18 January 2013

Zoe-Companion Analysis

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Art by mimi-na on Deviant Art


Zoë, the next attempt from Doctor Who of a futuristic mod-girl. And their convoluted attempts at futuristic clothing. Since I have Zoë in her glittery catsuit on the top of the page, I thought the poly-vinyl costume would be appropriate.

Zoë couldn't be more different than her predecessor, Victoria. Possibly, the show runners looked back at having two Companions from the past and felt it was time to revisit the future - only dressed up in the wildest clothes possible.

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 : Zoë

Zoë appeared in 50 episodes [8 stories] traveling solely with the Second Doctor and Jamie.

Zoë portrayed a sort of human computer, someone capable of doing complex calculates in her head. Reminds you a little of a pointy-eared alien on another show. She delighted in showing off to people especially if it meant one-upping the Doctor.

Although she started off life as a brilliant scientist, they soon had her screaming just as every Companion before had done.

She has the distinction of being one of the first characters in the show to meet the Time Lords [although she'll never remember anything].


Second Doctor : The Power of the Daleks
Brigadier : [Companion] The Web of Fear
Soldiers UNIT : [Associate] The Web of Fear
Jamie McCrimmon : [Companion] The Highlanders
Gia Kelly : [Associate] The Ice Warriors
Cully : [Associate] The Dominators
Master of Fiction : [Associate] The Mind Robber
Benton : [Associate] The Invasion
Isobel Watkins : [Companion-Lite] The Invasion
Milo Clancy : [Associate] The Space Pirates
Lt Jeremy Carstairs : [Companion-Lite] The War Games
Time Lords : [Associate] The War Games
War Lord : [Neutral] The War Games
Goth : [Neutral] The War Games


Daleks [Villain] : The Daleks
Cybermen [Mondasian] : [Villain] The Tenth Planet

Zoë's Friend Network

Yet another small Companion network. Most Companions have small networks unless they traveled with the Doctor for more than a year. Short run Companions are unlikely to come into contact with many repeat villains let alone many other Companions.

UNIT is a strong group but Zoë's links to Brigadier, Benton and the UNIT Soldiers are a strength of one. Weak compared to the links between members of the UNIT group.

Two characters are marked as Companions-Lite, Isobel Watkins [The Invasion] and Lt Jeremy Carstairs [The War Games]. Both worked closely not only with Zoë, but engaged the enemy side-by-side with Team TARDIS. Isobel even went into the sewers to bravely take photographs of the Cybermen.

Node ColourBar

Zoe Friend

The network appears similar to many other networks of this era. The core of Team TARDIS, the UNIT branch, and a few other scattered one-offs. As with the others, Zoë has strong links to the core of Team TARDIS but weak links to UNIT and a smattering of single strength links.

Zoë's Story Network

Other than the UNIT story and the War Games story, this network is very loose with weak connections on the fringes.

Zoe Story

The Analysis

Zoë appears to be the weakest Companion yet [weaker than Dodo]. Even in her own sphere of influence, she ranks 5th in the Standard Network chart and 3rd Key Entity chart. The strength of the links between the Second Doctor, Jamie, and the Brigadier remove any chance of Zoë having any real effect.

Remember, part of a character's importance is regulated by the other characters in the network. Zoë happens to be in a strong network which makes her weak.


There are some surprises in the numbers. Her total number of links was much lower than I expected. Not only topped by the Second and Jamie, the entire UNIT gang beat her. They form a strong cluster which developed over many years. Her seven stories just can't measure up to the Brigadier's longevity.

Total Number of Links
1Second Doctor97
4Soldiers UNIT73

Zoë comes out on top in the number of times she is on the shortest path between two characters. Unfortunately, those links are very weak. She outperforms Jamie threefold. She also scores high connecting characters and groups. She helps put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Number of Times On Shortest Path
3Second Doctor11.6

Zoe Key Entity

As is normal with limited traveling companions, Zoë equals both the Second Doctor and Jamie.

Zoe Cliques

Zoë's Groups

Three groups emerge, the Team TARDIS core and two smaller groups. The UNIT group branches to the left and the Time Lords to the right. Everyone else is tightly clustered in the middle.

Zoe SubGroup

Group 1 : Second Doctor, Jamie, Zoë, Cully, Milo Clancey, Lt. Jeremy Carstairs, Gia Kelly, Ice Warriors, Cybermen-Mondasian, Master of Fiction.

Group 2 : Brigadier, Soldiers UNIT, Benton, Isobel Watkins

Group 3 : Goth, War Lord, Time Lords

Group 1 is the strong, centrally located group comprised of Team TARDIS with a few others. Although Zoë belongs to this group, she receives no real power from it. She belongs to the same number of cliques as the Second Doctor and Jamie but she scores low otherwise. Group 2 is UNIT with Isobel [who only appeared in a UNIT story. Group 3 is all about Time Lords.

The UNIT group is a distinct cluster and draws strength away from Group 1, especially Zoë. Another factor in her weakness.


Many strong characters are evident in this network, except for Zoë. So many strong, well-connected characters prevent her from achieving any real potential. It's not the fault of the character. Her compatriots have too many connections give her nowhere to be strong.

Her strength lies in connecting to other strong characters but it does not translate to any real power potential. Belonging to the same number of cliques as the Second Doctor and Jamie also did her no good in the scoring. There were too many 6th place rankings. Her strong core group links do not compensate for her weak links to the rest of the network.

A shorter analysis than others as Zoë had so few strong points.

But we can find solace in the fact that although she scores low she wore her glittery catsuit well.

One Last Thing

As much as I love Zoë, I would cast my vote for worst costume for that awful bubble wrap monstrosity she wore in The Five Doctors.

Zoe in bubble wrap

NEXT UP : The Second Doctor!


  1. I've always loved Zoe. She was smart, but also showed genuine affection for the Doctor and Jaime. And I thought it was awful that she and Jaime were mind-wiped by the Time Lords (especially as Jaime was then immediately killed, since he was dropped off in the middle of a battle - on the losing side). I've never thought of Zoe as a "screamer" - but I've only seen the handful of Troughton stories that survived the BBC purge. For Companions, especially older ones - it isn't IF they scream but how they react immediately AFTERWORDS I found important. Zoe is a lot stronger than Susan for example (who screams, whines, twists her ankle, and basically acts like a waste of space -- Barbara was so much better!) BUT I do get that you mean statistically. And Zoe seems stronger than Victoria too (tho' I also liked Victoria). Of the early female companions (prior to Pertwee) I like Barbara and Zoe best.

    1. Wendy went on record as knowing she had one of the bes screams. Zoe and Victoria were both ranked low. This might change as the series began bringing in more characters that I regard as more than just fodder.

      And I've always loved Barbara as a character.

  2. Poor Zoe! Ah, well, in terms of being remembered she's strong. (Yeah, the catsuit helped.)

    1. RE: The Catsuit, see my header...