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Television - Doctor Who – The First Doctor and his companions

Updated on September 18, 2012

Television - Doctor Who – The First Doctor and his companions

Over the years Doctor Who has become one of the most successful British Television shows in history. Due to the show ongoing for over fifty years many actors have portrayed the Doctor and in this article I am going to explore the character of the First doctor.

William Hartnell was the first actor to portray the doctor and did so between 1963 and 1966. He acted as the doctor for three series and acted in 126 episodes.

William Hartnell was born in 1908 and passed away in 1975. He was known for acting in several other television shows including The Army Game (1957 - 1960) and Dial 999 (1958 – 1959).

The First Doctor

The First Doctor was a mysterious man who was emotionally heavily guarded and was not easily trusting. He was often angered, and made his views obvious. He initially travelled with his granddaughter, and after losing her he became extremely protective of young women, especially the ones he took on as companions. This doctor was short tempered, but a brilliant scientist and a magnificent strategist. Due to his old physical age, he often used the Signet Ring to help him through ordeals where he needed to use physical strength or speed. This doctor is not only the first ‘Doctor’ to appear on screen, but also the first and original (re)generation.


The first doctor was seen to travel along side ten companions.

Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) – 11 Appearances
Susan Foreman was the first on screen companion of the Doctor. She is the granddaughter of the Doctor and therefore also a Time Lord. It is implied that Susan travelled with the doctor prior to the shows existence, and she is seen to be around fifteen years old at the start of the show. She is very close to the doctor, and has slight telepathic abilities.

Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) – 16 Appearances
Barbara Wright was a school teacher of Susan Foreman prior to the show. She took a special interest in Susan and discovered that she and her grandfather were aliens. She is initially a reluctant companion but grows to love it and has a great sense of adventure. She is often seen to have opposing views to the doctor and is not afraid to make those opinions known.

Ian Chesterton (William Russell) – 16 Appearances
Ian Chesterton, much like Barbara Wright was a school teacher at Susan’s school who took a bit too much interest. He is the physically strong action orientated character who completes tasks the Doctor physically cannot. He has a wide variety of skills including horse riding, sword fighting and knowledge into pressure points.

Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) – 9 Appearances
Vicki is a companion who the Doctor finds after her ship crash lands on a planet. She is young and acts like a surrogate granddaughter after the departure of Susan Foreman. She travels with the doctor for a short while before leaving the Doctor for a man she falls in love with.

Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) – 10 Appearances
Steven Taylor, is initially a stow away on the Tardis but becomes a key companion. He helps the doctor through some of his most deadly missions. Steven is human, but was born in the 23rd century.

Katarina (Adrienne Hill) – 2 Appearances
Katarina is human, hailing from Ancient Greece. She does not believe the Doctor is a time traveller, but a Grim Reaper transporting her to her next life. She is very early on taken hostage by the Daleks and is the first Doctor Who companion to die on screen.

Sara Kingdom (Jean Marsh) – 1 Appearance
Sara is a space security agent from the future (Around 4000ad) who helps the doctor try to take on the Daleks. Unfortunately she gets hit with radiation from the Time Destructor and begins to age rapidly. She dies peacefully but too soon.

Dodo Chaplet (Jackie Lane) – 6 Appearances
Dodo was a modern day earth teenager who bought happiness and light into the group of travellers. She wonders up to the Tardis believing it was actually a Police Box.

Polly (Anneke Wills) – 3 Appearances
Polly is the secretary of the creator of WOTAN (an artificial intelligence). She leaves her job to follow the doctor and becomes his companion for a short while. She is sophisticated, hip, attractive, and aggressive and is present when the doctor regenerates. She is seen to travel with both the First, and the Second Doctor.

Ben Jackson (Michael Craze) – 3 Appearances
Ben Jackson is a Navy seaman who joins the Doctor and his companions in Time and Space. He gets attracted to Polly and the two of them get into some sort of relationship. He was partly responsible for saving the Doctor from the WOTAN. He continues to travel with the Doctor when he regenerates into the Second Doctor.


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