The Doctor's Companions

Adric Nyssa Tegan
The Keeper of Traken (4th Dr story) - Terminus (5th Dr story)
Nyssa
Nyssa
(1981 - 1983)
Sarah Sutton
Sarah Sutton was born in 1961 and she began her acting career at a very early age. By the time she was eleven she had landed a number of television roles including an episode of a drama series Menace: Boys and Girls Come Out to Play in 1973. She also appeared in Late Call and Oil Strike North both in 1975. However, her big break came when she played the lead part in The Moon Stallion in 1978. It was while she was at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama that she was called to audition for Doctor Who. Initially for just one story "The Keeper of Traken" she was delighted to be asked to become a regular and so returned during the very next story "Logopolis" which was also Tom Baker's last. After Doctor Who she returned to theatre work. After the birth of her daughter she has concentrated on family life and only acted a few times including a small role in the television play Unnatural Pursuits. More recently Sarah Sutton has been involved in the Big Finish Productions range of Doctor Who audio adventures returning to the role of Nyssa alongside Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor.
 A native of the planet Traken, Nyssa was the last of the Fourth Doctor’s long line of alien companions, and was also one of the companions who became particularly dear to him after his regeneration into his fifth incarnation. Beginning as a young orphan cut off from the rest of her family and people as a result of The Master’s schemes resulting in her father being possessed as The Master’s new body and her planet destroyed by a wave of entropy, during her time with The Doctor Nyssa grew into a strong-willed young woman who was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in.

Logopolis
Logopolis
One of the most significant things about Nyssa’s time in the TARDIS is that she didn’t initially choose to travel in the ship; although she met and befriended the Fourth Doctor and Adric during their trip to Traken after the Keeper of Traken - an old man in a chair who controlled the powerful Source of Traken - requested their aid in investigating an evil that had infiltrated their planet, she remained on Traken after the crisis was over, the evil having been revealed as The Doctor’s old enemy The Master, seeking control over the Source to restore his body as he approached the end of his thirteenth life ("The Keeper of Traken"). However, after Nyssa’s father Tremas was possessed by The Master to serve as his new body when the Source was taken from him, Nyssa was reunited with Adric and The Doctor on the planet Logopolis when the Watcher - a ‘shade’ who somehow represented the soon-to-regenerate Doctor’s future self - took her from Traken to protect her, Nyssa subsequently remaining with the TARDIS crew after The Master’s attempts to blackmail the universe with a wave of entropy resulted in Traken’s destruction and caused The Doctor to regenerate into his fifth incarnation ("Logopolis").

Castrovalva
Castrovalva
In many ways, Nyssa was the companion the Fifth Doctor bonded with most, the relationship between the two featuring The Doctor serving as a substitute father figure and an ‘older brother’ role (The ‘brother’ role being the more generally applicable one due to the Time Lord’s far more youthful appearance in this incarnation). A gifted young woman with a brilliant intellect, Nyssa regularly displayed an exceptional knowledge of various fields of science, specialising in bio-electrics while also showing a great aptitude for medical and technical knowledge, as seen most keenly when she aided The Doctor in conducting repairs to the TARDIS ("Arc of Infinity"), as well as more minor technical accomplishments such as her demonstrated skills with cybernetics when repairing a damaged Mondasian chest-box ("Spare Parts"). Significantly, although Nyssa was a member of a noble family back on Traken, she never allowed the privilege of her upbringing to affect her interactions with others. During a visit to Victorian London she even developed a casual friendship with Mary, the serving-girl who was assigned to her during their stay with Queen Victoria ("Empire of Death"), and displayed a great appreciation for the party the TARDIS crew attended at Cranleigh Hall, willingly participating in a joke with Anne Talbot by dressing in the same costume as Anne, the two women being the exact physical doubles of each other ("Black Orchid").

