This category was, I admit, a bit tougher than I thought. There’s sort of a surprising amount of sass throughout the history of the show–with some eras having a bit more than others. However, I think it it is only right and proper to correctly acknowledge that the real Queen of Sass is none other than The Mouth on Legs herself, Tegan Jovanka.
She may seem like the obvious choice, and okay yes she is, but take a moment to appreciate who she was competing with for the title just in her era alone. Take Adric for instance.
Arrogant, snarky, moody, sulky, whiny, hungry*…I could go on. When it comes to sass, it’s pretty difficult to compete with a teenage boy. Hell, even Turlough had his moments. And yet, Tegan managed it.
And, frankly, she had to deal with a pretty sassy Doctor as well.
Though to be fair, I’d be pretty snarky if someone was about to kill me in EVERY SINGLE STORY. But again, Tegan had a knack for frequently eclipsing the Doctor’s sass with her own.
We should also remember how Tegan came to be a member of Team TARDIS in the first place. She didn’t exactly sign up for this. She just sort of wandered in. And then, you know, the Master killed her Aunt, etc.
And her endless quest to get back to Heathrow didn’t help things. Her travels with the Doctor were basically one long string of catastrophes.
Not to mention that all she wanted more than anything was the Doctor’s approval…which she never really got.
But she did have some lighter moments.**
And of course her friendship (or whatever it was) with Nyssa.
But for better or worse, Tegan will always be remembered as the sassiest (Classic) companion to ever travel in the TARDIS.*** We may have had other particularly sassy companions before she arrived, but let’s be honest, Tegan sort of set a benchmark for those that came after her. Donna Noble, anyone?
If you are a New Who fan of companions like Donna and are looking for a way into Classic Who, I highly recommend the Fifth Doctor era because with Five and Tegan, you sort of get the basic blueprint for the relationship between Ten and Donna.****
And it’s not just limited to sass. There are more parallels between them than you might think. But I won’t spoil those for you. Go watch and find out for yourself. It’s worth it, I promise.
Who would you choose as the sassiest of Classic companions? Is Tegan at the top of your list as well? Are you a fan of the Mouth on Legs? Let us know in the comments!
* Yes, hungry.
** And no, they aren’t ALL in Black Orchid.
*** Obviously, this may not be entirely true anymore once you factor in the likes of Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, and River Songs. Can you imagine getting the four of them together? No incarnation of the Doctor would stand a chance!
****Though Five tends to be much colder to Tegan than Ten ever was with Donna. You have to remember that it was the 1980s though and the Doctor wasn’t allowed to do much hugging with his female companions back then.