As the Doctor and Martha are mired in 1913, one year from the Great War and with the Doctor not quite himself, what better time than to take stock of our new companion, medical student Martha Jones?
You might want to harp on all day about Rose Tyler and her and the Doctor’s “special relationship”, but for me Martha Jones is the Real Deal. She has drive, ambition, a real desire to make a difference – and that’s before she’s even met the Doctor. Furthermore her introduction in Smith and Jones showed us that she has a brain that will accept the unknown. She mentions Mr Saxon’s claims of life “out there”, refers to the Battle of Canary Wharf and doesn’t lose it when the hospital is transported to the moon.
Martha’s relationship with her family is of course very different. She has a brother and older sister, both seen to best effect in The Lazarus Experiment, as well as a father experiencing a midlife-crisis (or a reaction to his horrible wife…?) and of course Martha’s mother, who seems to be imprinting herself on Series 3 as much as Martha herself – and we’ve only seen her three times!
There is of course the expected aspect of suspicion directed at the Doctor, seen previously with Jackie Tyler’s concern for her daughter. But Martha’s mother seems to have taken this to an almost psychopathic level, colluding with the dark forces of Mr Saxon…
Martha is also, I have to point out, very attractive. Actress Freema Agyeman is a popular actress with girls and boys, men and women alike, and while she isn’t photographed drunk or looking ill in the less respectable magazines and newspapers, this doesn’t mean that she is unpopular. Her predecessor Billie Piper has a long experience of appearing in magazines and newspapers, either to promote her work or on the arm of her ex-husband. It stands to reason that a different actress is going to require the press to follow different rules…
Which brings us neatly on to The Sun. This news paper recently stated that Freema Agyeman would be leaving Doctor Who, implying that she basically “isn’t very good”. This absolute rubbish should of course be treated with a pinch of salt, coming after a Friday Night with Jonathan Ross interview in which Series 4 was mentioned, and just hours before another superb, gutsy performance as Martha.
So far we have seen this beautiful, wide-eyed companion tackle a Plasmavore, meet and leave a distinct impression on William Shakespeare, encounter the Daleks and formulate a way of killing their Pig Slaves with conducted lightning, and of course deal with the Lazarus monster, a sentient sun and an amnesiac Doctor.
Freema Agyeman is a very different actress to Billie Piper, and this naturally gives us a very different companion. She isn’t filling the screen with her face, or ACTING; she is acting, delivering her lines in an understated, being a part of the action manner. Billie Piper never once gave an understated performance in Doctor Who, and often overwhelmed stories, and her co-star. Martha Jones is designed for the Tenth Doctor, and they make a much better pairing than the Tenth Doctor and Rose combo.
With just 5 weeks left of Series 3, Martha and the Doctor are going to see some changes. For instance, how will they deal galactic tart Captain Jack Harkness? What will happen when they return to London, and encounter Mr Saxon, and worse, Martha’s mother?
However Series 3 ends, whether Martha remains a traveller on board the TARDIS or not, some things are irrefutable. She has been a marvellous companion, she looks pretty hot, she has been a part of (up to now) the best series of Doctor Who yet, and she compliments her leading man perfectly. Furthermore, whether she lasts one series, two series or more, Martha Jones is and forever will be remembered as a companion of the Doctor.
And you can’t say Freema than that.
Illustration by Carolyn Edwards