Doctor Who companions now – Emmerdale, co-star romance and cancer battle

Doctor who actress Elisabeth Sladen would have been 76 years old today.

Elisabeth, who was born in Liverpool on February 1 1946, played the third and fourth Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith, in the popular BBC science-fiction TV series, but sadly died in 2011. aged 65.

She is one of many companions to have stepped through the doors of the iconic TARDIS since the series started in 1963, going on adventures through time and space with the Doctor.

The Doctor had more than 30 companions during the series' original TV run, and in the 1996 film, and here, Daily Star takes a look at where some of the original companions are now.

Susan Foreman – Carole Ann Ford

Carole Ann Ford played the Doctor's granddaughter Susan when the series first arrived on our TV screens in November 1963.

After departing the series on year later, Carole Ann has reprised the role multiple times for the 20th anniversary The Five Doctors special in 1983, as well as most recently lending her voice to the popular Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories.

However, the actress has since revealed that she was worried her iconic role would hamper her career, telling The Daily Telegraph: "I must say that when I left Doctor Who, I was filled with… not loathing, but I was incredibly annoyed because I wanted to do more television and films and the only thing that people could ever see me in was a recreation of what I had done.

"I wanted to do work that would disconnect me from Doctor Who. That is a very difficult thing to accomplish, as many other actors who have played the companions have found out."

She has also had a highly successful career away from Doctor Who, appearing in hit sci-fi film The Day Of The Triffids and films including The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery and Dial M For Murder.

In her personal life, the actress has two children and has been married twice – first to Walter Jokel from 1959-1967 and then to Harry Kornhauser from 1974.

Steven Taylor – Peter Purves

Actor and TV presenter Peter Purves played the first doctor's companion Steven Taylor from 1965-1966.

However, he most fondly remembered for his career u-turn after Doctor Who, with the actor finding new levels of fame as a TV presenter on the popular children's TV series Blue Peter in 1967.

After John Noakes, he became the longest serving Blue Peter presenter, and during his time there, he became well known for his bond with Blue Peter dog Petra, as well as his high flying adventures, telling the Daily Mail: "I travelled to 27 countries with Blue Peter in the 1960s and early 70s.

"We were going to places like Morocco on safari in a Land Rover, to where David Lean filmed Lawrence Of Arabia, very remote. I went to the Ivory Coast, to Ethiopia and Mexico at a time when very few people travelled."

His bond with Petra seemed to influence his career after Blue Peter however, as he later went on to become the voice of Crufts.

Away from presenting, Peter Purves has two children and has been married twice – first to Gilly Fraser from 1962-1982, and then to Kathryn Evans from 1982.

Jamie McCrimmon – Frazer Hines

Frazer Hines has played one of the Doctor's companions for longer than any other actor, totalling 117 episodes alongside Patrick Troughton's second doctor and in specials such as 1983's The Five Doctors.

He is also famous for his role as Joe Sugden in the popular ITV soap Emmerdale, with Frazer playing the character for over 20 years between 1972-1992.

Along with Doctor Who and Emmerdale, the actor has continued to be a presence on our screens in TV series and films such as Doctors, Two Days In The Smoke and most recently 2020's Lost At Christmas.

Frazer has also revealed his shock after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1999, telling The Mirror: "The surgeon says you have bowel cancer, suddenly you feel like you’ve swallowed a bowling ball. Did I think I’d die? Yes, for sure."

Following extensive surgery and chemotherapy, the actor was told he was in remission after an 11 year battle with the disease.

However, he also revealed that the cancer had an affect on his decision not to have children, which led to his marriage breaking down, saying: "I always said I’m not cured, I have not beaten cancer – because there is always the risk it will come and bite you in the bum again.

"Liz was desperate for a child. But in my mind I thought, why? I could die. Then I found the marriage was beginning to deteriorate."

He added: "You go through this self doubt. It was my fault, I just withdrew and said I don’t want to have a family. It was incredibly selfish."

In his personal life, the actor was first married to Gemma Craven from 1981-1984 and then to Liz Hobbs from 1994 until their divorce in 2003.

Jo Grant – Katy Manning

Katy Manning played the third doctor's assistant Jo Grant alongside Jon Pertwee's third doctor from 1971-1973.

After leaving the sci-fi series, the actress has presented an arts and crafts show called Serendipity for BBC, but has predominantly acted in and directed stage productions such as Shirley Valentine, Blithe Spirit and Educating Rita.

She also reprised her role as Jo Grant in the Sarah Jane Adventures, alongside the late Elisabeth Sladen, as well as most recently lending her voice to Doctor Who video games in 2018 and Big Finish audio adventures.

