Doctor Who: A History of Saying Goodbye

By September 30, 2012

With the heartbreaking goodbye to the Ponds still a fresh wound, let’s take a look back at the departures of past companions in the new series.


Rose Tyler

“I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye.” –The Tenth Doctor, Doomsday

With the Cybermen and Daleks on the verge of destroying the world, the Doctor sent Rose to the safety of a parallel universe. She came back, only to be nearly sucked into the empty hell of the Void, before being rescued by her parallel father at the last minute. Trapped on the wrong side of reality, a devastated Rose met the Doctor’s holographic projection at Bad Wolf Bay, where he bid her an emotional farewell.


Martha Jones

“And she wasted years pining after him–years of her life, ’cause while he was around, she never looked at anyone else. And I told her, I always said to her, time and time again, I said, ‘Get out.’ So this is me, getting out.” –Martha Jones, Last of the Time Lords

Fresh off the hellish year that never was and deciding that her place was at home helping her family healing from the emotional scars of being tormented, Martha departed the TARDIS. Though she realized that her unrequited love for the Doctor would never be returned, and knew she had to leave for her own sake, she promised the Doctor she’d give him a call if she ever needed him–a promise she kept while working for UNIT in series 4.

Donna Noble

“If she ever remembers me, her mind will burn, and she will die.” –The Tenth Doctor, The End of Time, Part 1.

Like Rose before her, Donna had every intention of staying with the Doctor forever. When an accident left her with the Doctor’s Time Lord brain mixed with her own, however, she couldn’t sustain it. The Doctor was forced to remove all of her memories of their time together, and, to keep her from dying, could never see her again.

River Song

“Funny thing is, this means you’ve always known how I was going to die. All the time we’ve been together, you knew I was coming here.” –River Song, Forest of the Dead

Though she’s still on the show, viewers have already witnessed River’s death. The first time the Doctor met her, she sacrificed her life to save his. However, because their timelines are being lived in reverse, the Doctor has since met younger versions of River Song countless times, even marrying her in “The Wedding of River Song.” And, despite the death of her body, the Doctor was able to salvage an echo of her mind, keeping her consciousness alive in the library’s computer core.


Which departure did you find most heartbreaking? How did the Ponds’ farewell measure up?