Tag Archives: Companions

Day 33 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – Top 3 Female Companions of the Sixties

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In the lead-up to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary the Radio Times has been running an online poll on the Greatest Companion Ever.  Voting has now closed and the results will be announced on the anniversary date, 23 November 2013. Today and for the following two days the Doctor Who Mind Robber will be ruminating on our Top 3 Female and Male Companions of the Sixties, together with  the 3 companions who failed to live up to our expectations.  Your comments on our choices would be greatly appreciated.

3. Vicki

On 10 July we posted an article on Vicki, the First Doctor’s companion who was hastily shown the door at the conclusion of The Myth Makers. Here’s how we described her tenure:

I have to admit I really liked Vicki. Young, perhaps no more than 17, she had a vibrancy that had been missing in her predecessor, the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan.  As a former secondary school teacher I envied the way she was schooled. In The Web Planet Vicki incorrectly assumed that Barbara had taught at a nursery school because they “worked upwards from the three Rs.”  The curriculum of Coal Hill School in 1963 seemed like child’s play to her.  At the age of 10 she took a certificate of education in medicine,  physics and chemistry.  When asked by Barbara how long she spent in the classroom Vicki was totally perplexed.  She’d spent almost an hour a week with a machine.  Life in 2493 must have been a child’s dream existence!

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki was a member of the TARDIS Crew  in episodes which screened from 2 January 1965 until 6th November 1965.  In just under 12 months Vicki had gone from an orphaned girl stranded on the planet Dido to the love interest of Troilus, son of the King of Troy. During that time, however, there was little in the way of character development. Save for when we met Vicki in The Rescue and she was clearly suffering from the effects of Bennett/Koquillion’s abuse, she remains a vibrant and forthright young woman throughout. As I have previously lamented, it was a shame that the opportunity wasn’t taken to examine the long term effects of this abuse on Vicki, however my concern for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plainly comes from a 21st century perspective.

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

This absence of character evolution says much about the 1960′s perception of women, particularly young ones.  In the 1960s the median age of first marriage for women was around 20 years of age.  Career opportunities  were limited and pay was not equal.  Although unable to locate figures for the United Kingdom, Australia as a Commonwealth country would have been reasonably similar. Until 1966 the Australian Public Service required single women  to resign from their positions on the eve of their marriage. Equal pay was not granted until 1972. Is it any surprise, therefore, that women were portrayed as either children or mothers?  With women having perhaps only five years between leaving school and marriage, this period between childhood and motherhood was marginalized and frequently forgotten.

Vicki - I hope that tasted nice!

Vicki – I hope that tasted nice!

When we first meet Vicki she is in a stereotypical role as carer for Bennett.  As Bennett is supposedly crippled and unable to work, Vicki is compelled to undertake all the chores including collecting water, cooking and cleaning.  She isn’t seen to complain about this notwithstanding the absence of any thanks from Bennett.   Once a member of the TARDIS Crew, Vicki  is somewhat of a companion for the Doctor – a faux grand-daughter, if you like.   The Doctor has someone to fuss around, care about and instruct.  She provides him with moral support  and most probably a sense of identity.  She is close by his side in The Romans and The Crusade and does not distance herself in any great manner until The Space Museum, where she becomes involved with the young Xeron rebels and seems to start a revolution for fun.  A potential love interest comes to nothing. Although coupled with Steven for much of The Time Meddler, Vicki is back at the Doctor’s side during Galaxy 4.  In her final serial, The Myth Makers, Vicki  is again separated from the Doctor but only because he’s compelled her to remain in the TARDIS because of a sprained ankle.  As was the case with both Susan and Barbara, female companions in Doctor Who are overly susceptible to wrenching their ankles.  They require time to recuperate from such injuries, unlike Ian who was frequently knocked unconscious and seemed able to get up, and shake it off, each time.

