Published on December 12th, 2013 | by Meredith Burdett
Companions: 50 Years of Doctor Who Assistants Reviewed
With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who offering a wide and varied amount of merchandise that looks at the Doctor’s travels through time and space throughout his 1200 years or so of travelling, there’s plenty more that we’ve discovered about the Time Lord this year than we previously knew.
But the Doctor’s wanderings aren’t solely based around him; there are his friends and companions to consider as well. It’s through them that we are given our window into the Doctor’s brilliant world and the amazing wonders that he has seen. And yet for the average or new fan, there hasn’t been a huge amount of details that has focused on these temporary TARDIS dwellers. Where some may know about Sarah Jane Smith, Tegan Jovanka and Rose Tyler, they may not be aware of Jo Grant, Romana or Ace. If you’re one such person, then you may want to get yourself a copy of Companions: 50 Years of Doctor Who Assistants by Andy Frankham-Allen.
This unofficial book guides the reader through the many friends that the Doctor has travelled with over the centuries and delves into their stories and their backgrounds. Split by each Doctor and then by their respective companions in chronological order, this guide tells of how these people came upon the Doctor’s life and what they went on to do, covering their very beginnings on the show right through to their ends. The material here is well written and very comprehensive, detailing all the facts and information that some may not know. In fact, for a new Doctor Who fan that has only recently stumbled onto the show, this is essential reading to fill in any gaps in Doctor Who knowledge.
For fans that have been following the Doctor for a longer period of time, it’s the Expanded Universe sections of this book that will prove the most interesting. Once the canonical television adventures of the Doctor’s friends have been detailed, Allen proceeds to look at their further adventures in comics, books and audio plays. This reviewer found that these sections of the book were the most rewarding as there was plenty of unknown information to get through as well as unexplored storylines for companions that had not had enough time (or forethought) to be embedded during the Doctor’s television adventures.
Overall, this is a well written and thoroughly detailed book by a writer that clearly knows their stuff when it comes to Doctor Who. For old fans, there might not be much here that they didn’t already know but for new fans, this is an effective and important guide to many of the people who have helped the Doctor save the universe so many times.