Katy also has two children with the actor Dean Harris, but was later advised to move to a country with a warmer climate, after her twins kept becoming ill.

She later moved to Australia and married Barry Crocker, telling Radio Times in 2012: "We’ve been together 26 years although we don’t live together now," adding "Relationships that last are ones where you accept the changes in each other, and can laugh. Life doesn’t get easier but it does get funnier."

In the same interview she also revealed that she is close friends with another famous celebrity – singing sensation Liza Minnelli – with who Katy set up a production company.

She said: "Meeting Liza and her mother [Judy Garland, of course] had a huge effect.

"Hanging out at their house in Chelsea with Dirk Bogarde and James Mason floating around, going to the Savoy for tea with Noël Coward… Liza and I were just thinking about the next naughty thing we could get up to."

Sarah Jane Smith – Elisabeth Sladen

Elisabeth Sladen joined both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker's doctors on adventures between 1973 and 1976.

It is the role that Elisabeth is fondly remembered for, with the fan favourite companion brought back for spin-off series including K9 and Company during the eighties and The Sarah Jane Adventures in the noughties.

She also made a memorable appearance in the 2006 episode School Reunion, opposite David Tennant's tenth doctor.

Outside of Doctor Who, the actress also appeared in TV programmes including Coronation Street as Anita Reynolds, Z-Cars, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Number Time and in the David Essex film Silver Dream Racer.

Away from the limelight, Elisabeth was married to Brian Miller from 1968 and they had one daughter together called Sadie.

Fans and stars from the world of entertainment were devastated when Elisabeth died aged 65 on April 19 2011 from cancer.

Following her death, David Tennant paid tribute to her in an interview with BBC, saying: "Having been such a huge part of my childhood, she was everything you hoped she would be when you met her. She was extraordinary."

Writer Russell T Davies, who created The Sarah Jane Adventures, added: "I absolutely loved Lis. She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith, the world was lucky to have Lis."

A special episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures was also broadcast in 2020, in tribute to the late actress.

Leela – Louise Jameson

Louise Jameson starred as Leela opposite Tom Baker's fourth doctor from 1977-1978.

After appearing in the TV series, it was onwards and upwards for the star, landing leading roles in programmes including The Omega Factor, River City and Doc Martin.

Louise has also reprised her role as Leela for a number of Doctor Who Big Finish audio dramas, as well as starring in theatre productions such as Agatha Christie's Mousetrap.

She also starred in EastEnders as Rosa Di Marco from 1998-2000, and will soon be joining rival soap Emmerdale as Rhona Goskirk's mum Mary.

Talking about her upcoming role in the soap, Louise said: "It feels like such a gift to be welcomed into the Emmerdale cast. Playing Zoe’s on screen mum is the icing on the cake."

In her personal life, Louise has two children called Harry and Tom, and was married to Martin Bedford from 1990-1997.

Romana – Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward

Tom Baker's companion and fellow time lord Romana was played by two different actresses in the late seventies – Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward.

Mary Tamm played Romana from 1978-1979, before the time lord could choose a new face to regenerate into.

After leaving the series, Mary had a long acting career, which included roles such as Penny Crosbie in Brookside, Orlenda in Eastenders and TV productions such as Bergerac and Jane Eyre.

In her personal life, Mary had been married to Marcus Ringrose from 1978 and they had one daughter together called Lauren.

However, the actress sadly died on July 26 2012 after being diagnosed with cancer.

The second actress to play Romana was Lalla Ward, between 1979-1981, with the actress also going on to star in TV programmes such as The Professionals and Van Der Valk.

It was not only fame that Lalla found on the programme though – she also found romance, marrying fourth doctor actor Tom Baker in 1980.

However, the couple later split up in 1982, and Lalla has since been married a further two times – first to Richard Dawkins from 1992-2016 and then to Nicholas Rawlins from 2020.

After marrying Richard Dawkins, it is reported that Lalla decided to move away from a career in acting and is now a textile artist and ceramicist.

However, she has still reprised her role as Romana in Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures, and makes regular appearances at Doctor Who conventions.

Adric – Matthew Waterhouse

Matthew Waterhouse joined Tom Baker's fourth doctor and Romana in 1980 as the youngest companion ever on the TV series called Adric, before going on adventures with Peter Davidson's fifth doctor.

After Adric was killed in a shock twist to 1982's Earthshock episode, he went on to appear in theatre productions such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

He has also become a novelist, releasing books such as Fates, Flowers: A Comedy Of New York in 2016, as well as most recently lending his voice to Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures.

It has been reported that between 1997-2016, he lived in Connecticut in the United States, before moving back to the UK where he lives with his husband.

