22 December 2012

Steven-Companion Analysis

StevenSteven, the replacement action-man after Ian left. William Hartnell, an older actor and not in the prime of his life, gave the showrunners a reason to have someone to do the heavy lifting and fight scenes.

Peter Purves felt that Steven's character was fine when it was being developed and written by Spooner. Unfortunately Spooner left the show and handed over the story editing duties to Donald Tosh. The first story of the third season, Galaxy 4, Peter felt it started to go wrong. (David Howe & Mark Stammers, 1995, Doctor Who Companion Book)

The script, written for Barbara's character, had many of the scenes and lines that had to be adapted for Steven's character. Yeah, it started to go wrong here.

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 [Steven]

Steven appeared in 11 stories [10 as a Companion] (45 episodes) covering part of the second and part of the third seasons. Steven had to have had one of the saddest existences in all of Doctor Who. Pounding on the airlock as he watched Katarina flung into space, witnessing the death of Bret Vyon shot by Bret's sister, and finally realizing that Sara Kingdom died with the activation of the time destructor. Also the number of brutal mass killings from ancient Greece to the planet where they fought the Drahvins.

He bore witness to a long string of the Doctor's brutal failures which culminated in The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve.

The Time Meddler : The first time Steven sees others of the Doctor's race. Not all stogy old men and realizes that you can rewrite history. This remains in the back of Steven's mind in the future.

Galaxy 4 : Steven sees the First Doctor unable to save anyone on the exploding planet.

Myth Makers : Half the characters brutally murder the other half. Something not seen before. The Doctor doesn't save the day here and they barely escape. The Doctor doesn't save anybody.

The Daleks' Master Plan : A very low period for Steven as he mourns the deaths of Katarina, Bret Vyon, and Sara Kingdom. Especially Katarina whom he watched die as no one could help her. Then he witnessed the destruction of Kembel. The Doctor has failed before his eyes again.

The Massacre : And finally Steven witnesses the most dramatic failure of the Doctor as he fails to save Anne Chaplet and the rest of the Huguenots. And Steven knows that the Doctor CAN actually capable of changing history from his exposure to the Monk.

This causes Steven to abandon the Doctor in disgust. Not only is the Doctor at his lowest, but so is Steven. But Steven returns still hoping for better times and that comes in the form on Dodo Chaplet. Things do get better. And after a few more adventures Steven feels the weight of all these deaths and  stays behind on a primitive planet to help them rebuild their society.


First Doctor : An Unearthly Child
Barbara (Companion) : An Unearthly Child
Ian (Companion) : An Unearthly Child
Vicki (Companion) : The Rescue
Dodo (Companion) : The Massacre
Marc Cory (Associate) : Mission to the Unknown
Katarina (Companion-Lite) : The Myth Makers
Bret Vyon (Companion-Lite) : The Daleks' Master Plan
Sara Kingdom (Companion-Lite) : The Daleks' Master Plan
Anne Chaplet (Associate) : The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve

NOTE : For this analysis, Katarina, Bret Vyon, and Sara Kingdom are classed as a Companions-Lite, not Companions and Anne Chaplet is an Associate as her adventuring was mainly with Steven.


Meddling Monk (Associate) : The Meddling Monk
Daleks (Villain) : The Daleks
Celestial Toymaker (Villain) : The Celestial Toymaker

NOTE : The Meddling Monk is one of those characters which is bit amoral. Not really a villain yet not really a friend.

NOTE : The Celestial Toymaker in included as a purposed enemy of the Sixth Doctor. This season never happened.

Steven's Friend Network

Steven seems off-of-center in the network but with strong links to the First Doctor. But he has few weak links to Barbara and Ian who in turn have strong links to the First Doctor. His other traveling companion [Vicki and Dodo] split up the rest of his links. Steven many links to the one-off characters also are single, weak links.

Node ColourBar

Steven Friends

The Analysis

Even though Steven appears a medium-strong character, his weak links degrade his position. His strong third ranking in the Standard Network chart degrades in the Key Entity chart. The First Doctor and Vicki lead Steven in many areas.

Steven's low ranking in the Key Entity chart, which is equal to Barbara and Ian [whom he only shared one story with] shows the short comings in his importance.

Steven SNA

Steven Key Entity


Three distinct grouping appear seen as the three protruding arms.

Group 1 : Marc Cory, The Meddling Monk, The Daleks, Katarina, Sara Kingdom, and Bret Vyon. comprising characters mainly from The Daleks' Master Plan it also encompasses the isolate character, Marc Cory [who met none of the regular characters]. Very strong cluster between the characters of this story.

Group 2 : Steven, Dodo, Anne Chaplet, and the Celestial Toymaker, a small group of weak links. It includes Steven and Dodo [whom he spent the majority of his adventures], Anne Chaplet [Associate from The Massacre] and The Celestial Toymaker.

Group 3 : The First Doctor, Barbara, Ian, and Vicki. The core of Team TARDIS which excludes Steven. Though Barbara and Ian share only one story with Steven the total strength of their links with the First Doctor and Vicki make for a strong subgroup.

Steven SubGroups

While the First Doctor, Barbara, Ian, and Vicki form a strong cluster, Steven's weak links exclude him from Group-3. And Group-1 contains characters from The Daleks' Master Plan. Steven ends up clustered with all the characters not strong enough to belong to either of these groups, sort of like the Island of Misfit Characters.

Though well connected in the network, Steven's links to important people are weak.

Rankings Compared to the First Doctor

Steven's link strength averaged about 1/2 the First Doctor's and slightly stronger than Barbara, Ian, and Vicki's. And Steven's links were more than twice as strong than Dodo's.

But Steven's weak links to important characters does nothing to strengthen his position. He becomes less capable to act as a hub for other characters. Besides ranking well below the rest of Team TARDIS in connections to strong characters, he had weak connections within various clusters of characters. An indication for his placement with Dodo instead of the rest of Team TARDIS.

His high score in Potentially Influential [characters in the path of links between other characters] still doesn't make him a strong character.

A singular problem for Steven comes from his lack of leadership potential. Not strongly connected to other characters hurts his strength in the network. He ranks fourth behind all other Companions except Dodo. Doesn't look good for Dodo either. We'll find out in the weeks to come.

Leader of Strong Clique
1Doctor Who-010.7920.560
3Barbara Wright0.5600.396
3Ian Chesterton0.5600.396
4Steven Taylor0.4910.347
6Dodo Chaplet0.2180.154
8Meddling Monk0.1270.089
9Sara Kingdom0.0670.047
10Bret Vyon0.0630.044

Steven's Story Network

Steven's weakness also manifests itself with a low number of story links. His [near] exclusive links are with Dodo [a weak link herself] and The Celestial Toymaker [a single strength link]. These links to the other stories, where the bulk of the characters appear are weak, tend to force him out of the center of the network.

Steven Story


So for you Steven Taylor fans it doesn't look good. By far, the weakest Companion so far, but not a total washout. Clearly not as strong as Barbara and Ian but stronger than Susan. Vicki out performs him in both the charts.

None of this takes into account all the failure he witnesses. But added to the weak network, he's by far not the highest rated Companion. I think Steven got a bad break coming in just in time to see the Doctor learn to fail before he turn the corner and started being the Doctor we all know.

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