09 December 2012

The Doctor's Girls-Susan-Companion Analysis

Doctor's Girls by mimi-na on Deviant Art

Art by mimi-na on Deviant Art

I think this has to be my favorite picture depicting the Doctor's Companions. Everyone should tell the artist what a great job they did...

Note For The First Entry In "The Doctor's Girls" Series

This blog will not talk about the aspects of the characters. That subject is better covered many other blogs. Don't need to cover that ground again. I intend to discuss the network connections for each companion during their tenure with the Doctor. Plus it gives me a chance to post some pretty pictures of the networks created in the process. I will also be covering the Doctors.

SusanThe first analysis is Susan, originally conceived as the Audience ID character. The person whose eyes you looked through. I always thought her unearthliness too strange to be the audience ID character. Barbara & Ian were a better fit, ordinary, like people who watch the show.

As the showrunners were just getting their feet wet with the series, we'll cut them some slack.

One another note, compare Susan's and Rose's entrances and introductions as the first female companion in both Classic and Nu Who.

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 [Susan]

Susan appeared in 11 stories (53 episodes). As the original hook character, Susan was designed to attract the younger viewers. A teenager the children could relate to. She was smart and cool and had a superior attitude. She could also become terrified at a moments notice. Sounds like the template for many future Companions. Lots of teenage angst existed in the character, just like the rest of teenage Britain.

Susan, clearly a High Potential - Low Achiever. Created as the mysterious starchild, the writers slowly turned her into nothing more than a scared, ankle hurting, whiny, screamer. No wonder she opted to leave the show having no way to fulfill the potential she was promised.

Sphere of Influence
These lists contain Doctors, Companions, Companions-Lite, Associates, and Villains.


First Doctor : An Unearthly Child
Ian (Companion) : An Unearthly Child
Barbara (Companion) : An Unearthly Child
Ping-Cho (Associate) : Marco Polo
David Campbell (Companion-Lite) : The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Second Doctor : The Five Doctors
Third Doctor : The Five Doctors
Fifth Doctor : The Five Doctors
The Brigadier (Companion) : The Five Doctors
Sarah Jane (Companion) : The Five Doctors
Tegan (Companion) : The Five Doctors
Turlough (Companion) : The Five Doctors
Sixth Doctor : Dimensions in Time


Daleks : The Daleks
Thals [post-war] : The Daleks
Master [3] : The Five Doctors
Passilon [1] : The Five Doctors

NOTE : The line width portrays the number of connections in a visual manner. When necessary I will state the actual numbers.

Susan's Regular Seasons

Susan's world primarily consists of season one and part of season two. She travelled with her three friends, the Doctor, Ian, and Barbara which comprise the bulk of her core network [notice the thicker lines]. In addition, in season one, is Ping-Cho, an Associate character from Marco Polo. She acted as a confidante to Team TARDIS in Marco Polo but primarily to Susan. In season two, David Campbell shows up as the first Companion-Lite [at least the first one this blog considers to be in that category].

Susan's Other Appearances

The Five Doctors
The story containing many of Susan's other connections. She has connects to three more Doctors and four more Companions.

Dimensions in Time
During this analysis, Dimensions in Time is excluded because some people [myself included] find it just too weird. You won't see any of the connections from that episode.


This colourbar defines the nature for the circles.

Node ColourBar

Susan Friends

Two distinct clusters form around the First Doctor and Susan. The right side is Susan's time as a Companion on the TARDIS during seasons one and two. The left side is her time in The Five Doctors. Both her and the First Doctor score very high in being in the shortest path from one character to another with Susan barely edging out the First Doctor.

The strength of the links on the right show those characters were in a high number of stories together. Susan had 11 stories with the First Doctor, Barbara and Ian whereas every link to characters from The Five Doctors to the original Team TARDIS is a 1. Many links but all are weak links of 1.

Susan's Story Network

Now one last network. This shows all the stories that Susan was involved in along and the connections to those stories. This one is mostly for show [one of the pretty pictures I promised]. Some of you may notice that An Unearthly Child is separate from 100,000 B.C. In the opinion of this blogger, they are two separate stories and have been treated as such in this dataset. Other stories in the future will also receive the same treatment by dividing up some of the stories where a natural break occurs.

