Top Actresses Who Could (and Should) be the Next Companion in ‘Doctor Who’

After a two and a half season run, Clara Oswald has left The Doctor – which means our time-travelling hero is in need of a new travel companion to explore the universe with. The Doctor’s Companion is one of the coveted roles on British television and Billie Piper and Karen Gillan have gone on to roles in Penny Dreadful and Guardians of the Galaxy respectively, using Doctor Who as a gateway to bigger roles and greater recognition. The Doctor’s Companion is a great role for an emerging actress and there are many talented actresses in the UK, so let’s look at some thespians who can combine a companion’s mental strengths and weaknesses and the necessary dramatic and comedic abilities.

Kae Alexander
kae alexander

Born in Kobe, Japan and raised in Yokohama, Hong Kong and London Kae Alexander is a young actress best known for being a regular cast member on the BBC Three sitcom Bad Education (not to be confused with the Pedro Almodóvar movie). She started as Jing Hua, a British-Chinese student with the gags revolving around her character being a lot smarter than her teacher – played by Jack Whitehall. When she was insulted by the teacher, Jing would scold him in Cantonese. On Bad Education Alexander’s character started as a girl with a prim and proper dress sense and smug, superior attitude and evolved into a more arty type by the end of the third series.

Alexander has obvious comedic timing, which any companion would require, and she easily can have the intelligence and wit to keep up with The Doctor. Due to Alexander’s heritage she has played British, Japanese and Chinese characters, which would give the writers and producers plenty of options when creating a character.

Alexander could play a Chinese or a British-Chinese under-graduate or post-graduate physics student – whose mind is blown when she is given the chance to explore the universe and be able to keep up with The Doctor intelligently. It would be a great way to have an Osgood type character travel with The Doctor.

Jessica Barden
jessica barden

Hailing from Yorkshire and starting her career on the soap Coronation Street, Jessica Barden is an actress with a growing reputation. To American audience, Barden is best known for a supporting role in the cult action movie Hanna as Hanna’s first real friend. Barden has shown her range in smaller British movies – she was the funniest character in Tamara Drewe, playing a bored teenager in a small English village, causing havoc with Charlotte Christie and she won a lot of praise for her performance as a grief-stricken teenager in the drama In the Dark Half – even though the rest of the movie was mediocre. Both are good qualities for any actress to play The Doctor’s Companion and she could easily play an original young woman thrust into The Doctor’s adventures.

Rosie Day
rosie day the seasoning house

At 20-years-old Rosie Day is talented, an emerging actress in the UK, and becoming more of a presence in the British acting scene. She has made appearances in shows like Doctors, Misfits and Cuffs – all part of the course for any actor in Britain – and she has had leading roles in short and feature films. She is best known for starring in the horror-thriller The Seasoning House as a deaf-mute girl forced to be a maid in a brothel in a war-torn Eastern European nation, where she tries to escape her captures. Day won a lot of praise for her performance. Day has shown her range with her performances, in her one-off performance in the comedy show Siblings, she played a nerdy suck-up and in the horror movie Howl played a mouthy, annoying teenager.

Day would be the youngest companion to The Doctor in the rebooted series and, because of her youthful looks, she could play a teenager. Her role could be a street urchin in Georgian or Victorian London, an Oliver Twist type who had to beg, cheat and steal to survive and The Doctor could take her away to the world of grinding poverty and see the wonders of the universe. It would make a change from having a companion from contemporary Britain.

Rose Leslie
rose leslie as ygritte

Rose Leslie is often seen as a potential companion for the Doctor, so it is impossible to ignore her for this list. Leslie is best known for playing Ygritte in Game of Thrones, the wildling spearwife who captures Jon Snow and says ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’. Her star is rising in the UK, appearing in Downton Abbey, The Great Fire and the fourth season Luther.

But Leslie is also starting to appear in more American movies, she recently appeared in The Last Witch Hunter with Vin Diesel and she is set to star in the drama Sticky Notes with Ray Liotta and in the Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti led sci-fi movie Morgan. Leslie is also a redheaded Scot which would automatically rekindle thoughts of Karen Gillan.

Hannah Murray
hannah murray

The teen drama Skins has been a breeding ground for young British actors, helping star the careers of Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel and Kaya Scodelario. Hannah Murray was also a part of the first generation of Skins actors and currently plays Gilly in Game of Thrones.

Murray has a sweet and innocent look to her and she could play an excited companion who enjoys the prospect of exploring time and space. Yet many of her characters have demons – in Skins her character was eccentric yet suffered from an eating disorder and suicidal tendencies. Murray recently won the Best Actress Award at the Tribeca Film Festival for the Danish suicide drama Bridgend. Murray’s companion could be a kind young woman who harbor a deep dark secret.

