Ben Jackson (Doctor Who)

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Doctor Who character
Ben Jackson.jpg
First appearanceThe War Machines (1966)
Last appearanceThe Faceless Ones (1967) (regular)
"Twice Upon a Time" (2017) (cameo)
Portrayed byMichael Craze (1966–1967)
Jared Garfield (2017)
Elliot Chapman (audio)
AffiliationFirst Doctor
Second Doctor
Home era1966

Benjamin "Ben" Jackson is a fictional character played by Michael Craze in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A seaman in the Royal Navy from 1966, he was a companion of the First and Second Doctors and a regular in the programme from 1966 to 1967. Ben appeared in 9 stories (36 episodes). The War Machines, the character's first appearance, is the only one of his stories to exist fully in the BBC archives.

Character history[edit]

Ben first appears in the First Doctor serial The War Machines, when he meets Polly and Dodo in a London nightclub called the Inferno. As an Able Seaman serving in the Royal Navy, aboard HMS Teazer,[1] Ben is feeling depressed and angry because he has a six-month shore posting to barracks while his ship is deployed to the West Indies, but Polly and Dodo try to cheer him up. When Polly is accosted by another patron in the Inferno, Ben comes to her rescue. Eventually, Ben and Polly aid the Doctor in his fight against the rogue artificial intelligence known as WOTAN. Afterward, Ben and Polly are the bearers of the news of Dodo's decision to stay in 1966 to the Doctor, and accidentally get carried away in the TARDIS[2] when they try to return Dodo's key to the time machine. It is implied that these events occurred on the very last day of Ben's shore posting, for in The Smugglers he pleads, "make sure that I get back by teatime, Doctor. I've got to get back to my ship by tonight."

Ben is a salt of the Earth kind of fellow, dependable, faithful, but prone to be suspicious when kept in the dark or not understanding what was going on.[3] In The Power of the Daleks Ben revealed that, as a child, he lived opposite a brewery. He is very attached to Polly, whom he considers posh, giving her the nickname of "Duchess" and appointing himself as both her protector and that of the Doctor. He is present with Polly when the First Doctor regenerates into the Second, and continues to travel with the Second Doctor. Along his travels with Polly and the new Doctor, he encountered Daleks, Cybermen, Macra, mad scientists as well as meeting new companion, Jamie McCrimmon.

Eventually, the TARDIS finds its way back to 1966 London (in The Faceless Ones) on 20 July – the very day Ben and Polly had left in the TARDIS (although about a year had passed for them). They decide to remain behind to resume their lives without disruption as the Doctor and Jamie travel on.

What happens to Ben after his return to Earth is not certain. The Doctor seems to think that Ben will become an Admiral and that Polly will look after Ben,[4] but it is unclear if this is a prediction or simply wishing them well. In the audio story The Five Companions, an older Polly tells the Fifth Doctor that she and Ben are still together.

Ben is mentioned by Sarah Jane Smith in Death of the Doctor as working with Polly in India "running an orphanage there."

Ben also appeared in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time", portrayed by Jared Garfield, alongside Lily Travers as Polly. The episode's plot involves the events of The Tenth Planet.[5]

Other appearances[edit]

In the spin off short story "Mondas Passing" by Paul Grice (in the anthology Short Trips) which takes place in 1986, it is revealed that Ben and Polly have gone their separate ways and married other people. Ben meets a divorced Polly again with the help of the Second Doctor in 1999 ("That Time I Nearly Destroyed The World Whilst Looking For a Dress" by Joseph Lidster, published in Short Trips: Past Tense), where the two admit their love for each other.

Big Finish audios have recently 're-cast' Elliot Chapman as Ben Jackson in various audio releases. One of these- The Forsaken- the TARDIS lands on an island off the coast of Japan during the Second World War, where they actually meet Ben's father shortly before Ben's conception, ensuring that the time travelers stay on the island so that they can make sure Ben's father gets home.

List of appearances[edit]


Season 3
Season 4
Series 10


Virgin Missing Adventures
Past Doctor Adventures
Telos Doctor Who novellas

Short stories[edit]


Audio stories[edit]

In 2015, Elliot Chapman joined Big Finish in the role of Ben. He performed the role in a number of Companion Chronicles and Early Adventures until the end of 2019.


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  5. ^ Fullerton, Huw (24 August 2017). "Hollyoaks star Jared Garfield to play classic Doctor Who companion in Christmas special". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 August 2017.

External links[edit]