Susan Story

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

Susan's Total Network

Susan's network is bigger than people think. This is due to the large amount of characters in The Five Doctors which expands her network all the way to season 20. This is one of the factors which helps maintain that wimbly-wobbly timey-wimey ball instead of a mass of loosely connected nodes and will show up more and more as these analyses go on. Love those tendrils. Except for that guest appearance, Susan would have been constrained to a very small network.

Other Companion networks may not be this simple.

Oh-Myyy! It's Time For The Maths

Yes, I will be posting some of the math, but not a lot. Mostly tables of numbers so as to view the rankings. Just enough to enforce any point that comes up. The reports produced can get quite long and involved and you really don't need everything. I will select the pertinent material to post - not the entire report(s) (which, as I've said, are sometimes very, very long).

Below is a chart distilling all the numbers from the standard measures into a single chart showing where the characters stand. It's a good barometer for identifying the key characters in the network.

Susan SNA

The top recurring characters in the Standard Network Analysis find the First Doctor and Susan at 90% while Barbara and Ian drop to 75%. After that, the other characters fall off sharply. This demonstrates the strength of the Team TARDIS core.

Susan Key Entity

The chart shows characters who repeatedly ranked high in the various network measures of importance. The Susan and the First Doctor are ranked highest with with near 90% of those measures with Barbara and Ian around 70%. Once again all other characters drop off sharply after the core characters.

Emergent Leader

1Doctor Who-010.215
2Barbara Wright0.176
3Ian Chesterton0.176
4Susan Foreman0.170
5Doctor Who-050.080
6Tegan Jovanka0.080
9Master-3 [Anthony Ainley]0.048

This measures the total amount of effort expended by a character to do its tasks. Susan finishes a close fourth place behind The First Doctor, Ian, and Barbara. Barbara and Ian score higher because they stayed with the show longer.

The other measures where Susan ranked fourth included Total Number of Links, Strong Clique [how many important people she was connected to], and Authority Hub [links to many people with many out-links].

NOTE : An emergent leadership network occurs when individuals and organizations come together around a shared purpose or cause. By acting together they have a collective power that is not possible if they remain fragmented and isolated.

Potentially Influential

1Susan Foreman0.24433.212
2Doctor Who-010.22931.101
3David Campbell0.10814.688
4Thals [post war]0.10814.688
6Borusa 4 [Lord President]0.0091.255
7Doctor Who-020.0091.255
8Doctor Who-030.0091.255
9Rassilon [1]0.0091.255
10Sarah Jane Smith0.0091.255

But one of the interesting results was when influence was calculated. Susan actually ranked at the top in Potentially Influential (characters positioned to broker connections between groups and to bring to bear the influence of one group on another or serve as a gatekeeper between groups). Definitely a curious occurrence. Though not ranked as a primarily important person, she exerted influence on the network. Sort of one function of a Companion.


So it looks although Susan had the potential for being a leader, but she was never able to fulfill her potential. She could have become a very capable Companion. But without stronger connections to other important people she never quite become a leader. The gap between Susan and the others isn't tremendous, but it shows what might have been. If she had stayed around a bit longer she might have recognized her potential.

This network gives a demonstration how the Doctor Who Friends network remains a tightly knit ball. This will be confirmed when other Companions and Doctors are analyzed and hose far reaching connections are shown.


And to round it out, here's Susan's exit and the First Doctor's goodbye speech - now with Murray Gold Music added. Normally all you hear is that droning buzz in the background.

The Future

So, what ever happened to Susan? Will the writers of Doctor Who ever resolve what happened to Susan? As she is still alive, will she be making an appearance for the 50th anniversary?

Many fans, including myself, would like to know what happened to her.


  1. I just reviewed the book - Legacy of the Daleks on my blog. It's a story about the 8th Doctor, Daleks, Susan and the Master as played by Roger Delgado. It's a VERY interesting read and explains what happens to Susan to some length.

    1. Could you send me the direct link to the review?