10 Longest Gaps Between Doctor Who Character Appearances

With all of time to explore, it can be a LONG wait for Doctor Who to revisit certain faces.

Doctor Who Ian Chesterton
BBC Studios

Though the universe is a vast place, the Doctor bumps into the same old familiar faces with alarming regularity. Maybe it's a Captain Jack Harkness, or the latest incarnation of the Master. Or, maybe it's one of the Lethbridge-Stewart family being overly-familiar with the space-time telegraph.

However, there are other characters who go about their daily lives for decades without ever bumping into the Doctor.

While Big Finish has built an empire out of bringing back obscure monsters or revisiting the lives of the Doctor's former companions, this list is only focused on TV appearances. It also counts flashbacks and hallucinations, so, for example, the Sea Devils' return in Legend of the Sea Devils is hobbled by their appearance in the Eleventh Doctor's rogues gallery in The Eleventh Hour.

One other note: the villain category is slightly more substantial than any other category. This is largely because the Doctor follows a policy of keeping their friends close and their enemies closer. That, and the TARDIS always takes them to where there's trouble, and it's highly unlikely that Ryan's continuing attempts to ride a bicycle will cause an intergalactic incident.

10. Jo Grant (13,639 Days)

Doctor Who Ian Chesterton
BBC Studios

Third Doctor companion Jo Grant was instantly recognisable to Doctor Who fans in The Power of the Doctor, when actress Katy Manning's laugh could be heard during Graham's speech at the companion meeting. But of course, this wasn't the first Doctor Who return that Manning had made since she departed the role in 1973's The Green Death.

Jo's departure is one of the most melancholic exits in all of Doctor Who, and it was only right that she made a return to the show - the long way round.

After Matt Smith's first series, Russell T Davies wrote what many believed would be his last script for the Doctor in the Sarah Jane Adventures two-parter Death of the Doctor, which featured the long-awaited return of Jo.

Part one aired on 25 October 2010, just over 37 years since Jo got engaged to Professor Clifford Jones in the final episode of The Green Death on 23 June 1973.

Death of the Doctor also updated fans on the whereabouts of Ace - who missed out on this list by a few thousand days - and Ian, but more on him later.

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Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.