Osgood: The Best Doctor Who Companion We Never Had

Since she first appeared in Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor 7 years ago, Petronella Osgood latched on to my mind like she latched onto the Doctor's "taste" in clothes. The UNIT scientist with a unhealthy obsession with the Doctor was a brilliant bit of fanservice that made made her so impossible to forget. 

Recently, her character came back into focus when the most recent Doctor Who: Lockdown! watch-along had the Series 9 two-parter The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion as the latest simulcast. Watching Ingrid Oliver slip into the Osgood persona like she never missed a beat was great. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking "You know what would have been better? If you were a companion!"

I mean, look at her. She's a Doctor Who fangirl. Literally. Sporting a Fourth Doctor scarf, Eleventh Doctor bowtie, and a host of cheeky references to the show she actually lives in, Osgood basks in the meta. We've always said companions are supposed to be audience stand-ins, so who better to be our eyes and ears than someone just like us?

Osgood would even be a better foil to the Doctor, whose recent gender change would be fuel for many a potential interesting discussion with her, as well as metafictional commentary on how this change affects how people see the Doctor. For a Doctor Who "fan" who has only seen her as male, how does Osgood feel about Jodie's Doctor?

She's also a member of UNIT, the classic Doctor Who military organization that played a big part in the Doctor's previous lives. Instead of shuffling UNIT off to limbo because of *snort* "financial disputes", why not pair Thirteen with Osgood and bring back UNIT to its former glory? Thirteen already feels so distant from her mythology (after the events of The Timeless Child, even more so) that Osgood and UNIT could have been her "tether" to her history without taking up too much space.

Osgood is also such an interesting character with so much untapped potential. Her fanaticism of the Doctor borders on worship, even "praying" for him to save her in The Day of the Doctor, and I would love to see her character's faith tested once she gets a taste of the companion life. Her intellect and scientific acumen is also sorely needed in the TARDIS. The last time a companion could go toe to toe with the Doctor's intellect was Romana. Imagine what they could do with a character like Osgood! And Ingrid Oliver still looks like she has fun playing her that it feels like such a waste to not put the scarf on her one more time!

The caveat of all this is that Osgood as companion would only be a good idea during Steven Moffat's tenure. Chibnall's run with the show so far leaves a lot to be desired, even if I did enjoy some of the episodes (the last good story was Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror, don't @ me). The idea that a character as rich as Osgood would be turned into a bland simulacrum is too horrific to think about.

Still, I enjoy the idea of Petronella Osgood as a Doctor Who companion, even if it's just in my head. She's smart, she's fearless, and she loves Doctor Who a wee bit too much. In these uncertain times, maybe that kind of mad love is what the show needs now more than ever.

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