On the surface, a long-running science fiction show and British institution Doctor Who is a story about a time-traveling alien who flits around the universe usually saving people and occasionally causing more problems. However, the show wouldn’t work without the Doctor’s temper and arrogance being tamed by a companion.


Over the years and many faces of the Doctor, plenty of companions have come and gone. Some leave by choice, some by accident, and some by circumstance. Out of all the people that have traveled in the T.A.R.D.I.S, who has the best introduction to the timey-wimey world of the show? Let’s look at a few standout entrances to determine who made the best and biggest first impression.

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Rose Tyler

When it comes to companions, few have made an impact quite like Rose Tyler. Played by pop star turned actress Billie Piper, the first companion of the Doctor Who revival made an impression from day one. In her first episode, aptly titled “Rose,” average retail worker Rose is introduced through a speedy montage of her living her very ordinary life. Running out of the flat she shares with her mum, she hops on the bus to work, meets her boyfriend for lunch, and goes about her job in a huge department store.

At the end of her shift, Rose has to run back into the store to drop off the lottery money with the caretaker — but instead runs into living mannequins and The Doctor. Rose immediately demands to know what is going on ,and seamlessly joins The Doctor on his mission to take out the living plastic. The story was everything fans loved about the show, and began one of the most iconic companion and Doctor relationships.

Ian & Barbara

Just as iconic as the first episode and companion of the revival series is the first ever episode of the show in 1963, and the introduction of Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Ian (William Russell), and Barbara (Jaqueline Hill). In “An Unearthly Child,” Ian and Barbara are two teachers from Coal Hill School concerned about a student called Susan Foreman. She is a strange and almost alien pupil with some interesting outlooks on England. The two teachers search out her address and go to speak to her and her family, but instead stumble upon the T.A.R.D.I.S. Upon hearing Susan inside what they think is a police phone box, the two force their way inside to find it impossibly bigger on the inside and filled with technology that they can’t comprehend.

Susan explains to the intrepid teachers that she and her grandfather, the Doctor (William Hartnell), are actually aliens who have been exiled from their home planet. Susan explains what the T.A.R.D.I.S actually is, to the chagrin of her grandfather. After these revelations, the Doctor essentially kidnaps Ian and Barbara and flies off through time and space with them to the Stone Age.

Amy Pond

Back in the revival series, another fan-favorite companion was the Scottish firecracker Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). “The Eleventh Hour” is the first episode of the fifth series and Matt Smith’s first as the Eleventh Doctor. Newly regenerated and in an out-of-control T.A.R.D.I.S, the Doctor crash lands in the garden of young Amelia Pond. Amelia helps patch him up and offers him numerous foods, which he rejects until he settles on fish fingers and custard. While the T.A.R.D.I.S repairs itself, Amelia shows The Doctor a strange crack in her bedroom wall which The Doctor realizes is a crack in space and time.

After promising to be back for her in five minutes, he actually returns 12 years later. Amelia Pond is now an angry kissagram going by Amy who has spent the last 12 years insisting that her Raggedy Doctor is real. With an escaped intergalactic prisoner on the loose and a crack into an Atraxi prison in her wall — and a perpetually confused boyfriend called Rory (Arthur Darvill) — Amy is drawn into The Doctors’ world more than willingly.

Ace

Finally, one of the most popular companions, Ace (Sophie Aldred), made her debut in the twenty-fourth season of the show where she joined up with Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor. The Doctor arrives at Iceworld with his companion Mel (Bonnie Langford) and they soon run into Glitz who is preparing to go hunting for a treasure supposedly protected by a dragon to pay off a debt. While the Doctor goes off adventuring, Mel stays behind and meets Ace, a teenage waitress who happens to be from Earth.

Ace found herself on Iceworld when an explosive compound of her own design, called Nitro-9, exploded in her bedroom and a time storm appeared and transported her to the planet. As the story unfolds, the Doctor and Glitz run afoul of Glitz’s debt collector Kane and a biomechanical dragon. Meanwhile, Ace and Mel find a way to reunite with The Doctor after being left behind. What makes this introduction stand out is that Ace immediately set herself apart from many other companions by taking matters into her own hands and actively engaging with enemies.

When it comes to the best introduction episode, Amy Pond’s first appearance takes it. Everything comes together to create a well-paced, thrilling adventure that also feels like a fairytale. It simultaneously feels like the classic episodes, and offers something new and fresh. It also perfectly showcases both the new Eleventh Doctor and who Amy Pond i:, a bold and brash woman who has been dealing with The Doctor’s presence and influence throughout most of her life.

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