Doctor Who’s Most Hated Companion Is The Most Important

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

The debate over the best Doctor Who companion is almost as fierce as the one over the best Doctor. Yet whenever the argument turns to the worst companion, one name in the modern era of Doctor Who is always mentioned: Rose Tyler. The fans who still insist she’s the worst companion miss the point of the character, as everything they hate her for is what makes her the most important in the franchise.

Rose Tyler As The Doctor’s Companion

Rose, played by Billie Piper, has faced an uphill battle since her first appearance as the first companion of the modern era. Companions are meant to be the audience surrogate and how the viewer is introduced to the wild world of Doctor Who, and to that end, Rose’s introduction is pitch perfect. She’s going about her normal life in London when Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor saves her from a mannequin attack, and her life is never the same.

Leaving Behind Her Mundane Life

Put yourself into Rose’s shoes, and imagine one day, a tall, dark, mysterious stranger saves your life and introduces you to a fantastical world beyond your imagination. You’d go along with him and leave your old life behind, right? Of course, you would, and while most companions have a similar experience, none of them in the history of Doctor Who match it with the same emotional response, optimism, and sheer joy over being part of the Doctor’s world as Rose.

Falling In Love With The Doctor

doctor who rose tyler

The problem, according to some Doctor Who fans, is that when reacting as a normal person would, Rose ends up falling in love with the Doctor, something that had never been shown on screen before with any of the previous incarnations. By showing real feelings for the Time Lord, Rose ends up helping the Doctor recover from the trauma of the Time War and shows him a whole new side of the human experience. After a millennia of being wracked by guilt, finally, through Rose, The Doctor believes he can be a better person.

Never Gave Up Hope

That is why Rose is the most important companion, not because of the romantic love she feels for the Doctor, but because her influence is what makes the Doctor of the modern era strive to do better. We can see the transformation throughout the run of the 9th Doctor, and then, after regenerating into the 10th Doctor, it seems like some of this desire to do better has become ingrained in what makes the Doctor the Doctor.

Changed Everyone Around Her For The Better, Even The Daleks

20 years after the return of Doctor Who, it can be hard to remember how moribund the franchise was until the airing of “Rose,” and thanks to the BBC’s failure to hold onto old serials, it impossible to watch how the Doctor, despite being a force for good, was ultimately above humanity. It took Rose Tyler’s optimism, hope, and courage (she saved the Doctor a few times and didn’t cower in a corner) to get the Time Lord to feel raw emotion for the first time.

Rose even stood up to the Doctor, as seen in “Parting of Ways,” by saying, “You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand. You say ‘No!” That line sums up the new Doctor for a new century.

Forever Changed What To Expect From Doctor Who

As time goes on, the Doctor Who fanbase is becoming more kind to Rose Tyler’s tenure as a companion, with most now wishing she found her happy ending that is so cruelly only available through a deleted scene. Despite her bittersweet ending, Rose’s impact on the Doctor is still being felt over a decade later as she re-defined the role of the Doctor’s companion.