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Quite phenomenally Vicki is capable of falling in love with Troilus in less than 24 hours, most of which time she was a prisoner in a dungeon.  This love affair was even quicker than Susan and David’s in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Having pleaded with the Doctor in The Crusade not to leave her as the TARDIS was her only home, Vicki was extraordinarily quick to leave its confines in The Myth Makers. The television audience is not even privy to Vicki’s farewells to the Doctor as they take place out of camera shot inside the TARDIS. The Doctor, nonetheless, appears satisfied with her explanation which seems to have been that she didn’t want Troilus to think she had betrayed him.

Although spending one’s life travelling in a blue wooden box through time and space may appear somewhat aimless, it’s certainly more secure than with a bloke you’ve only known for a day; in a time several thousand years before your own; and in a land where your love’s home City has been destroyed.  Ever quick to point out logical flaws in a witty manner, Wood and Miles in About Time 1 couldn’t help but extrapolate on a grave problem that Vicki and Troilus would be confronted by.  As the TARDIS translates languages for the benefit of the Crew and persons they meet along the way, once it had left then the two lovers would be unable to communicate with each other.  Unless, of course, Vicki had learnt Ancient Greek, the language that Homer attributes to the Trojans in Iliad, in school!

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Aside from the characterization failures in Doctor Who, the reality of Maureen O’Brien’s hasty exit from the role of Vicki appears to lay in programme’s change of producer.  According to Howe, Walker and Stammers in The Handbook, O’Brien had been cast by Verity Truman having been suggested by one of her former drama teachers who then was in the employ of the BBC. The new producer, John Wiles, replaced Truman beginning with the production of The Myth Makers, although he had shadowed Truman during the making of Galaxy 4. Wood and Miles argue that “Wiles had noticed her tendency to pick holes in the dialogue during rehearsals for Galaxy Four, and made arrangements to have her removed while the cast were on holiday”.  It was on her return from a week’s break given to the regular cast whilst Mission to the Unknown was filmed  that O’Brien heard of her dismissal. Although the new character of Katarina was going to replace Vicki it soon became evident to Wiles and story editor, Donald Tosh, that Katarina’s Trojan naivety would make her an unsuitable companion.  It’s for that reason that Katarina was just as hastily written out of Doctor Who in the fourth episode of The Daleks’ Master Plan.

So ends the less than a year long tenure of Maureen O’Brien as Vicki.  This was but the beginning of a revolving door of companions which would grace the screens of Doctor Who over the next several years.

Vicki as we first meet her

Vicki as we first meet her

2. Barbara Wright

Barbara first met the Doctor when she and fellow Coal Hill School teacher, Ian Chesterton, went to 76 Totter’s Lane to check on the welfare of one of their students, 15 year old Susan Foreman.   Kidnapped by the Doctor after they entered the TARDIS, Barbara and Ian remained with the Doctor for two years until they took control of the Dalek time-machine at the end of The Chase. Their return to 1965 London was a joyous occasion as snapshots of them frolicking before prominent landmarks were flashed up on the screen.

The Doctor's grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

The Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

Barbara’s excellent knowledge of history was useful during the Doctor’s early journeys and undoubtedly assisted the programme’s mandate to both entertain and educate.  She was more accepting of the unknown than Ian and was quicker to acknowledge that the tales that the Doctor and Susan spun about the TARIS were indeed true. When the TARIS crew visited South America in The Aztecs she was able to draw upon her knowledge of Spanish settlement and traditional Aztec culture and religion.  That, unfortunately, led her to the false belief that by assuming the mantle of the reincarnated priest, Yataxa, that had been thrust upon her, that she could change the course of history and end human sacrifices. The Doctor was quick to point out to Barbara the folly of believing that history could be altered.  She was also able to utilize her knowledge of history in The Dalek Invasion of Earth when she bamboozled the Daleks with some historical falsities and in The Reign of Terror, when she was able to identify the period of French history in which they’d materialized.

