Doctor Who Blog

The Companion Departures - #20 - Rose Tyler

The army of Rose Tyler fans reading this can relax - her character does make the Top 20 best companion departures. Ok, just barely, but she still made it!

No doubt people may be asking why this one isn’t higher up the list. Doomsday had many people in tears after all and it was effective as a tear-jerker back in 2006. Truth be told, Rose’s farewell would have been higher up the list had she not returned just over a season later. Bringing her back so quickly (in the grand scheme of things) diminishes the impact of her “final” goodbye to the Doctor, because it turns out not to be a final goodbye. In fact she ends up spending the rest of her life with an incarnation of the Doctor that will grow old with her, which gives a weirdly happy not-quite-so tragic ending. The result has made subsequent viewings of the end of Doomsday to be less satisfying than it initially was since it isn’t as much of a tear-jerker anymore. It is meant to be such a sentimental, heart-breaking scene but knowing what ultimately happens with Rose (and that it isn’t the final goodbye), it now feels overly sentimental and goes on for too long. If you can’t appreciate why, just imagine how much less effective Adric’s (far more) tragic departure from the TARDIS would have felt for his fans in subsequent viewings of Earthshock had they decided to bring him back just over a year later.

The actual departure itself, while mostly done well, has one thing going against it that is worth mentioning - it is the first of the “false prophesies”  in the RTD era, where in the narrative itself indicates that a companion (or major character) will die, but then it turns out that this is only true from a certain point of view and not meant literally - the end result making the “prophesy” feeling a bit like a manipulative cheat. The fact that RTD did this another two times during his era also makes it less enjoyable to watch Doomsday in subsequent viewings. This, combined with the final goodbye in Doomsday not being final after all, is why Rose’s departure comes in at the bottom of the Top 20, instead of much further up.


Adric’s a bad example, since however effective his farewell episode, he was back again 2 weeks later as a “stunt” in Time-Flight. The cameo didn’t diminish the impact of his death, but it was still one of several stunts that coincided with the last storyline of that season, including Tegan’s “departure”. RTD was not the first showrunner to go in for this sort of trickery.

Posted by Eric  on  04/07  at  11:26 AM

A hallucination of a character is obviously not the same thing as actually bringing a character back. That is the real Rose in Series 4, taking central-stage in a bunch of episodes, whereas that isn’t the real Adric in his Time-Flight cameo or in the Doctor’s remembrance in Caves of Androzani. He stays dead and thus the fate of the character remains unchanged, unlike what happens with Rose. Adric’s cameo in Time-Flight would be comparable to Amy’s re-appearance in The Time of the Doctor (another companion who’s fate has, to this point, remain unchanged from what was indicated in The Angels Take Manhattan), but they are both quite different from the actual return of Rose.

Posted by Luca  on  04/07  at  11:07 PM

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