With the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials around the corner and the confirmed return of a past Doctor and companion, let’s take a look at what all of the Doctor’s companions have been up to.
**Spoilers for the latest episode of Doctor Who**
Doctor Who’s “The Power of the Doctor” not only confirmed the return of the beloved David Tennant to reprise his role as the Doctor in his Fourteenth regeneration, but statements from showrunner Russel T. Davies, as well as the teaser for the 60th Anniversary Specials, also confirm the return of the equally adored Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. We’d like to take a moment and reflect on companions of the past and see where the actors are today. What are they up to? Will more companions make a surprise return–with Doctor Who, anything is possible–let’s explore where the Doctor’s companions are now, shall we? And yes, this will only cover Modern Who actors, and only main companions–so no River Song or Jack Harkness here, sorry!
Billie Piper | Rose Tyler, series 1-2
Billie Piper helped jumpstart the regenerated series with her role as the 19-year-old Rose Tyler and has had quite a prolific career since. Of course, Billie was famous before Doctor Who, but afterward, that fame doubled in size. Having starred in many movies, plays, and TV shows since, some of which she has even written and directed herself, currently, Billie has just starred in a movie called Catherine Called Birdy as Lady Aislinn alongside Bella Ramsey and Andrew Scott. The film is a medieval comedy about a fourteen-year-old girl (Ramsey) navigating through life as she avoids potential suitors her father (Scott) tries to set up for her, Billie playing the girl’s mother. She’s also been starring in her own show that she co-created Lucy Prebble called I Hate Suzie as the titular Suzie Pickles. The show is a dark comedy that follows Suzie, a celebrity, as her whole life is upended after some compromising photos of her were leaked online. You can watch Catherine Called Birdy on Amazon Prime and I Hate Suzie on HBO Max.
Freema Agyeman | Martha Jones, series 3
Freema Agyeman made history as the first black woman to be a companion on Doctor Who, starring as medical student Martha Jones. After coming off one of the most successful seasons of the show, she’s been all over television since. This year, Freema just finished off her run as Dr. Helen Sharpe on the medical drama, New Amsterdam. The show follows Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) as he becomes the medical director in one of America’s oldest public hospitals, hoping to improve its neglected state, Dr. Helen Sharpe being the head of the oncology and hematology department and Max’s love interest. She’s recently finished filming a show set to release in 2023 called Dreamland, co-starring alongside Lily Allen, which is a dark comedy about the secrets, lies, loves, and aspirations within a family of four sisters. Freema is starring as a character called Trish, and the show will be available for streaming on NOW in the UK. New Amsterdam is currently available on Hulu with the Live TV extension, as well as on NBC, fuboTV, and Peacock.
Catherine Tate | Donna Noble, series 4
Catherine Tate as the hilarious and heartfelt Donna Noble was one of the most beloved companions in Modern Who history, especially alongside David Tennant, as they would go on to collaborate on several other projects together. Apart from returning as Donna for the 60th Anniversary Specials, Catherine has been killing it in every medium, from radio and plays to movies. As of recent, Catherine has just written, starred, and executive produced the comedy film, The Nan Movie, which is based on one of her most famous comedy characters, Joanie “Nan” Taylor, originating on The Catherine Tate Show. Nan is a foul-mouthed and cantankerous old woman, and in the film is taken by her grandson to see her dying sister whom she had a falling out with years ago. She also recently starred in two shows. One is called Hard Cell, a mockumentary sitcom that she developed and plays multiple characters, the mockumentary follows the inmates and staff of HMP Woldsley. The second is called Queen of Oz, a comedy series she also developed which is set to release in 2023, where Catherine plays a disgraced member of the British Royal Family, Princess Georgina, who is sent to rule Australia. You can watch The Nan Movie on Google Play, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and YouTube, and you can stream Hard Cell on Amazon Prime with the Motortrend extension.