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Unusually for a woman in her mid thirties, Barbara wasn’t married.  Perhaps the negative stereotype of spinster school ma’ams had been adopted here. Barbara was not without romance, however. She came upon several suitors during the course of her companionship, although none matched the tenderness of her relationship with Ian.  Although never openly remarked upon, it was clear that Barbara and Ian had become more than just colleagues.  Their joyful banter whilst reclining in luxury during The Romans was indicative of a particularly strong personal relationship. The tenderness between Barbara and her fellow companion Ian was undoubtedly a silent nod to a love that couldn’t be broached on Saturday tea time family TV. One can only dream that they became a couple and lived in marital bliss upon their return to earth.

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).  Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

1. Zoe Heriot

The character of Zoe was arguably the first companion in Doctor Who to reflect the changing views on women that arose with the second wave of feminism. A teenage genius, Zoe first met the Doctor and Jamie in final serial of Season 5, The Wheel in Space. She remained with the Doctor until the end of the monochrome era when all three stars left in the final episode of The War Games.  My review of The Wheel in Space included a detailed introduction to Zoe.  She was  an astrophysicist and astrometricist first class and employed as the Wheel’s parapsychology librarian. Her perfect recall of scientific facts and ability to undertake mental calculations faster than a hand-held calculator were the consequence of her being brainwashed by the City’s educational institution. She had total faith in the ability of pure logic to provide all the answers required.  Zoe’s future adventures would soon show this to be a folly and the Doctor quickly, but tactfully, advised her on the limitations of logic alone.  Perhaps the Second Doctor’s most famous quote was to Zoe in The Wheel in Space when he stated, “Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority”.

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe was the first companion with an intellect to match the Doctor’s.  Zoe’s extraordinarily high intelligence was remarked upon several times in The Krotons.  She told Selris that the “Doctor’s almost as clever as I am” whilst earlier the Doctor had said to him, “Yes, well, Zoe is something of a genius. Of course it can be very irritating at times”.  In The Invasion she blew up the automated answering machine at International Electromatics by presenting it with a ALGOL problem that it was unable to answer.  She also assisted in the destruction of the entire fleet of Cybermen ships by mathematically calculating the correct alignment and course of projectile for the Russian missiles targeted at the ships. The Seeds of Death saw her piloting a space rocket.

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The Doctor, however, was never seriously concerned by Zoe’s brilliance. There was no sense of threat and never a suggestion that her intellect was unbecoming of a young woman. That’s not to say that Zoe didn’t escape entirely from the scourge of sexism. In The Invasion the UNIT soldiers’ praise for Zoe masked an underlying sexism when she was described as “prettier than a computer”.

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Zoe challenged assumptions on the role of women more by her deeds rather than by words. On at least one occasion, however, she verbalized the thoughts of women of that era. Undoubtedly buoyed by the support of Isobel Watkins in The Invasion, Zoe took offence at Jamie’s sexism when she stated “Just because you’re a man you think you’re superior, don’t you”.  Zoe’s relationship with Jamie, however, was otherwise positive.  Although less intellectually capable than his friend, Jamie is never mocked or derided by Zoe.

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Both Zoe and Jamie were returned to their own time in episode 6 of The War Games, with their memories wiped of all but their first adventure with the Doctor. Donna Noble was not the first to suffer this fate. The Doctor’s companions’ departures were heartbreaking and perhaps the most poignant of Classic Series Doctor Who.

Jamie and Zoe’s Goodbye.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The top image is courtesy of www.deviantart.com.  Artwork by Shawn Van Briesen.  No copyright infringement is intended.

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Day 38 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – 10 Great Companion Outfits of the Sixties

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In no particular order The Doctor Who Mind Robber today presents 10 Great Companion Outfits of the Sixties.

