10 Most Useless Doctor Who Characters

The Doctor doesn't always travel with the best!

Doctor Who Auton Mickey Smith
BBC Studios

It's been said that the Doctor only travels with the best. However, as River Song was so fond of reminding everyone, the Doctor lies. Given how long the Time Lord has been travelling through time and space, it's a statistical improbability that each of their many companions and fellow TARDIS travellers is a headstrong, independent action hero with a bronze medal for gymnastics.

The same goes for each of the Doctor's enemies. For every Machiavellian Master, there's a bumbling and meddling Monk. Sometimes it's amazing that Doctor Who stories last so long when the Doctor is faced with monsters as inept as the Zarbi or the Chumblies. While fans may grumble that the Doctor forgetting some niche monster from their past is a plot hole, it's surely a simple case of the encounter not even registering as anything substantial.

And then there are the various put-upon scientists, colonists, and Earthlings that the Doctor has to save from intergalactic evil. Sometimes these idiots bring death and destruction upon themselves by making deals with very obviously villainous aliens, while others are a constant hindrance to the Doctor as they race against time to save everyone from certain death.

On that note, these are ten of the most useless Doctor Who characters from across nearly six decades...

10. Susan Foreman

Doctor Who Auton Mickey Smith
BBC Studios

This might be a controversial choice, but in retrospect, the Doctor's granddaughter is a bit useless. When Doctor Who was first conceived by Sydney Newman in the early '60s, he envisioned a 740-year-old senile alien time traveller, who whisked two schoolteachers and a teenage girl across all of time and space. In essence, this is what happens in the very first episode, but with one key difference - Susan.

In the finished version of Doctor Who's pilot episode, Susan isn't a contemporary teenage girl. She's the Doctor's granddaughter, and, therefore, also an alien time traveller with superior knowledge. The problem is that many of the people who wrote for Susan mostly forget this key detail and wrote her as an ineffectual teenage girl.

Therefore, rather than continuing to dazzle and intrigue her schoolteachers Ian and Barbara with her advanced knowledge of science, history, and technology, Susan instead rolls her ankle at regular intervals. She also frequently loses her head in the face of various intergalactic terrors as if she hasn't been travelling to alien worlds with her grandfather for ages prior to the show starting.

It's hardly surprising that Carole Ann Ford left the role at the start of Doctor Who's second season. She was replaced by Vicki, an orphan from the future who was generally written as a far more savvy character, one who essentially became the Doctor's surrogate granddaughter.

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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.