The 7 most crushing companion exits in modern Doctor Who

As Jenna Coleman’s Clara prepares to leave the TARDIS forever, we take a look back at some of the series’ most devastating departures

Since its return in 2005, Doctor Who has seen many fantastic companions arrive in the TARDIS, from Rose Tyler’s Billie Piper to Alex Kingston’s River Song. But despite all their differences and individuality, they all have one thing in common – they eventually leave the Doctor, and it’s always very sad.


So, as Jenna Coleman makes her departure from Doctor Who in tonight’s episode we’re taking a look back at the seven saddest exits we’ve seen yet. Best get yourself some tissues.

7. Astrid makes a sacrifice – Voyage of the Damned

Astrid, we hardly knew ye – but we had warmed to Kylie Minogue’s Christmas special companion enough to make her death in the episode surprisingly moving. At least she got to finally see the stars.

6. The Cyber-Brigadier – Death in Heaven

This one’s a bit of a cheat, but seeing as Nicholas Courtenay’s longtime semi-companion didn’t get a proper send-off in the series before the actor’s death we had to include this touching series eight scene where the Doctor finally shows some military respect. Only the Brig would have the strength of will needed to overcome Cyberman programming…

5. Rose’s second goodbye – Journey’s End

This one was less upsetting for Rose than her first exit as she did get to spend the rest of her life with the Doctor (in a way) – but you only have to look at the face of the real Time Lord to see just how gut-wrenchingly sad their parting still was. Parallel universes ruin everything.

4. Amy and Rory make the jump – The Angels Take Manhattan

What an emotional rollercoaster this was, with Amy and Rory snatched from the Doctor’s side just as it seemed they’d outwitted the Weeping Angels by jumping off a building.

With his friends alive but trapped in a paradox he could never visit, it’s no wonder it took Matt Smith’s Doctor a while to get over this one…

3. River Song won’t let go – The Name of the Doctor

We know she’s coming back for the Christmas special, but given her out-of-order life we can still see this as the definitive final moment for Alex Kingston’s character. Lingering on as a data ghost long after her physical death, she just couldn’t stand to leave the Doctor – so he helped her feel like she wasn’t. Sad, funny and moving stuff.

2. Rose at Bad Wolf Bay – Doomsday

To many, it might seem a travesty that this companion exit – one of the most upsetting moments in Doctor Who history – didn’t top our list, but we have our reasons. While it was devastating for many fans to see the Tenth Doctor and Rose separated by parallel universes, the pain of their parting is tempered by the fact that they did meet up again – eventually.

That said, there’s nothing quite like that moment Rose and the Doctor believe they will never see each other again…

1. Donna loses her mind – Journey’s End

Gosh, this was a sad episode. Donna finally found her place in the universe, but had to have it all taken away by her best friend to save her life.

She begged, she screamed, but the Doctor still had to wipe all their adventures from her memories lest her fragile human mind was burned up by her newly attained Time Lord knowledge.

And to anyone who thinks there are sadder companion exits in NuWho than this, we have five words for you – David Tennant in the rain.

’nuff said.


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