In many of the promotional interviews for the new series of "Doctor Who", the potential audience has been told that this version is more domestic than the classic series and will deal with the lead characters’ emotional lives more than it did in the past. Yet, I can remember in "Survival", the very last serial, broadcast sixteen years ago, seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy going into a little corner shop, the proprietors of which were Hale and Pace no less, to buy cat food! Life doesn’t get more domesticated than that.
To say the original series was weak in dealing with emotional issues, in order to promote the new series as being strong in this area, simply isn’t fair. Sometimes the old show was good at it, sometimes it wasn’t, and the new series will probably be the same. No one can forget Sophie Aldred’s Ace coming to terms with the poor relationship she’d had with her mother, when, during "The Curse of Fenric", she admits the truth to herself and cries out, "I love you, Mum", almost hoping she might hear.
The truth is that companions haven’t always run away screaming and to say so does a disservice, especially, to the writers, as well as the actresses portraying the Doctor’s assistants. Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith must have been a pretty gutsy lady to climb the scaffolding of the rocket ship to try and escape her captors in "Genesis of the Daleks". The fear of being recaptured, the possibility of falling to her death would have been uppermost in her mind and enough to make anyone nervous at the very least.
Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler, in the opening story "Rose", is understandably just as scared as any of her predecessors would have been when she is cornered in the shop’s basement by the awakening Autons. But, by the end of the episode, she plucks up enough courage, literally, to swing into action to help the Doctor out of the tight spot he’s gotten himself into. So, my contention is that the arc of character development is the same as it always was, though maybe with less depth this time round, possibly because of the shorter running time?