The Doctor's Companions

Peri Melanie Bush Ace
Trial of a Timelord (Terror of the Vervoids) (6th Dr Story) - Dragonfire (7th Dr Story)
Melanie Bush
Melanie Bush
(1986 - 1987)
Bonnie Langford
Bonita Melody Lysette Langford was born in 1964 in Hampton Court, Surrey. By the age of six she had won Hughie Green's Opportunity Knocks television talent contest and gained membership of Equity. She later trained at the Arts Educational and Italia Conti stage schools in London.

By her early teens she had starred in Gypsy, on New York's Broadway, and in Gone With the Wind, in London's West End, as well as television shows (including the Bonnie and Lena (Lena Zavaroni) variety spectaculars).

Her biggest success of the mid-1970's came when she played the part of Elizabeth Bott in the 1976 children's drama series Just William. It was this that helped fix her in the minds of the British public as a precocious child star - an image she found it hard to shed in later years, despite amassing an impressive list of credits as a dancer, singer and actress on stage: Peter Pan: The Musical; Cats and The Pirates of Penzance, and on television: Saturday Starship and The Hot Shoe Show (1983).

After her short stint as Melanie Bush (‘Mel’ for short) in Doctor Who she took almost a year's break from her career. She returned to the role of Mel in the 1993 Children in Need charity special "Dimensions in Time". She has also continued to reprise the role in several audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions alongside Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.

In 2006, she was a celebrity contestant in the first series of ITV's Dancing on Ice, partnering professional figure skater Matt Evers. Their routines were characterised by the dramatic lifts and tricks they performed and were amongst the most ambitious in the competitions.

Bonnie Langford is also a pantomime regular. Recent credits include: Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (2005/2006); Peter in Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey (2008/2009); and Fairy Fuchsia in Jack & the Beanstalk at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford (2011-2012). She was also cast as The Lady of the Lake/Guinevre in 'Spamalot' while it was on tour in the UK during 2012.
 An interesting detail to note about Melanie Bush’s time with The Doctor is that The Doctor actually knew that she was going to travel with him long before he met her. When he was put on trial on charges of meddling in the affairs of the universe by a renegade High Council attempting to conceal his discovery of their crimes, with the prosecutor being none other than The Valeyard, a dark future version of himself, the Sixth Doctor attempted to use the Matrix to find evidence from his own future to clear his name, resulting in him learning that he would some day travel with Melanie Bush, a young computer programmer from Pease Pottage ("Terror of the Vervoids"). As the trial increasingly turned against The Doctor, The Master, attempting to aid The Doctor due to his concern at the implications of the Valeyard’s existence, sent Mel to the station where the trial was taking place to act as a witness in The Doctor’s defence. With the trial concluded, The Doctor decided to take Mel back to Pease Pottage- not wanting to know where she had parted ways with his future self and reasoning that he would remember where to find Mel in the future- only for matters to be further complicated when The Doctor actually took Mel to a copy of Pease Pottage in an area of cauterised time from a point a few months before she 'first' met him, resulting in them working with a copy of Mel's past self and a later version of the Sixth Doctor to stop a self-proclaimed 'time demon' causing a paradox by killing the younger Doctor ("The Wrong Doctors"). Fortunately, the crisis concluded with both Doctors safe and the demon trapped in a time loop, with the older Doctor returning the past Mel to the true universe before the younger Doctor took Mel back to her original departure point, each Doctor accepting that they would meet the younger Mel when the time was right.

