Doctor Who: 27 Times the Humans Saved the Day (and Sometimes Lost Their Lives)

at .  Updated at .

Even all-powerful Time Lords need backup sometimes. On Doctor Who, the Time Lord Victorious that calls himself the Doctor has made a habit of picking up humans that are ordinary. 

RELATED: 23 Characters Who Won't Let Go of a Grudge

He shows them the universe and all the good, bad, and ugly things it can hold. All the while, he tries to protect them as best as he can. 

The relationship has its benefits. Sometimes, the Doctor's human companions save him and the world. They pick up on things he doesn't, refuse to let him die, and sometimes make the hard choices for him. 

RELATED: 19 Times Bad Wolf Connected the Doctor and Rose Tyler

As enlightening as it can be to travel with the Doctor, it's always dangerous, and sometimes the humans he encounters lose their lives aiding in his quest.

Here are 27 times the humans on Team Tardis saved the day. 


1. Rory Williams Creates a Paradox

Rory Williams Creates a Paradox
Rory Williams was originally determined to outrun the Weeping Angels on Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 5, "The Angels Take Manhattan" so he wouldn't spend the rest of his life without Amy.

While he was running he realized the only way out was to die, again. Standing on the top of the building he asked Amy to push him off sure that he'll come back to life. (He'd done it before.)

She couldn't do it, so she got up on the ledge with him, and they jumped together.

2. River Song Dies in the Library

River Song Dies in the Library
The Doctor is always willing to die for humanity, but some humans are just not willing to let him. Included on that list is River Song.

When the audience first meets her on Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 8, "Silence in the Library," we learn that she has a whole future with the Doctor and she's not going to give that up.

So she takes the Doctor's place and saves him. But that's not the end of the story. Since the Doctor knows that this is going to happen he figures he found a way to save her life, which he did...with his sonic screwdriver. River Song's mind now lives in a computer filled with every book ever written.

3. Clara Breaks Up "The Hyrbid"

Clara Breaks Up "The Hyrbid"
After being stuck in his confession dial for four and a half billion years, the Doctor uses an extraction chamber on Gallifrey to save Clara from her death on Trap Street. But the action comes at a cost.

Clara's pulse should have started again when they left Gallifrey, but it hasn't. That means that time isn't healing and her death is a fixed point that the universe counts on happening. The entire scenario is further complicated by the realization that Clara and the Doctor, together, make up the creature known as The Hybrid. And together, they threaten all of time and space. Using the sonic glasses Clara reverses the polarity on a neural blocker, which will cause one of them to lose their memory of the other.

Ultimately, the Doctor forgets Clara, but using the stolen Tardis she's able to bring him to Nevada, return his Tardis to him, and say goodbye in the guise of a diner waitress.

4. Martha Jones Saves the World with a Story

Martha Jones Saves the World with a Story
Sometimes all you need to save the world are words. At the end of Doctor Who Season 3, the Doctor was imprisoned by his childhood mate The Master.

Martha escaped but said that she would be back. During that time, she traveled the world telling people the story of The Doctor. Her long game culminated when she was recaptured by The Master exactly a year later, and the people she told the story to all thought the same word at the same time breaking a neural link.

That word was "Doctor."

5. Danny Pink Leads an Army of Cybermen

Danny Pink Leads an Army of Cybermen
Missy's plot to give The Doctor an army backfired on Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 12, "Death in Heaven."

Danny Pink, Clara's boyfriend who died in a car crash an episode earlier, didn't delete his emotions which left him outside of the hive mind of cybermen.

When the Doctor passed him a bracelet Missy intended as a cyber-controller, he was able to lead the army of Cybermen into the clouds where they burned. A bittersweet end to Danny Pink.

6. Oswin Helps The Doctor Escape the Asylum

Oswin Helps The Doctor Escape the Asylum
On Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 1, "The Asylum of the Daleks," the Doctor got some help from a woman named Oswin Oswald. Though she was able to help them navigate through the Asylum, a reveal that she'd been converted into a Dalek herself meant that he couldn't save her. But, Oswin had control over the asylum's systems she was able to clear a path to safety and save the Doctor and the Ponds.

