Last updated 28 March 2020

Ben -
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Benjamin Jackson

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Ben Jackson was a companion of the First and Second Doctors, along with Polly Wright, and Jamie McCrimmon.

Ben was a Cockney and grew up opposite a brewery. He mentioned he once had a headmaster who "got nicked for not paying his bus fare."

By 1966, Ben was assigned to the Royal Navy vessel HMS Teazer as a radar plot third class. He made Polly Wright's acquaintance in the Inferno nightclub in Covent Garden on 12 July, having briefly crossed paths with her there a week earlier. Ben was depressed at the time because he was stuck on a six month shore posting while his ship patrolled the West Indies. He spent most of his nights at the Inferno.

After helping the First Doctor defeat the sentient computer known as WOTAN and its War Machines on 20 July 1966, Ben and Polly, mistaking it for an ordinary police box, entered the TARDIS by accident.

The Doctor first took them to 17th century Cornwall, where they met Henry Avery's band of pirates.

The Doctor later took them to Antarctica in December 1986, when the Earth faced invasion by the Cybermen of Mondas. Ben played an important role in the defeat of the Cybermen when he disarmed the bomb that General Cutler intended to detonate and realised the Cybermen's weakness — their fear of radioactivity. Shortly afterwards, suffering from exhaustion, the Doctor collapsed onto the floor of the TARDIS control room and regenerated in front of them.

Ben showed more scepticism than Polly that an imposter had not simply gotten into the TARDIS. But on the planet Vulcan, which the three time travellers visited next, a Dalek did recognise the Second Doctor. Ben then accepted the Second Doctor as the man he had known.

He and Polly were then joined by Jamie McCrimmon. At one point in Ben's travels, he was mind-controlled by the Macra, but ultimately he fought against their control and saved his friends.

Throughout his journeys, Ben never lost sight of his desire to return home, and to his ship, HMS Teazer. Before leaving, Ben and Polly insisted that they would stay if the Doctor needed them. The pair departed from the Doctor at the same time, having discovered they had arrived back on Earth on the very same day they left.

At some point, Ben was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have his record as a companion of the Doctor taken, his memories of the visit were subsequently erased and he was sent on his way.

In 2010, Sarah Jane Smith stated that Ben and Polly were running an orphanage in India.

Ben was practical and a realist. It took him a while to believe that the TARDIS really travelled through time and space. He was also more sceptical than Polly when the Doctor regenerated, believing that the new incarnation was an impostor. It took a Dalek recognising the Doctor to finally convince Ben of the truth.

Though they came from different backgrounds, Polly, whom he nicknamed "Duchess" because of her upper-class accent, and Ben became good friends during their travels. They trusted each other, and their relationship was punctuated by good-natured teasing and banter. They complemented each other well, making a good team. When Polly created a chemical potion to kill the Cybermen on the Moonbase, Ben worked out its practical application of it — using fire extinguishers to deliver Cocktail Polly.

Ben was clever and never shirked danger or action. He was sensible enough to realise that taking on a Cyberman with a screwdriver would be a big mistake, and managed to dazzle one with the light from a film projector before killing it. Ben also worked out that the Cybermen were avoiding radiation, and helped devise a plan to destroy them using the Snowcap Base's reactor fuel rods.

Ben might have been headstrong and impetuous, but he proved to be mentally weaker than his companions when they faced the hypnotic processing of the Macra. However, he did struggle against it, failing to report Jamie for having taken Officia's keys.

Notes for Ben

New War Machine
Professor Brett's autonomous new computer has developed war machines - heavily armed mobile computers - which don't much like humans.

Credit: BBC Worldwide