Ben Jackson (Doctor Who)

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Doctor Who character
Ben Jackson.jpg
Michael Craze as Ben Jackson
First appearanceThe War Machines (1966)
Last appearance"Twice Upon a Time" (2017)
Portrayed byMichael Craze (1966–1967)
Jared Garfield (2017)
Elliot Chapman (audio)
Duration1966–1967, 2017
In-universe information
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 to 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 British Broadcasting Corporation (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. An Able Seaman in the Royal Navy, serving aboard HMS Teazer,[1] Ben is feeling depressed and angry because he has been posted to barracks for six months' shore leave while his ship is deployed to the West Indies. Polly and Dodo try to cheer him up. When another patron accosts Polly in the club, Ben comes to her rescue. Eventually, Ben and Polly aid the Doctor in his battle against the rogue artificial intelligence known as WOTAN. Afterwards, when Ben and Polly bear the Doctor news of Dodo's decision to stay in 1966 and try to return Dodo's key to the time machine, they accidentally get carried away in the TARDIS.[2] It is implied that these events occur on the last day of Ben's shore posting: 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 and faithful, but prone to become suspicious when kept in the dark or not understanding what is going on.[3] In The Power of the Daleks Ben reveals that, as a child, he lived opposite a brewery. He is very attached to Polly—whom he considers posh, nicknaming her "Duchess"—and appoints himself protector of both her and the Doctor. He is present with Polly when the Doctor regenerates for the first time, and continues to travel with the Second Doctor. During his travels with Polly and the new Doctor, he encounters Daleks, Cybermen and Macra, and meets the Doctor's next 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 (although about a year had passed for them). They decide to remain behind to resume their lives without disruption, leaving the Doctor and Jamie to travel on.

What happens to Ben after his return to Earth is unclear. The Doctor seems to think that Ben will become an Admiral and that Polly will look after Ben,[4] but it is not clear 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.

in Death of the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith mentions that Ben is working with Polly in India and "running an orphanage there."

Ben and Polly appear in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time", portrayed by Jared Garfield and Lily Travers respectively. 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 travellers 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.


  1. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 4 - Ben Jackson".
  2. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who - Classic Series - Companions - Ben Jackson".
  3. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 4 - Ben Jackson".
  4. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 4 - Ben Jackson".
  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]