7. Rose Looks Into the Heart of the Tardis

Rose Looks Into the Heart of the Tardis
The Doctor thinks he knows what's best, but sometimes he's wrong. He sent Rose back home for her own protection on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 13, "The Parting of Ways," but she was stubborn, and that led her to look into the heart of the Tardis. When she and the Tardis reappeared she was able to stop the Daleks and save the remaining humans on the station as well as The Doctor.

8. Astrid Takes Down Max Capricorn

Astrid Takes Down Max Capricorn
On the Doctor Who Christmas Special "Voyage of the Damned," a millionaire cyborg named Max Capricorn seeks revenge on his company's board members by sabotaging a reconstruction of the Titanic. He was the point of communication and orchestration for the hosts, and living in an omnistate impact chamber, had plans to ride out the explosion before retiring to Penhaxico, Mexico.

But Astrid Peth, a waitress on the cruise liner, was able to use a forklift to push the entire casing into the storm drive. The problem was, it took the forklift she was driving along with it and she fell in too.

This action allowed the Doctor to save the Titanic, but Astrid and other passengers paid a pretty high price.

9. Jackie Gives the Doctor Some Tea

Jackie Gives the Doctor Some Tea
Jackie Tyler's universal truth that tea fixes everything proved true on Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 1, "The Christmas Invasion." The newly regenerated Doctor needed time to rest, but there was an alien invasion going on and blood control happening, and the humans really needed him. When he ultimately appeared and was able to save the day, he credited Jackie's tea.

10. Amy Saves a Star Whale

Amy Saves a Star Whale
Even the Doctor can be wrong sometimes. At the end of Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 2, "The Beast Below," Amy figures out that the Star Whale that's been carrying the Starship UK on its back is there out of kindness and that releasing it won't harm anyone on board. With the help of Elizabeth X she's able to stop the Doctor from rendering the Star Whale braindead.

11. Mickey Fires a Missile at the Slitheen

Mickey Fires a Missile at the Slitheen
Thanks to some alien subterfuge, Earth almost ended up in a nuclear war during Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 5, "World War Three." Thanks to the Doctor's quick thinking and an assist from Mickey with a computer hack, they were able to fire a missile at 10 Downing Street before the Slitheen could activate the launch.

Not bad for a character who would later think of himself as "the tin dog."

12. Pete Tyler Stops the Paradox

Pete Tyler Stops the Paradox
Rose saved her father from his death on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 8, "Father's Day," but in doing so she created a paradox. The Tyler family, plus Rose and the Doctor, and a wedding party were hiding from paradox eaters in a church.

But not even the father of a time traveler can outrun death. The car that was supposed to hit Pete kept appearing, seemingly out of nowhere, and circling the church. Pete realized that he had to die, and after an emotional goodbye to Jackie and the grown-up Rose who saved him, he left the church and stepped in front of the car causing the paradox eaters to vanish.

13. Clara Saves Akhaten

Clara Saves Akhaten
On Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 7, "The Rings of Akhaten," a sacrifice is demanded during a festival of offerings. A parasite guide demands the inhabitants of a planet pay with items of emotional value. While the Doctor thinks his history and memories might be enough to sate him, but when it isn't Clara has an idea.

She presents the god with "the most important leaf in human history." The leaf that blew into her dad's face, causing him to meet her mom, and which he used when he proposed. She presents it as not just the past but an entire future that never got lived. The idea of an infinite number of days and memories is enough to sate the god and save Akhaten.

14. Sarah Jane Talks The Doctor Down

Sarah Jane Talks The Doctor Down
When Ten and Rose go undercover at a school on Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 4, "School Reunion," they run into an old companion of The Doctor. Sarah Jane Smith also smells alien hijinx and is trying to sniff it out.