Karen Gillan | Amy Pond, series 5-7
Karen Gillan was the Eleventh Doctor’s (Matt Smith’s) first companion, and one of the longest-running companions on the show as the witty Amelia “Amy” Pond. Since then, Karen has made a huge name for herself in the sci-fi/action world. One of her most notable roles since then has been as Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Nebula is a blue-skinned alien and adoptive sister of Gamora, whom she has a bitter rivalry with, and goes from being a villain in the series to an anti-hero. Her most recent stints as Nebula come in the form of Thor: Love and Thunder, which came out this year, the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special releasing later this month, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 set to release next year. This year, Karen was also in three other films. The first is Dual, a satirical sci-fi thriller that depicts a woman having to fight off her clone to the death, Karen playing the lead, Sarah, and her clone. The second is The Bubble, a comedy film in which the cast and crew of a blockbuster attempt to shoot a sequel while being in lockdown, Karen plays the lead, Carol Cobb, a washed-up actress. The third is Next Exit, a sci-fi comedy-drama in which people are able to commit (TRIGGER WARNING) painless suicide in a study known as Life Beyond, which is developed by Karen’s character, Dr. Stevenson, which is set to release November 4th. You can watch any of Karen’s MCU projects as Nebula on Disney+, Dual on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Apple TV, and The Bubble on Netflix.
Arthur Darvill | Rory Williams, series 5-7
Arthur Darvill played Rory Williams, the devoted husband to Amy, for about as long as Karen was on the show. His career is also spread throughout every medium, and as of recently you can find him reprising his role as Rory in the Big Finish audio play series, The Lone Centurion, which follows Rory during the 2,000 years he protected the Pandorica, as mentioned in series 5. There are currently two volumes of the play, three episodes each, and it is still going. He also was recently featured in the final episode of the fantasy drama series, The Sandman, as Richard Madoc, a struggling author who is keeping a Greek muse named Calliope captive. Arthur was also in the British crime drama, Grace, for one episode, as Kit Bishop/Jecks, a businessman which all evidence points to him killing his wife. You can download The Lone Centurion on Big Finish’s website, and you can watch The Sandman on Netflix, and Grace on Amazon Prime with a BritBox extension.
Jenna Coleman | Clara Oswald, series 7-9
Jenna Coleman was the feisty Clara Oswald, known for being the companion that was most similar to the Doctor in complexity. Her time on Doctor Who was rewarded with an illustrious career in British television, which most recently resulted in her main role in The Sandman as Johanna Constantine, an occult detective, both the present-day version and her 18th century ancestor. The Sandman follows Morpheus, the personification of dreams after he escapes over a century of captivity and wishes to restore order to his realm, the Dreaming. She also recently starred in the British comedy, Klokkenluider, wherein Jenna plays the character of Flo. The film follows a government whistleblower and his wife as they are sent to a remote house in Belgium, Jenna playing a foul-mouthed journalist. Jenna is also starring in a show called Wilderness, set to release in 2023, in which she’ll play one member of a couple that goes on a dream vacation that turns into a complete nightmare. You can watch The Sandman on Netflix, while Klokkenluider is not currently available for viewing online.
Pearl Mackie | Bill Potts, series 10
Pearl Mackie also made history with her role as the eccentric Bill Potts, the second black woman to be a companion to the Doctor, and the first canonically gay main companion. Pearl’s most recent project, coming off her wonderful time as the Doctor’s favorite student, is the sci-fi thriller, The Deal which follows a mother trying to save her sick daughter during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that ravaged the planet, Pearl plays a character called Kabira. Last year, Pearl starred in a show called The Long Call, a British crime drama. The show follows Detective Inspector Matthew Venn as he returns to his hometown with his husband for his father’s funeral, only to find himself investigating a local murder, in which Pearl plays DS Jen Rafferty. Pearl is reportedly set to star in the Netflix political thriller, The Diplomat, which began filming in April 2022, where Pearl will play an unknown role. Until that comes out, you can stream The Deal on Roku, and The Long Call on Amazon Prime with the BritBox extension.
Matt Lucas | Nardole, series 10
Alongside Pearl was Matt Lucas, playing the loyal and silly Nardole, a cyborg formerly under River Song’s employ. Matt’s career was already booming before Doctor Who, but what is he up to now? As of 2020, Matt is one of the current co-presenters on The Great British Bake Off, a baking competition show known for its delightful atmosphere and good sportsmanship. He also recently appeared in the British crime thriller movie, I Came By, as a Great British Bake Off host–he’s that recognizable! Currently, Matt is filming the movie Wonka, co-starring with actors like Timothee Chalamet, Keegan Michael-Key, and Olivia Coleman, in an unknown role. Wonka explores what Willy Wonka’s life was like prior to opening his famous chocolate factory, the film is set to premiere in 2023. Until then, you can watch The Great British Bake Off and I Came By on Netflix.
