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Published on October 8th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

Ex-Companions Rumoured for 50th Anniversary

Biliie Piper as Doctor Who companion Rose Tyler

Popular tabloid the Daily Express has claimed today that the Doctor Who 50th anniversary is going to feature Billie Piper, Karen Gillan and Carole Ann Ford!

This audacious claim naturally comes from the mouth of a show insider, and will stop a few fans dead in their tracks – after all, Billie has already made more returns to the show than Patrick Troughton!

According to the Express, Carole Ann Ford could also be appearing, as well as Karen Gillan, although the actress recently stated that she would not be coming back. Says the Express’ source:

Next year is massive for the show. They are going to be pulling out all the stops. There will be plenty of nods to the show’s remarkable history and some old faces are likely to be reappearing. Karen and Billie are two of the Doctor’s greatest companions and it’s hoped they will be involved.

What do you think? Who would you like to see return – and who would you not like to see?


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

19 Responses to Ex-Companions Rumoured for 50th Anniversary

  1. avatar Matthew Littledyke says:

    Could this be a red herring as it says in the article Karen did say she would never come back and as for Billie her character is trapped in the parallel universe so how can that work. Although it has happened before look at how many times Rose came back during series 4.

  2. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    Sounds like hogwash to me and that last line— “it’s hoped they’ll be involved” pretty much sums it up. We’re going to hear a ton of this in the months to come.

  3. avatar James Guthrie says:

    Frankly, I’d be astounded if any of those names, and plenty more, DIDN’T feature in the celebrations next year! :)

  4. avatar DavidF says:

    I hope Moffat will keep things focused. That he’ll pick one or two aspects of the show’s past and explore them fully, and not just jam in any old piece of nostalgia that’s lying around for the sake of it. You don’t bring back Rose and Amy simply because people liked them. There has to be a stronger reason than that.

    I have no opinion on who or what should return, and maybe nothing should. Moffat has to first create whatever strong story forms in his mind, and then cast whomever that story requires. We don’t want this to turn into The Five Doctors, where scattergun casting took place first and Terrance Dicks struggled to hammer everyone together into something resembling a narrative.

    It was an approach that stunned, amused and defeated Robert Holmes, yet it seems to be what the press is advocating now!

    The report is such vague filler, it might as well read, ‘Some people somewhere are going to do something next year, maybe, someone kind of might have said.’

  5. avatar Drew says:

    As a start, sounds good to me!

  6. avatar daniel clements says:

    id like to see Ian Chatterton…sorry Chesterfield…sorry chesterton back along with Susan.

    But the story has to serve them coming back…thats the key

  7. avatar Krumstets says:

    Carole Ann Ford and William Russell should come back for sure.
    Maybe they could rejoin the show for a few episodes and meet some others along the way?
    As for the Express story,well that is pure speculation.
    Amyway I feel certain some old companions will make an just woyldn’t be the same if they didn’t.

  8. avatar Caity says:

    Rose has returned too many times – it would be boring. And it would be too soon for Amy to return. Susan and Ian though would be great.

  9. avatar Joseph says:

    While I’m not fussed about Amy and Rose coming back, Susan coming back (or the Doctor finally going back for her) would be fantastic. Add in Leela, Lalla Ward’s Romana and Ace and my personal wishlist for returning companions would be complete.

  10. avatar J Marsh says:

    Is it really worth repeating stuff from the Daily Express? I’m not interested in making any political point, but most weeks they seem to have a ‘Blizzards for Next 6 Months’ or a ‘Peas Cure Cancer’ type of headline. All wrong.

  11. avatar Philip Bates says:

    I’ve every faith in Moffat. I don’t want Rose back though; even that bit in Journey’s End was too much, and ruined Doomsday for me.

    Be nice to see Amy and Rory again – but at a point where they’re still travelling with the Doctor, not after the events of Angels Take Manhattan. Y’know, like in The Five Doctors, where they were all still travelling in the TARDIS when they were scooped up; that way it doesn’t taint their leaving. :)

    Oh, and I’ve never seen that picture before – can’t believe that.