It turns out the school is run by Krillitanes, who are in disguise as teachers and using the school to crack a theory of everything that would allow them to control space and time. The Krillitanes offer to share the information with the Doctor, and he appears to consider it. That is until Sarah Jane intervenes.

With a few simple words she's able to sway the Doctor away from siding with the Krillitanes and the team starts to fight against them.

15. Donna Noble Turns Left

Donna Noble Turns Left
In an exercise in what might have been, Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 11, "Turn Left" explores what would have happened if Donna hadn't meant the Doctor. The results aren't good, resulting in the Doctor's death and parts of the United Kingdom being wiped out.

Rose was able to travel from another parallel world and convince this version of Donna that she could save the Doctor just by turning her car in a different direction. The alternate universe Donna gets sent back in time to that day and runs to save herself, eventually throwing herself in front of a car when she realizes she won't reach her past self in time.

The world gets reset and we're able to pick up with The Doctor and Donna where we left them having a nice outing. (At least, for the moment.)

16. Bill's Memory Stops the Monks

Bill's Memory Stops the Monks
File this one under happy accident. On Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 8, "The Lie in the Land," the Doctor realizes that the only way he's going to be able to get humans to see reason is to plug his brain into a big transmitter the monks are using to broadcast their alternate history.

Bill Potts isn't willing to let him take that risk and does it herself. (Partly because she's responsible for this mess in the first place.) The monks still had one more card to play though and started attempting to hijack Bill's memories, rewriting them as they're broadcasted.

The happy accident came in the form of Bill's mom, a memory Bill created based on photos the Doctor gave her during Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 1, "The Pilot." The pure, uncorrupted image was enough to break the lie and force the Monks to retreat.

17. Nancy Claims Jamie As Her Son

Nancy Claims Jamie As Her Son
Nanogenes ran amuck in Britain during World War II on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 9 and 10, "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances." After a little boy, Jaimie, dies in an air raid, nanogenes from a crashed medical ship attempted to repair him.

The problem, the child was wearing a gas mask and the nanogenes thought that was normal. Using him as a blueprint they continued to go around Britain "fixing" people the same way. Eventually, the Doctor convinced Nancy to come clean with the truth, that she was Jaime's mother, the nanogenes were able to recognize the parent DNA and fix Jaime.

With the help of a software patch from the Doctor, the others are able to be fixed as well. In short, everybody lives.

18. The Hostess Throws Sky Out the Airlock

The Hostess Throws Sky Out the Airlock
There was no shortage of creepy on Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 10, "Midnight," when an alien entity took over Sky and proceeded to steal the Doctor's voice. The Hostess was able to recognize Sky's new mannerisms as the Doctor's. As the rest of the passengers attempted to throw the Doctor off the train, she reacted quickly and grabbed Sky instead, saving the Doctor. Sadly, no one on the train even knew her name.

19. Mickey Causes a Cyberman Meltdown

Mickey Causes a Cyberman Meltdown
The climactic downfall of the Cybermen in a parallel world came from none other than Mickey Smith. Thought to be the tin dog of the Tardis crew in Season 2, his action during Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 6, "The Age of Steel," gave him a chance to shine when he wrote some code that caused the cybermen to meltdown.

20. Melody Pond Ressurects the Doctor

Melody Pond Ressurects the Doctor
Melody Pond, later known as River Song, was raised to be a weapon that would kill the Doctor. She succeeds on Doctor Who Season 6 Episode 8, "Let's Kill Hitler," but has a change of heart after finding out who River Song is.

Since River was conceived in the time vortex she's a human with some Time Lord DNA and has the ability to regenerate. After finding out about the future she apparently has with the Doctor she conjures up the rest of her regeneration energy to bring him back to life.

It's later revealed that this cost River all her future regenerations. Which explains how she died in the library in Season 4.

21. Donna Stops the Wasp

Donna Stops the Wasp
Not many people can say they solved a great literary mystery. When Agatha Christie took off with the intention of stopping the vespaform at the end of Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 7, "The Unicorn and the Wasp," it looked like she might die instead of just lose her memory.

