‘Doctor Who': 10 Great Doctor/Companion Moments

David Tennant and Billie Piper in 'Doomsday' (Pic: BBC)

David Tennant and Billie Piper in ‘Doomsday’ (Pic: BBC)

It’s Best Friends Day today (June 8), and what better friends are there than the Doctor and his assorted companions? The dynamic between the members of Doctor Who‘s TARDIS crew can vary hugely, from romantic tension to sarcastic arguments, but there’s always a deep and involving relationship that’s as important to the show as any of the plot developments outside the ship’s doors. Here are 10 of our favorite moments that prove just how strong the bond between the Doctor and his friends can be.

1. “One day, I shall come back”

The first time the Doctor ever parted from a companion, it was perhaps the toughest separation of them all: cutting loose the apron strings from his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford), allowing her to find the home and stability that life onboard the TARDIS had always denied him. The delivery of this touching speech from the end of “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” might just be William Hartnell‘s finest moment in the role.

2. “Until we meet again, Sarah.”

If Susan’s departure from the TARDIS was treated as something that was ultimately good for her, then by contrast the moment that Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) left the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), in 1976’s “The Hand of Fear,” felt rather sadder. In this powerful scene between the Doctor and arguably the most popular classic companion, it’s clear that neither really wants this parting of the ways to happen, but having both already committed to it, they feel the need to see it through.

3. “Hello, Sarah Jane.”

Perhaps the difficult nature of Sarah’s original departure is what made her return three decades later in “School Reunion” so enchanting. Making her the first companion to re-encounter the Doctor several regenerations down the line felt like a far more fitting tribute to their relationship, and the moment of their first crossing paths again showed just how potent the link between the Doctor and his friends can be, even after so many years apart. That’s to say nothing of how the episode then went on to play on the awkwardness that can occur when two companions from different eras get to meet…

4. “Have a fantastic life.”

We could, of course, have picked any number of moments between the Doctor and Rose (Billie Piper) from Season Two. But actually, we’re going back to their first year together, and this incredibly touching moment as a recording of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) says a heartfelt goodbye—before inexplicably, and beautifully, turning directly towards her (and the viewer) and addressing her with incredible sincerity.

5. “I love you.”

Oh, alright, we can’t leave out the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose entirely. The ending of “Doomsday,” which saw the Doctor and Rose saying a last (at least, for now) goodbye was, after all, voted the “Greatest Sci-Fi Moment Ever” by the readers of SFX magazine last year. Never has the Doctor/companion relationship been quite so emotionally engaging as it was here.

6. “What are you doing here?”

When the actors playing the Doctor and his companion get on as well together in real life as David Tennant and Catherine Tate do, then magic is surely around the corner. That was certainly the case with the immediate rapport between the Tenth Doctor and Donna—nowhere better seen than in this fantastic, dialogue-free scene that saw them bumping into one another for the first time after the events of “The Runaway Bride.”

7. “Fish fingers and custard.”

The opening minutes of “The Eleventh Hour,” Matt Smith‘s first episode as the Tenth Doctor, are pretty unique in Doctor Who history: They show the Doctor first meeting his next companion as a child, before running into her again as an adult years later. The “fish custard” scene between Smith and Caitlin Blackwood as the young Amelia has become instantly iconic and perfectly positions the Doctor as Amy’s Tigger-esque “imaginary” friend.

8. “I just wanted to say Hello.”

The Doctor has had many companions over the years, but there’s only one that’s been with him right from the very start: his beloved TARDIS. Despite enjoying a near-anthropomorphic relationship with his time and space machine, however, it took nearly fifty years of episodes before he finally got the chance to have a conversation with her, in the form of Idris (Suranne Jones) in “The Doctor’s Wife.” The reunion was all too short-lived, however, but just before returning to her original form, she got to say the one word she’d always wanted to.

9. “Is that the Doctor?”

It’s only a select few companions that get to deal with the aftermath of the Doctor’s regeneration, and even after having seen all his previous incarnations, Clara (Jenna Coleman) still struggled to cope with the change from the Eleventh Doctor to the Twelfth (Peter Capaldi) in “Deep Breath”. Then came this surprise cameo from Matt Smith, phoning Clara across time, space and episodes (specifically, from just prior to his regeneration in “The Time of the Doctor”). While it would still take some time for Clara to really feel comfortable with the new Doctor, this was an important early step.

10. “Never trust a hug.”

By the end of the Twelfth Doctor’s first season, however, he and Clara had begun to understand each other a little better. This fantastic moment at the very end of “Death in Heaven” looked like it was going to lead to their separation—before the events of “Last Christmas” confirmed that Clara was sticking around after all—but it’s a masterclass in telling as much with what the characters don’t say as with what they do.

Which is your favorite Doctor/companion combination?

See more:
Our Favorite Companion Moments from Modern ‘Doctor Who’
10 Great Tenth Doctor Moments
10 Great TARDIS Moments from ‘Doctor Who’