Bernice Summerfield

Bernice Summerfield


name=Bernice Summerfield
affiliation=Seventh Doctor Eighth Doctor St. Oscar's University, Dellah
The Braxiatel Collection
era=26th century
start= Love and War
finish= Ongoing
portrayed=Lisa Bowerman (voice)

Bernice Surprise Summerfield (later Professor Bernice Summerfield or just Benny) is a fictional character originally created by author Paul Cornell as a new companion of the Seventh Doctor in Virgin Publishing's range of original full-length "Doctor Who" novels, the "New Adventures". The "New Adventures" were fully-licensed novels carrying on from where the "Doctor Who" television series had left off, and Summerfield was introduced in Cornell's novel "Love and War" in 1992.

Bernice Summerfield history

A 26th century archeologist, Summerfield became a hugely popular character amongst fans of the books, and was present right up until their end in 1997. She officially stopped travelling with the Doctor in "Happy Endings" but returned a few times thereafter, including the last Virgin New Adventure, "The Dying Days". That year, Virgin had lost the licence to publish "Doctor Who" fiction, which was not renewed by the BBC. However, range editors Peter Darvill-Evans and Rebecca Levene decided to continue the series with Summerfield as the new lead and without the "Doctor Who" name, the Doctor or any other BBC copyright characters featuring.

These Bernice-led "New Adventures" continued until 1999, when the Virgin fiction department closed down. The previous year, however, audio production company Big Finish Productions begun issuing full-cast, officially licensed professional audio dramas starring the character on CD, and they continue to do so. The character is played in all Big Finish's productions by actress Lisa Bowerman. After they gained the license to produce "Doctor Who" audio dramas in 1999, Big Finish twice featured Bernice in "Doctor Who" stories set during the run of the "New Adventures" novels.

As of 2008, Big Finish are still regularly producing Bernice Summerfield audio dramas and the company has also published various novels and short story collections featuring the character.

Bernice also appeared in several comic strips in "Doctor Who Magazine", with Virgin and the magazine co-operating on her visual depiction. This depiction, which was also applied to novel cover art, was of a slim, statuesque with short dark hair, usually shown wearing a catsuit or some similar outfit. Over time, the character's appearance has been modified and among recent changes include a longer hairstyle.

Bernice Summerfield books

Doctor Who - The New Adventures

*"Love and War"
*"The Highest Science"
*"The Pit"
*"Lucifer Rising"
*"White Darkness"
*"Blood Heat"
*"The Dimension Riders"
*"The Left-Handed Hummingbird"
*"No Future"
*"Tragedy Day"
*"Theatre of War"
*"All-Consuming Fire"
*"Blood Harvest"
*"Strange England"
*"First Frontier"
*"St Anthony's Fire"
*"Falls the Shadow"
*"Set Piece"
*"Infinite Requiem"
*"Human Nature"
*"Original Sin"
*"Sky Pirates!"
*"Toy Soldiers"
*"Head Games"
*"The Also People"
*"Just War"
*"Death and Diplomacy"
*"Happy Endings"
*"Return of the Living Dad"
*"Eternity Weeps"
*"The Dying Days"

The Doctor first meets Benny in "Love and War" - she is a 30 year old archaeologist. She was born in 2540 and is the daughter of Admiral Isaac Douglas Summerfield - a high ranking Spacefleet officer. Her mother, Claire Summerfield, died when Daleks attacked their homeworld of Beta Caprisis, an Earth colony. She has not seen her father for many years and has spent much of her life searching for him.

At times she falsely claims to have a degree from Heidelberg University. She published an archaeological book called "Down Among the Dead Men" in the year 2566.

"Theatre of War" features the first encounter between Bernice and Irving Braxiatel (from her perspective). He later becomes a regular character in the Bernice Summerfield-only New Adventures.

In "Sanctuary" Bernice falls in love with Guy de Carnac, a former Knight Templar. Unfortunately he is killed later in the novel.