1. Jamie McCrimmon –  Kilt

Possessed of a fine pair of legs, Jamie McCrimmon always looked stunning in his kilt

Possessed of a fine pair of legs, Jamie McCrimmon always looked stunning in his kilt

2. Zoe Heriot – Catsuit

Zoe fights the Karkus in her famous catsuit

Zoe fights the Karkus in her famous catsuit

3. Barbara Wright – Yetaxa

Barbara masqueraded as the reincarnated priest Yetaxa in The Aztecs

Barbara masqueraded as the reincarnated priest Yetaxa in The Aztecs

4. Dodo Chaplet – The Celestial Toymaker

Zoe looked fabulous in The Celestial Toymaker

Zoe looked fabulous in The Celestial Toymaker

5. Sara Kingdom – The Daleks’ Master Plan

Jean Marsh in black cat suit as Sara Kingdom

Jean Marsh in black catsuit as Sara Kingdom

6. Zoe Heriot – Space Pirates’ Hotpants

Zoe shows some leg in The Space Pirates

Zoe shows some leg in The Space Pirates

7. Susan – An Unearthly Child

Susan at her casual best in An Unearthly Child

Susan at her casual best in An Unearthly Child

8. Polly – Way Out Sixties

Is this the ultimate Sixties companion outfit?

Is this the ultimate Sixties companion outfit?

9. Victoria – The Abominable Snowmen

Victoria emerges from the TARDIS and is shocked by what she sees

Victoria wears Victorian riding gear in The Abominable Snowmen

10. Zoe Heriot – The Invasion 

Zoe in a green feather boa in The Invasion

Zoe in a green feather boa in The Invasion

 

HONOURABLE MENTION

Polly dresses as a local in The Underwater Menace

Polly dresses as a local in The Underwater Menace

 

Vivien Fleming

The Daleks’ Master Plan – The First Deaths of Doctor Who Companions

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Magnificent in parts, and downright dodgy in others, The Dalek’s Master Plan was a serial of extremes. It was condemned for its violence and criticized for its comedy interludes.  In Australia it was one of only two Doctor Who serials that were never screened.  As parts of the 12 part serial had been classified as adult, the ABC decided against reconstructing it to fit the child friendly time slot in which Who normally aired.  Viewer reaction to the Christmas special, The Feast of Steven,  which was broadcast as episode 7,  was particularly bad.  The comedy antics in the Liverpool Police Station and the 1920’s Hollywood film set would have perplexed an audience that for the previous month and a half had been viewing a serial resplendent with fear and violence.  Similarly, the unexpected arrival of the Doctor’s adversary from The Time Meddler, the Monk, in episode 8 and the comedy interludes that continued with him through episodes 9 and 10, must have been puzzling to the audience. That being said, I love the Monk and only wish he’d again grace our screens.  Steven Moffatt, are you reading this?

Kert Gantry - the first of many violent deaths in The Daleks Master Plan

Kert Gantry – the first of many violent deaths in The Daleks’ Master Plan

Given the length of the serial it is not my intention to provide even the most rudimentary synopsis.  One transcript I’ve seen is 72 pages long and unfortunately I don’t have the time to write a 10,000 word dissertation!  There are a number of books that provide excellent summaries of this, and other, Who serials.  In particular I’d suggest David J Howe and Stephen James Walker’s The Television Companion.  The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who.  Published by Telos in 2003 the book is now out of print although copies frequently appear on eBay.  Telos Publishing uploaded  cover photos of Volume 1 and 2 of  the 2013 edition of The Television Companion on their Facebook page in late 2012.  I’m uncertain when the release is anticipated.

David J Howe & Stephen James Walker's The Television Companion was published in 2003 by Telos Publishing

David J Howe & Stephen James Walker’s The Television Companion was published in 2003 by Telos Publishing

The death of real humans, and not the “Bug Eyed Monsters” that Sydney Newman so decried, was a permeating feature of The Daleks’ Master Plan. The deaths of three Tardis travellers, companions Katarina and Sara Kingdom, and Space Security Service agent Bret Vyon, upended all hitherto held presumptions that the Doctor always averted disaster.  Unlike any Who serial that it had preceded in respect of violence, The Daleks’ Master Plan evidenced the new tangent that producer, John Wiles, was taking the show.  It is to the lives and deaths of these three Tardis fellow travellers that I will be devoting today’s review.

