‘Doctor Who’: Does The Doctor Take Care Of Their Companions?

Every Doctor Who fan knows that The Doctor’s companions are an important part of the show. Since the very beginning, the Doctor hasn’t traveled time and space alone. However, that doesn’t mean that the titular character has always treated their companions well.

From the Ninth Doctor leaving Captain Jack Harkness to the Eleventh Doctor not really caring about Rory Williams, the Doctor isn’t always the best to the people they surround themselves with. Though that might have changed slightly with the Thirteenth Doctor, at least for now, the Doctor is not always a great person, including with their companions. So let’s explore how the Doctor has been with their companions and how the Thirteenth Doctor might treat them in the future.

How has The Doctor treated their companions in classic ‘Doctor Who’?

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The First Doctor! #DoctorWho

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The Doctor hasn’t always treated their companions with the respect that they deserve. According to Saim Cheeda from Screen Rant, there are many times when the Doctor probably could have treated their companions better. This dates back to the very beginning of the show when the First Doctor never went back for his granddaughter Susan. Even when the Fifth Doctor met her, he didn’t treat her properly.

The Fourth Doctor left his companion Sarah Jane Smith alone and never came back for her. Though she later meets up with the Tenth Doctor, it doesn’t make up for the fact that she was essentially abandoned and left upset, waiting for the Doctor to return. The Fourth Doctor also dropped off Sarah Jane in Scotland, which meant she had to travel miles and miles to get home. While this treatment of companions started in the classic series, it didn’t end there.

How has the Doctor treated their companions in new ‘Doctor Who’?

David Tennant: how the Doctor in Doctor Who treats companions
David Tennant of Doctor Who at the National Television Awards in 2010 | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

It only got worse after the show returned in 2005. Firstly, the Ninth Doctor left Captain Jack Harkness in the far future in a difficult situation. The Tenth Doctor later showed little remorse for his predecessor’s actions, even though Jack went through a lot due to being abandoned by the Doctor. The Tenth Doctor gets worse.

After losing one of his companions, Rose Tyler, he meets Martha Jones. While she has feelings for the Doctor, he doesn’t return them, which is alright except for the fact that he doesn’t do anything about Martha’s feelings. He seems to travel with her just so he can forget about Rose, which isn’t exactly fair to Martha. The Eleventh Doctor initially traveled with two companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, a couple who ended up getting sent back in time by the Weeping Angels.

The Doctor was devastated by the loss of Amy but didn’t seem to care as much about losing Rory. Even early on in their journey during Doctor Who season 5, when Rory died, the Doctor worked on bringing him back solely to make Amy happy.

How does the Thirteenth Doctor treat her companions?

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With all of this, it seems that the Doctor doesn’t always treat their companions well. In fact, it would seem that they often don’t. Yet the Thirteenth Doctor, at least so far, seems to be somewhat different from her predecessors. According to Becky Fuller from Screen Rant, the Thirteenth Doctor shows “kindness and compassion” that built upon the Twelfth Doctor’s character development during Peter Capaldi’s time in the show.

The Thirteenth Doctor, in her first episode alone, stayed for Grace O’Brien’s funeral and seemed to really care about hearing more about Graham’s marriage with Grace. The Thirteenth Doctor truly seems to know how to treat her companions. From the beginning, she treats Ryan, Graham, and Yasmin, also known as Yaz, with respect. So are things changing for the Doctor and their companions in Doctor Who?

How might the dynamic change between the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions in season 12?

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“The name’s Doctor, the Doctor…”

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According to Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall, in season 12 Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is “going to need [her companions] a lot more.” “She’s going to rely on them,” Chibnall says. This is going to lead her companions to the realization that “they don’t really know anything about the Doctor.”

“They don’t know much about her,” Chibnall adds, “so they’re going to be curious about that.” That’s understandable. The showrunner also states that the companions are going to be wondering “How long are they on this journey for, but who are they on it with, really?”