Susan Foreman

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"Susan Campbell" redirects here. For the chairman of UK Sport, see Sue Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Loughborough.
Doctor Who character
Susan Foreman.jpg
Susan Foreman
Susan Foreman
Affiliated First Doctor
Species Time Lord
Home planet Gallifrey
First appearance An Unearthly Child
Last appearance The Dalek Invasion of Earth (regular)
Dimensions in Time (charity special)
Portrayed by Carole Ann Ford
Roberta Tovey (film Susan)
Jane Asher (audio play)

Susan Foreman is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The granddaughter and original companion of the First Doctor, she was played by actress Carole Ann Ford from 1963 to 1964, in the show's first season and the first two stories of the second season. Ford reprised the role for the feature-length 20th anniversary episode The Five Doctors (1983) and the 30th anniversary charity special Dimensions in Time (1993). Susan appeared in 10 stories (51 episodes).



Susan is introduced in the first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child (1963), with the first episode focusing on her as an unusual teenager with an advanced knowledge of history and science. This catches the attention of her teachers at Coal Hill School, Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), who follow her home to a junkyard. It is revealed that she and her grandfather, the Doctor (William Hartnell), are exiles from their own people in "another time, another world" and have been travelling through space and time in a machine she named the TARDIS from the acronym "Time and Relative Dimension in Space". As Ian and Barbara have gained this knowledge, the Doctor whisks them away on the TARDIS against their will, and he cannot accurately fly the machine.[1] Through the run of the series, it is learned the Doctor, aided by Susan, stole the TARDIS.

Susan continued to travel with the Doctor and her two teachers until the 1964 serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth. During the events of that story, Susan falls in love with David Campbell, a young freedom fighter in the 22nd century. However, Susan feels that she has to stay with and take care of her grandfather. The Doctor, realising that Susan is now a grown woman and deserves a future away from him, locks her out of the TARDIS and leaves after a tearful farewell.[2] Ford reprised the role of Susan on television in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (1983), but no mention of David, or what became of him, was made on screen. In the novelisation of the same story, they are still married, while she struggles to age herself by applying make-up.[3] Ford also reprised her role for the 1993 charity special "Dimensions in Time".

In The Curse of Fenric (1989), the Seventh Doctor states that he does not know if he has any family, which may indicate uncertainty of Susan's whereabouts.[4] In 2005's "The End of the World" the Ninth Doctor states that his home world has been destroyed and that he is the last of the Time Lords.[5] Although Susan is not mentioned by name, the Doctor says in "Father's Day" (2005) that his "whole family" died,[6] and in "The Empty Child" Doctor Constantine remarks he has been a father and grandfather, but now he is neither, and the Ninth Doctor replies "I know the feeling."[7] In the 2006 episode "Fear Her" the Tenth Doctor states nonchalantly "I was a Dad once", but does not elaborate on this revelation.[8] In the 2013 episode "The Rings of Akhaten", the Eleventh Doctor mentions that he travelled with his granddaughter to the planet Akhaten.[9] The 2013 episode "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" contains audio from the scene in An Unearthly Child where Susan explains how she named the TARDIS.[10] A brief glimpse of Susan, played by an unidentified body double, is seen in the opening scene of "The Name of the Doctor", which depicts the Doctor and Susan leaving Gallifrey in a TARDIS.[original research?]

Other media[edit]

Susan's character has been expounded upon in spin-off media. In 1983, Doctor Who's then-script editor Eric Saward wrote a short story dealing with the Doctor's departure from Gallifrey for the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special. This story, "Birth of a Renegade", depicts Susan as a descendant of Time Lord founder Rassilon and the last surviving member of Gallifrey's royal family, unrelated to the Doctor. A later script editor, Andrew Cartmel, had another explanation of Susan's origins. This account, part of the "Cartmel Masterplan", was not used in the programme, but was used as background for several of the Virgin New Adventures novels, most notably Lungbarrow by Marc Platt. In this version, Susan is the granddaughter of the mysterious Gallifreyan founder known as the Other, who may have been reincarnated as the Doctor. The Doctor had travelled back to the dawn of Time Lord civilisation and rescued Susan, who recognised him as her grandfather. The Doctor did not initially recognise her, but knew that this was somehow true.

The character has also appeared in several licensed novels. She makes a cameo appearance in the New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire and stars in the Virgin Missing Adventures novel The Sorcerer's Apprentice. She appears in three Past Doctor Adventures novels set within her time on the television programme, The Witch Hunters, City at World's End, and The Time Travellers. The latter gives an explanation for why the Doctor left Susan. During the events of that novel, the Doctor becomes involved in the British Army's time travel experiments, which risk him being noticed by the Time Lords. He then resolves to begin looking for a place where Susan can be safe and content so that if he is ever apprehended by their people, she will still be free. Susan reappears in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Legacy of the Daleks by John Peel, which takes place after the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. At the end of that novel, Susan comes into possession of the Master's TARDIS after he tries to capture her, and is once again able to roam time and space. In the Telos novella Frayed, which takes place prior to the serial An Unearthly Child, Susan's name was given to her from a young girl in a besieged human medical facility on another planet, after the girl's mother. The Telos novella Time and Relative takes place just prior to An Unearthly Child and involves Susan and several of her classmates from Coal Hill School trying to survive an alien invasion of Earth by a race of ice beings called the Cold and at the same time convince the Doctor to stop the attack.

