Elizabeth Shaw was a very capable early woman companion. She was a scientist for UNIT, she believed in science and showed little emotion. Yet, when the Doctor showed little remorse after a tragic incident, she quit, and was replaced by someone that was far less than capable and set a winding course for Classic Who.
Jo Grant. Nice enough.
Two words though. Dumb. Blonde.
This is coming from a blonde. It is upsetting to see a girl like Elizabeth Shaw, go through the ranks and earn the respect of her fellow male comrades in a still very gender discriminatory atmosphere at the time. It is unsettling to see such a brilliant character walk out the door only to be replaced by what Shaw said the doctor really only cared about “someone to hand test tubes and say he is brilliant.”
She becomes just that. A side character of little value except to cause the trouble. She rarely helps. She thinks she helps. She acts rashly like a child. In the modern series of the show, companions do cause trouble but not so much because they immediately need protecting. Also, they don’t just rake up trouble and WAIT to be rescued. They sometimes do, but usually they’ll react. They’ll be of some service to their own rescue.
I love the third Doctor, but Jo Grant makes it hard to watch. She is a “silly girl”. She is the stereotypical “damsel in distress”. She pretty much deserves the sexist criticism she gets, because she did nothing to earn this job. She has no scientific mind, she only got the job through a family member.
As an actor, Katy Manning is just fine. However, as far as my favorite companions go, she is far down on that list. It’s not an actress’ fault when getting a shitty sexist script.
Vote on it, how do you like Jo Grant? Was my assessment fair?