Adric sucks, Martha is awesome

May 25, 2011

Last night I had a spirited discussion. The topic was a controversial one:Whether Amy or Rory was a better Doctor Who Companion. An hour later, I departed, bitter but filled with determination to prove that Rory was infinitely more awesome than Amy

With SCIENCE.

Luckily, the thing that Doctor Who fans love doing most(other than watching Doctor Who) is posting lists of the best and worst companions. This provides an interesting opportunity–if we assume that Google’s crawler doesn’t have its own opinions on Doctor Who, we can use Google’s estimated results counts to figure out how much more likely any given companion is to be on a list of “Best Companions” than they are to be on a list of “Worst Companions”. Specifically, the equation used is:

results for “COMPANION NAME” “best companions” “doctor who”/”COMPANION NAME” “worst companions” “doctor who”=approval factor

In practice, this gets a little bit tricky. Unlike in Firefly, there is no official definition of what qualifies one as a companion in Doctor Who, so I ended up being fairly conservative and using Wikipedia’s list. There’s also a bit of a technical issue in that Google’s result count can vary due to the algorithm they use to estimate it. To get around this, the script actually repeats each query 10 times, to get a representative sample, then takes an average. This appraoch also allows us to do a multiple comparison test later and figure out if any differences are statistically significant.

This resulted in this chart(The length of the bar indicates the companion’s general popularity)

It breaks down pretty much like you’d expect. River Song, Captain Jack, K-9, and Sarah Jane all easily make it into the top, which is led by Martha Jones. Also unsurprisingly, the bottom is filled with Kamelion(the weird robot they couldn’t get to stand up), Melanie, Adric, et al. Tegan manages to move up a few slots beyond her contemporaries Adric and Nyssa, but still falls behind Peri Brown. Interestingly, neither of the Time Lords(Susan or Romana) rank very highly in the list.

And Rory and Amy, when accounting for statistical significance, share exactly the same spot.

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2 Responses to “Adric sucks, Martha is awesome”

  1. Laroquod said

    The fact that Liz came in second completely discredits your technique.

  2. Truth said

    Adric should be last, trailing behind the plants in the cloister room.

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