While we consider the fictional lives of our favorite companions after they step off the TARDIS for the last time (or are left behind), how about sparing a thought for their alter egos: the real actors and actresses who brought these characters to life.
So, we begin with Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper. For me, Piper’s casting was a remnant of the view of DW from the early years. A product of one of the must-be-famous singing-and-dancing schools, Piper was much better known for her singing than her acting, so her casting felt like an attempt to draw in an audience which may not have tuned in. During (and following) her appearances on DW, she appeared in the lead of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which allowed her to stretch acting into the soft-core arena and then (after some theater work) followed that up by playing another prostitute; this time in the quite remarkable Penny Dreadful.
Next we had Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate. A successful comedienne, Tate’s appearance on DW is the most anomalous of the lot. Everyone else on the list was looking for their big break or to revitalize their career. Tate had a multi-BAFTA winning sketch comedy show, which she was still doing when she started in DW. After DW, she would continue to work in TV, film, and on the stage. Indeed, her DW jaunt appears to be something of a vacation, a busman’s holiday, if you will.
And then we have our final, former, companion; Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan. I have a thing about models transitioning into acting (yes, I have many, many issues – the psychiatric community thanks me for my contribution to their studies), or actors who are also models. A blurring of the lines happens and their performances can become a thin façade. And this is what I got from Gillan. Lovely as she was, she reminded me I was watching a show aimed at kids. Following her departure from DW, she’s been the most successful of the companions. She’s played the lead in a horror movie (Occulus) and (reportedly) does a very nice turn as Nebula in the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Add to that, she plays the lead in ABC (short-lived?) comedy Selfie, the modernized/Americanized My Fair Lady.
While they have not always lead to bigger and better things, the actors who portrayed the Doctor’s Companions have, for the briefest of times, allowed both a window into the Doctor’s world and gave the Doctor an anchor onto ours.
What about some of those we didn't mention?
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