In the almost 54 years since Doctor Who first debuted on television, the Doctor has said hello and goodbye to nearly 50 companions. Doctor Who has proven over the years that it can be quite ruthless and isn’t above killing off a main character – especially companions. Although Doctor Who fans know that our favorite companion could disappear at any moment, these departures really broke our hearts.

Rose Tyler

Rose Tyler (2005-2008)

Rose Tyler was the first companion that the Ninth Doctor would take on board the TARDIS. In the Series 1 finale, “The Parting of the Ways”, Rose looked into the Time Vortex to save The Doctor and gained the ability to manipulate time and space itself. But the power was too much for her to control, so the Doctor kissed her, taking the power into himself. This then forced him to regenerate into the Tenth Doctor.

During “Doomsday” in Series 2, Rose became stranded in a parallel universe. Her father teleported her to another universe to save her from being pulled into the void. As she became trapped there, the only thing the Doctor could do was transmit a hologram of himself to her to say goodbye.

This was such a heartbreaking moment. Knowing that Rose had fallen in love with the Doctor, fans around the world could feel the agony as the Doctor (and viewers) had to bid Rose farewell.

Rose returned in Series 4 as well as the 50th-anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor“, although she wasn’t strictly Rose, but rather The Moment in sentient form.

Martha Jones

Martha Jones
A welcome addition by Freema Agyeman after the departure of Billie Piper

Martha Jones first appeared in Series 3’s opening episode, “Smith and Jones“. She became a full-time companion to the Tenth Doctor as a reward for helping him.

During her time in the TARDIS, it became clear that Martha had fallen for the Doctor and wanted him to notice her – which of course he didn’t. By the conclusion of the season after the battle with The Master, Martha decided to leave.

She returned in Series 4 as a recurring guest in a few episodes, but it wasn’t the same. Knowing the Doctor could never return her love was almost too painful to bear.

Donna Noble

Donna Noble
Catherine Tate is a delight as the mouthy but loveable Donna

Donna Noble first met the Tenth Doctor during the events of the 2006 Christmas episode, “The Runaway Bride“. However, it wasn’t until the Series 4 opener, “Partners in Crime” that Donna would board the TARDIS full time.

Donna’s story ended after the battle against Davros in “Journey’s End“. When a Dalek shot the Doctor, he began to regenerate. Funnelling the regeneration power into his hand that was chopped off during “The Christmas Invasion“, he was able to stop himself from changing completely.

Later, Donna touched the hand and the regenerative powers contained within filled her with the Doctor’s knowledge. The Doctor was forced to wipe her mind to stop it from destroying her. Donna would appear again during “The End of Time” and she eventually got her happy ending as a blushing bride. As a wedding present, the Doctor anonymously gave the newlyweds a lottery ticket.

Donna was much loved by the fans as she brought a fresh take to the role of companion. In particular, fans loved how she was never afraid to stand up to the Doctor to make her point.

Amy Pond

Karen Gillan
Raggedy Man... Goodnight

A world of Doctor Who fans went into mourning as the credits rolled on the 2009 Christmas Special, “The End of Time“. David Tennant’s beloved Tenth Doctor had to regenerate after being exposed to lethal radiation. Thus began the tenure of Matt Smith’s, Eleventh Doctor and our introduction to Amy Pond.

Amy’s time on the show came to a close during “The Angels Take Manhattan“. A surviving Weeping Angel sent her husband, Rory, back to the 1930s. Amy, not willing to live her life without him, allowed the Angel to touch her sending her back as well. A sad but fitting end that left Amy fans devastated but happy knowing she was alive and with her husband.

Clara Oswald

Jenna Coleman doctor who clara oswald
Jenna Coleman played Clara Oswald, one of three versions of the same character

Clara Oswald was one of three versions of the character. She first appeared in “Asylum of the Daleks” as Oswin Oswald, then the second version of Clara appeared in the Christmas special “The Snowmen“. The final version of Clara was found in modern London.

In the season finale, “The Name of the Doctor“, Clara stepped into the Doctor’s time stream to save the Doctor’s past incarnations from the Great Intelligence. This caused multiple versions of herself to appear over his lifetime and answered the mystery of Clara’s multiple incarnations.

Clara remained with the Doctor and witnessed his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor. During Series 9’s “Face the Raven”, she took on a death sentence that the Doctor could not save her from. In “Hell Bent“, the Doctor used Time Lord technology to go back to the moment just before Clara died and extracted her to save her. Knowing that she would always be in danger, the Doctor wiped her memory – a ploy that backfired as Clara had sabotaged the memory device. Clara then went on the run with Ashildr (played by Game of Thrones star, Maisie Williams) in a stolen TARDIS.

Pearl Mackie plays Bill Potts Doctor Who

Season 10 has now concluded and as we hurtle towards the Twelfth Doctor’s final story we will soon meet a new female incarnation who will become the Thirteenth Doctor. Whether Bill Potts returns or not will remain a mystery, at least until Christmas. Whatever happens, fans can rest assured knowing that whenever we say goodbye to one companion, a new one follows soon after.

Lee Taylor