Doctor Who Blog

The Companion Departures - #27 & #26 - Ben and Polly

Previously we mentioned that Dodo’s departure was so unsatisfying that it was actually done as a passing reference by other characters at the end of a story that Dodo disappears from halfway through. Those other characters were Ben and Polly, who communicated the news to the Doctor (and the audience) at the end of The War Machines.

It is somewhat ironic then that the same thing nearly happens to Ben and Polly. They disappear in the middle of (or rather, a third of the way through) The Faceless Ones, which is their final story. However, they fare better than Dodo in the departure sweepstakes because they do return at the end of the story to get a proper farewell scene. The farewell scene itself is actually fantastic - Ben and Polly realize that they have returned to Earth in the same day and in the same city that they accidentally stowed away in the TARDIS. Ben has a chance to catch ship to set sail (and one wonders if he’d try to see if he could stow Polly away on that ship as well!).

The only shame is that this scene is tacked on to the end of a story where the characters had disappeared for the previous four episodes (five in Polly’s case since Anneke Wills plays a doppleganger in episode 2). It is certainly not a story that is about their departure or their characters in any way. Their re-appearance at the end of the story which provides the wonderful final scene for the character feels like a cameo appearance by the time we get to it. As such, while it is a vast improvement over the likes of what happened to Dodo, it still isn’t one of the most satisfying companion departures.

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