02 January 2013

The Doctor's Girls-Polly, And Her Good Friend - Ben

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Art by mimi-na on Deviant Art

Ben And PollyAnd now, the proper Dolly Bird, Polly - and her handsome male counterpart, Ben. What the producers and writers had tried for with Dodo, they finally got right with Polly.

With Polly, Doctor Who had moved into the swinging sixties, go-go boots and all. Anneke Wills was ready, willing, and able. And she even came complete with her own wardrobe.

The last pair added to Team TARDIS consisted of a pair of schoolteachers that represented Mom and Dad. Now it looks like they decided to add a pair that represented your older brother and sister. Older than the child viewer, but younger than Barbara and Ian...

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 : Ben & Polly

Ben & Polly appeared in seven stories [32 episodes], both from 60s contemporary London.

Polly, a mod-girl in her mid-twenties, worked as a professional by day and went clubbing by night. She met Ben in the Inferno nightclub and helped cheer him up. But she was more than just a pretty face. She showed her smarts and often helped provide the solution to a problem of the week. Quite unlike some of her predecessors. Flippant at times, she dropped the act when danger arose. She and Ben witnessed the witness a regeneration, although it wasn't called that back then. she never lost her desire to return home no matter how exciting life got.

Ben, a Cockney sailor from a working-class background. He met Polly while headed for a six month stint at a port-side job. Not a happy situation. They quickly became best friends even though they were from different worlds. They turned to good natured teasing of one another. During the last days of the First Doctor, Ben acted as the action man for the First Doctor. And like Polly, he desired to get back home.

And as with the last pair [Barbara & Ian], they entered the TARDIS together and they left the TARDIS together.


First Doctor : An Unearthly Child
Dodo Chaplet [Companion] : The Massacre
Samantha Briggs [Companion-Lite] : The Faceless Ones
Second Doctor [Companion] : The Power of the Daleks

Samantha Briggs was considered for the role of Companion but turn it down.


Cybermen [Mondasian] [Villain] : The Tenth Planet
Daleks : [Villain] The Power of the Daleks
Atlantians : The Underwater Menace
Macra : [Villain] The Macra Terror

Ben & Polly's Friend Network

Node ColourBar

Ben Polly Friends

Once again, a small network but not as small as some we've see [Dodo for instance]. The Second Doctor, Ben, Polly, and Jamie form the core of a star motif group with Samantha Briggs, Daleks, Cybermen [Mondasian], Atlantians, and the Macra as the five points. This is an example of a stable motif network where the core characters have all met the others in the star but the characters on the points, in turn, have not met each other. The First Doctor and Dodo form a spur projecting from this star motif with the First Doctor connected with Daleks and Cybermen and Dodo connected to neither..

The First Doctor and Dodo, on the right side of the network, show weak connections. The First Doctor has a very strong connection to the Daleks but a weak connection to the Cybermen [a single link as he regenerated the first time he met them], Ben and Polly. Dodo has no connections to either the Daleks nor the Cybermen and also weak links to Ben and Polly.

We also meet Samantha Briggs, played by Pauline Collins. Yes, the actress who played Queen Victoria in the Tenth Doctor's story, Tooth and Claw. The Writer had actually written the part of Samantha AS a companion. Pauline turned down the offer. In the next story, The Evil of the Daleks, Victoria became the next female Companion.

While Samantha Briggs ran around nearly the entire story with Jamie, Ben & Polly were nowhere to be found. If this sounds like another example of a bad companion exit story, I'd say you're right. They ignored two existing Companions, introduced a new Companion who decided not to take the job, and hastily had to rework the next story to make up for it. But more on that when we get to Victoria.

The much denser core on the left is Ben & Polly's time with the Second Doctor which has much stronger links - the main core of this network.

Ben & Polly's Story Network

Ben Polly Story

With links split between the First and Second Doctor's, the Story Network maintains a fair balance. The three stories on the right contain the First Doctor.

