10) Melanie (Dragonfire): Melanie’s time on the Tardis was a short but bitter ride, and her departure is a more spur-of-the-moment decision to leave, rather than a consideration considered over a period of time. She leaves to keep Sabalom Glitz out of trouble, the pair barely know each other, and she’s quick to pass Ace over as her replacement; was she that desperate to get away from The Doctor? Melanie is not a top companion, her departure is beyond simplicity itself, with poor writing, and a farewell that is forgettable.
9) Tegan Jovanka (Resurrection of the Daleks): Tegan’s departure was surely surprising and totally unexpected, but its flawed. Tegan grows tired of her travels almost too suddenly, and the body count she witnesses puts her right off travelling with The Doctor. Yet, Tegan witnessed a high casualty rate during Earthshock and again during Warriors of the Deep, was the difference that she got quite close to people who died during her last outing with The Doctor? The writing tries too hard to be a tear jerker and her last minute change of heart could have been more of a brave heart.
8) Susan Foreman (The Dalek Invasion of Earth): Susan became the first companion to depart The Doctor, because The Doctor wants her to ‘belong’ somewhere. Whilst The Doctor gives a heartwarming monologue and the bond between grandfather and granddaughter is torn apart, it almost doesn’t feel earned. There’s nothing prior that suggests The Doctor wished Susan could find a home of her own, or perhaps there was and it was so subtle no one noticed it. Susan is also the first companion to leave The Doctor for love, clichéd nonetheless but downplayed as well. The main problem is The Doctor’s monologue overshadows Susan’s goodbye scene, and thus it’s the thing everyone remembers, and not Susan walking away from her space travels forever.
7) Ben Jackson and Polly Wright (The Faceless One): Ben and Polly depart because Polly discovers they’ve arrived on the same day they left with The Doctor, albeit a few hours later. It’s very convenient, almost impossible considering The Doctor doesn’t seem able to pilot the TARDIS without some lack of control. The farewell scene is clunkily put together, and Jamie doesn’t even get a proper goodbye. Its begins, it happens, and it ends with The Doctor and Jamie walking away. Ben seems too eager to return to normal life, and Polly almost pleads with The Doctor to remain behind: did they enjoy themselves or not? One companion departure under these circumstances would be okay, but two on the same day within the same adventure? Silly.
6) K9 Mark I (The Invasion of Time): K9 Mark I left The Doctor simply because he wasn’t a metal box of tricks. The original K9 left because the production team had several problems with the prop whilst making the series, and decided to send K9 Mark I to the pound, and training K9 Mark II to be his replacement. K9 Mark I also leaves to stay close with Leela; whilst they liked each other, its hard to say whether they wanted each other. It was a quick departure, and a quick walk for K9 Mark I, who was left out in the doghouse whilst being rewarded for his loyalty to his faithful master.
5) Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot (The War Games): Whilst not terribly written or acted, Jamie and Zoe’s departure are terrible because simply, they won’t remember The Doctor. Jamie for a long time was the long-servicing companion, and Zoe was a unique take on the female companion. Their departures almost punishes them for travelling with The Doctor in the first place. What’s sadder is Ben, Polly, and Victoria will remember Jamie but Jamie won’t remember them. It’s a difficult watch, but for different reasons altogether. Why did the Time Lords have to erase their memories?
4) Dodo (The War Machines): Dodo’s departure doesn’t even happen! Jackie Lane who played Dodo was only contracted for episodes 1 and 2 of The War Machines and her character was written out. Dodo’s off-screen departure is nothing but exposition, with Ben and Polly informing The Doctor that’s she wants to stay in London. Dodo wasn’t the best companion, she was a bit bland, but she deserved better than this, but alas she exited the TARDIS doors just as fast as she entered them in the first place.
3) Rose Tyler (Doomsday): Rose’s tearful ‘I love you’ and crying floods of tears are all remembered by Doctor Who fans but its cringeworthy, amateurish and beyond annoying. Rose knew one day her travels would end, she knows companions have departed in the past, she knows The Doctor would continue travelling when she died one day, etc. etc. etc. The close-relationship between The Doctor and Rose was unique in its own right, but The Doctor on moved less than a minute after saying goodbye forever, making the whole ‘I love you’ statement redundant. The departure scene is basically repeated during Journey’s End but with a more likeable quality to it, but Rose’s departure is something which should wilt away from the sunshine happiness that many surround this scene in.
2) Liz Shaw (?): Liz’s departure occurred off-screen, and didn’t actually happen for fans to see. Its another expositional moment and various accounts provide different answers as to why Liz left, but the character was let down by poor decision making. The production team decided to drop Liz as a series regular because they didn’t want two scientists to be the main characters on the show. Liz was brilliant, smart, brave, a good counterpart to The Doctor, and a valuable asset to the show. Her departure is open to the imagination but didn’t happen on the grounds that she fully deserved.
1) Sarah Jane Smith (The Hand of Fear): Sarah’s departure is Alpha Centaurian awful. She throws a fit to get attention (like a spoilt child), then storms off to her room (like a spoilt child), and then plans to ‘run’ away (like a spoilt child), and then acts all ‘oh I don’t want to go’ before leaving the Tardis for good. Her manner, demeanour, and attitude towards The Doctor are shocking: The Doctor isn’t a good listener at the best of times, everyone knows this, but Sarah acting like a stuck-up snob isn’t deserving any quarter of attention. Her departure almost comes as a sigh of relief and doesn’t do herself any favours by acting all innocent at the end, just like the Sarah Jane Smith we all love her for.