In "Death and Diplomacy" she meets her future husband Jason Kane, who she marries in the very next novel, "Happy Endings". "Happy Endings" is set on the occasion of Bernice's wedding to Jason Kane. Bernice leaves the TARDIS after this novel having been given Time Rings by the Doctor, but she appears in certain subsequent "Doctor Who" novels.

In "Return of the Living Dad", Bernice finally resolves the mystery of what happened to her father.

Virgin had long considered a non-"Doctor Who" spin-off series, but plans were moved forwards when they lost the license from the BBC. A number of preparations were made for the transition to Bernice-led New Adventures (see below). As Virgin felt Bernice would make a better lead as a single woman, her marriage to Jason Kane was split up. Thus, she appears again in "Eternity Weeps", a novel which describes the breakdown of her marriage and is also focused on her more than the Doctor as a prototype for the Doctor-free novels to come. Likewise, the last New Adventure, "The Dying Days", is again focused on Bernice more than the Doctor, with the Doctor absent from a substantial portion of the book. "The Dying Days" also features an ambiguous epilogue which can be taken to imply that the Doctor and Bernice have sex.

This same epilogue also has the Doctor indicating that Benny is his longest-serving companion, although exactly how long she travelled with the Doctor has never been firmly established.

hort Trips

Bernice also appears in a number of "Doctor Who" short stories set during her travels with the Doctor.

*"Virgin Lands" by Sarah Groenewegen ("")
*"Of the Mermaid and Jupiter" by Ian Mond & Danny Heap ("")
*"Cold War" by Rebecca Levene ("")
*"...Be Forgot" by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright ("")
*"Too Rich for My Blood" by Rebecca Levene ("")
*"How You Get There" by Simon Guerrier ("")
*"Larkspur" by Mark Stevens ("")

The New Adventures

*"Oh No It Isn't!"
*"Dragons' Wrath"
*"Beyond the Sun"
*"Ship of Fools"
*"Ghost Devices"
*"Mean Streets"
*"Walking to Babylon"
*"The Medusa Effect"
*"Dry Pilgrimage"
*"The Sword of Forever"
*"Another Girl, Another Planet"
*"Beige Planet Mars"
*"Where Angels Fear"
*"The Mary-Sue Extrusion"
*"Dead Romance" ("Bernice Summerfield does not appear")
*"Tears of the Oracle"
*"Return to the Fractured Planet"
*"The Joy Device"
*"Twilight of the Gods"

Originally published monthly, the New Adventures went bimonthly after "The Sword of Forever".

The New Adventures continued with Bernice generally in the leading role. "Oh No It Isn't!" provides the set-up for subsequent stories, with Bernice becoming Professor of Archaeology at St Oscar's University on the planet Dellah. She has now put her failed marriage to Jason Kane behind her. "Oh No It Isn't!" also re-introduces the People, a highly advanced alien race from the "Doctor Who" New Adventures. In "Ghost Devices", we meet Clarence (named after the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life"). Clarence appears in the form of an angel, but is an artificial intelligence from the People who is eventually (in "Tears of the Oracle") revealed to be a character from "The Also People". In "Dragons' Wrath", Bernice meets Irving Braxiatel for the first time (from his perspective). "Beyond the Sun" introduces another recurring character, Emile Mars-Smith. Emile, Clarence and the People appear in a number of subsequent New Adventures, while Braxiatel appears in both further New Adventures and Benny stories from Big Finish.

"Where Angels Fear" starts the Gods arc, a loose overarching story that finishes in "Twilight of the Gods". Along the way, Dellah is destroyed and Bernice is uprooted and loses her memory. "Twilight of the Gods" finishes with a new set-up for subsequent stories involving Bernice, Emile and others, but this was not used as Virgin stopped publishing the series.

