Peri Brown

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Doctor Who character
Peri Brown.jpg
Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown
Affiliated Fifth Doctor
Sixth Doctor
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Home era 1984
First appearance Planet of Fire
Last appearance The Trial of a Time Lord: Mindwarp
"Dimensions in Time" (charity special)
Portrayed by Nicola Bryant

Peri Brown, full name Perpugilliam Brown, is a fictional character played by Nicola Bryant in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who.

An American college student (her passport lists her residence as Pasadena, California) majoring in botany, Peri is a companion of the Fifth and Sixth Doctors and a regular in the programme from 1984 to 1986. Peri appeared in 11 stories (33 Episodes).

Character history[edit]

She first appears in the Fifth Doctor serial Planet of Fire, in which she encounters the Doctor and Turlough on the island of Lanzarote. After an encounter with the Master and the shapechanging android Kamelion (who disguises himself as her stepfather, Professor Howard Foster), Peri asks to join the Fifth Doctor on his travels, while Turlough departs to return to his home planet of Trion. (The identity of Peri's mother is not revealed in the televised series, but see below.)

As they are both suffering from spectrox poisoning on Androzani, the Fifth Doctor decides to give what antidote remains to Peri, sacrificing himself to save her. As she looks on, he regenerates into the Sixth Doctor at the end of The Caves of Androzani and she continues to travel with him, despite the fact that one of the first things the temporarily unstable Sixth Doctor does is try to strangle her (The Twin Dilemma).

Peri is a bright, spirited young woman in her early twenties, who travels with the Doctor because, like many of his companions, she wants to see the universe. Although she shares a more abrasive relationship with the Sixth Doctor, there is an undercurrent of affection in their verbal sparring.

Peri travels with the Doctor for an undisclosed period of time; some sources say she travels with him for mere months, while others say years. Between the events of Revelation of the Daleks and the season-long story The Trial of a Time Lord, the character is shown to have matured somewhat (coinciding with an 18-month production break between the two stories) and her relationship with the Doctor becomes less combative.

In the second segment of the Trial story arc, Mindwarp, Peri is abducted by an arthropod-like creature named Kiv, who apparently transplants his brain into her body. Soon after, the Doctor is led to believe that Peri is dead, and is severely distressed by this. It is later revealed at the end of The Ultimate Foe (the fourth segment of the arc) that the evidence of Peri's death was faked by the Valeyard. Peri has, in fact, survived, presumably recovered from Kiv's transplant (if it ever actually occurred), and married King Yrcanos of Thoros Alpha, a warrior king who had assisted the Doctor and Peri during the Mindwarp incident. It is not known what happens to Peri after she marries Yrcanos.

Peri was one of the more controversial companions, with some critics complaining about the motivation for adding a character who spent much of her time on screen wearing revealing outfits. Series producer John Nathan-Turner admitted that Peri was created to add sex appeal to the series. Similar criticisms had been levelled against the character of Leela nearly a decade earlier. Beginning with the story Timelash, and continuing through the Trial season, Peri's mode of dress became more conservative.

Nationality[edit]

Though Peri Brown was the first American character to travel with the Doctor, she was played by British actress Nicola Bryant. Bryant's affected accent slips slightly on occasion (and "wanders" from one side of the U.S. to the other in various serials) and she sometimes uses words of British usage rather than American, such as "lift" instead of "elevator" (she discusses this on the commentary for Attack of the Cybermen, stating that she was told that using American words would confuse the audience). According to the Planet of Fire DVD commentary, actress Nicola Bryant was told to continue using her American accent between takes and during public appearances to cover up the fact that she was not actually American.

Other appearances[edit]

Peri Brown has the distinction of being the first humanoid television companion to appear in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip (previously the strip, which began in 1979, depicted the Doctor either travelling alone or with companions created for the strip, while the robotic television companion K9 was featured in several DWM comic strips featuring the Fourth Doctor). Her first appearance is in "Funhouse Part 1" (DWM #102) in which she appears in two panels as a scantily clad apparition manifested by a villain. Two issues later, in "Kane's Story Part 1" (DWM #104), she becomes a regular character in the strip, initially travelling with both the Sixth Doctor and his shape-shifting companion, Frobisher and continuing until the final part of "Up Above the Gods" in DWM #129. "Kane's Story" establishes that Peri at one point during her travels with the Sixth Doctor leaves the TARDIS for reasons left unrevealed and goes to live in New York City where she takes a job in an office, a job she angrily quits for reasons also unrevealed just prior to encountering the Doctor again and voluntarily rejoining him.

