14 December 2012

Barbara and Ian-Companion Analysis

Barbara and IanThese two will always be known as the man who always wore a clean tie and the woman with the perfectly styled hair.

I think fondly of these first two human Companions, our first eyes into the TARDIS and time travel. The rocky road they tread attempting to find their groove.

Ian is the character I'd love to see come back during the 50th anniversaryA grand callback to the past.

NOTE : After a review from one of the project scientists, we discovered a quirk in the importing of the data. Efforts are underway to correct the process and a revised analysis will be posted here.

Profile [Barbara and Ian]

Barbara and Ian, the two original human companions, appeared in 17 stories, 77 episodes.

I've always felt they were the real hook for the audience because they were human. And they weren't so much Companions. That wasn't even a concept back then. They started out TARDIS life as Abductees, unwilling passengers on the ride of their lives. They travelled in the TARDIS for a total of 17 stories.

NOTE : I split the single episode, An Unearthly Child, from the other three episodes of 100,000 B.C. It was a natural split as they felt like two separate stories.


This is a much smaller network than Susan's. Barbara and Ian never appeared in any story outside their initial run.

Trivia Fact : William Russell was scheduled to return in Mawdryn Undead opposite Peter Davison. But a scheduling conflict make this unable to make it. Haven't you ever wonder why the Brigadier taught at some boy's school???

First Doctor : An Unearthly Child
Susan (Companion) : An Unearthly Child
Ping-Cho (Associate) : Marco Polo
David Campbell (Companion-Lite) : The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Vicki (Companion) : The Rescue
Steven Taylor (Companion) : The Chase


The Others consist of characters and races which have had interaction with the Doctor on multiple occasions. They aren't necessarily friends, but show some valuable connections in the larger network. Both of these came from The Daleks.

Thals [post war] (Associate) : The Daleks
Daleks (Villain) : The Daleks

Barbara and Ian's Seasons

Barbara and Ian only appeared in seasons one and two and never appeared in any other stories (Although they were mentioned by both the Tenth Doctor and Sarah Jane).

Barbara and Ian's Friend Network

Node ColourBar

Barbara Ian Friends

The total network is a fairly solid network with no abnormalities with Barbara and Ian firmly in the middle, along with the Doctor. All have stronger links than the rest of the network. Everyone is connected to every other character. It's those few exceptions which will make a minute differences in the scores.

Both Barbara and Ian had identical scores in all measures. This led to my decision to place their analysis in the same entry. This shows how interlocked they were during their stay on the TARDIS. They entered the TARDIS together - they left the TARDIS together.

The Analysis

Below are two charts for the reports. Both Barbara and Ian's percentages place them slightly above the First Doctor confirming their importance in the show. Along with the First Doctor and Susan, they form the core of the show. In both reports Barbara and Ian had similar patterns with their numbers varying slightly from the First Doctor's and Susan's numbers.

The First Doctor and his three companions out-perform all of the other characters showing their prominence in the network.

Barbara Ian SNA

Barbara Ian Key Entity

Rankings Compared to the First Doctor

In Leadership Potential (the effort they expend to perform their tasks), Barbara and Ian rank No. 2 behind the First Doctor in most measures showing strong leadership potential.

Leadership Potential
1First Doctor0.359
7David Campbell0.029
7Thals [post war]0.029

Barbara and Ian also consistently rank second to the Doctor in other measures: Total Connection (Total Degree Centrality), Connections to Important People (Eigenvector Centrality), and Cliques (grouping of three or more characters, and many other measures).

The consistent ranking in the second spot displays their importance especially when you see the values are a mere fraction less than the First Doctor's. The First Doctor holds a slight edge of Barbara and Ian due to the additional links he has to Vicki and Steven from The Time Meddler. But the values show a very small lead.

Where They Rank Above The First Doctor

Potentially Influential
4David Campbell0.1014.564
4Thals [post war]0.1014.564
5First Doctor0.0572.548
7Susan Foreman0.0220.973

Barbara and Ian are moderately Potentially Influential (connecting other characters by the shortest path). This means they are often known all the characters in the story but aren't usually the only way to and from those other characters. But they help connect groups and that makes them act as gatekeepers.

The strongest gatekeepers are the Daleks and the Animus. It's two of the villains which help bind the Friends Network together.

Barbara and Ian's Story Network

Barbara Ian Story

Barbara and Ian are well connected, nearly the same as the First Doctor showing their importance to the overall scheme of the show.


Barbara Ian SubGroups

Group 1 : First Doctor, Barbara Ian, Susan, and Ping-Cho

Group 2 : Steven, Vicki, and the Animus

Group 3 : David Campbell, the Daleks, and the Thals [post war]

Barbara and Ian have stronge ties to the core of the original Team TARDIS in Group 1 (with also contains Ping-Cho). Group 3 consists of the other important characters from The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Group 2 appears to have grouped Vicki with the Animus [as they appeared in the same story] but it seems that Steven's links were not strong enough to connect him with either Group 1 or 3 and settled on his singularly strong links to Vicki.


Once again, as with Susan, an uncomplicated network. Barbara and Ian are important within their network ranking slightly below the First Doctor in many measures. Overall they rank at the top. In many adventures, they were postured not as mere passengers but important cogs in the wheel.

Except for the few Companion-Lite, Associate, and Other characters it's comprised of the First Doctor and three Companions. There are no outliers or stragglers. All characters are contained in a tightly formed network.

Without Barbara and Ian, Doctor Who might have been a different show.


  1. Nice analysis. I've always loved Ian and Barbara. They were truly the first companions, even if they only transformed into that over time.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this analysis. They are two of my favorites as it was them who initially helped shape the Doctor into who he is today.

  2. I give you a cookie for this analysis. Good job!

    1. Thank you. It's nice when you can actually use what you learned at work in your obsession...

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great Analysis. I was wondering when the Tenth Doctor mentioned Ian and Barbara? I remember when Sarah Jane referenced them, but I can't remember the Tenth Doctor's.