Companions, selection criteria and Smith and Jones (2007)

smith and jones

So, think you’re companion material do you? Smith and Jones is here to help you work out if you’re made of the right stuff. (At least for Doctor Who as written by Russell T Davies).

Firstly, do you have a slightly dysfunctional family? Nothing too real, thanks – no chronic illnesses, financial issues or substance abuse problems. Just a few quirks which make them seem a bit mad, the sort of people who you love but drive you batty. Take Martha’s family for instance, they’re perfect. Slightly bratty younger sister, slightly clueless brother, grumpy Mum (this one’s essential), mid-life crisis Dad and his trophy girlfriend. All quarreling about something, while you get to play at being the sane one.

Next, you’ve got to hold it together in a crisis. Don’t fall apart at the first sight of Johnny Alien. This is a sure way to earn the Doctor’s disdain. He hates to be held up. Better still, you can catch his eye with a bit of clever – or even just imaginative – deduction. He gets turned on by clever. Unfortunately, he’ll expect you keep this up. Before you know it he’ll be barking at you to work out how to operate an MRI machine with 5 seconds’ notice. So, you know, be ready to think on your feet.

Here’s an important one: sometime during your first encounter with him, you’re going to have to save his life somehow. Remember you’ll have only just met the strange, slightly rude man so you may not immediately feel like putting your own life in danger to save his. But if you can, he’ll feel indebted to you and probably offer you a ride in his motor. It’s a small price to pay.

And to be honest, it will help if you’re a looker. The old Doctors never used to care much for that stuff. But the new ones are more than capable of having their head turned by a pretty girl (and sorry fellas, it’s still girls which take his fancy). When he first claps eyes on Martha, Doctor Ten is obviously very impressed. He gives her a flirty wink, and when she walks away, he’s got a very cheeky grin on, almost licking his lips.

He’ll take a few liberties too. Not like that mind, but a few sneaky moves he won’t mention to you before you sign on. He’ll let his machine rummage through your head. He’ll lie to you (that’s rule number one, actually). And as Martha finds out, he may randomly kiss you. Without your consent. Which makes some people a bit cross.

Overall, it’s up to you to impress him, not the other way around. He’ll just take it for granted that he’ll impress you. He’ll eke out information about himself gradually. He’s not human. He’s brainy. He’s got a space ship. And did he mention it also travels in time? And he’s got a couple of party tricks he wheels out. Expelling radiation into his shoe is a good one. Oh he’s a card, that one. Who wouldn’t want to run off with him?

And if you do, you probably will be living your life a little unfulfilled. Perhaps you’re in a dead end job. Perhaps your family’s arguing is getting you down. Or perhaps you said no to him once and have regretted it ever since. Be a little problem for him to fix, he likes that. And if that sounds patronising (and it is a bit), don’t forget that he’s got problems for you to fix too. He’s lonely. He’s insensitive. And occasionally, he’ll become a ruthless killer who has to reminded of his inner compassion.

Because here’s the thing; it’s not all fun and games. As Miss Finnegan says in Smith and Jones, there are great tests ahead, and although Martha’s not there to hear her say it, many of those tests will be for her. The Doctor will make her work for her companion status. He won’t fully commit to her until episode 6. Won’t give her a key till episode 7. He’ll ask her to fight off pig monsters in 1930, hide him from the universe in 1914 and get a job to pay the bills in 1969. He’ll ask more than most of Martha. By the time this series ends, she’ll be put even more through the wringer.

But don’t let that put you off. Be feisty, funky and spunky, look great in a pair of jeans and you’ll be great. Go get ’em, tiger. You’ll be fine. After all he only takes the best.

PS Inevitably, you will fall in love with him to a certain extent. There’s no guarantee he’ll fall in love with you, though. So keep an eye out for that.

PPS If you have a recurring musical motif that follows you around wherever you go, that’ll would be great too.

LINK to Revenge of the Cybermen. Both are partly set on a moon within our solar system.

NEXT TIME: Is there a Doctor in the horse? There is, and a whole lot of gift bearing Greeks, in The Myth Makers.


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