The epilogue to the Target Books novelisation of Mindwarp by Philip Martin states that Peri returns to the 20th Century with Yrcanos where the latter becomes a professional wrestler. This tongue-in-cheek conclusion is not reflected in any televised story, and is generally ignored by fandom.

In the Marvel Comics graphic novel The Age of Chaos, written by Colin Baker, Peri lives out her life on Krontep as Yrcanos's Queen and has at least three grandchildren, who are principal characters in the story.

The Virgin New Adventures novel Bad Therapy by Matthew Jones reveals that, although becoming Yrcanos's Queen, Peri blames the Doctor for abandoning her. In the novel, the Seventh Doctor makes peace with Peri after she finds her way back to Earth through a temporal rift on Krontep, and returns her to her time.

The Telos novella Shell Shock by Simon A. Forward reveals that Peri had been sexually abused by her stepfather. This is hinted at in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Synthespians™ by Craig Hinton, which also reveals that her parents were Janine and Paul Brown, and that her father died in a boating accident when she was thirteen. She has two step-siblings from her mother's marriage to Foster.

Bryant voiced the character of Peri in several audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions, alongside both Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. In several of these stories, the Fifth Doctor and Peri are joined by another companion, the Egyptian princess Erimem.

In the audio play Her Final Flight, the Sixth Doctor finds Peri on a remote planet, where she apparently dies of a virus, although it is revealed that the entire story was part of a fantasy designed to make The Doctor kill himself.

One audio play, The Reaping, introduces Peri's mother, Janine Foster, played by American actress Claudia Christian (although in reality, Christian is three years younger than Nicola Bryant). The play, set in 1984, confirms Peri's late father's name as Paul and mentions that Howard and Janine Foster have gone their separate ways, but does not mention Peri's step-siblings. Janine is killed at the end of the play due to an accident involving Cyber-technology, cutting Peri's last familial tie to Earth.

Another audio play, Peri and the Piscon Paradox, states that the Time Lords made several adjustments to her time line, resulting in at least five alternate versions of Peri with different fates, including one that thought she never travelled in the TARDIS but instead moved to California and eventually hosted a talk show called The Queen of Worries.

The canonicity of these other appearances, like all Doctor Who spin-off media, is unclear.

Future show runner Steven Moffat mentions an unnamed "Warrior Queen on Thoros Beta" in his 1996 short story, "Continuity Errors".

Bryant played the role of "Miss Brown" in the first three installments of the BBV video series The Stranger, opposite Colin Baker as the Stranger; although the character is never explicitly identified as being Peri (much as the Stranger was never directly linked to the Doctor) there are nonetheless similarities in the two characters, with one major difference: Bryant uses her natural English accent for Miss Brown rather than affecting an American one as she did with Peri.

List of appearances[edit]

Television[edit]

Season 21
Season 22
Season 23
30th Anniversary Charity Special

Audio dramas[edit]

BBC Radio
Big Finish Productions
Fifth Doctor
Sixth Doctor

Short Trips audios[edit]

  • Seven to One (Sixth Doctor)
  • Wet Walls (Fifth Doctor)
  • Murmurs of Earth (Sixth Doctor)
  • To Cut a Blade of Grass (Sixth Doctor)

Novels[edit]

Make Your Own Adventure
Virgin Missing Adventures
Virgin New Adventures
Past Doctor Adventures
Telos Doctor Who novellas

Short stories[edit]

Comics[edit]

  • "Kane's Story" / "Abel's Story" / "The Warrior's Story" / "Frobisher's Story" by Max Stockbridge and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 104–107
  • "Exodus" / "Revelation" / "Genesis" by Alan McKenzie and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 108–110)
  • "Nature of the Beast" by Simon Furman and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 111–113)
  • "Time Bomb" by Jamie Delano and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 114–116)
  • "Salad Daze" by Simon Furman and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 117)
  • "Changes" by Grant Morrison and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine" 118–119)
  • "Profits of Doom" by Mike Collins, John Ridgway and Tim Perkins (Doctor Who Magazine 120–122)
  • "The Gift" by Jamie Delano, John Ridgway and Tim Perkins (Doctor Who Magazine 123–126)
  • "The World Shapers" by Grant Morrison, John Ridgway and Tim Perkins (Doctor Who Magazine 127–129)
  • "Emperor of the Daleks" by Paul Cornell, John Freeman and John Ridgway (Doctor Who Magazine 197; cameo)
  • "The Curse of the Scarab" by Alan Barnes and Martin Geraghty (Doctor Who Magazine 228–230)
  • "Ground Zero" by Scott Gray, Martin Geraghty and Bambos Georgiou (Doctor Who Magazine 238–242)

External links[edit]