The Analysis

Ben Polly SNA

Jamie, in three fewer stories, ranks evenly with both Ben & Polly with his continuous high rankings with the Second Doctor. The three Companions attain a 90% level with the Second Doctor finishing a close fourth. Outside of any member of Team TARDIS, no other character has very strong connections in this network. A very tight-knit core network that even the other allies can't crack.

Notice that Samantha Briggs [a Companion-Lite] outperforms Dodo [a Companion] in these charts [even though they were both in only a single story]. Dodo's chances of a good showing in larger networks looks slim.

In nearly every Network measure, the rankings show the strength of Ben & Polly's connections. In the network, both sit squarely between the First and Second Doctors and have connections to companions both old and new [Dodo and Jamie].

1Ben Jackson
1Polly Wright
2Doctor Who-02
3Jamie McCrimmon
4Doctor Who-01

Ben Polly Key Entity

This chart shows a different picture. Though no exceptionally high scores, Ben & Polly's links to every story pull them above either Doctor. Ben & Polly dominate this chart. Although not technically lynchpins, the network would become far less dense and loose without them.

Their strong links with the Second Doctor & Jamie lift them to the top of the charts. Both the Daleks and Cybermen's [Mondasian] connections to the First and Second Doctors add strength of their links.


Ben Polly SubGroups

Group 1 : Second Doctor, Ben, Polly, Jamie, Samantha Briggs, Cybermen [Mondasians], Macra, Atlantians

Group 2 : First Doctor, Dodo, Daleks

The strongest links for Ben & Polly hover around their connection with the Second Doctor and Jamie with most of the other characters also becoming part of Group-1. They spent most of their time with the Second Doctor, part of the core of the network.

The main characters of Group-2 are The First Doctor and Dodo, a spur off of the core network. The First Doctor's strong links to the Daleks brings them into his group. The Cybermen's links to the Second Doctor rein them into Group-2. As The Tomb of the Cybermen exists and The Power of the Daleks does not, makes the Second Doctor associated more with Cybermen than Daleks.

No surprise the First Doctor and Dodo exist in a separate group. Ben & Polly had more adventures with the Second Doctor. Ben & Polly's main Doctor is the Second Doctor, so they fall into his group. The strength of links between the First Doctor and Dodo total more than to any other character. Polly & Ben link count to Group-2 characters is [5] while their connections to the rest of Group-1 is [15]. The reason the First Doctor and Dodo are in their own group.

Most of the connections the First Doctor had in previous networks are not present here as the only characters he has in common are Dodo and the Daleks. That weakens his influence.

Rankings Compared to the First Doctor

The strongest showing of any Companions to date. In only measure did they trail either Doctor - Clustering Coefficient. [The probability that two randomly selected characters are connected to each other]. Okay, in simple terms! This means, pick any two characters at random and chances are that one of them will a Doctor.


Ben & Polly, a strong set of Companions, due to connections with two different Doctors. Any Doctor would be well connected. Ben & Polly, working with to two Doctors, have great connections to two well connected characters. And as members of two clique, which both have a highly connected character [i.e., the Doctors], pushes Ben & Polly into the lead roles.

And even though present, I have reservations considering Polly an actual Companions in The War Machines. Ben spent the story working with the Doctor to stop Wotan. Polly spend the story hypnotized and working FOR Wotan. Ben appears to have started as a new Companion and Polly only as a bit part. But Dodo gets hypnotized and starts working for Wotan then suddenly she's outed and sent to the country for a lay down. Polly, also hypnotized takes over her part. I feel the part, originally written for Dodo, became Polly's part.

With the shameful exit of Dodo, it almost appears like a hasty re-write

NEXT UP : Finally, I get to the First Doctor's Network. This is where it gets fun - and messy. After that, I continue on with the Second Doctor's Companions and then the Second Doctor's Network. These will then be combined. And so on, and so on...

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