The Doctor, Vyon, Steven and Katarina

Vyon, the Doctor, Katarina and Steven

KATARINA

Katarina, the deferential handmaiden of Cassandra, was a sudden and unwitting occupant of the Tardis as the credits rolled in The Myth Makers.  Pushed into the Ship by the departing Vicki, Katarina was clearly out of her depth in a world of space travel.  Possibly born as early as 1300 BC, Katarina’s fellow passenger was the space pilot Steven, whose era of birth was never stated but was probably born sometime after 2500 AD. With around four millennia separating their births, Steven and Katarina would have been as alien to each other as the Doctor was to Barbara and Ian when first they met in the scrap merchant’s yard at Totters Lane. Katarina was a women of her time and naturally observed and comprehended  all around her in the context of a mystical or supernatural schema.  Once in the Tardis she believed she had entered the hereafter and that the Doctor was her gateway to the Place of Perfection.  She spoke barely a word during her full three episodes as a member of the Tardis Crew, and took no active part in any of the proceedings, save for operating some buttons on the console as directed by the Doctor and retrieving tablets from Bret Vyon’s pocket.

Katarina

Katarina

The object of the third episode cliff hanger, Katarina was taken hostage at knifepoint by a prisoner, Kirksen, who had boarded the Doctor’s stolen spacecraft after it had crash landed on the prison planet,  Desperus.  Unaware that Kirksen was onboard and hiding in the airlock, the spacecraft took off again after hasty repairs.  Kirksen threatened to kill Katarina if he was not returned to the nearest planet, which inconveniently for the Doctor and crew was the very planet from which they’d just escaped, Kembel.  Heated debate ensued between the Doctor, Steven and Bret Vyon as to whether they should turn back.  Although a decision was eventually made to return to Kembel, Katarina pushed a button which opened the airlock door.  She and Kirksen are sucked into space and died, and all within the first five minutes of episode four. Although Steven thought that this may have been an accident, the Doctor was convinced that she had sacrificed her life for them.  He lamented her demise whilst congratulating her courage:

Katarina tends the gravely ill Steven

Katarina tends the gravely ill Steven

“She didn’t understand.  She couldn’t understand.  She wanted to save our lives and  perhaps the lives of all the other beings of the Solar System. I hope she’s found her Perfection.  Oh, how I shall always remember her as one of the Daughters of the Gods.  Yes, as one of the Daughters of the Gods”.

Katarina is taken captive by Kirksen

Katarina is taken captive by Kirksen

Katarina’s shocking death was the first to befall a companion in Doctor Who and was yet another in an increasingly long string of failures for the Doctor.

Steven and Katarina

Steven and Katarina

BRET VYON

It is perhaps because Nicholas Courtney went on  to become the much cherished Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart,  that the first character he played in Doctor Who, Bret Vyon, has not been accorded the status of companion in the annals of Who history.  Spending as much time onscreen and inside the Tardis as the official companion Katarina, Vyon’s character has been viewed somewhat as an interloper, albeit one with an incredibly extensive role in episodes one through to four.  Unlike the almost mute Katarina who was almost entirely compliant with the Doctor’s commands, Vyon was headstrong and self assured, and began his relationship with the Doctor on less than civil terms.  On the planet Kembel with fellow agent Kert Gantry, Vyon was looking for leads on the fate of Marc Cory, the agent who met his demise  at the Daleks’ hands in Mission to the Unknown.  Gantry was quickly and violently dispatched by the Daleks within minutes of the opening of episode one, leaving Vyon alone in the jungle.  Finding the Doctor outside of the Tardis, Vyon threatens him at gunpoint and demands the key.  “Give me the key or I’ll kill you”  he states. Leaving the Doctor outside, Vyon enters the Tardis and is confronted by Katarina and Steven, who is only in a semi-conscious state following the injuries sustained at the end of The Myth Makers.  Vyon demands that the crew fly the Ship, together with him, off the planet. Rousing briefly in a groggy state, Steven uses a spanner and knocks out Vyon who falls to the floor.

