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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
In pictures: Doctor Who's assistants
Maureen O'Brien and Peter Purves pictured with the first Doctor, William Hartnell
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Billie Piper is to follow in a long line of actors who have travelled through time with Doctor Who - including two early assistants Vicki, played by Maureen O'Brien, and Steven Taylor (right), played by future Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves.
Patrick Troughton with Frazer Hines
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Another companion was Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines - who went on to star in soap opera Emmerdale. Jamie was rescued from the battle of Culloden in 1746 by the second doctor, Patrick Troughton.
Deborah Watling
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Deborah Watling starred as Victoria Waterfield, who also travelled with Troughton. The daughter of a Victorian scientist, she became orphaned when the Daleks killed her father.
Wendy Padbury
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A librarian who was attacked by the Cybermen, Zoe Herriot, played by Wendy Padbury, was highly intelligent but inexperienced.
Patrick Troughton (left), Nicholas Courtney and Katy Manning
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The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney, centre) headed the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, while Jo Grant (Katy Manning) trained as a spy and was assigned to UNIT.
Elisabeth Sladen
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Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen, was the journalistic sidekick to third doctor, Jon Pertwee.
Louise Jameson with Tom Baker
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Leela (Louise Jameson) was a tribal warrior leader who joined up with the Doctor, Tom Baker, because he looked like their god.
K9, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward
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One of the Doctor's most famous companions was a robotic dog, K9, which travelled with Romana II (Lalla Ward).
An air hostess, Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding), joined Peter Davison after thinking the Tardis was a real police box
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An air hostess, Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding), joined Peter Davison after thinking the Tardis was a real police box.
Nicola Bryant
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Nicola Bryant played Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown, who joined Davison as an 18-year-old American botany student.
High-pitched dancer Bonnie Langford travelled with both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy (pictured).
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High-pitched dancer Bonnie Langford travelled with both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy (pictured).
Sophie Aldred
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The Doctor's last regular companion was Ace, played by children's TV presenter Sophie Aldred.




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