Terror of the Vervoids
Terror of the Vervoids
 Despite his initial apparent acceptance of his 'destiny' to meet Mel, once she had been returned to his future self, the Doctor spent some time trying to avoid getting into a position where he would encounter the younger Mel for the first time, afraid that meeting her would mark the first step in his 'journey' to eventually become the Valeyard. Immediately after the trial, The Doctor actually tried to exile himself to a distant planet, but swiftly realised that he couldn't abandon his responsibilities to the rest of the universe and resumed his travels ("Time of Your Life"), joined during this time by such diverse companions as computer programmer Grant Markham ("Time of Your Life"), history lecturer Evelyn Smythe ("The Marian Conspiracy"), marooned adventuress Charley Pollard (A future companion of the Eighth Doctor ("Storm Warning", "The Girl Who Never Was", "The Condemned"), their travels concluding with the Sixth Doctor's memories of her being edited to preserve the timeline), shop girl Flip Jackson ("The Curse of Davros"), and a fictional duplicate of his old companion Jamie McCrimmon ("City of Spires"). Despite The Doctor's best efforts, however, he eventually met the younger Mel during a trip to 1989, when his old police contact Bob Lines called on Mel's computer programming skills - Mel currently working a summer job at Brighton Information Technologies in anticipation of a full-time job at ACL Systems Ltd. - when The Doctor required help after The Master and the Usurians had attempted to defraud the Dow Jones, The Doctor lacking experience in the more primitive computing technology used in this era while trying to track down any 'traps' The Master might have left in the systems. After aiding The Doctor and his old friend The Brigadier in defeating the latest attack on Earth by their old enemy the Nestene Consciousness, Mel tracked down the TARDIS, curious about the opportunity to travel in time despite The Doctor's attempts to put her off by acting distant during their earlier conversations, and The Doctor bowed to destiny and accepted her as his new companion ("Business Unusual").

 From the beginning, Mel established herself as another example of the strong-willed female companion ready and willing to stand up to the equally strong personality of the Sixth Doctor, pursuing her goal of joining The Doctor’s travels despite the Time Lord’s reluctance to allow her to join him. Possessing a keen interest in science and discovery from a young age, Mel had read the entire Sherlock Holmes series by the time she was nine, and was noted by her uncle Doctor John Hallam for being very gifted with computers. A strong moral personality, Mel was a strict vegetarian, who spent most of her time in the TARDIS encouraging The Doctor to exercise and remain in shape, to the point that an exercise bike was added to the TARDIS control room and she occasionally gave The Doctor carrot juice, although she was stilling to ‘let’ him have the occasional ‘treat’ such as a piece of chocolate cake during a visit to 1993 ("Instruments of Darkness"). When she was younger, she had briefly considered a career in politics due to her passion about injustice and her desire for a career where she could help people; although she decided to pursue her more obvious talents in computers at the time, when facing the Quantum Archangel - a being who sought to make reality perfect for everyone -, Mel’s perfect alternate world featured her as Prime Minister arranging a program to help the homeless, although this timeline fell apart when the Chronovores began to devour it ("The Quantum Archangel").

The Ultimate Foe
The Ultimate Foe
 On at least two occasions, Mel was separated from The Doctor for a period of several months from her perspective, forcing her to adjust to the new time-frame she found herself in without The Doctor, demonstrating the strength of will that has always personified the best of The Doctor’s companions. Although she was able to cope on her own, both time periods had their problems; while trapped in the past, Mel had to deal with the obvious complication of her own ancestor having fallen in love with her while treating her ‘insanity’ - she was sent back to the past during a visit to 2003 due to a ‘kink’ in time that affected her memory when the TARDIS tried to warn her what was about to happen - ("Catch-1782"), and her time working on a robotics project in the future ended when Mel discovered that the project supervisor was actually Davros, the creator of the Daleks, reprogramming The Mechanoids ("The Chase") to serve as an anti-Dalek weapon ("The Juggernauts") while secretly using human tissue to help complete the programming. Although both crises were resolved with Mel understanding that The Doctor had only left her alone for so long because he had been unavailable to recover her earlier, her confrontation with Davros was particularly significant as it forced her to face her own dark side, to the point that Mel ordered the reprogrammed Mechanoids to consider Davros a threat simply to satisfy her own desire for revenge even though he wasn’t actually threatening her or The Doctor at that point.

