Welcome back to my celebration of Doctor Who! Over the show’s duration, the Doctor has had many allies ranging from his close companions to kooky side characters. I thought I’d change things up today by looking at some people who had a single episode appearance with the 11th Doctor. So, unfortunately, that basically discounts great allies like Craig, Canton (if you count the series 6 premiere as two episodes), Madame Vastra and her team, and many others.
These are 5 characters who I felt made an impact on me despite their limited appearance. With that in mind, let’s get this list started.
5. Ada from “The Crimson Horror” (Series 7)
This is the most recent character on my list. Ada was tortured and experimented on by her cruel mother, rendering her blind. She initially saves the Doctor from death and nurtures him, eventually coming over to his side against her mother over the course of the episode. I liked this character for the kindness she showed towards the Doctor and his caring for her in return. I especially enjoyed when she went off on her mother once it’s revealed how she became blind and how she ultimately takes out the episode’s alien baddie. Ada was a character I really sympathized with and I would be interested to see her again in a future episode.
4. Rita from “The God Complex” (Series 6)
Rita is one of many allies during this episode, but she stood out for her great attitude and strong intellect. She questioned the Doctor’s need to save everyone and really came into her own as a possible companion. Even the Doctor mentions this at one point as well. She has a deep faith and, being a medical student, a natural need to care for people. I really felt she would have been a compelling companion for the Doctor and the show in general. Unfortunately, this one’s a case of what could have been, as Rita is cut down in her prime by the minotaur stalking them throughout the episode. You know the character had potential when even the Doctor goes into a rage from their death.
3. Liz 10 from “The Beast Below” (Series 5)
Liz 10 is the 10th incarnation of Queen Elizabeth and one of the first new allies seen at the start of the 11th Doctor’s adventures. This is one queen who can kick butt, which I immediately liked from the get-go. She’s smart, a little sassy, and a good shot to boot. Even though this isn’t one of my favorite episodes, Liz 10 elevated it for just being so cool. As the episode progresses, we also learn her role regarding the city being flown on a huge star whale and the tragedy behind it. It gave her character some extra depth and lead credence to her role as queen. Though she did briefly show up in the beginning of series 5’s finale, I count this as a one-off since she doesn’t encounter the Doctor during that cameo.
2. Vincent van Gogh from “Vincent and the Doctor” (Series 5)
What do I really need to say about this one? It’s famous painter Vincent van Gogh! Okay, to be fair, he would have been my number one had it not been for someone else. Vincent meets the Doctor and Amy and they quickly bond with him over his life and paintings. Vincent was also the only one of them able to see the episode’s resident alien and, even when it’s dead, really sympathized with the creature and how alike the two were. Since this is an actual person, I felt the portrayal was done tastefully and just perfectly. Vincent never came off as too mopey or aloof, and the ending he gets, while bittersweet, was heartfelt. It’s still one of my favorite episodes of series 5, and a lot of that is because of Vincent himself.
1. Idris/TARDIS from “The Doctor’s Wife” (Series 6)
Yes, the TARDIS is his ship. Yes, it’s technically his companion. But this episode, which I still count as my favorite of series 6, really personified it. After being transferred into a human body (Idris), the TARDIS officially meets her Doctor in the flesh. They join forces to rescue Amy and Rory from an evil entity, bickering all the while like an old married couple. This felt like the perfect team-up to me, because she IS the Doctor’s oldest companion and they share a connection unlike anything or anyone else. While some have complained that the TARDIS acted a bit too much like the Doctor in terms of quirkiness, I loved the execution of it and also the sentimental moments they shared. The moment they have before her essence completely disappears into the TARDIS again was both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. Their alliance is still one of the best I’ve seen to date, and even if it never happens again, I’m glad we got what we did.
So, those are my top 5 choices of one-time allies. If you have any choices, either from this Doctor or the others, feel free to post them below. I’ll be back in a couple days for another Doctor Who blog.