Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't just stand there and scream, you little fool, run!

Let's cap off week one of 'Doctor Who' month with the sort of temporal gadabouts and hangers-on you'd expect to find traveling with that mirthful many-centuries young character, the Doctor Mark 2. Shall we?

BEN JACKSON & POLLY (WRIGHT)- "The Sailor Lad & The Dolly Rocker Duchess" Essentially stumbled out of a nightclub in 1966 into the TARDIS. Spent some many months mocking each other. Ben was low class, and Polly high, and they once used nail varnish remover to melt a Cyberman's bits. Their main claim to fame is as witnesses to the first regeneration. Hopped off the TARDIS when they chanced upon the same day they'd left.

VICTORIA WATERFIELD- "Timid Victorian Adventuress" Orphaned by the Daleks in 1866, Victoria traveled with the Doctor and Jamie, screaming her little lungs out, until she traded up by joining an oil-rigging family of total strangers in 1968. As you do. In fan lore she battled aliens again in 1995 and was expecting her first grandchild in 2008.

JAMIE McCRIMMON- "Ruffian Highlander" The piper son of Donald McCrimmon met the Doctor in 1746 and gamely bounced around time with him for many years. Hated the English. Loved everything else. Quick with a blade, but a great one for hugs. Sadly, the sixties ended with Jamie and Zoe sent home with their memories erased. In fellow Scot Grant Morrison's comic, Jamie's post-Doctor life was sad and empty, with a final sacrificial act against the Cybermen when he vanished again as an old man in 1786 with the Sixth Doctor. If you like. That same story made outlandish claims that Cybermen evolved from Voords, so, whatever. Jamie is presented here slightly out of sequence so as to be the meat in a Victoria-Zoe sandwich. He would have wanted it that way.

ZOE HERIOT- "Smarty Pants in Sparkly Pants" The poster girl of 21st Century astrophysicists, this computer programmer with an eidetic memory encountered Jamie and the Doctor on Space Station W3 when it was accosted by Cybermen (not Voords, dammit). Of the Doctor she claimed: "He's almost as clever as I am!" Zoe, or at least her bum, has been well regarded. In her final appearance, she and Jamie and the Doctor ran afoul of the Time Lords- the Doctor's mighty alien race. As punishment for his dickering about in time, the Time Lords executed the Doctor and returned his companions to their homes without their memories of their adventures. Sad, that. Space Station W3 is no doubt already up there these days. Yup. Any day now, it'll be Bon Voyage, Zoe!

SIR ALISTAIR GORDON LETHBRIDGE-STEWART- "The Brigadier" First met the second Doctor as a young army Colonel battling Yeti in the summer of 1966. (To hell with the games fans like to play, the UNIT Stories clearly happened in the 1970's AND the 1980's. Just not OUR 1970's & 1980's.) A practical career soldier, Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to Brigadier and took leadership of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, a group he spearheaded to safeguard Earth from freaky-deaky space invasions and the everyday run-of-the-mill occult. In 1969 he was fighting alongside the Doctor again during a Cyberman invasion. The Brig is at once both LESS and MORE than a companion: he has not time-traveled with the Doctor onscreen and yet he's been a part of the adventures of EACH and EVERY incarnation of the Doctor (If you count a LOT of non-canonical sources. Which I DO. Hell, the Voords probably COULD be Cybermen, as long as they were also the humans of Mondas from Marc Platt's 'Spare Parts' at some point. I'm just saying.) The Brig only had two stories in the TV sixties, with loads more to come until the classic series ended in 1989. At which point he STILL never went away. Stubborn, steadfast, stalwart Lethbridge-Stewart keeps retiring and re-activating in the military: the voice of reason, a stiff upper lip, and a gun at the ready until he is fated to die in bed in the 2050's. The same sentiment he once applied to the Doctor applies to himself: "Wonderful chap. All of them."

Favorite 1960's Companion: The Brigadier. Hands down. (Well, Zoe's bum, though...)

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