The British cult classic, Doctor Who, is turning 50 this weekend. The show was first broadcast at 5.15pm on Saturday 23 November, 1963. It ran for 26 years, across seven Doctors, until it was finally rested before a brief reprisal for a one-off film spin-off featuring an eighth Doctor in 1996. It was fully restored to full glory in 2005 and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
According to the Guinness World Records it is both the longest running and most successful science-fiction series in the world, now watch in 206 different countries worldwide, with an audience of around 80 million.
Doctor Who would be nothing without the great actors who have portrayed the man over the years. In order they were as follows:
1. William Hartnell (1963–1966)
2. Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)
3. Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
4. Tom Baker (1974–1981)
5. Peter Davison (1981–1984)
6. Colin Baker (1984–1986)
7. Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989)
8. Paul McGann (1996)
9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)
10. David Tennant (2005–2010)
11. Matt Smith (2010–2013)
The companions have also always been a crucial part of the Who series. They reflect the feelings of the viewer, act as a foil for the Doctor's zainy-ness and (more importantly here) have had some influence over general trends in names. Often the names chosen for the companions were already up-and-coming making them feel modern and contemporary for their own time.
The names of the companions are as follows:
Susan Foreman – Portrayed by Carole Ann Ford, Susan was the Doctor's first companion from 1963-64. Her name was highly appropriate for the time, having been #1 in England and Wales in both 1954 and 1964.
Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet
James "Jamie" McCrimmon – 18th century Scotsman James "Jamie" Robert McCrimmon was a companion of the Second Doctor from 1966-69. In 1964, before McCrimmon's screen debut, James was at its lowest point in the 20th century at #19. By 1974 however it had risen again to #7. Jamie itself didn't rank at all in 1964 (or previously) but by 1974 was up at #45.
Victoria Waterfield – Deborah Watlings' Victoria was a companion of the Second Doctor from 1967-68. Though Victoria did not rank at all in the Top 100 of England and Wales in 1964, it was #18 by 1974 after the character's tenure.
Zoe Heriot – Zoe, portrayed by Wendy Padbury, was yet another of the Second Doctor's companions from 1968-69. Previously, in 1964, Zoe had not ranked in the Top 100 at all. By 1974, however (much like Jamie and Victoria), it had rocketed up to #30.
Sarah Jane Smith – Elisabeth Sladen joined the Tardis crew in 1973 alongside the Third Doctor. At the time, Sarah was at an all time peak, ranking #1 in 1974 and 1984.
Harry Sullivan – When Harry (Ian Marter) joined the Fourth Doctor in 1974, Harry was well out of the Top 100. It did not return again until 1994.
Romana (I & II)
Nyssa – Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) joined the Fourth and Fifth Doctors from 1981 to 1983. Only two women were registered with the name in England and Wales from 1900 to 1980. Between 1981 and 1983 alone, however, over 50 Nyssas were registered.
Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown
Melanie "Mel" Bush
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper's vivacious Rose, dashed onto our screens in the revival of 2005 as the Ninth, and later Tenth, Doctor's assistant up until 2010. In 2004, Rose was #146 in England and Wales. By 2005 it was #123, and broke the Top 100 in 2007 at #95. It currently sits at #78.
Captain Jack Harkness
Martha Jones – When Rose Tyler departed, Freema Agyeman's Martha stepped into her shoes from 2007 to 2010 as the Tenth Doctor's companion. In 2006, Martha had just broken the top 100 at #96 and it has been rising since, currently ranking at #77.
Amelia "Amy" Pond – Karen Gillan joined the show in 2010 as the newly regenerated Eleventh Doctor's fiesty companion Amelia "Amy" Pond. Though she prefers the nickname Amy, The Doctor often calls her Amelia, stating that that "Amelia Pond" sounds like a name out of a fairytale. In 2009, Amelia was #9; a year later it was #5 and has been #1 since 2011.
Rory Williams – Rory, portrayed by Arthur Darvill, is Amy's faithful and adoring husband who also joined the cast in 2010. In 2009, Rory ranked #142; by 2012 it had risen up to #99.
Fun fact: Rory's full name is Rory Arthur Williams.
River Song – River is the daughter of Rory and Amy and wife of the the Doctor, stolen from her parents as a baby and all grown up in the form of Alex Kingston. She was named Melody Pond, but thanks to a bit of inter-galactic translation it cognated to River Song. In 2010, River ranked #1218 for girls. It rose to #738 in 2011 and #768 in 2012.
Clara Oswald – Jenna-Louise Coleman (2012) is the new girl in the Tardis as the sparky Clara Oswald. Prior to her onscreen appearance, Clara ranked #212 in 2011 in England and Wales. In 2012, and after her debut, Clara ranked #179; it's highest rank in decades.