NIcholas Courtney played Bret Vyon in his first Doctor Who appearance

Nicholas Courtney played Bret Vyon in his first Doctor Who appearance

The Doctor soon enters the Tardis  and puts the unconscious Vyon into  chair.  Upon the disorientated Vyon waking up the Doctor says to him, “I call it the magnetic chair. It has a forcefield strong enough to restrain a herd of elephants”. After the Doctor leaves, Vyon assists Steven by guiding Katarina to remove two tablets from his pocket.  The naive Katarina has never seen tablets before and has to ask Vyon if what she’s found is indeed them.  By assisting in Steven’s recovery Vyon, whom the Doctor had earlier considered to be a “violent young man”, showed himself to be an ally of the Tardis Crew.  Released from the restraint of the chair, Vyon thereafter works in coalition with the Doctor.

Katarina, Steven, the Doctor and Vyon

Katarina, Steven, the Doctor and Vyon

Again displaying his propensity for violence, Vyon commandeers Mavic Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System’s, Spar which for all intents and purposes is a hotted up spaceship.  After sneaking into the ship and taking the pilot and engineer by surprise, Vyon shouts “I’m taking over this spaceship.  Over there. Tie them up”. With just Steven and Katarina present during the heist, Vyon almost takes off without the Doctor after being shocked by the sound of an alarm.  Luckily the Doctor returns just prior to take-off.  After the death of Katarina along the way, the eventually arrive at Earth where Vyon meets up with an old friend, Daxtar, the manager of a research station. Vyon believes that Daxtar will become an ally against the Daleks’ and Mavic Chen’s plans for domination of the universe. Unknown to Vyon, Chen has already procured Daxtar’s allegiances.  The Doctor quickly twigs to this betrayal upon Daxtar mentioning the taranium core, something which Daxtar could only be aware of if he was in league with the enemy.  Without a second’s delay Vyon shoots Daxtar dead. Before there’s any chance to contemplate the consequences of Vyon’s actions, the group is scattered by the arrival of Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom and her colleague, Borkar.  Sent by Chen to assassinate the “traitors” who had stolen the Taranium core, Kingdom shoots Vyon dead. It is only later that we become privy to the fact that Kingdom is Vyon’s sister.

Vyon and Steven

Vyon and Steven

SARA KINGDOM

Like Vyon, Sara Kingdom is an employee of the Space Security Service.  The SSS is at the service of Mavic Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System  and perhaps one of Doctor Who’s most evil villains ever.  Highly regarded by the Service, Kingdom is known to obey orders without question  in a ruthless and timely manner.  It is with these credentials in mind that Chen dispatched Kingdom to seek and destroy the Doctor, Steven, and Vyon.  Our hero, the Doctor, had masqueraded as  Zephon, one of the delegates to the Dalek’s conference, and attended the meeting in which Chen had advised that the Daleks’ ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, was complete.   The real Zephon, however, had been tied up by Katarina and Steven at Vyon’s command.  Upon Zephon freeing himself and activating an alarm, the Daleks’ conference went into a state of chaos and the Doctor  was able to escape with the Taranium Core, the essential element required to activate the Time Destructor. It was because the Doctor and his crew had the Taranium Core that Mavic wanted them dead and the Core returned to him.

