, the abrasive Sixth Doctor was always arguing with his companion Peri, he got on famously with his two-dimensional friend Frobisher - a shapeshifting penguin, no less. The wisecracking flightless bird made for a perfect sidekick to ol' Sixie and showed just how the comics can push the boat out further than on TV.

10. The First Doctor & Ian, Barbara and Susan

The original and still one of the best. When the series began in 1963, the real stars of the show were Ian and Barbara, the high school teachers kidnapped by the grouchy Doctor when they happen upon the TARDIS in a junkyard. Along with the Doctor's granddaughter Susan, Ian and Barbara's humanity and kindness warm the Doctor over their adventures and help to make him become the hero we know today.

9. The Second Doctor & Jamie and Zoe

We hardly ever saw the Second Doctor without his faithful highlander Jamie McCrimmon at his side, as they faced Daleks, Ice Warriors and lots and lots of Cybermen together. It is this staunch and long-lasting friendship that ensures they are still one of the best TARDIS Teams today. The boys in the blue box were ably supported by the Victorian, er, Victoria, but we'll plump for future genius Zoe as the third wheel in this time-travelling trio.

8. The Twelfth Doctor & Clara

Despite spending a year with the Eleventh Doctor, Clara will always be the Twelfth Doctor's companion. After a story arc that focussed on her as a plot device, Clara really came into her own over Series Eight and Nine, building up one of the most complex friendships in the show. They only come so low on this list due to a personal preference for TARDIS teams who enjoy themselves, rather than the up-and-down relationship this pair share.

7. The Eighth Doctor & Lucy 

Though he might have had limited screen time, the Eighth Doctor has enjoyed a vast array of companions in other media. While his comic companions (sci-fi geek Izzy, alien fish girl Destrii and good guy Cyberman Kroton) are terrific, we'll plump for his long-running friendship on audio with bolshie Blackpooler Lucie Miller. As played by Sheridan Smith, Lucie is probably the best audio companion around, sharing a great chemistry with Paul McGann.

6. The Seventh Doctor & Ace

The Teacher/Mentor dynamic between a Doctor and companion has been explored before (in the likes of the Fourth Doctor and Leela) but the best example of this is the Seventh Doctor and troubled teen Ace. This kindly, yet manipulative, Doctor frequently forced his friend to face the demons of her past, in an effort to help her mature. Ace was really the first companion to have a proper character arc, which makes this duo one of the show's standouts.

5. The Third Doctor & Jo (with the UNIT boys)

The Third Doctor's era is perhaps the cosiest of the whole series, with a proper family unit around him. Exiled to Earth, the Doctor's colleagues at UNIT - the Brigadier, Sergeant Benton and Captain Yates - were honorary companions, even though they didn't travel with him in the TARDIS. His main companion was Jo Grant, who is mostly remembered for her clumsiness - which is somewhat unfair as she grew as a character across her adventures, from a ditzy assistant into a capable woman.

4. The Fourth Doctor & Sarah Jane and Harry

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane are rightly acclaimed as possessing perhaps the best camaraderie of the classic series (Sarah was the first person the Doctor called his "best friend") but people often forget Harry Sullivan, a bluff army doctor who joined them on their first season of adventures. A novice time-traveller who at first gets on his friends' nerves but eventually finds his place in the group, Harry perfectly rounds out this terrific TARDIS team.

3. The Ninth Doctor & Rose and Captain Jack

They might have only lasted half a series, but the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack form one of the most fun TARDIS teams ever - they just seem to enjoy themselves so much. Nine and Rose already had a wonderful dynamic, but Jack's inclusion just added that extra bit of pizzazz. Special mention goes to Mickey who joins the group in 'Boomtown', when the team are at their most loveable.

2. The Tenth Doctor & Donna

As the past two choices suggest, I'm partial to a three-part TARDIS team but the Tenth Doctor and Donna don't need anyone else to muscle in on their partnership. After years of romantic entanglements in the TARDIS, the Doctor just having a great mate by his side was hugely refreshing. Donna's spirit yet vulnerability make her one of the most endearing companions ever, and Tennant and Tate's natural charisma shines through.

1. The Eleventh Doctor & Amy and Rory

A personal choice here, as the Matt Smith years probably remain my favourite era of Who. Numerous previous companions had left the Doctor due to getting married but Amy and Rory showed how much fun could be had from having a married couple in the TARDIS, paired with the most awkward Doctor ever. The Ponds also best demonstrate the central theme in the Doctor/companion relationship - his friends can only stay with him until it is time for them to grow up.

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