Prepare the tissues, Doctor Who fans.
The actress Karen Gillan today warns followers to "expect tears" as she quits her role as Amy Pond. After two years of being involved in the programme, the actress will bow out in the fifth episode (September 29) of the current series along with husband Rory (Arthur Darvill). Praising the writer Steven Moffat for creating "such a fantastic ending", the actress added she was glad to be leaving in an episode almost guaranteed to have fans in tears.
Moffat confirmed there would be "tragedy", adding: "It is a heart-breaking farewell to Amy and Rory. We see the Doctor and his little Amelia Pond race through the streets of Manhattan to save Rory with help along the way as River Song charges back on to our screens, just in time to say goodbye."
With the departure of such well-loved companions, fans will be left wondering if the former Emmerdale actress Jenna-Louise Coleman, who is to take over as the new assistant, will have the personality to match her predecessors. Will she exude panache like Amy Pond? Be as fearless as River Song? Have a sense of humour to rival Donna Noble?
We look at the best of the past (or is it future?)
River Song (Alex Kingston)
An all-time favourite, River Song has some of the biggest storylines in the Doctor Who series. The Doctor's Wife? Rory and Amy's Child? She is feisty and smart, and a match for the Doctor (in more ways than one …)
Amelia Pond (Karen Gillan)
Little needs to be said to justify her place in this list. Punchy, compassionate and brave, this red-headed companion has been a popular addition to the show, and fully inhabits the role.
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
Although not strictly a companion in the Rose or Donna mould, Captain Jack exuded the true characteristics of an assistant. His charming Americanisms and bolshie ways made him thoroughly memorable.
Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)
The hilarious Noble will surely never be forgotten as one of the best companions of the modern series. Not afraid to call the Doctor out, she was a refreshing change from the less interesting Martha Jones.
Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)
Although slightly more pathetic than his predecessors, Rory's love for Amy and his desire to please the Doctor lend him an endearing quality. Sweet and funny, Rory is an essential component in the eclectic trio.
Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
The cockney companion will always have a special place in fans' hearts. Youthful and fearless, she managed to get unprecedentedly close to the usually detached Doctor.