Jean Marsh in black cat suit as Sara Kingdom

Jean Marsh in black cat suit as Sara Kingdom

Unlike her brother Vyon, Kingdom is not yet cognisant of Chen’s treachery and assumes that he is working in the best interests of the Solar System.  She immediately accepts Chen’s command and quickly dispatches Vyon with seemingly no remorse. Kingdom is portrayed as a cold blooded killer and orders her colleague, Borkar, to track down and kill the Doctor and Steven.  After chasing the Doctor and Steven, Kingdom is caught  with them in a laboratory.  Whilst there they are accidently subjected to a molecular dissemination experiment (together with some mice, but that’s another story) and transported to the planet Mira.  Confronted by invisible monsters named Visians, the Doctor, Kingdom and Steven retreat into a cave.  Steven argues with Kingdom about Vyon’s death and accuses her of blindly following Chen’s orders without question.  Had she not considered, Steven posited, why a space security agent, one of her own people, had become a traitor?  She questioned neither Chen nor Vyon, and didn’t give Vyon a chance. Considering Steven’s story fantastic Kingdom eventually admits that Vyon was her brother and rushes out of the cave in a distraught manner.  The Doctor takes this as a sign that Kingdom finally believes them.  Shortly thereafter Kingdom returns to the cave after being touched by a Visian.  From that point forward Kingdom is a firm ally of the Doctor and Steven.

Sara Kingdom in combat mode

Sara Kingdom in combat mode

Kingdom is adept at martial arts and karate chops several villains in the course of our heroes’ adventures.  Unfortunately those episodes are lost in time so viewers are unlikely to ever see the black cat suited Kingdom doing her moves on our TV screens. She eventually loses her life in episode 12 after going back into the Daleks’ underground city to assist the Doctor.  The Doctor activates the Time Destructor after the distraction caused by Chen’s execution, and he and Kingdom make their way back to the Tardis.  Steven is already safely ensconced within, having previously been ordered back to the Ship by the Doctor.  In the process of returning to the Tardis through the jungle the Doctor and Kingdom begin to rapidly age. Having both collapsed, Kingdom dies, is reduced to bones and quickly thereafter, dust. Presumably because of his Time Lord anatomy (although, of course, he was not yet identified as such in the series) the Doctor does not age as rapidly as Kingdom.  Seeing the pair on the scanner, Steven rushes outside and also begins to age.  In attempting to deactivate the Time Destructor Steven accidently puts it in reverse resulting in our two heroes returning to the correct ages. Being already dead, it is too late for Kingdom and also for the Daleks, who had until that point been seemingly immune to the effects of the Time Destructor.  More about the fate of the Daleks, however, in my next review.

Sara Kingdom ages from the effects of the Time Destructor

Sara Kingdom ages from the effects of the Time Destructor

As an aside, there’s a rather nice interview with Jean Marsh, who played Sara Kingdom, in the special features of the Seventh Doctor’s Battlefield DVD.  In the segment  entitled From Kingdom to Queen, Marsh reminisces on her three appearances in Doctor Who – The Crusade (1965), The Daleks’ Master Plan (1965/6) and Battlefield (1989). Although not referred to in the interview, it’s interesting to note that Marsh appeared with Nicholas Courtney in both his first (The Daleks’ Master Plan) and last (Battlefield) appearance on Doctor Who. That makes the world of Who seem very small and incestuous, doesn’t it?

Sara Kingdom collapses as she rapidly ages

Sara Kingdom collapses as she rapidly ages

Stay tuned for my next review on three of the villains in The Daleks’ Master Plan – Mavic Chen, the Daleks, and the Monk.

The young Sara Kingdom

The young Sara Kingdom

An interview with Jean Marsh, From Kingdom to Queen, is one of the special features of the Seventh's Doctor Battlefield DVD

An interview with Jean Marsh, From Kingdom to Queen, is one of the special features of the Seventh Doctor’s Battlefield DVD

Episodes 2, 5 and 10 of "The Daleks' Master Plan" are included in the "Lost in Time" triple DVD set. "The Daleks' Master Plan"  was originally broadcast in the UK between 13th November 1965 and 29 January 1966.

Episodes 2, 5 and 10 of The Daleks’ Master Plan are included in the Lost in Time triple DVD set. The Daleks’ Master Plan was originally broadcast in the UK between 13th November 1965 and 29 January 1966.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Reference

David J Howe & Stephen James Walker, The Television Companion. The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who. Telos Publishing Ltd, Surrey, 2003.