For someone whose on-screen time with the Doctor lasted less than ninety minutes (that’s only three episodes of normal Doctor Who), Grace Holloway – played by Daphne Ashbrook – made quite an impact, not least because of all the Who rules she broke. And because her time was so short, as short as the Doctor she helped, she has become one of those lost characters that Whovians want to hear more from. She has the “what if?” factor.
In a way, you can credit Grace with being the first companion to properly address some of the bigger unspoken issues of the show, the ones that wouldn’t occur to a younger audience, but might pop up in the minds of their parents. The first, and most thorny, is the issue of the Doctor’s relationship to his companions. In the early days, he took on the role of eccentric uncle, or grizzled mentor, a clearly defined relationship without much room for any suggestion of hanky panky.
Then the Doctors started regenerating younger. The Fourth and Fifth Doctors appearing to be only ten years older than their young companions. Nobody said anything at the time, but the family balance had started to shift. Then the Sixth Doctor arrived, imperious and judgemental, old before his time, and that thought vanished again. The Seventh Doctor was an older man acting young, which seemed to put things right again, until he regenerated into the Eighth Doctor, an out-and-out hotty.
Well, what’s a poor companion to do?
Hey, how do we *know* a surgeon from Chicago wouldn’t say that about the TARDIS? Maybe she reads a lot of sci-fi on her days off OK?! (Alright yes, it’s bollocks, shut up.)