If there is one thing Doctor Who fans know, it’s that the Doctor is nothing without their companions – and the Doctor themself would agree – though there is one companion who is arguably the coolest of them all that Doctor Who TV fans have never even met (even if they have heard of them): Shayde.
In Doctor Who (2005) season 3, episode 9 “The Family of Blood”, Doctor Who‘s Tenth Doctor (played by David Tenant) is forced to use what is known as the Chameleon Arch to change his biology/anatomy to that of a human while removing his Time Lord essence and keeping it in a biodata module. The reason he did this was that the Doctor was on the run from the Family of Blood, who were hunting the Doctor in an effort to steal his virtually immortal essence. So, the Tenth Doctor decided the best course of action was to lie low as a human for a while and essentially wait for the Family of Blood to die. However, that transition wasn’t just biological, but also psychological. He didn’t remember that he was actually a Time Lord, despite the lingering, fractured memories that came to him in dreams. In order to cope with these strange visions, the Doctor – who went by his human name, John Smith – kept a journal where he wrote down/drew the details of these dreams, and one thing that was included in this Journal of Impossible Things was a companion he had when the Doctor was the Fifth Doctor and again as the Eighth Doctor, a companion called Shayde.
Shayde’s Doctor Who History Is Detailed In The Comics
That brief mention in season 3, episode 9 was the most TV fans got from the companion Shayde, while fans of the many Doctor Who comic book series got much, much more. Debuting in 1982’s Doctor Who Monthly story titled “The Tides of Time” by Steve Parkhouse and Dave Gibbons, Shayde is eventually revealed to be an instrument of the Matrix Lords – the disembodied collective consciousness of dead Time Lords – who was, themself, more of a construct than a fully organic being in their own right. However, that didn’t mean Shayde was any less of a companion, if anything, the opposite was true. In this debut story, Shayde met the Fifth Doctor after they assisted him in defeating the villainous Melanicus, and went on to assist in a number of other missions as well, even teaming up with the Eighth Doctor later in their career.
Shayde stands out as a Doctor Who companion for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they are a link to a virtually unexplored corner of Time Lord history through the Matrix Lords, which is in and of itself incredibly interesting to fans of the franchise. Shayde also brings a bit more to the table in terms of assisting the Doctor on missions. Usually, the Doctor invites people to tag along on their adventures because the Time Lord wants to witness the wonders of the universe through their eyes. Sure, they often get into trouble, but the goal of the companion isn’t to be a soldier, but rather just that: a companion. However, it can’t be ignored that wherever the Doctor goes, trouble follows, so having a companion like Shayde is simply more practical. Shayde can track individuals through time and space, can store an unlimited number of things inside their ‘body’ (which is actually more of a gateway to an interdimensional void), and has all the weaponized abilities of what’s known as a Cast, which were basically Time Sentinels designed for planetary defense.
From their significance to Time Lord history and culture through the Matrix Lords to their unparalleled usefulness (especially when compared to other companions), Shayde is easily the coolest companion fans of the Doctor Who TV series have never met – and it makes sense why the Tenth Doctor would remember them.
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