  12. avatar Andy Blake says:

    Up until recently, Karen has been adamant about not coming back. But she was interviewed in SciFiNow (72: 042) and had this to say on Amy returning: “probably not, but you should never say never. Anything is possible with time travel.”

    So, backpedalling just slightly. Remember, Billie Piper said the same (with the same caveat) back in 2006-7, didn’t she? And we know how that went.

    But next year is surely too soon for Karen. (If Moffat wanted to, he could give her a little tribute using existing images as in the Let’s Kill Hitler cameos. Or unused footage.)

    Billie is another matter. Matt Smith and David Tennant have both been hinting that she is wanted. First, Matt told a fan who asked about Rose at the San Diego Comic-Con that he didn’t know whether she would be back, but he would ask Moffat. Soon after that, Matt, Karen and Arthur were pointedly crying Bad Wolf ( …He better be careful about starting rumours like that! :D

    Then David put it out (via The Sun) that it would be easier for him to return for the anniversary if only Billie will. That paper later quoted Matt saying he would like to get with Rose. (Not sure whether he told them directly, but it should be easy enough for him to deny having said it. I’m still waiting for that, even after the rebuke to The Mirror over the “I quit” story.)

    So if a BBC insider tells us at least that they’re chasing Billie, I incline to believe it.

    And please, let’s get this right: Billie has returned ONCE. All her Series 4 cameos amount to just one comeback storyline. Even if you count her End of Time cameo (which I wouldn’t: nobody actually came back, the Doctor went to them), other companions have all had more returns. Jack, Martha and Donna each got two comeback storylines plus cameo, and Sarah has had three (including The Five Doctors) plus cameo.

    I believe Jack has had more exposure (through Torchwood) than any of them, and still John Barrowman wants to return for the 50th! Let’s not get started on River Song, lol! It’s a bit rum when moaners single out BILLIE as the one who keeps coming back. Personally I think she has more right than any of them to be there for the 50th.

    If there is one archetypal companion, it is Rose. She brought together every worthwhile trait from her predecessors and took them further and deeper. She gave us our show back in a blaze of glory (without her winning contribution at a crucial point we might not have a show today), and in one way or another she has been the template for everyone who has followed in her steps. An anniversary year without Rose? You might as well have ripped out its heart and soul.

  13. avatar Doc Whom says:

    “Popular tabloid the Daily Express.”

    Is that adjective being used in the same sense as “popular companion Adric” or “popular episode Fear Her”?

    BTW, is that possibly the most unflattering photo of Billie Piper ever taken?

    Would it be too much to ask that a fitting 50th anniversary tribute would be to simply write a brilliant DW story rather than just ticking a lot of boxes? Let’s face it, with the exception of The Three Doctors, the phrase “multi Doctor story” is just another way of saying “bag of lazy crap”.

  14. avatar Jan Bos says:

    Donna and Wilf. Also the first TW team. All the living doctors.

    River, the Master, the Daleks, the Cybermen.

  15. avatar Andy Blake says:

    The show is about the Doctor but he is not its centre. This rather obvious fact escapes many fans. The companions are the actual centre, because we view the Doctor through their eyes. This has been the case right back to Ian and Barbara, but Rose was so phenomenal that she put it right in your face. Those fans who resented her on that account had the show misconceived from the word go.

    And if they think she is needy and bitchy, they haven’t begun to understand her any more than the show. One has to be hard-hearted indeed to slate her as clingy for being in love (as the rest of us would call it). She and the Doctor needed each other. Rose is a moral person who had to pull him up over his lack of scruples and knock the rough edges off his post-Time War bitterness. When she confronts him for abandoning loyal companions like Sarah, she does so on THEIR behalf as well as for herself.

    When the jealousy shows in her face, whether it’s over Lynda (“with a Y”) or the insufferable Reinette, she keeps her feelings firmly under wraps. She swallows it down. As Billie explained it in her autobiography, by Series 2 she is the mature one who has to deal with the Doctor’s “ridiculous crushes”. (And how adolescent they are! Irresponsibly abandoning TARDIS and companions in the far future to toast “the slow path” with Mme P….) But she handles it – or, in Sarah’s case, she quickly gets over it. And, really, who wouldn’t have found their MUTUAL jealousy both hilarious and endearing?

