Monday, October 18, 2010
There seems to be a tradition in Doctor Who where a companion actor/actress who is appearing in his/her swansong story gets a large chunk of the action (with Dodo being the very remarkable exception to this rule). This tradition continues in this story, Nicola Bryant's last, as Peri is finally given something more to do than just persistently whine while working her cleavage into as many camera shots as possible.
The results are impressive, mostly because The Doctor and Peri are split up for most of the story, thus allowing Peri the room to breathe a bit as a character, but also by pairing her up with the fiery Yrcanos. One may scoff at what could be seen as an overused motif, that of two wildly opposite characters clashing before suddenly falling for each other, but while that scenario starts off like that here, it doesn't veer too far into cliche afterwards. For the most part, the burgeoning romance is a one-sided affair: Yrcanos is the first to let his guard down and seems quite taken with The Doctor's companion, and while Peri isn't rejecting him, she does at least respect the warrior king and realizes that she needs his help to defeat the Mentors so everyone can live happily ever after. She's not even thinking of whether she'd leave with The Doctor or form a new bond with Yrcanos. She just wants to be safe and away from the unpleasantness on Thoros Beta. If she happens to fall in love with someone, then so be it: self preservation is still at the top of her list of priorities.
For a programme that has been at best a tad prudish during the 1980s when it comes to relationships, this, the first companion romance since Season 10's glorious The Green Death comes as a bit of a shock. (Yes, you heard me right - Season 10. I'm not even going to begin counting that faux-arranged marriage of an exit that Leela had in The Invasion of Time.) If it was known to the viewers at the time that Bryant was leaving the show after this story, then the seeds were being cleverly sown as to how the writing out of her character would be achieved. Little did they know what was really in store for her the following week...
Posted by Steven at 3:08 PM