Earthshock
Earthshock
One of the most interesting things about Nyssa, however, was her occasional use of strange psychic abilities. Although such abilities had long since ceased to be used by her people, all Trakenites had a certain dormant psychic potential, Nyssa apparently possessing such abilities even in the womb - it is implied that these abilities were responsible for the death of her mother due to the psychic force she was subjected to while giving birth to Nyssa ("Empire of Death") -, although these abilities were only truly activated when she made contact with the Xeraphin as The Master attempted to harness their power ("Time-Flight"), Nyssa subsequently using them to communicate with the Permians, a race of energy-absorbers who annihilated almost all life on Earth 260 million years ago before they destroyed their own bodies ("The Land of the Dead").

Snakedance
Snakedance
It was later revealed during a trip to Traken three thousand years before its destruction - The Doctor seeking a treatment for Nyssa’s rapidly-growing powers - that Nyssa’s abilities had actually been remotely activated by Kwundaar, an ancient evil from Traken’s past - originally worshipped by Traken as a god before they built the Source using information he gave them to drive him out - who sought to use Nyssa to lure The Doctor back to his time so that he could be tricked into granting Kwundaar access to the Source ("Primeval"). Although his plan succeeded when The Doctor boosted the Source’s defences - unintentionally preventing it from generating the power that had been keeping Kwundaar on the outskirts of Traken space and allowing Kwundaar to land on Traken -, The Doctor defeated him by briefly taking control of the Source himself and turning it against Kwundaar, although not before Kwundaar took away Nyssa’s psychic abilities and summoned other ancient beings into this universe to hunt The Doctor in revenge for his death.

Despite the traumatic nature of her early travels with The Doctor - particularly with The Master’s use of her father’s body, Traken beliefs stating that the body and soul were interdependent and thus meaning that Tremas would never know peace while The Master used his form -, Nyssa never allowed the darkness of her past to change who she was as a person, continuing to hold on to her peoples’ core values and beliefs. The most obvious example of this was in her attitude towards violence; although she was prepared to use physical force in desperate situations - on one occasion even attempting to threaten a group of Time Lords who were attempting to execute The Doctor to prevent The Doctor’s old enemy Omega from using The Doctor’s biodata to return to this universe ("Arc of Infinity") -, in general she, like The Doctor, refused to resort to violence as a first option save for in extreme circumstances. Even when she helped to develop a sonic disruptor for The Doctor to use against a Terileptil android, she later expressed sadness at the robot’s ‘demise’ ("The Visitation"), although she expressed no such concerns after shooting a Cyber Lieutenant that had infiltrated the TARDIS and killed Professor Kyle, a palaeontologist Nyssa had developed an attachment towards ("Earthshock").

Mawdryn Undead
Mawdryn Undead
She was known for putting others before herself on several occasions, such as attempting to comfort Tegan over Adric’s death rather than face up to her own feelings about his demise, although The Doctor later speculated that this was part of Nyssa’s symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the recent losses she had suffered in her life. The Doctor’s advice helped Nyssa to realise that she was starting to cut herself off emotionally from others to prevent herself being hurt in the future, although he was able to help her confront this after a trip to Victorian England to investigate a rift that led to another dimension that was initially mistaken for the afterlife, giving Nyssa a chance to achieve some degree of reconciliation with Tremas when one of the native life-forms assumed her father’s appearance based on her memories of him ("Empire of Death"). After this experience was dealt with she once again showed an easy willingness to connect with people, forming a strong bond with the Hartley family on ancient Mondas after having dinner with them ("Spare Parts") and famed peace negotiator Lord Carlisle, even briefly contemplating leaving The Doctor to work as Carlisle’s aide (Although Carlisle was killed after revealing that all his negotiations had been aided by The Doctor’s future self) ("The Game"). A particularly difficult meeting at this time occurred when The Doctor and Nyssa were briefly reunited with Adric in a pocket dimension that The Doctor had unintentionally created, with Adric - his mind warped after five centuries alone - attempting to force Nyssa to become his queen as he admitted that he had been in love with her, although he eventually made peace with The Doctor while helping them return home ("The Boy That Time Forgot").

