Doctor Who companions: Where are they now?

As Jenna Coleman prepares to bow out in the new series of the BBC One sci-fi favourite, we look back at some of the Doctor’s most popular co-stars.

The Magician’s Apprentice, the first episode in the new series of Doctor Who, will have an extra poignancy for fans of the show following the confirmation that Jenna Coleman will leave the Whoniverse later this year.

Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl is about to join the long list of companions left floating in space and time as the Doctor moves on to fresh adventures with a new friend by his side.

But what happens to the Doctor’s companions after they depart the TARDIS? We look back at some of the most memorable sidekicks of the last 52 years.

Karen Gillan – Amy Pond (2010 – 2013)

Karen Gillan
A partner in the TARDIS for Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor, Gillan announced that she would be leaving the series in 2011 and exited the following year. She returned one year later for a brief cameo in Matt Smith’s final bow, The Time of the Doctor.

Since leaving the show she has had diverse roles in supernatural horror Oculus, Charlie Brooker cop spoof A Touch of Cloth and shaved her head for the part of Nebula in Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy.

She also starred in a US comedy series called Selfie, which was axed after only a few episodes, but she had more success with her own short film Coward, which won the Best Independent Short at the Independent Film-makers Showcase at the Beverly Hills Film Festival 2015.

Gillan has also been cast in Adam McKay’s new drama The Big Short alongside Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. It's a not too shabby list of co-stars.

Billie Piper – Rose Tyler (2005 -2006, 2008, 2010, 2013)

Billie Piper

Previously best known for being a teen popstar, playing Rose Tyler in the 2005 comeback series of Doctor Who transformed Billie Piper into a respected and credible actress whose career has gone from strength to strength since her emotional (repeated) departure(s) from the series.

Most famously she got saucy for ITV in the tales of Belle de Jour in Secret Diary of a Call Girl and more recently she has starred in the US horror series Penny Dreadful.

Since exiting the sci-fi series, she has also married fellow actor Laurence Fox and had two sons.

Carole Ann Ford – Susan Foreman (1963-64)

Carole Ann Ford

The original companion for the Doctor – his granddaughter Susan – actually claims that playing the role destroyed her TV and film career.

“I must say that when I left Doctor Who, I was filled with… not loathing, but I was incredibly annoyed because I wanted to do more television and films and the only thing that people could ever see me in was a recreation of what I had done. A Susan clone,” she said in 2013.

Ford largely returned to theatre work after exiting the TARDIS, but did land cameos in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and detective series Public Eye.

She also returned to Doctor Who, showing that she didn’t bear a grudge, appearing in the Five Doctors special in 1983, the Doctor Who biopic An Adventure in Space and Time and 2013 comedy spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Bonnie Langford – Mel Bush (1986 – 1987)

Bonnie Langford

The former child star appeared during the height of Doctor Who’s troubled 80s period, playing Mel alongside Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.

Langford’s career has recently blossomed again after a stint away from the TV spotlight in the 1990s, taking part in the first series of Dancing on Ice in 2006, appearing as Roxie Hart in various tours of Chicago and appearing as a judge on ITV series Baby Ballroom.

Most recently she has joined the cast of EastEnders as Camel Kazemie, the mum of newcomer Kush (Davood Ghadami).

Katy Manning – Jo Grant (1971 – 73)

Katy Manning

Starring alongside Jon Pertwee in the early 70s, Manning was part of the show at the peak of its popularity and it is still the role she is best recognised for by TV viewers.

She has maintained a close relationship with the show, appearing in audio adventures and Doctor Who spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2010.

Away from Doctor Who, she wrote the TV series Private Wives, toured Australia with theatre productions and in 2007 appeared in the stage show of ‘Allo ‘Allo.

In 2009 she returned to the UK after a spell in Australia and performed her one-woman stage show Me and Jezebel, which was based on a true story about Bette Davis.

She is the last surviving female companion of third Doctor Jon Pertwee.

Nicola Bryant – Peri Brown (1984 – 1986)

Nicola Bryant

Famous for her revealing outfits and low-cut tops on the show, Nicola Bryant’s character was a controversial addition to the cast as she appeared to be deliberately providing sex appeal to boost viewing figures.

She has appeared sporadically on TV since departing the show with appearances on Casualty, Holby City, Doctors, My Family and Blackadder.

Louise Jameson – Leela (1977 – 78)

Louise Jameson Now and Then

The leather-clad barbarian companion of fourth Doctor Tom Baker went on to star in major 80s TV series Tenko and Bergerac, before playing Tania Braithwaite in the TV adaptation of The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

In 1998 she joined EastEnders as the matriarch in the di Marco family, before switching soaps to BBC Scotland’s River City. She has also starred in Holby Ciy, The Bill and Doc Martin.

In 2007, she toured her one-woman show Face Value about her near decision to have a face-lift.

Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat's episode guide to series 9

Doctor Who airs on Saturday nights on BBC One from September 19

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