 Although moments like these left Mel with some doubts about The Doctor’s mission ("Red") - to the point where she once accused him of enjoying the violence he encountered so that he had something to ‘solve’ ("The Quantum Archangel") -, in general the two got along well, Mel recognising in her more rational moments that The Doctor only ever did what he had to do, to the point that he once risked his own life to sort out a problem caused by his old friend Professor Rummas ("Spiral Scratch"). She also formed a diverse range of friendships with the people she encountered on her travels, particularly with former companion Evelyn Smythe ("Instruments of Darkness" and "Thicker Than Water"), although she also formed more casual friendships with the like of future pop sensation Nicky Newman - Nicky particularly enjoying meeting Mel as she was the first person he’d met for years who literally had no idea who he was, even if his frustration with his life got on Mel’s nerves at times - ("Bang-Bang-A-Boom!"), and enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends like Angelique Whitefriar and Paul Kairos from her university days ("The Quantum Archangel"). To Mel’s credit, she refused to allow those occasions when her new friends were killed during her time with The Doctor to affect her ability to form new friendships later, although she still clearly mourned the loss of Geoff, a fellow programmer she’d grown close to while working on the Juggernaut program ("The Juggernauts"), and was horrified when she learned during a visit to the early 1940s that she’d actually been flirting with a Nazi scientist (The same encounter resulting in The Doctor accidently inspiring the scientist to develop a plane that could evade radar) ("Just War").

Time and the Rani
Time and the Rani
However, despite the relatively stable nature of their relationship in The Doctor’s sixth incarnation, their dynamic would significantly alter after The Doctor regenerated into his seventh incarnation following a confrontation with the pan-dimensional Lamprey and a brief period as the pawn and prisoner of his old foe The Rani ("Spiral Scratch" and "Time and the Rani"). At first, the two TARDIS travellers appeared to have a far more casual relationship than they had enjoyed previously, Mel no longer trying to make The Doctor lose weight and both content to travel around on various holidays, such as taking a trip to famous hotel Paradise Towers when the TARDIS swimming pool was unavailable (Although matters became complicated when the tower architect Kroagnon tried to kill the residents for ‘polluting’ his work) ("Paradise Towers"). She also served to help The Doctor cope with some of the more difficult problems he faced at this time, her encouragement and ability to rally The Doctor during a trip to Pompeii when The Doctor was convinced that he would lose the TARDIS in the eruption helping the Time Lord to work out a way that he could retain the TARDIS and fulfil the ‘prediction’ that the TARDIS would be found buried in Pompeii (By remaining inside the TARDIS until the lava hardened around the ship, he and Mel were able to travel forward in time 1900 years without moving in space) ("The Fires of Vulcan"). She also helped some renegade Time Lords devise a means for The Doctor to regain his mind after a dangerous Time Lord experiment resulted in The Doctor’s mind being temporarily overwritten by the consciousness of a new-born TARDIS, despite the Time Lords believing that The Doctor’s mind had been destroyed by the process ("Unregenerate!").

Delta and the Bannermen
Delta and the Bannermen
Although he appeared far more casual in this incarnation, The Doctor’s experiences were tainted by the ‘knowledge’ of a deal he had made prior to his regeneration to become Time’s Champion in exchange for escaping his ‘destiny’ to become the Valeyard, aware that Mel lacked the necessary ruthlessness to accept the actions that he would have to commit in this role. As a result, when faced with evidence that his old enemy Fenric had begun to prepare for a confrontation by arranging for Ace - a young woman who had been sent into the future by a time storm that she believed had been caused by a flawed chemistry experiment - ("Dragonfire"), The Doctor subtly hypnotised Mel to leave him so that he could begin his career as Time’s Champion, Mel thus departing with their old ‘ally’ Sabalom Glitz while Ace joined The Doctor, only for Mel to eventually end up abandoned and trapped on a near-deserted barren human colony. She eventually learned the truth about her departure when she was captured by ‘Dr Who’, a version of The Doctor from the Land of Fiction who operated on a rigid black-and-white view of reality and sought to punish The Doctor for his crimes, regarding The Doctor as evil for committing acts of mass murder such as the destruction of the Silurian Earth ("Blood Heat") without being able to take into account The Doctor’s need to commit such actions due to his duty to the larger universe and the morally grey nature of some decisions. Although The Doctor’s other companions could accept that he had only committed such actions out of necessity rather than cruelty, Mel was disgusted at The Doctor’s more manipulative personality, denouncing him as a liar and murderer and rejecting any thoughts of future association with him, although she did accept a lift home from Ace, now working as ‘Time’s Vigilante’, using a time-travelling motorbike to tackle problems in a smaller part of the universe while The Doctor focused on the big picture.

