There are many a Classic Who companion that is underrated (yes, I’m glaring at the Jo Grant haters out there.)
One companion that seems to get a lot of scorn is Zoe Heriot. She was around during the Second Doctor’s tenure. For everything that her predecessor, Victoria Waterfield, was beloved, Zoe was equally despised. They were very much opposites, except in hair color. Victoria was from the past, Zoe was from the future. Where Victoria screamed, Zoe questioned. For everything Victoria didn’t understand, Zoe could explain, and often understood better than the Doctor. She was a genius with an analytical mind and ability to reason. Being Doctor Who, she still had scream scenes. However, many felt more in the manner of outrage or annoyance than full-on terror.
Serials like The Krotons and The Dominators are some of my favorites because Zoe is so knowledgeable. Zoe was also good and either winning over computers, or killing them with her amazing mind:
Another great representation of Zoe’s amazing abilities is the book Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter. I have never had the chance to meet the actress who played Zoe Heriot, Wendy Padbury. But, she put such fire and gusto into a character that often looked down, called callous, or cold. To me she was just being fearless and amazing. All of these gloriously fun stories, and Wendy’s depiction, were swimming in my head when we got a small black kitten, two years ago.
We had just been having a Second Doctor binge-fest when I convinced my kids we should name her Zoe Heriot. Zoe had a dark bob, and of course my favorite outfit of her’s was the dark glittering catsuit from The Mind Robber, which I felt this gentle yet stubborn kitten represented. Since then, she has lived up to her namesake. She is often vocal, showing she often knows more than me about what is needed to get things done. She is gentle and crawls in our laps when any of us are crying, showing support. She often scared in an annoyed but not sincerely frightened fashion. She is Zoe Heriot.