Jo Grant was companion to the 3rd Doctor for 3 series, she was your typical classic Who companion, she screamed at monsters and ask the most important question in Doctor Who – “What is it Doctor?”
For someone watching those episodes for the first time now would probably think “who is this chick?” Compared to how companions were written for after her, she was a classic pretty, not a lot of character given to her apart from keeping the dads entertained with her short skirt. She was played by the wonderful Katy Manning who just the perfect fit for Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. I am a massive Sarah Jane fan, and to me she was the number one Doctor Who companion ever, but her fit was with Tom Baker’s forth Doctor, where Jo was the 3rd’s.
Liz Shaw the previous companion was a scientist who could talk to the Doctor on his level, but this isn’t what the audience needed so they went the other way with Jo.
Jo’s story was lightly progressed over the 3 years not knowing her place in the world, she started as young recruit of Unit. He parents had pulled strings to get her into Unit and they saddled The Doctor with her. She had her fair share of the Who monsters to go up against, Daleks, Sea Devils(the aquatic cousins of the Silurians) and more notable the first Master played by Roger Delgado.
For me my top three stories has to be The Daemons, The Sea Devils and Planet Of The Daleks.
Compared to most companions Jo had her fill of romantic interests. Originally the writers implied that she was “having nights on the town with Mike Yates” but that was quickly abandoned, and you can tell this was because of the beautiful relationship forming between her and The Doctor, which you can tell was Katy Manning’s and Jon Pertwee’s real life friendship blossoming. Jo’s relationship with the Doctor was not romantic, but she was extremely loyal to the Doctor, in the beginning it was her job to be his assistant, unlike other companions. But she still caught the eyes of intergalactic men like King Peladon and Latep the Thal. But it was Professor Jones that won her heart and she left the Doctor to travel through the amazon with him. Re watching their goodbye was absolutely heart pulling, the emotion on Jon Pertwee’s face was real saying goodbye to Jo, it was the beginning of the end for him and he left the series the following year.
But this was not the end of Jo’s story years later she returned in the Sarah Jane Adventures, as Jo Jones still married with her grandson in tow for the story Death Of The Doctor. Sarah Jane was called to Unit with news of the Doctor’s death, and along arrived Jo. Seeing the two character’s on screen was amazing for me as a fan because they just gelled so well. Going through similar experiences to Peladon and Metebilis 3. This story also saw Sarah Jane and Jo meet the 11th Doctor played by Matt Smith.
As much as this was a Sarah Jane story, the most amazing moment was between Jo and The Doctor. Unlike Sarah Jane who waited her life for the Doctor to return, Jo went out into the world fighting for her beliefs, protesting and saving the world, having a large loving family and lived her life to the full. But she still was upset like Sarah Jane that the Doctor never returned to see her. The moment is amazing Sarah Jane lets them have that time alone, as she knows how Jo is feeing. As Matt Smith explains to her, I believe he unknowingly channels Pertwee, and Jo finally see her Doctor come through his “baby face” and I believed that Pertwee was sitting in front of her. Superbly acted.
The best thing about Jo absolutely is the wonderful lady that is Katy Manning. I’ve seen her a few times now at conventions now, and listening to her talk so fondly about her time in Doctor Who is really worth listening to. When I got to meet her she was so lovely, I remember watching her with some really die hard fans. I’ve seen a lot of people not knowing how to react to some fans, to be honest fans know more about the show then the people who were in it know. But she is amazing to talk to.
Am looking forward to meeting her again soon, if only to have another picture with her now I’ve lost a lot of weight, but you can see in these pics my progression!
So to any New Who fans looking to get into the classic series, just remember Jo Grant or Jones as she is now, she went on a great journey as a character. Which isn’t really revealed until The Sarah Jane Adventures, but you will see the friendship and family which was the Unit era of Who. And Katy Manning is amazing and till this day a true Ambassador of Doctor Who.