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The Deadly Assassin Is one of my favourite stories of the classic Doctor Who series. Its unusual for being the only story where the Doctor does not have a companion or assistant - Sarah Jane having just left in the previous story. I can't think of any other stories where this is the case. I think an argument can be made for The Runaway Bride. But I don't really swallow that. The implication in Rose is that the Doctor had been travelling for while without a companion. Have there been any other stories sans companion?

Edit:

Two minutes after posting this question I thought of Voyage of the Damned where there was no official companion but where Kylie Minogue actually performed that role.

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The 1st Doctor episode Mission to the Unknown did not feature any companions - or even the Doctor himself (not even briefly, as in Blink)! (The Doctor wasn't traveling alone, however).

In some ways, many of the 3rd Doctor's early episodes did not have a companion, because he could no longer travel, having been confined to Earth by the Time Lords. However, the Doctor's assistants (Liz Shaw, Jo Grant), really play the same role as companions, so I'll consider them the same.

Other than those, the only serial in the 1st through 7th Doctor's TV episodes to not feature a companion was (as you mentioned) The Deadly Assassin. I can't recall any novels or other tie-in media that featured such stories.

The Doctor Who movie, which introduced the 8th Doctor, has the Doctor traveling alone. Like in later episodes, the role of companion is filled by another character (Dr. Holloway), and she is offered (but refuses) the role of companion.

Between the Doctor Who movie and Rose, there are various audio dramas, but no TV episodes. In the audio dramas, the Doctor does have companions:

  • Charlotte Elspeth Pollard (Charley) becomes the Doctor's companion after the events of the movie, and eventually becomes the 6th Doctor's companion!
  • Lucie Miller is the 8th Doctor's companion after Charley.

The most recent of these audio dramas was released in 2009, and there is still time between that episode and Rose, so it's not yet known how the Doctor came to be traveling alone, for how long (at that time), and what he did during that time.

The 10th Doctor mini-episode Time Crash does not feature a companion (it does feature the 5th Doctor!). Earlier multiple-Doctor serials (The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors) did show the Doctors with companions.

As you mention, both The Runaway Bride and Voyage of the Damned show the Doctor traveling without a companion, although a character plays the part of a companion (and in one, ends up being one, and in the other, is offered the role). The Next Doctor is similar to this, although

since Jackson Lake believes he is the Doctor, and Rosita Farisi is his companion,

there is a companion of sorts.

The other episodes at the end of the 10th Doctor's time are similar, with Lady Christina de Souza filling in as a companion in Planet of the Dead and no-one in the companion role in The Water of Mars. While many former companions make an appearance in The End of Time, the Doctor is traveling alone at that time as well (Wilfred Mott plays the companion role). The 11th Doctor does describe himself (to Amy Pond) as have having been traveling alone for a while after this time, so this time is considered 'companion-less' by the Doctor, at least.

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    I think The Waters of Mars is probably the closest to Deadly Assassin. – Lekarz Kto May 28 '11 at 21:38
  • There's also Midnight, in which Donna only has a very brief cameo, and similarly The Woman Who Lived from the latest season. cc @LekarzKto – Rand al'Thor Apr 25 '16 at 18:14
  • Can add Hell Bent to that now, and the first act of Heaven Sent. – Stop Harming Monica Jul 3 '17 at 12:42
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I think the simple answer is The Waters of Mars which Tony mentions in his answer. The other candidates either don't have the Doctor at all Mission to the Unknown or actually have some other character in that role (Planet of the Dead).

  • I'm also tempted to add 'Spearhead From Space' where the Doctor travels alone - forced by the Time Lords. Liz Shaw eventually becomes his assistant. But at what point does this happen. Really - to be honest this is nit picking. You would also have to add Rose and the movie as well – Lekarz Kto Jul 17 '11 at 11:24
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There are a few Big Finish audio adventures that features stories where the Doctor has no companions.

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