As well as continuing the New Adventures after losing the "Doctor Who" license, Virgin also continued with their "Decalog" series. These had been "Doctor Who" short story anthologies, but "" featured a Benny short story ("The Judgement of Solomon") by Lawrence Miles alongside other shorts not set in the New Adventures continuity.

Big Finish paperback novels

*"The Doomsday Manuscript"
*"The Gods of the Underworld"
*"The Squire's Crystal"
*"The Infernal Nexus"
*"The Glass Prison"

Big Finish licensed the character of Bernice Summerfield from Paul Cornell, Irving Braxiatel from Justin Richards and Jason Kane from Dave Stone, but other elements of the Virgin New Adventures' fictional universe were not obtained. Instead, Gary Russell, Jac Rayner and Cornell developed a new background and character ensemble, introduced in the anthology "The Dead Men Diaries" and developed in the initial run of paperbacks.

The most notable development in Big Finish's paperback novels was Bernice's pregnancy and the birth of her son in "The Glass Prison".

The paperback novels proved uneconomic and Big Finish stopped publishing them, subsequently re-launching their Benny books in hardback with the anthology "A Life of Surprises".

Big Finish hardcover novels

*"The Big Hunt"
*"The Tree of Life"
*"Genius Loci"
*"The Two Jasons"
*"Terra Incognita" — originally announced in 2007, this novel remains unpublished save for an extract in "Missing Adventures"

Big Finish novellas

*"A Life In Pieces" — a collection of three novellas in one book
*"Parallel Lives" — a collection of three novellas in one book
*"Old Friends" — a collection of three novellas in one book
*"Nobody's Children" — a collection of three novellas in one book
*"The Vampire Curse" — a collection of three novellas in one book

Big Finish anthologies

*"The Dead Men Diaries"
*"A Life of Surprises"
*"Life During Wartime"
*"A Life Worth Living"
*"Something Changed"
*"Collected Works"
*"Missing Adventures"

Bernice Summerfield audio plays

eason 1

Whereas the previous seasons had focused primarily on the character of Bernice Summerfield, Big Finish used the third season as an opportunity to introduce an ensemble feel to the productions. This is most evident in "The Green-Eyed Monsters" and "The Mirror Effect" where the characters Jason Kane, Adrian Wall and Irving Braxiatel are significantly developed. The latter, in particular, suggests that Braxiatel has a darker, more mysterious past than the audience has previously been led to believe.

The other two plays that comprise the third season focus more specifically on Bernice. "The Greatest Shop in the Galaxy" remains the most light-hearted play of the season, while "The Dance of the Dead" reintroduces the Ice Warriors from "Doctor Who".

While not officially part of the third season (at least as far as the numbering is concerned), the Bernice Summerfield audio play "The Plague Herds of Excelis" (the fourth play in Big Finish's "Excelis" series; the first three plays fall under the "Doctor Who" umbrella) takes place between "The Green-Eyed Monsters" and "The Dance of the Dead". Chronologically, the short story anthology "A Life of Surprises" also falls within this gap.

eason 4

By the end of "The Crystal of Cantus", the true dark and manipulative nature of Braxiatel was revealed and he left the Collection. Its future is now uncertain, with the Draconians claiming they own the planetoid it is based on.

eason 7


Both "The Shadow of the Scourge" and "The Dark Flame" were part of Big Finish's ongoing "Doctor Who" line. Based in the continuity of the Virgin New Adventures, both feature Lisa Bowerman as Bernice alongside Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. "The Plague Herds of Excelis" was the epilogue to the three part Excelis cycle of "Doctor Who" audios, and features Iris Wildthyme, a recurring character in the "Doctor Who" BBC novels and Big Finish audio plays. "Silver Lining" was an exclusive audio drama featuring the Cybermen that came free with "Doctor Who Magazine" issue 351.

ee also

*"Doctor Who" spin-offs
*List of Bernice Summerfield characters

External links

* [ Big Finish Productions - Benny Summerfield]

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