When Tegan rejoined the TARDIS crew following The Doctor’s rematch with his old enemy Omega ("Arc of Infinity"), Nyssa was grateful to be reunited with her old friend, the two easily picking up their old friendship once more. However, this period proved more personally difficult for The Doctor’s companions than their previous time with him, with Nyssa and Tegan each being used as hosts by two of The Doctor’s old enemies - Tegan once again being used by the Mara ("Snakedance") while Nyssa was taken as a host by the Osirian Nepythys ("The Sands of Time") -, followed by Nyssa being transformed into a vampire by the renegade Time Lady Ruath ("Goth Opera"), although The Doctor was able to return them all to normal. Shortly after the arrival of new companion Turlough ("Mawdryn Undead"), the TARDIS was forced to automatically land on the ship Terminus, a plague ship used to house those infected with the fatal illness Lazars’ Disease. During their time on the ship, Nyssa was infected with the disease, but she recovered following exposure to the radiation that the Vanir who ran Terminus for an unidentified corporation used as a cure - although she later speculated that inoculations she had received from the Dar Traders, a race who brought themselves to the threshold of life and death ("The Darkening Eye"), may have contributed to her survival -, subsequently deciding to remain on Terminus to perfect the treatment on a large scale and help the Vanir turn Terminus into a true hospital while freeing from the corporation’s control (They were currently dependent on a drug from the corporation for their survival). Although she recognised that such a goal would be difficult, she felt that it was what she was meant to do, tearfully saying goodbye to Tegan and The Doctor.

Terminus
Terminus
After perfecting the cure for Lazars’ Disease, Nyssa began to travel in the hopes of using the knowledge she had gained with The Doctor to help others, turning her hand to microbiology, diplomacy and fund-raising as circumstances dictated, but after failing to prevent a holocaust on the planet Exxanos after spending time as a relief worker for a village surrounded by feuding warlords, she accepted a position as a university lecturer to escape the horror she had seen, becoming further jaded and depressed from the faculty politics and threat of war looming over her new home. It was only after a brief trip with the Fourth Doctor from before he met her - his attempts to isolate a historical anomaly regarding a change in the life of Roger Bacon led him to Nyssa, who had been writing a thesis about Bacon before history was altered, Nyssa sneaking into the TARDIS to travel to a simpler time while The Doctor was momentarily distracted - that she broke out of her depression, a close call where she was nearly killed by a man possessed by an alien intelligence helping her recognise that life was about change and turmoil ("Asylum").

Nyssa was briefly reunited with The Doctor when she was abducted along with previous companions Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom and Polly Wright ("The Five Companions"), and trapped in an alternative Death Zone ("The Five Doctors"), where they were caught up in a conflict between the Daleks and the Sontarans when The Doctor was forced to participate in the Game of Rassilon, although the various companions were able to come together and defeat The Doctor's foes. Years later, Nyssa - now married to a man called Lasarti with a daughter Neeka - made contact with the Fifth Doctor one last time, when, as he lay dying from spectrox toxaemia ("The Caves of Androzani"), The Doctor reached out across time and space to make telepathic contact with his old friends. Using a machine designed by Lasarti to experience dreams more clearly, Nyssa was able to make contact with The Doctor and encourage him to ‘find’ the Watcher in his subconscious by drawing on the strength of his past companions to complete the regeneration. Although Nyssa recognised that this would be her last meeting with The Doctor, she knew that he was still alive and out having adventures in the universe, Lasarti reflecting on how The Doctor was a legend and best friend all in one to those who travelled with him ("Circular Time: Winter").