Murray, also from Bristol, which is less than an hour away from Cardiff where a lot of Doctor Who is mostly filmed.

Nora-Jane Noone

Irish actress Nora-Jane Noone is someone who should have a bigger reputation then she already has. Noone is best known for her roles in the hard-hitting historical drama The Magdalene Sisters and the Neil Marshall horror movie The Descent. Since those roles Noone has mainly appeared in independent movies and occasional TV appearances in the UK and Ireland. She deserves better and being The Doctor’s Companion would be a great way to achieve a prominent role.

In The Magdalene Sisters, Noone played Bernadette, a young orphan who is sent to the Magdalene Laundry after flirting with a teenage boy and she showed plenty of determination and resistance against her captors. This fiery attitude and independent streak would make for a strong-willed companion, who refuses to be ordered about and stand her ground against any monster or alien threatening her, The Doctor or the human race.

Sacha Parkinson
sacha parkinson - mr selfridge

Like Jessica Barden, Sacha Parkinson started her career on Coronation Street as a teenage character and is seen as an emerging actress in the UK. In Coronation Street she played a teenager who ends up in a relationship with her best friend and since leaving the show Parkinson has had a roles in the historical drama The Mill, the BBC mini-series The Driver and the third season of Mr Selfridge.

Parkinson has a growing reputation and she has shown to have a strong aptitude for accents: she has a natural Manchurian accent and she has performed with Liverpudlian and London accents in pervious roles. Many of Parkinson’s previous roles have been in dramas and she certainly has the dramatic weight needed to play The Doctor’s companion, but it yet to be seen if she has comedic ability.

Katie Redford
katie redford

The rebooted version of Doctor Who has thrown us curveballs over the years – who would have guessed relative unknowns like Matt Smith and Karen Gillan leading the show’s fifth season? So let’s include Katie Redford as a wildcard entry.

Born and raised in Nottingham, Redford is an actress who has appeared in short films and commercials in the UK as well as some TV appearances. She had a three episode run in the comedy-soap Mount Pleasure as a ditzy school drop-out and aspiring model who gives up on the profession after finding out she is being used.

Redford has also led the comedy web-series 2 Girls, 1 Flat with Sarah Dyas as one half of a London based flat-share. Redford played the smarter, straight-laced one having to deal with her dim-witted, sloppily roommate and Redford reacting with bewilderment to her antics. A useful skill when The Doctor speaks a load of techno-babble

Redford is currently contracted to the BBC Radio Drama Company, performing in radio plays with actors like Daniel Mays and Shelia Hancock.

Emma Rigby
emma rigby

The Doctor has seen three Londoners, a Scot and a Lancashire lass be his companion, so why not a Scouser? That is what we could get with Emma Rigby. Rigby started her career on the teen soap Hollyoaks, a programme that is often derided for its poor writing and acting, but Rigby did excel with an anorexia storyline. Since leaving the soap, she has been appearing in more television shows like Prisoner’s Wives and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Rigby is known as a sex symbol in the UK so she could replicate an Amy Pond style companion and like Jenna Coleman Rigby started her career in a soap. Rigby can clearly bring a lot emotional weight to Doctor Who and the show could play up her Liverpudlian background for comedy – similar to what happened with Karen Gillan being Scottish. Though Rigby is perfectly capable of performing a standard Southern English accent, if the showrunners want to play it safe.

Isy Suttie
isy suttie

Isy Suttie is a musician, a comedian and an actor, best known to audiences in the UK as Dobby from the cult sitcom Peep Show. As Dobby, it is easy to describe Suttie as adorkable, a woman who enjoyed video games and LARPing and seemed to be a perfect match for Mark Corrigan: yet Dobby had a fiery anger to her – she gives an extremely funny rant in the Peep Show episode “Seasonal Beating”. She has also appeared in shows like Shameless and Skins and she plays the guitar as part of her stand-up routine.

Sutttie could play a slightly geeky, socially awkward woman (maybe a science teacher) who has her world blown when she encounters The Doctor and becomes an avid fangirl very quickly – evolving into someone who has to become resourceful. At 37-years of age, Suttie would be older than the usual 20-something actress that plays The Doctor’s companion. Though she does have a very youthful look.

Kieran Freemantle
Kieran Freemantle
I am a film critic/writer based in the UK, writing for Entertainment Fuse, Rock n Reel Reviews, UK Film Review and Meniscus Sunrise. I have worked on film shoots. I support West Ham and Bath Rugby. Follow me on Twitter @FreemantleUK.