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'Doctor Who': Every Classic Companion Attending The Support Group In 'Power Of The Doctor'

by Kristy Anderson about a month ago in pop culture / tv
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Familiar faces!

Credit: BBC

WARNING: SPOILERS for Doctor Who: The Power of The Doctor.

The often hit-and-miss era of Jodie Whittaker, The Thirteenth Doctor, has come to a dramatic end in new Doctor Who special 'The Power of The Doctor'. As well as being The Thirteenth Doctor's final adventure, the special was produced as part of the BBC's Centenary celebrations, and Doctor Who's very special place in the network's long history.

For that reason, the special was packed to the brim with Easter Eggs and references from throughout the series history. Notable among these were the appearance of multiple Classic era Doctors, and past companions. The special's ending features a support group of former Companions coming together to share stories of The Doctor. While veteran Whovians will have at least some idea of who everyone is, the Classic series companions may have left those who started watching the series at NuWho scratching their heads.

To help out those newer fans, here's a quick run down of all the Classic Companions attending the support group.

Ian Chesterton

Credit: BBC

The elderly gentleman at the meeting is Ian Chesterton, one of the First Doctor's original three companions. A Science Teacher at Coal Hill School, Ian and his colleague, Barbara Wright, encounter The Doctor when they follow his Granddaughter, their student, Susan, home from school, where they discover the Tardis, and a suspicious Doctor not-so-accidentally whisks the duo away on an adventure through time and space. Ian was Doctor Who's first action hero, able to perform actions and manoeuvres that the older First Doctor could not. Initially wary of The Doctor, Ian and the rest of the very first Tardis crew eventually form a close bond.

After a few years travelling with The Doctor, Ian and Barbara finally make their way home through the use of a repaired Dalek Time Ship. With his return as Ian in 'The Power of The Doctor', fifty-seven years after the character's last on-screen appearance, 97 year old actor William Russell has earned a new Guinness World Record.

Jo Grant

Also in attendance was Jo Grant, a companion of The Third Doctor. With The Doctor in need of a new Assistant following the sudden departure of Liz Shaw, The Brigadier enlists Jo for the position. While The Doctor initially dismisses Jo as unsuitable, she soon wins him over with her enthusiasm and sweet personality. After a number of Earth-bound adventures with U.N.I.T, Jo becomes the first of The Third Doctor's companions to travel with him in the Tardis when he finally manages to fix it.

Jo continues to travel with The Doctor until she meets climate activist Professor Clifford Jones, and resigns from her job at U.N.I.T to marry him. Though he tries to hide it, The Doctor is heartbroken by Jo's departure.

Decades later, in an episode of Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, Jo receives an invitation to The Doctor's funeral, where she meets her successor, Sarah Jane Smith. The pair suspect that The Doctor is not actually dead, and end up helping The Eleventh Doctor escape the clutches of aliens called the Shanseeth.

Since leaving her role as Jo, actress Katy Manning as remained an enthusiastic supporter of Doctor Who.

Tegan Jovanka

After finally being able to reunite with The Doctor during the special, Tegan is also seen attending the support group at the end. Tegan joined Doctor Who during the Fourth Doctor's final story, 'Logopolis', wandering aboard the Tardis after mistaking it for a real Police Box, and accidentally being whisked away when it takes off. Tegan is furious at this development, as it keeps her from attending what was supposed to be her first day of work as a flight attendant at Heathrow Airport. The newly regenerated Fifth Doctor later promises to return Tegan to Heathrow, but as is often the case, The Tardis has other ideas.

Tegan briefly departs the Tardis after finally arriving at Heathrow, but rejoins the team soon after. Her final departure comes sometime later, following a Dalek attack, when she can no longer cope with The Darker side of The Doctor's adventures. In 'Power of The Doctor', Tegan is seen to somewhat resent The Doctor for never having checked in with her after her departure. Thankfully, when The Doctor's new interactive hologram gives Tegan the chance to find closure.

Melanie Bush

Another attendee was Mel Bush, who had been a companion of both The Sixth and Seventh Doctors. Mel first appeared during the season-long 'Trial of A Time Lord' storyline, during which The Doctor is put on trial by the High Council of Gallifrey. She is first seen in evidence drawn from The Doctor's future, meaning, in an odd twist from the norm, Mel appears as a companion before The Doctor has actually met her. A running joke has Mel, a health nut, concerned about The Doctor's own health and encouraging him to exercise and drink carrot juice.

Mel was present for The Sixth Doctor's regeneration into The Seventh Doctor, but was unconscious at the actual moment of regeneration, leading to her struggling at first to accept the changes in her new friend. She continues to travel with The Doctor for a time, before departing for her own adventures with the space-rogue Sabalom Glitz. We now know that she eventually returned to Earth. At the Support Group, both Mel and Ian express surprise at the newer companions referring to the Doctor as a woman.

Dorothy 'Ace' McShane

Ace was a companion of The Seventh Doctor, and, notably, the final companion of the Classic era of Doctor Who. She enters the series in 'Dragonfire', the same serial in which Mel departs, with Mel convincing an at first reluctant Doctor to take Ace travelling with him. During her tenure, Ace became known for her penchant for using the explosive Nitro-9 to get out of sticky situations. At the time of her debut, Ace was the youngest companion that had been seen in a while, with she and The Doctor, or 'Professor' as she more often called him, developing a Father/Daughter relationship.

While the classic series ended with Ace still travelling with The Doctor, there is no sign of her in the 1996 telemovie. For quite some time, the character's ultimate fate went unrevealed. One theory posed that Ace had been taken to train in the Time Lord Academy on Gallifrey, as was the original plan for her had the series continued, and some audio stories have used this scenario. In The Sarah Jane Adventures, she is mentioned as the founder of the A Charitable Earth (A.C.E) Foundation, delivering aid to orphans.

'The Power of The Doctor' reveals that Ace and The Doctor had a falling out at some point, likely due to the events of stories like 'The Curse of Fenric', but she is much less bitter about things than Tegan. Like Tegan, Ace receives closure through an interaction with The Doctor's Hologram. In the episode's closing minutes, Ace is seen offering comfort to Yaz, who had just ended her own travels with The Doctor.

Many Whovians hope that the idea of the Companion Support Group, as well as Kate Stewart's plans to offer them work with U.N.I.T, is an idea that will be revisited sometime in the future.

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Kristy Anderson

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