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Top 10 Breakaway Roles by Doctor Who Companions

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Lucas Garbera
They’ve turned over a new leaf. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 Breakaway Roles from Doctor Who Actors. For this list, we’re looking at supporting actors from Doctor Who who played drastically different characters in their careers after their tenures with the Doctor. Please be aware, this video contains some spoilers and mature content. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Breakaway Roles from Doctor Who Actors


They’ve turned over a new leaf. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 Breakaway Roles from Doctor Who Actors.

For this list, we’re looking at supporting actors from Doctor Who who played drastically different characters in their careers after their tenures with the Doctor. Please be aware, this video contains some spoilers and mature content.

#10: Alex Kingston as Naomi Shropshire
“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (2016)


First appearing in a less prominent capacity, River Song would develop to be one of the most interesting “Doctor Who” characters. Brought to life by Alex Kingston, it was hard to imagine the actress playing anyone else. This made her role as Naomi Shropshire extra surprising and entertaining. Helping Rory with her book career, Kingston plays the role with visible joy. Naomi is a woman who bares all, but in a different way from River. Although a supporting role, and less extravagant than her work on “Doctor Who”, Kingston is still delightful to watch.

#9: Michelle Gomez as Madam Satan
“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (2018-)


Not strictly a companion of the Doctor, Gomez portrayed the most recent incarnation of the Master: Missy. Coming from a very prolific career, it is no surprise that Gomez has played many different types of roles. Although Missy has her own agendas, Gomez’s role as Madam Satan is even more devious – as the name may suggest. Perfectly disappearing into the role, audiences are able to see her change from sincere to sinister right before their eyes. Appearing as an ally to the teenaged Sabrina, but secretly working against her, one wonders what season two will have in store for the character.

#8: Camille Coduri as Shelly
“Him & Her” (2010-13)


Known to most fans as the fiercely protective and funny mother of Rose Tyler, Camille Coduri has played many roles in her career. After “Who”, she starred in the comedy series “Him & Her” as Shelly. At first glance, these two roles may not seem too dissimilar,but Coduri ups the funniness ante as Shelly in this awkward comedy. Hilarious in the role, this allowed people that knew her from “Doctor Who” to see the actress’ comedic skills in a new way, making this the perfect role for her.

#7: Freema Agyeman as Amanita Caplan
“Sense8” (2015-18)


In the role of Martha Jones, Agyeman was a strong, complimentary companion to the Doctor in series three. Her next most famous role was as Amanita Caplan in the global science fiction series “Sense8”. In the series, Amanita supports her girlfriend, Nomi, who has been bonded to seven other people around the world. Funny and quick-thinking, Amanita is always useful, and finds unique solutions to problems. Affecting an American accent as well as a completely different look, there are few traces of Martha in Agyeman’s Amanita.

#6: Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter
“Legends of Tomorrow” (2016-)


On the surface, the adventures of Rory Williams and Rip Hunter have quite a few things in common: time travel, space adventures and wacky characters. Although their shows share these traits, Arthur Darvill’s two roles are significantly different. While sweet and supporting as Rory, Darvill’s Rip Hunter is a colder man. Hunter assembles a team of DC heroes to help him save time itself, but he is more complicated than just a space captain. Darvill shows hidden layers in the character and shows how he can play a variety of roles.

#5: Noel Clarke as Sam Peel
“Hood” series (2006-16)


Mickey was a rash, but lovable supporting character in “Doctor Who”. But Noel Clarke truly came to shine when he showed off his writing, directing and acting chops in the “Hood” trilogy. Originating the role of Sam Peel in “Kidulthood”, Clarke’s character is complicated to say the least. Having a rough childhood and being jailed in the trilogy for killing someone . . . this is a long way from Clarke’s Mickey. Eventually regretting his crimes, Clarke showed audiences his true range as an actor in a story that feels intense and real.

#4: John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn
“Arrow” (2012-)


Being an immortal, Captain Jack sometimes had to make morally questionable decisions, and John Barrowman walked this fine line perfectly. In his next most popular role however, Barrowman played the straight up homicidal Malcolm Merlyn. The big bad of “Arrow’s” first season, Barrowman brought gravitas and an element of fun to the role. His character has been expanded upon throughout the Arrowverse’s history, and throughout the years we have been able to see Barrowman’s range as an actor. Whether in Star City or Cardiff, he is always entertaining to watch.

#3: Billie Piper as Brona Croft/Lily Frankenstein
“Penny Dreadful” (2014-16)


Having played arguably the most famous companion of the revived series, Rose Tyler, Billie Piper might’ve struggled to shake off her “Doctor Who” character once she’d left the show. But, no. Instead, she starred in the gloriously gothic ensemble drama, “Penny Dreadful”, as a Victorian era prostitute who winds up resurrected as Frankenstein’s Bride. And while all of that’s going on, she also conducts an on-again off-again romance with Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. It’s a storyline the like of which even the Doctor would struggle to fathom, and it’s a role that ensures Billie Piper’s career amounts to far more than just her time in the TARDIS.

#2: Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria
“Victoria” (2016-)


Going from the TARDIS to royalty, Coleman’s portrayal of the Queen is superb. Playing her in her early years, Coleman’s performance is sophisticated, yet vulnerable. After playing the longest serving companion in the “Who” revival series, audiences were curious to see what Coleman would do next. Although both characters are people that the viewer roots for, they are very different women in different times. Vastly different from Clara Oswald, her version of Queen Victoria really shows off Coleman’s acting chops.

#1: Karen Gillan as Nebula
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)


Possibly the most high profile jump to another role, Gillan first portrayed Nebula in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and now has multiple appearances in the MCU and Hollywood at large. The villainous sister of Gamora, Nebula is a far cry from Amy Pond. Antagonistic at first, the cybernetic mercenary eventually bonds with her sister over their shared trauma at the hands of their adoptive father, Thanos. Gillan truly shines in the role and shows her versatility as an actor; she brings depth to a character that could have been a one-note screen filler.
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