As the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who looms, we take a look at who his female companions have changed over half a century. For generations of girls around the world, the women accompanying the Doctor on his adventures through space and time were a source of fascination. In the show’s 50 year history, there have been more than 40 companions – from the first Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan Foreman to the today’s Clara Oswald. Of course, some of them were men - and at least one was a robotic dog. But but overwhelming it’s been female characters who’ve formed ongoing, and often emotional complex relationships with the Time Lord from Gallifrey. It’s a curious quirk of history that as the Doctor Who television series chalks up 50 years, so too, does the James Bond movie franchise. These two great British cultural exports could not have a more contrasting representations of women. To take a look how the Doctor’s companions have reflected changing attitudes to women, both within the show, as well as the broader cultural context, we tracked down three serious Who fans. Tansy Rayner Roberts, Lynne M Thomas and Erika Ensign are three members of the international Verity Podcast; Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who.
Tansy Rayner Roberts, lives in Tasmania and is author of the fantasy trilogy Creature Court and the short story collection Love and Romanpunk. She won the World Science Fiction Society’s prized Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2013 for her blog series, A Modern Woman’s Guide to Classic Who.
Lynne Thomas, is the Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University. She’s also co-editor of several books including Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It. Lynne is the Editor-in-Chief of the science fiction fantasy magazine Apex.
Erika Ensign produces the Apex Magazine Podcast and also blogs about Doctor Who.
The Verity Podcast (http://veritypodcast.wordpress.com/); Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who is named after Verity Lambert, one of the television show’s first producers.