Tosin Cole | Ryan Sinclair, series 11-12
Tosin Cole was one of three companions throughout series 11 and 12 as Ryan Sinclair, a warehouse worker, and soon-to-be mechanic. After leaving the show in series 12, only a year ago, Tosin has done a lot for himself. His most recent TV role was on 61st Street, a legal drama series, wherein Tosin plays Moses Johnson. Moses is a promising black high school athlete that gets swept up in the corrupt Chicago criminal justice system after being accused of being a gang member involved in killing a police officer. Tosin also starred in two movies this year. The first is Till, a biographical drama about the true story of the mother of Emmett Till, Mamie Till, who is seeking justice for Emmett after he was murdered in 1955. Tosin plays Medgar Evers, a Civil Rights activist, in the film. The second is House Party set to release in 2023, a comedy film where two aspiring club promoters and best friends (one of whom being Tosin in the role of Damon) throw a party in Lebron James’ house without his permission. You can currently watch 61st Street on the Roku Channel, fuboTV, and YouTube TV, and Till is currently out in theaters.
Bradley Walsh | Graham O’Brien, series 11-12
Bradley Walsh played the sweet, wisecracking, bus-driving step-grandfather of Ryan, Graham O’Brien, the second of three companions. He recently reprised his role in the 2022 Doctor Who specials this year, but other than that, Bradley has been busy! He is currently working on five different shows–FIVE! The first is Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad, a TV series in which Bradley and his son, Barney, visit countries in an RV and partake in challenges along the way. The second and third is The Chase, and its spin-off Beat the Chasers, wherein Bradley is a presenter of this British quiz show where contestants compete against a professional quizzer (or quizzers, plural, for the spin-off) who’s trying to keep them from winning. The fourth is Blankety Blank, another British game show Bradley presents, wherein two contestants compete to match the answers of six celebrity panelists on fill-in-the-blank statements. The fifth and final show is The Larkins, where Bradley plays Pop Larkin, which is a British comedy-drama series about a family living in 1950s rural Kent. You can watch The Larkins on Roku and YouTube TV, Blankety Blank on the BBC One channel, and The Chase, Beat the Chasers, and Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad on ITV.
John Bishop | Dan Lewis, series 13
John Bishop joined Mandip Gill, who we will get to next, on the most recent series of Doctor Who as the deeply caring Dan Lewis. Apart from being on Doctor Who, John also has his own show called The John Bishop Show, which is a comedy-variety show that he presents. It’s been renewed for 2023 and is being aired on ITV. He’s also done a TV documentary called John and Joe Bishop: Life After Deaf on ITV, which follows John and his son, Joe, who lost most of his hearing, as they go on a journey to learn more about the Deaf community and British sign language. You can watch both on ITV Hub, and we’re excited to see what he does next!
Mandip Gill | Yaz Kahn, series 11-13
Manidp Gill is quite possibly the longest-running companion on Doctor Who, having been the Thirteenth Doctor’s companion since her very first episode, playing Yasmin “Yaz” Khan, a junior police officer turned loyal companion. She’s also the first televised companion of South Asian descent and the first Muslim companion. Mandip’s run with the Doctor only just ended, but we do see many things coming up for her. For one, she’s going to be in the Criterion cast of the play 2:22 A Ghost Story as Jenny from 2022 to 2023. 2:22 A Ghost Story is a thriller West End play wherein Mandip’s character, Jenny, and Jenny’s husband Sam recently bought a house where strange happenings occur at 2:22 AM, and they invite their dinner party to stay up until then to see what happens. Mandip also had a recurring role in the British thriller series, Suspicion, as Sonia Chopra. The show follows five people’s lives turning upside down after being identified by London police as suspects in the kidnapping of an American media mogul’s son. You can watch Suspicion on Apple TV+, and if you’re ever in London, go give 2:22 A Ghost Story a watch! Keep an eye on Mandip, as we’re sure she will be doing many more amazing things in the future!