Rita Afzal

X is for X-tra Companions

Look, the letter “X” is a hard prompt to fill so I am cheating a bit. In each episode of Doctor Who you meet a lot of new one-off characters and some of them leave a mark. This post is for some of those characters who I could totally see have become a companion if the Doctor had met them at a different time, or if the events of the episode(s) they were in went slightly differently because the tragedy of such good one-off characters and would-be companions is sometimes, they don’t survive the adventure.

Lynda Moss – “Bad Wolf”/“The Parting of the Ways”
Lynda was the first one-off character who I instantly found to be very likeable and wouldn’t have minded of seeing more of her. She’s a very sweet, bubbly person and helps the Doctor to acclimatise to this strange and unexpected situation he found himself – apparently a housemate in the Big Brother house. Lynda was brave and fun and the fact that the Doctor said yes when she asked if she could travel with him after only knowing her for a few hours shows how much of an impression she’d made on him.


Dr Nasreen Chaudhry – “The Hungry Earth”/“Cold Blood”
Nasreen is a bit different to the other characters mentions here she does survive her episodes but she does choose to hibernate under the Earth for hundreds of years so there’s no real chance that we can see her again. I did love that decision though; she chose to stay with the Silurians (a lizard-like race) underground to pursue her thirst for scientific knowledge and to be with the man she loved. I think a sign of how great Nasreen was is that the Doctor chose her and Amy Pond to be Ambassadors for humanity in the human-Silurian talks that would decide the fate of the planet. He’d only known Nasreen for a couple of hours but was already impressed by her intelligence and had considered taking her on a trip in the TARDIS because of it.

Rita Afzal – “The God Complex”
Rita was an English medical student who along with other humans and aliens was abducted from their lives and placed in a hotel that killed people with their deepest fears. She was smart and perceptive, quickly figuring out possible scenarios for what was happening thanks to observing everyone and everything. The Doctor instantly took a shine to her and even joked that Amy was fired and Rita was now going to join him in the TARDIS. Rita was a devout Muslim and I really liked how her faith was incorporated into her character as that’s not something we see that often in Doctor Who. Or rather fictional/alien faiths are mentioned quite frequently but not real-world/present day ones.

Grace O’Brien – “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”
Honestly this one still makes me mad. Grace is such a wonderful character and is the one who instantly rolls with the weirdness of the Doctor falling through the roof of the train she’s on and the weird glowing ball of light that zaps her. Her husband is far more hesitant about getting involved while Grace embraces the adventure and the desire to help others. I get that it’s a tragedy that Grace dies and doesn’t get the chance to travel the universe after loving every second of the short adventure she was on with the Doctor. Grace has all the best qualities of a companion; she’s kind, is calm under pressure, and she’s adaptable. I instantly took to her and wanted more of her compared to the other characters who’d end up as companions. I honestly think Grace had more personality and definable traits in one episode than a lot of Thirteen’s companions did in dozens of episodes.