    All heroes are flawed, because all heroes have to rise above themselves. Rose never pretends to be anything but ordinary and fallible, which makes her all the more EXTRAordinary when she gambles her life that she can fly the TARDIS back to Satellite 5 and wipes the sky with a zillion Daleks. Right from the start, she stands at the Doctor’s side not merely as a space tourist, but as a warrior. “We’ll go down fighting…together.” Rose transforms her need for the Doctor into a source of strength, an idealism that is stronger than his own, driving her to acts of courage and sacrifice, saving the world time and again (and, unlike some that I could name, entirely off her own initiative) because her love has outgrown simple self-interest. Here for the first time is someone who can outdo the Doctor spectacularly, defending the earth when he is unable or has given up. Rose is far more than a companion: she is his saviour, his apostle and the closest thing to religion that he’s ever known. And their bond is of far better stuff than desperation.

    I won’t regale you with examples that we should all know by heart, but watch The Satan Pit again. Rose believed she would never see the Doctor again and she could have succumbed to her grief and loss. If she were needy she would have fallen to pieces at this point, but instead she became the girl who sent the Devil to hell – because “that’s what the Doctor would have done”. The calm nobility of that line. Everything’s about to get sucked down the black hole, but her love keeps her fighting to the last on his behalf, still finding strength in his example. That is quintessential Rose.

    I don’t see a clingy, selfish girl. I see a courageous young woman putting on a brave face for the man she loves as she sends him to an unknown fate at the centre of a planet that shouldn’t exist and bids him come back in one piece. I watch her face imminent extermination at the hands of a lone but lethal Dalek, and her first thought is for the Doctor, to assure him it’s not his fault, so her death won’t burden his conscience. Or confidently defending her decision to stay with him, even if it means saying goodbye to her mum forever, because she knows she can fill the void in this lonely hero’s heart. You see, it’s not simply that she doesn’t want to lose him. She doesn’t want HIM to lose HER. “He does it alone, Mum, but not any more, ‘cos now he’s got me.”

    The series may be bigger than its stars, but so much the worse for the series if it fails to adapt to modern audiences for whom characters matter more than concepts and formulas. I’m not saying she is bigger than Who – more like the biggest thing in Who, her vital mix of qualities unheard-of in classic assistants. Name one great, memorable Doctor/companion love story from the classic series. Name one classic companion who changed the Doctor, healed his soul and taught him what it means to be human. And then name one companion since Rose who has come up to that level. They all have pieces of her but not one of them has it all.

    How many is “many fans”? As even Moffat has observed, the fans aren’t too important. There aren’t enough of them. What will carry weight in an anniversary year is who the viewers want back. Some will have fond memories of Ace, and it would be cool to see Jo again, but most average viewers will not recall most classic companions. Like him or loathe him, Moffat knows what will get bums on sofas. Rose was a hit in sofa-land (ask the editors of TV guides why they put her on the cover) and continues to ride high in viewer polls. Sure, engaging characters need worthwhile stories, but without them you have no story at all.

  16. avatar Leila says:

    Personally, I would be thrilled is Billie and Karen both came back.

    Rose was my first companion and is my absolute favourite. She’s the friend who got the Doctor back to normal when she show was re-started in ’05 and is an amazing character. The one time she came back is one of my favourite episodes in Dr.Who because of her and EVERYONE from the newer Who series coming back.
    It might be a little to soon for Amy (and if Amy came back surely we would get Rory to? ) but if they can find a legitimate way to work them in, it would be brilliant.
    Other people I want to see would have to include Captain Jack. That would be wicked.

    I can’t wait for the anniversary. :)

  17. avatar Bruce Tabak says:

    Being a fan of the fourth doctor, ANYTHING from that era would be a treat! Tom Baker especially! Please bring back K-9!!! The 2nd Romana, too! There’s just so many…..

  18. I would like Tegan to come back! It’s been so long..

  19. and Captain Jack too..

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