- Melanie Bush
name=Melanie "Mel" Bush
Sixth Doctor Seventh Doctor
The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids
Melanie "Mel" Bush is a fictional character played by
Bonnie Langfordin the long-running British science fiction television series " Doctor Who". A computer programmer from the 20th Century who is a companion of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors, she is a regular in the programme from 1986 to 1987. Her last name of Bush is never mentioned on screen, but is stated in promotional and production literature.
Fictional character biography
Mel first appears in the serial "
Terror of the Vervoids", part of the 14-part story " The Trial of a Time Lord". At this point, she and the Sixth Doctor have been travelling together for some time. The events of "Vervoids" are shown as part of a Matrix projection of future events being shown to the Sixth Doctor, so from his point of view, he is seeing an adventure he will have with Mel even before he meets her in his own timeline. At the end of "Trial", the Sixth Doctor leaves with this future Mel, presumably to drop her off somewhere, meet her past self for the first time (from her point of view), and then carry on from there.
Mel is at present the only one of the Doctor's companions (not counting the special case of his granddaughter, Susan) never to have her actual first adventure with the Doctor chronicled on screen. In his book "Doctor Who: The Companions" (Piccadilly Press, 1986 ISBN 0-946826-62-5), series producer
John Nathan-Turnerindicated his intent to chronicle this adventure in Season 24, which would have followed "Trial of a Time Lord". However, the subsequent departure of lead actor Colin Bakerprior to production of the new season made this impossible.
Mel is a computer programmer from the 20th century who comes from the village of
Pease Pottagein West Sussex, England. She has an eidetic memory, and a cheery, almost perky personality. She greets most situations with a warm smile and good humour, and was an optimist whose views extend to believing the best of people's natures, but can also scream with the best of them. She is a health enthusiast and a vegetarian, often encouraging the slightly portly Sixth Doctor to exercise more. She is present (albeit unconscious at the time) when the Sixth Doctor regenerates into his seventh incarnation, and continues to travel with him.
In the serial "
Dragonfire", she decides to stay on Iceworld with the galactic confidence trickster, Sabalom Glitz, leaving the Seventh Doctor to travel on with his new companion, Ace.
Appearances in other media
novelisationof " The Ultimate Foe" includes a scene in which the Sixth Doctor returns Mel to his future self at the point she was taken from, with the Virgin Missing Adventuresnovel "Time of Your Life" stating this was during an adventure on the planet Oxyveguramosa. The actual story in which the Sixth Doctor meets Mel for the first time was never shown in the programme, although the Past Doctor Adventures" Business Unusual", by Gary Russell, covers this, and establishes that she comes from 1989. The novel "Spiral Scratch", also by Russell, reveals that Mel's middle name is Jane and that she was born on 22 July 1964(Langford's actual birthday).
Mel's history after she leaves the Seventh Doctor is not explored in the series. However, some of the spin-off novels and short stories add to her history. In the
Virgin New Adventuresnovel "Head Games" by Steve Lyons, it is revealed that Glitz tired of Mel and left her on the decrepit leisure world Avalone. Mel was left here for months until she was finally saved by Jason and the fictional Dr Who. It is revealed that her decision to leave the Doctor was actually due to psychic persuasion on the Doctor's part, so he can go on to become the darker and more manipulative Time's Champion. Mel confronts the Seventh Doctor over this, and at the end of the novel he returns her to 20th Century Earthand Pease Pottage (the short story "Business as Usual" by Gary Russell, published in the anthology "More Short Trips").
In "Heritage" by Dale Smith, it is revealed that at some point Mel travels in time and space again, ending up on the planet Heritage, where she dies in the 61st Century. However, this story takes place during a story arc where enemies of the Doctor are attempting to eliminate his companions from the timeline, so Mel's fate in "Heritage" may be part of an alternate destiny that vanishes once those enemies are defeated.
Bonnie Langford played Mel once again in the 1993 charity special, "
Dimensions in Time", and has voiced the character in a series of audio plays from Big Finish Productions, alongside Colin Bakerand Sylvester McCoyas the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. Langford has also voiced an alternative, more cynical version of Mel in the "Doctor Who Unbound" play " He Jests at Scars...".
The canonicity of non-television stories is unclear.
List of appearances
Terror of the Vervoids"
The Ultimate Foe";Season 24
Time and the Rani"
Delta and the Bannermen"
Dragonfire";30th anniversary special
Dimensions in Time
The One Doctor"
*"Thicker than Water"
The Wishing Beast & The Vanity Box"
The Fires of Vulcan"
He Jests at Scars..." ("Doctor Who Unbound" series, outside of regular "Doctor Who" continuity)
Virgin New Adventures
*"Head Games" by Steve Lyons
*"Just War by
Lance Parkin; Virgin Missing Adventures
Millennial Rites" by Craig Hinton; Past Doctor Adventures
Business Unusual" by Gary Russell
The Quantum Archangel" by Craig Hinton
Instruments of Darkness" by Gary Russell
*"Heritage" by Dale Smith
*"Spiral Scratch" by Gary Russell
*"Brief Encounter: A Wee Deoch an..?" by
Colin Baker(" Doctor Who MagazineWinter Special 1991")
*"Fegovy" by Gareth Roberts ("")
*"The Man Who Wouldn’t Give Up" by
*"Mortal Thoughts" by
*"Sold Out" by
*"The Invertebrates of Doom" by Andrew Collins ("")
*"Daisy Chain" by
Xanna Eve Chown("")
*"Special Weapons" by Paul Leonard ("More Short Trips")
*"The Eyes Have It" by Colin Harvey ("")
*"24 Crawford Street" by
*"Dr Cadabra" by Trevor Baxendale ("Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas")
*"Driftwood" by Dale Smith ("")
*"Plastic Millennium" by Gareth Roberts and
Martin Geraghty("Doctor Who Winter Special 1994")
* [http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Melanie_Bush Melanie Bush] at [http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/ "The TARDIS Index File" website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/companions/page30.shtml Melanie Bush on the BBC's "Doctor Who" website]
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