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Revisiting Jon Pertwee’s era of ‘Doctor Who’

The formula of one female companion works brilliantly

Jon Pertwee Doctor Who
Credit: BBC

The Jon Pertwee era wisely avoids the problem of the cluttered TARDIS. Whereas three companions helped to take the pressure and action sequences off Hartnell’s shoulders, a crew of four was too many for the livelier Troughton, and after a few stories he retained only two companions – one male and one female. Pertwee’s Doctor whittles it down to one female companion (admittedly with plenty of support from his friends and colleagues in UNIT). Scientist Liz Shaw suits the seriousness of Season Seven, but the ditzy Katy Manning is better-suited to the lighter, more adventure-based intermediate seasons. For his final year, Pertwee is joined by the woman who would become the quintessential ‘Doctor Who’ companion – Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane Smith. All of the companions were well-chosen and have great chemistry with the lead star.

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson
Book editor, with an interest in cult TV.

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