Perhaps the most well-known episode of Doctor Who’s new series is ‘Blink.’ With its groundbreaking approach to storytelling and its introduction of an iconic monster in the Weeping Angels, Steven Moffat delivered a spectacular 45 minutes of TV which rightfully received awards. The key to all of this, in my opinion, was the stupendous performance by Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow. Here we had a female character who was relatable, strong-willed without being invincible, and attractive. It has been reported in recent years that Carey Mulligan was offered the role of the series 4 companion which eventually went to Catherine Tate. I believe that her character of Sally Sparrow would have been a better fit for Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. Here’s why.
Peter Davison, the actor who portrayed the 5th Doctor in the program’s classic series, has said that Doctor Who works when the Doctor is presented as unreliable and he has a strong female character alongside him. This would have been the exact relationship we would have had between the 11th Doctor and Sally Sparrow. One of the keys to 11’s character, at least in series 5, and what made him so relatable was that he could make mistakes like when he failed to realize that the Clerics had stumbled into a nest of Weeping Angels in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone or when his lack of foresight indirectly caused Amy Pond to be trapped in a different timestream and age 36 years in The Girl Who Waited.
Sally Sparrow would have called the Doctor out hard on this mistake, much harder than Amy Pond would have. This is what the Doctor needs in my opinion, someone like Donna or Sarah Jane who will disagree with him and stop him from going too far in his quest for justice. We saw in Blink how Sally Sparrow challenged the Doctor and showed a passionate and caring side that would complement the Time Lord perfectly. While it could be argued that the 10th Doctor had this kind of relationship with Donna I still think Sally Sparrow could have brought that extra something which would have made her one of the best if not the best new series companion. Which brings me on to my next point: romance.
Since 1996 Doctor Who has flirted (no pun intended) with the idea of the titular character having a romantic relationship. We saw Paul McGann’s 8th Doctor kiss Grace Holloway, through to the 9th and 10th Doctors’ relationship with Rose, to 11 and 12’s complicated arcs with River Song and Clara. I think Sally Sparrow would be a good romantic partner for the Doctor because she is intelligent and independent and does not idolize the Time Lord as Rose and River Song did. It might have been interesting if 11 had been attracted to Sally Sparrow but did not know how to express his feelings or if they had annoyed each other to the point of a Xander/Cordelia kiss that neither of them knew how to deal with.
Would Sally Sparrow have made a good companion? Which Doctor would you have liked to have seen her go on adventures with? And should Carey Mulligan ever reprise the role in a Jodie Whittaker episode? Let me know in the comments below and remember; always take a banana to a party. Bananas are good.