When the Doctor and Donna caught up with her, Donna was able to grab the firestone and throw it into the lake. Without realizing it, they had become a part of the mystery of Agatha Christie's disappearance. In the morning her car would be found on the side of the lake and a few days later, thanks to a time machine, Agatha would turn up at a hotel in Harrogate.

22. Sally and Larry Save the Tardis

Sally and Larry Save the Tardis
Doctor Who Season 3 Episode 10, "Blink," made fans everywhere mistrust statues. This episode also introduced us to two humans who hadn't met the Doctor. Larry and Sally were thrown into a rescue of the Doctor's Tardis thanks to some timey-whimey elements. That didn't make the ultimate showdown with the Weeping Angels any less impactful.

23. Pete Saves Rose from The Void

Pete Saves Rose from The Void
The end of Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 13, "Doomsday," gave us one of the most heartbreaking separations on television.

Facing both the Cybermen and the Daleks the Doctor and Rose had to close a breach between worlds. In order to get rid of the aliens though, they had to open the crack wider at first, putting them in danger because they were covered in "void stuff" from traveling to parallel worlds.

While attempting to help the Doctor, Rose almost fell into the void, but her dad from another universe was able to intervene quickly and catch her and transport her to the parallel world right before the breach closed. This separated the Doctor and Rose forever, but also gave us that reunion on Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 13, "Journey's End."

24. Amy Remembers the Doctor

Amy Remembers the Doctor
The Doctor may have flown the Pandorica into the sun on Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 13, "The Big Bang," but it was Amy who ultimately saved him.

When time got rebooted Amy found herself waking up on the morning of her wedding to Rory Williams, but she couldn't shake the feeling that there was something missing. That something was her imaginary friend.

To everyone's astonishment, she interrupts the toasts she shouted at the sky, "Raggedy man, I remember you, and you are late for my wedding!" After which, the Tardis and the Doctor appeared in the middle of the dance floor, and all of her guests (Rory included) amazed that they could forget The Doctor.

25. Clara Enters the Doctor's Timestream

Clara Enters the Doctor's Timestream
Things looked pretty hopeless at the end of Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 13, "The Name of the Doctor." The Doctor's time stream is infected. His entire life being rewritten. There are stars going out and people are disappearing from his timeline.

Clara has a way to save them all, and that's to repair the timeline by stepping through the timestream. Doing so means that the time winds would tear her apart so there would be hundreds of versions of her throughout history. Ensuring that she's in Victorian London and the Dalek asylum to save him.

26. River Changes a Fixed Point

River Changes a Fixed Point
The start of Doctor Who Season 6 opened with the death of the Doctor at Lake Silencio. The finale revealed the occupant of the suit, River Song. It also showed her doing the unthinkable, altering a fixed point in time.

Fixed points aren't to be messed with, so of course, the result was for the timeline to go all wonky and happen all at once. While time said the Doctor had to die on the beach, it didn't say he had to stay dead. The borrowed time gave the Doctor the chance to borrow the Tesselector and cheat death.

27. The Companions Tow Earth Home

The Companions Tow Earth Home
Leave it to the Daleks to come up with a plan that involves stealing thirteen planets. During the last act of Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 13, "Journey's End," Doctor and his companions are able to send most of them back where they came from, the last one that has to be returned to its coordinates is Earth. The Doctor has his eight companions fly the Tardis together towing Earth along for the ride.

Wait! There's more! Just click "Next" below:

Show Comments
Doctor Who
Photo Galleries
Related Photos:
Doctor Who Slideshows, Photo Galleries Slideshows
Related Post:
Created by:

Doctor Who Quotes

Only in darkness are we revealed. [...] Goodness is not goodness that seeks advantage. Good is good in the final hour, in the deepest pit, without hope, without witness, without reward. Virtue is only virtue in extremis. This is what *he* believes, and this is the reason above all I love him, my husband. My madman in a box. My Doctor.

Nardole [quoting River Song]

The Doctor: Tell me the name of the boy who isn't going to die today.
Boy: Davros. My name is Davros.