In Episode 1 of Series 10, "The Pilot", the Doctor has 2 photos on his desk in the university: one large colour photo of River Song and a smaller one in black and white.

Black and White Photo next to River Song

So who was it in the black and white photo on the Doctor's desk?

3 Answers 3


Susan Foreman, granddaughter and very first Companion to the Doctor.

The photograph seen in "The Pilot" appears to be a cropped and re-backgrounded version of this one, which according to Wikipedia is a copyrighted BBC "publicity still":

Full image Cropped For comparison

The first episode of Series 10 has long been marketed as a "brand new start", an episode like "Rose" or "The Eleventh Hour" where someone new to Doctor Who could start watching and understand everything without needing extra context or background. So it makes sense to include callbacks to "An Unearthly Child", the first episode ever, and by extension to the first Companion ever, whose Companionhood even predates the show itself.

Also, the new Doctor-Companion relationship, from what we've seen of it so far, feels much more like Old Who than New. Instead of a handsome, young-looking man who gets women falling for him left and right, we have an old, wise, slightly grumpy man who takes a much younger woman under his wing as a pupil. It's early days yet, of course, but right now the Capaldi-Bill dynamic feels much more like Hartnell-Susan than, say, Tennant-Rose or Smith-Clara.

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    Plus that he has a male companion as well. That too was much more common in old Who.
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 17, 2017 at 8:58
  • @MrLister I suspect there may be more to Nardole than meets the eye, and he's not just another Companion ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:56
  • On that topic, I do hope Matt Lucas stays with the show, at least until the end of Capaldi's run. He is the perfect comic relief (Ooh, bante!. Your turn), and foil. Apr 17, 2017 at 19:16
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    @GeoffAtkins Ugh, I never liked the character of Nardole. But I remain open to being convinced as this series progresses.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 17, 2017 at 19:17

Although correctly identified as Susan Foreman, from the very first ever Doctor Who, the two photos together are very significant.

It shows the Doctor with photos of his family on his desk. Not just companions.

  • Ooh, I'll have to watch it again now and look for a photo of Jenny.
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 17, 2017 at 9:01
  • @MrLister - I'm not sure The Doctor considers Jenny to be family. He was not very accepting of her (and tbh, I don't recall if that was ever resolved in the episode).
    – amflare
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:19
  • @amflare Not very accepting of her? Don't you remember how it ended?
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:37
  • @MrLister - Ahhh. You are correct. I had forgotten that ending and only remembered the parts where he was trying to avoid the whole issue.
    – amflare
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:07
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    It's perfectly reasonable to assume that in all the excitement he never had any chance to take photographs of Jenny. I don't remember the story very well (haven't watched it since it first aired) but I can't imagine there'd be any chance to go back and get pictures!
    – Muzer
    Apr 17, 2017 at 22:35

That is Susan Foreman, the Doctor's first companion and granddaughter. BBC America has more information on her, including what appears to be this very photo.

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