Dragonfire
Dragonfire
Exactly what happened to Mel after this dark meeting with The Doctor is unclear. While Bob Lines remembered Mel returning to Pease Pottage in 1991 during a conversation with the Sixth Doctor in 1993 ("Instruments of Darkness"), The Doctor and Ace had earlier investigated Mel’s murder on the distant colony of Heritage in the 64th century ("Heritage"). During their investigation, they learned that Mel had married a man called Ben Heyworth, although her ‘daughter’ Sweetness was actually Mel’s clone; due to Mel suffering from menopause early, they had approached Wakeling, a scientist who had left due to ethical issues with his work, for help conceiving, but he simply cloned Mel rather than combining her and Ben’s DNA, Wakeling killing Mel by accident in the subsequent argument to protect the secret of his achievement due to the trouble with human cloning in this era. Although it is possible that The Doctor had Ace take Mel to Heritage after "Head Games" so that his past would play out as it should, another explanation for her presence on Heritage can be found in the Eighth Doctor’s confrontation with the Council of Eight ("Sometime Never..."), a group of beings attempting to remove The Doctor and his companions from history due to their contact with The Doctor turning them into ‘rogue elements’ who disrupted the Council’s ability to predict the future events that would give them power. When taunting The Doctor about their elimination of his past companions, Octan, the head of the Council, made reference to a companion who was murdered on a dusty human colony, suggesting that they were responsible for Mel’s death on Heritage, and their defeat erased her demise - much like Sarah Jane Smith’s implied death in Hong Kong ("Bullet Time") was apparently undone -, making it likely that the timeline where she returned to Earth in 1991 is her true fate.

Memorable Moment
Audio - The Juggernauts
The Juggernauts
(Scott Alan Woodard)
Although normally a bright and cheerful personality, to the extent that she denounced the Seventh Doctor for his manipulation of her ("Head Games"), Mel demonstrated her own capacity for ruthlessness when she confronted Davros, the creator of the Daleks, after his new experiments lead to the death of someone she had developed feelings for; despite the fact that Davros had done nothing to her and The Doctor personally yet, Mel reprogrammed the Juggernauts to regard Davros as a threat as well as the Daleks, the resulting assault leaving Davros so injured that his life-support system had to pump him full of painkillers to stop him passing out from the agony ( "The Juggernauts").
Television Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Episodes
Television The Trial of a Time Lord parts 9 - 12
(Terror of the Vervoids)
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 4
Television The Trial of a Time Lord parts 13 - 14
(The Ultimate Foe)
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 2
Television Time and the Rani The 7th Doctor   Season 24 4
Television Paradise Towers The 7th Doctor   Season 24 4
Television Delta and the Bannermen The 7th Doctor   Season 24 3
Television Dragonfire The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 3
Total Stories:   6 Total Episodes:   20
Other Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Source
Book Business Unusual The 6th Doctor The Brigadier Season 23 The Past Doctors Stories
Book The Best Joke I Ever Told
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Fegovy
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 Decalog 3: Consequences
Book Dr Cadabra
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Millennial Rites The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Missing Adventures
Book The Quantum Archangel The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Past Doctors Stories
Audio The One Doctor The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Juggernauts The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Catch-1782 The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Mortal Thoughts
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Sold Out
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Old Boys
The 6th Doctor Peri and Evelyn Smythe Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Instruments of Darkness The 6th Doctor Evelyn Smythe Season 23 The Past Doctors Stories
Audio Thicker Than Water The 6th Doctor Evelyn Smythe Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Wishing Beast The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Vanity Box The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book The Eyes Have It
The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Spiral Scratch The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Past Doctors Stories
Audio Unregenerate! The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Red The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book 24 Crawford Street The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Aquarius: The Invertebrates of Doom The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Daisy Chain The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio Bang-Bang-A-Boom! The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Flip-Flop The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Uranus The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Driftwood The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio The Fires of Vulcan The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Special Weapons The 6th Doctor   Season 23 More Short Trips
Audio The Wrong Doctors The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Spaceport Fear The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Seeds of War The 6th Doctor   Season 23 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio We Are The Daleks The 7th Doctor   Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Warehouse The 7th Doctor   Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Terror of the Sontarans The 7th Doctor   Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio A Life of Crime The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Fiesta of the Damned The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Maker of Demons The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The High Price of Parking The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Blood Furnace The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Silurian Candidate The 7th Doctor Ace Season 24 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Total Stories:   41
 
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