Pull To Open
Pull To Open
Who Counts as a True Companion?

Who Counts as a True Companion?

It’s a long-debated subject among Doctor Who fans: Who counts as a companion? It used to be that traveling in the TARDS, typically across different stories, meant you made the list — and might even end up in a support group years later with Kate Stewart et al. But a mere TARDIS ride is too low a bar: Does that mean the policemen in Black Orchid are companions? You could say you need to be in more than one story, but then Astrid and Sara Kingdom are out. And what about “bad” TARDIS passengers like Turlough and Adam Mitchell?

What’s clearly called for is a new system for deciding who is an official companion and who isn’t. Luckily, we’ve got one! Inspired by a recent trip to the DMV, where certain types of personal identification count for more than others, the Pull To Open Companion System awards a character a Companion badge only if they earn a certain number of points. They can earn points by achieving specific goals as they adventure with the Doctor, but only once per goal — think of each as an “achievement unlocked.” Once you get 10 points, you get the label.

Here are the goals, and the points earned for each:

a) Explicit invitation accepted (e.g. Rose, Turlough): 10 points

b) Companion invitation: 5 points

c) Take a trip in the TARDIS: 4 points

d) In more than 1 story: 4 points

e) Travel in time: 2 points

f) Name in opening credits (new series): 2 points

g) Face or eyes in opening credits: 8 points

h) Evil/working against the Doctor: –6 points

And here’s where various characters land:

TURLOUGH: 10(a)+4(c)+4(d)+2(e)-6(h) = 14 ✅

BRIGADIER: 4(c)+4(d)+2(e) = 10 ✅

KATE STEWART: 4(d) = 4 ❌

BRIAN: 4(c)+4(d)+2(e) = 10 ✅

ADAM MITCHELL: 5(b)+4(c)+4(d)+2(e)-6(h) = 9 ❌

SARA KINGDOM: 4(c)+2(e) = 6 ❌


ASTRID: 10(a)+2(f) = 12 ✅

LADY CHRISTINA: 2(f) = 2 ❌

MISSY: 10(a)+4(b)+4(d)+2(e)-6(h) = 14 ✅

Who makes the cut might not be what you expect, and there are arguably some bold exclusions and inclusions, but generally this feels in the right direction, if not right. What do you think of our system? Where does it need refinement? Please reach out via a review or on social media (links below), and let’s perfect the system!

Rate and review Pull To Open on ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠!

Join the conversation on ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠!

Follow us on:

Pull To Open: Who Is a Companion?

  • Season 4

  • Episode 14

Hosts: ⁠Pete Pachal⁠ and ⁠Chris Taylor⁠

Music: Martin West/⁠⁠⁠Thinking Fish

Pull To Open
Pull To Open
There are many Doctor Who podcasts. Only one dares review the entire show... in entirely random order!
Join journalists Pete Pachal and Chris Taylor as they summarize stories in record time, play the Whomoji game, enter the History Corner, answer the Four Questions to Doomsday, and cower in fear before the almighty Randomizer.
New episode every Saturday!