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Doctor Who Series 15 Is Setting Up a Mel Bush Mystery


Doctor Who Series 15 Is Setting Up a Mel Bush Mystery

About that.

″Leave the Girl, It′s the Man I Want.″

Constantinople. Coruscant. Rome. Colin Baker – all of them were sacked. When Doctor Who was renewed by the BBC for Season 24 it was on the condition that Baker was fired. Baker would later demonstrate his range and ability in the role for Big Finish audios, but in 1986 he was made a scapegoat. The Sixth Doctor regenerated in the first scene of Season 24, in the pre-credits sequence of Time and the Rani. This meant that Bonnie Langford would appear alongside a new Doctor, and we would not get to see her meeting the Sixth Doctor. 

With a new Script Editor in place who wanted to take the show in a different direction, the character of Mel – which, let′s face it, wasn′t exactly rigorously defined – was out of favour, and Langford saw out her contract without any character development, playing the role as the scripts demanded. Fandom wasn′t fond of the character, and not always able to dissociate the actor from the role. Bonnie Langford had been hired to play a computer programmer and fitness fanatic from Pease Pottage, who we never saw in Pease Pottage or doing computer programming, in the style of someone played by 1980s Bonnie Langford. Which, it has to be said, she did. So it seems unfair to criticise her for doing exactly what she was employed for.

Several writers (most notably Gary Russell and Craig Hinton) attempted to fill in Mel′s backstory across different spinoff media. These stories, written decades apart in some cases, contradict each other. Backstories include:

  • At the age of 18 months, Mel accidentally killed her two-year-old sister Anabel. Mel repressed the memory of the death, while her family decided to simply hide all the photos of Anabel and never mention it again.
  • After leaving school, Mel got a job in a nature reserve in Scotland and, after being attacked by an owl, mostly stayed in the office and discovered she had an affinity with computers.
  • Mel was kidnapped by Adam Mitchell, the short-lived companion from series one, who was working with the 1980s Master, before being rescued by the first eleven Doctors and a shape-shifting creature taking the form of a penguin.
  • While Mel and the Doctor visited the planet Oxyveguramosa, the Master kidnapped her and took her to the Doctor′s trial so she could give evidence (as seen in parts 13 – 14 of The Trial of a Time Lord) whereupon the past version of the Doctor (from Mel′s perspective) returned Mel to Pease Pottage so the version of the Doctor on Oxyveguramosa could collect her, and then another version of Mel and a third version of the Doctor turn and – look just listen to The Wrong Doctors if you′re not following this, okay?

Whereas on TV, Mel left the Doctor in 1987 at the end of Dragonfire, to go off on adventures with the intergalactic conman Sabalom Glitz. Because why not. She then returned for a cameo in The Power of the Doctor, and then in 2023′s The Giggle she confirmed how she′d returned to Earth and that she was an orphan with no connections.

Mel said she was orphaned, but Davies′ comment about her family line being a big secret suggests we′re going to find out who her parents were (and if they pointed dramatically at anything significant). Potentially, we′re going to get three Doctor Who series in a row where a character meets their long-lost mother figure

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