Memorable Moment
 
Television Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Episodes
Television The Keeper of Traken The 4th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 18 4
Television Logopolis The 4th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 18 4
Television Castrovalva The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television Four to Doomsday The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television Kinda The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television The Visitation The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television Black Orchid The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 2
Television Earthshock The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television Time-Flight The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 19 4
Television Arc of Infinity The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 4
Television Snakedance The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 4
Television Mawdryn Undead The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 4
Television Terminus The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 4
Total Stories:   13 Total Episodes:   50
Other Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Source
Book Asylum The 4th Doctor   Season 18 The Past Doctors Stories
Book Cold Fusion The 5th Doctor and The 7th Doctor Adric, Tegan Jovanka, Roslyn Forrester and Chris Cwej Season 19 The Missing Adventures
Book The Immortals The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book First Born The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Divided Loyalties The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Past Doctors Stories
Book In the TARDIS: Christmas Day The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Hearts of Stone The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio The Star Men The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Contingency Club The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Zaltys The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Kingdom of Lies The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Ghost Walk The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Serpent in the Silver Mask The 5th Doctor Adric and Tegan Jovanka Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Darkening Eye The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Empire of Death The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Past Doctors Stories
Book Lonely Days The 5th Doctor   Season 19 Decalog 2 - Lost Property
Audio The Land of the Dead The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Past Reckoning The 5th Doctor   Season 19 Decalog 3: Consequences
Audio Winter for the Adept The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Mutant Phase The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Primeval The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book The Parliament of Rats The 5th Doctor   Season 19 Short Trips
Book The Eternity Contract The 5th Doctor   Season 19 More Short Trips
Audio Spare Parts The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Erato: Confabula The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio Creatures of Beauty The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio The Game The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Pride: The 57th The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Saturn The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book The Church of Saint Sebastian The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio Circular Time The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Renaissance of the Daleks The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Return to the Web Planet The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book God Send Me Well to Keep The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Tweaker The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio The Haunting of Thomas Brewster The 5th Doctor Thomas Brewster Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Boy That Time Forgot The 5th Doctor Adric Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Time Reef The 5th Doctor Thomas Brewster Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio A Perfect World The 5th Doctor Thomas Brewster Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Castle of Fear The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Eternal Summer The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Plague of the Daleks The 5th Doctor   Season 19 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book The Eight Doctors of Christmas
The 1st Doctor, The 2nd Doctor, The 3rd Doctor, The 4th Doctor, The 5th Doctor, The 6th Doctor, The 7th Doctor and The 8th Doctor 
Susan, Jamie, Zoe, The Brigadier, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Leela, K9, Adric, Tegan Jovanka, Turlough, 2nd Romana, Peri, Dr Grace Holloway and Chang Lee Season 19 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Fear of the Dark The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Past Doctors Stories
Book Lackaday Express The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 Decalog
Book Zeta Major The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Past Doctors Stories
Book The Sands of Time The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Missing Adventures
Book Soul Mate The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book No Exit The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Men of the Earth The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Big Finish Short Trips
Book Goth Opera The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Missing Adventures
Book Goths and Robbers The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka Season 20 The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio Cobwebs The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Whispering Forest The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Cradle of the Snake The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Heroes of Sontar The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Kiss of Death The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Rat Trap The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Emerald Tiger The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Jupiter Conjunction The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Butcher of Brisbane The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Eldrad Must Die! The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Lady of Mercia The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Prisoners of Fate The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Mistfall The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Equilibrium The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Entropy Plague The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka and Turlough Season 20 The Big Finish Audio Stories
Book Curiosity The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Short Trips
Audio The Demons of Red Lodge The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Entropy Composition The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Doing Time The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Special Features The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Five Companions The 5th Doctor Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom and Polly
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio 1001 Nights The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Moonflesh The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Tomb Ship The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Masquerade The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Deep The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Alien Heart The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Dalek Soul The 5th Doctor  
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Elite The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Hexagora The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Children of Seth The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Waters of Amsterdam The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio Aquitaine The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Audio The Peterloo Massacre The 5th Doctor Tegan Jovanka
-
The Big Finish Audio Stories
Total Stories:   88
 
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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