Nyssa – Sarah Sutton

Sarah Sutton already had a long acting career in TV films including Alice Through the Looking Glass, before joining Tom Baker and Peter Davison's doctors on adventures between 1981-1983.

However, she left the series to focus on raising her daughter with her GP husband, before returning to act in TV series including Casualty and Unnatural Pursuits.

Her most recent acting credits are listed as the comedy parody The Five(ish) Doctor's Reboot in 2013, as well as a plane safety video in 2018.

However, Sarah has continued to reprise her role as Nyssa in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures, alongside co-stars such as Matthew Waterhouse and Peter Davison.

Tegan – Janet Fielding

Australian actress Janet Fielding played air hostess Tegan in Doctor Who, opposite Tom Baker and Peter Davison's fourth and fifth doctors.

After leaving Doctor Who in 1984, she appeared in a number of TV programmes including Murphy's Mob and Blind Justice, before retiring from acting in 1991 to move behind the scenes to work at Women in Film and Television UK.

She also became a theatrical agent, and in a Doctor Who link, represented the actor Paul McGann, who would later play the eighth doctor.

However, similar to her fellow Doctor Who co-stars, Janet has lent her voice to the Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Dramas, as well as working for a charity called Project Motorhouse.

Janet was also married to journalist Nicholas Davies between 1982-1991.

Peri Brown – Nicola Bryant

Nicola Bryant played Peri Brown opposite Peter Davison and Colin Baker's fifth and sixth doctors, from 1984-1986.

However at the end of her tenure in 1986, it had been presumed that the character had died, while other scenes suggested she had survived and was living with a character called King Ycarnos – with fans left wondering for decades what actually had happened to the character.

However they were delighted when a new clip finally seemed to solve the mystery of what happened to Peri, as Nicola has reprised her role for a new clip as part of the restored series 22 box set, which is released in February 2022 and might finally answer the mystery.

Outside of Doctor Who, Nicola has had a successful career both on screen and onstage, appearing in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, Star Trek Continues and The Stranger.

She has also acted in a lot of adverts for companies including AXA Life Insurance and Nurofen, and in her personal life was married to Scott Kennedy.

Mel Bush – Bonnie Langford

Child star Bonnie Langford was already a familiar face on our TV screens, before landing the role of Mel Bush opposite Colin Baker's sixth doctor and Sylvester McCoy's seventh doctor between 1986-1987.

As well as appearing in hit theatre productions including Chicago, Guys and Dolls and 42nd Street, she has also played Carmel Kazemi in BBC soap EastEnders from 2015-2018.

Speaking of her role in EastEnders, the star told Radio Times: "I’m so thrilled and delighted to be part of EastEnders. I’m a great fan of the show and think the 30th Anniversary was sensational and shows just how good British television can be.

"To be part of this family is an absolute privilege."

She also delighted fans as one of the first contestants to take part in Dancing On Ice, as well as reaching the 2021 final of The Masked Singer as Squirrel.

Away from the limelight, Bonnie was also married to Paul Grunert, saying in a 2006 interview: "I’d known Paul since 1987, when we’d done a show together. But I just hadn’t thought of him in that way.

"Then a friend suggested we all get together. In the end, she couldn’t make it, so it was just Paul and me. And that was that.

"It’s always the times in your life when you’re not looking that you find what you need."

Together they had a daughter called Biana, before divorcing 20 years later.

Ace – Sophie Aldred

Sophie Aldred landed her debut TV role as Ace opposite Sylvester McCoy's seventh doctor from 1987-1989, when the original series run of Doctor Who came to an end.

From there, Sophie has not left our TV screens, appearing in programmes such as Zzzap! and lending her voice to children's programmes including Noddy in Toyland, Dennis and Gnasher, Peter Rabbit and most recently, the podcast series The Baron Author.

She has also continued to reprise her Doctor Who character on audio books, as well as releasing the Doctor Who novel At Childhood's End, about Ace.

Away from the limelight, the actress has been married to Vince Henderson since 1997 and they have two children together.

Dr Grace Holloway – Daphne Ashbrook

Daphne Ashbrook joined eighth doctor Paul McGann as Dr Grace Holloway, when the series was rebooted for a TV film in 1996.

A child star, the actress has since appeared in huge TV series including Cold Case, CSI, Ghost Whisperer and Without a Trace.

Daphne also delighted critics when she released a country album called Grace Notes in 2010, and has most recently appeared in TV series including Hollywood Heights, as well as being listed as appearing in the upcoming TV film A Wild Endeavour.

She also has one daughter called Paton with ex-partner Lorenzo Lamas.

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