Melanie Bush

Melanie Bush


name=Melanie "Mel" Bush
affiliation=Sixth Doctor Seventh Doctor
series=Doctor Who
era=20th century
start= The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids
finish= Dragonfire
portrayed=Bonnie Langford

Melanie "Mel" Bush is a fictional character played by Bonnie Langford in 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-Turner indicated 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 Baker prior 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 Pottage in 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

The novelisation of "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 Adventures novel "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 Adventures novel "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 Earth and 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 Baker and Sylvester McCoy as 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


;Season 23
*"Terror of the Vervoids"
*"The Ultimate Foe";Season 24
*"Time and the Rani"
*"Paradise Towers"
*"Delta and the Bannermen"
*"Dragonfire";30th anniversary special
*"Dimensions in Time

Audio dramas

*"The One Doctor"
*"The Juggernauts"
*"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

hort stories

*"Brief Encounter: A Wee Deoch an..?" by Colin Baker ("Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1991")
*"Fegovy" by Gareth Roberts ("")
*"The Man Who Wouldn’t Give Up" by Nev Fountain ("")
*"Mortal Thoughts" by Trevor Baxendale ("")
*"Sold Out" by Danny Oz ("")
*"The Invertebrates of Doom" by Andrew Collins ("")
*"Daisy Chain" by Xanna Eve Chown ("")
*"Uranus" by Craig Hinton ("")
*"Special Weapons" by Paul Leonard ("More Short Trips")
*"The Eyes Have It" by Colin Harvey ("")
*"24 Crawford Street" by Ian Farrington ("")
*"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")

External links

* [ Melanie Bush] at [ "The TARDIS Index File" website]
* [ Melanie Bush on the BBC's "Doctor Who" website]

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