Susan also appears, played by Ford, in the Companion Chronicles audio drama series from Big Finish.[11] Quinnis takes place before the television series, when the Doctor and Susan were traveling alone.[12] In the Big Finish bonus release An Earthly Child, Susan is reunited with the Doctor in his eighth incarnation (Paul McGann), and has a son named Alex (Jake McGann). She subsequently appears in the Eighth Doctor Adventures in Relative Dimensions[12] and Lucie Miller / To the Death. Ford also played an alternate version of Susan in Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound audio plays Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels, in which Susan has become President of Gallifrey. In the Doctor Who Unbound play Exile, an alternative Doctor, whose latest regeneration was female (played by Arabella Weir), settles on Earth in 2003 using the identity and 1963 school records of Susan Foreman.

In addition, the spin-off film adaptions Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966) have a version of Susan, portrayed by Roberta Tovey and much younger than the television version. The film Doctor (named "Dr Who") is a human inventor, so one may infer this Susan is also human. Rather than being her teacher, Barbara is her older sister.

On 9 July 1994, BBC Radio 4 broadcast Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman?, a humorous investigation into Susan's background. Susan was portrayed by Jane Asher. In the 2013 BBC drama An Adventure in Space and Time, which told the story of the first three years of the show, Claudia Grant played Carole Ann Ford.

Conception and development[edit]

Susan was the first ever on-screen companion of the Doctor, though actress Carole Ann Ford felt that the relationship was different than later characters who had been branded as "companions" because she was also the Doctor's granddaughter.[12] The original outline for the series did not intend the pair to be related, but writer Anthony Coburn created the family tie. According to founding producer Verity Lambert, "Coburn felt there was something not quite proper about an old man travelling around the galaxy with a young girl for a companion."[13] The unaired pilot gave a different and more specific background to Susan and the Doctor, with their dialogue explaining that they came from the "forty-ninth century".[14] Ford recalled that she was told Susan would be "an Avengers-type girl – with all the kapow of that – plus she would have telepathic powers. She was going to be able to "fly the TARDIS" as well as her grandfather and have the most extraordinary wardrobe".[15] However, none of this happened as the character was decided to become more of an "ordinary" teenager[15] which would give younger viewers an identification figure.[16]

Ford stated that little background information on Susan's character or history was provided to her by the production team, and so to inform her performance, she would often discuss and invent ideas about Susan with co-star William Hartnell.[17] They established that Susan had "done something to annoy the other Time Lords" which caused her and the Doctor's exile.[15] Ford also points out that suggestions that Susan was not the Doctor's natural granddaughter were only first put forward in the 1990s.[17] However, in 2013 she revealed that the producers had initially insisted that Susan not refer to the Doctor as her grandfather in The Five Doctors special. Ford recalled, "They said, 'We don't really want people to perceive him as having had sex with someone, to father a child.' I just screamed with hysterical laughter and said, 'In that case, I'm not doing it.'" The script was changed to include mentions of the characters' relationship.[15]

Media historian James Chapman wrote that the way Susan was written made her limited, because "she was required to fill the role of the 'screamer' and often had little to do beyond looking pretty and frightened".[16] Ford was similarly displeased with her character, sometimes finding her "pathetic"[18] and frustrating because she was not allowed to develop.[12] In addition, Ford found the series too repetitive.[15] Susan became the first companion to leave the programme, after just 51 episodes.[14] Ford felt that Susan was allowed to develop more in the Big Finish audio dramas.[12]


  1. ^ An Unearthly Child. Doctor Who. 1963-11-23–1963-12-14. BBC. 
  2. ^ The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Doctor Who. 1964-11-21–1964-12-26. BBC. BBC1. 
  3. ^ The Five Doctors. Doctor Who. 1983-11-23. BBC. BBC1. 
  4. ^ The Curse of Fenric. Doctor Who. 1989-10-25–1989-11-15. BBC. BBC1. 
  5. ^ Writer Russell T Davies, Director Euros Lyn, Producer Phil Collinson (2005-04-02). "The End of the World". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One. 
  6. ^ Writer Paul Cornell, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson (2005-05-14). "Father's Day". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One. 
  7. ^ Writer Steven Moffat, Director James Hawes, Producer Phil Collinson (2005-05-21). "The Empty Child". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One. 
  8. ^ Writer Matthew Graham, Director Euros Lyn, Producer Phil Collinson (2006-06-24). "Fear Her". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC. 
  9. ^ Edwards, Richard (6 April 2013). "Doctor Who 7.07 "The Rings of Akhaten" Review". SFX. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Debnath, Neela (27 April 2013). "Review of Doctor Who ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’ – Series 7, episode 10". Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Doctor Who — The Companion Chronicles — Susan". Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Cook, Benjamin (December 2010). "Who on Earth is...Carole Ann Ford". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) (429). 
  13. ^ "Verity Lambert (1980's)". Dr Who Interviews. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Chapman, p. 24
  15. ^ a b c d e Moreton, Cole (7 April 2013). "'Doctor Who? It destroyed my acting career'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Chapman, p. 23
  17. ^ a b Ford, Carole Ann, Verity Lambert, William Russell (30 January 2006). Audio Commentary for An Unearthly Child (DVD). The Beginning Boxset: BBC Worldwide. 
  18. ^ Cusick, Raymond, Carole Ann Ford, John Gorrie, William Russell (21 September 2009). Audio Commentary for The Keys of Marinus (DVD). The Keys of Marinus DVD: BBC Worldwide. 


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