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Adam Mitchell (Doctor Who)

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Adam Mitchell
Doctor Who character
Adam Mitchell (Doctor Who).jpg
First appearance "Dalek"
Last appearance "The Long Game"
Portrayed by Bruno Langley
Information
Affiliated Ninth Doctor
Home era Early 21st Century

Adam Mitchell is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, played by Bruno Langley. Adam is introduced in the first series of the programme's revival as the second television companion of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston). However, unlike the Ninth Doctor's primary companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), who provided an effective human contrast to the Doctor's centuries-old alien, Adam was created to provide an example of an inept time traveller.

The character is introduced as a boy genius from the year 2012 who attracts the attention of the Doctor's traveling companion Rose after she and the Doctor meet him in his place of work. Despite Rose's willingness to accept Adam as a fellow traveller, the Doctor is skeptical. After Adam attempts to use information from the future for his own gain he throws Adam out of his time machine, the TARDIS. This was the first example of the Doctor forcing a companion to leave because of negative behaviour.

Adam was created during executive producer Russell T Davies original pitch to the BBC as part of his plans to revive Doctor Who for the channel. Though established early in the series' planning, Adam was always intended to be a short-term character. Though reviewers generally reacted negatively to the character, Adam's role as a foil to the stock companion figure has been praised alongside the moral lessons of his departure.

Appearances[edit]

Adam first appears in the first series episode "Dalek" (2005) as a young researcher under the employ of Henry van Statten (Corey Johnson), who is the owner of a museum of extraterrestrial artefacts in an underground bunker in Utah. Adam mentions that he is a genius, having successfully hacked into the United States Department of Defense computers when he was eight years old. He quickly forms a mutual attraction with the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and informs her of his desire to see the stars. When a live Dalek manages to break free and slaughter its way through the base, Adam finds himself fleeing along with Rose. At the end of the episode, when van Statten's museum is closed down, Rose asks the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) to take Adam along with them in the TARDIS. The Doctor is reluctant, but Rose convinces him to let Adam follow them into the TARDIS.[1]

In the following episode, "The Long Game", the Doctor, Rose, and Adam arrive on a space station in the year 200,000, and Adam is overwhelmed by culture shock. Tempted by the wealth of information and technology available to him, he has an advanced computer interface port, activated by a click of the fingers, installed in his head that allows him to access the future's computer system. He attempts to transmit information back to 21st century Earth using Rose's modified mobile phone, but this backfires when the villains running the station attempt to extract information on the Doctor directly from Adam's brain. As punishment of Adam's breach of trust, the Doctor returns him home, despite his pleading, and destroys his answering machine. When Adam's mother (Judy Holt) returns home, she reacts with shock and horror after inadvertently activating the implant installed in his forehead.[2]

In the 2013 comic book series Prisoners of Time, released to celebrate the 50th anniversary, Adam is the main antagonist. After his mother dies he acquires a Vortex Manipulator and plans to kidnap the Doctor's companions for revenge due to the Doctor preventing him from acquiring technology that could have saved her,[3] tracking down all eleven Doctors and abducting their companions at various points in their lives. At the end of the story, Adam is revealed to have allied himself with a past version of the Master as the two confront the Eleventh Doctor, Adam offering to spare one companion of the Doctor's choice while killing the others.[4] However, the Doctor turns the tables on Adam by summoning his past selves to aid him, as well as arranging for Frobisher to be captured while posing as Peri,[5] allowing him to escape captivity and sabotage Adam's equipment. When the Master reveals his true goal of channeling chronal energy through the TARDIS to destroy the universe, Adam is given a unique chance at redemption as he sacrifices himself to destroy the Master's equipment. In his last moments, he is reconciled with the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors and fellow companion Rose Tyler and acknowledged as a "true companion" on his gravestone, receiving posthumous validation by the eleven Doctors and his fellow companions.[6]

Mitchell will appear in The Ninth Doctor Chronicles in May 2017. [7]

Conceptual history[edit]

Executive producer Russell T Davies (pictured) created Adam specifically to be an inept companion.

The character of Adam Mitchell was first conceived, along with Henry van Statten, during Russell T Davies' 2003 pitch to the BBC, in a story heavily based on Robert Shearman's audio play Jubilee, which would later form the base for the episode "Dalek". It was always the intention of the production team for Adam to join the TARDIS after Rose developed a liking for him. To play this role Langley was chosen, mostly because of his role on Coronation Street as Todd Grimshaw.[8] He had auditioned for the role on the same day as doing publicity for his leaving storyline in Coronation Street. Reacting to his casting Langley, remarked that "I couldn't have asked for a better next role because Doctor Who is another great institution." Langley describes Adam as "a bit nerdy" and states of his character's attraction to Rose that "she's a very pretty girl and Adam hasn't seen any girls for a long time."[9]

Since 1963, the perennial companion figure in Doctor Who generally serves to remind the Doctor of his "moral duty".[10] However, Adam was never meant to be a long-term companion. In the behind-the-scenes book Doctor Who: The Inside Story Davies explains that he "always wanted to do a show with someone who was a rubbish companion" and dubs Adam "the companion that couldn't".[8] In an episode of Doctor Who Confidential he characterised Adam as "a little bit ambitious and "a little bit too clever for his own good."[11] Langley added that the character ends up "on the wrong side of the tracks" because he likes "meddling with things" and that "him thinking he's a genius gets him into bother".[12] Explaining Adam's downfall, Davies states that he "doesn't realize he's out for his own good until he's put in a situation of temptation, where knowledge, information and power are put in front of him." Davies felt that Adam's story provided "a chance to see someone starting on that path" before the Doctor cuts his ambitions short.[11]

Originally, there were several aspects of the character that were cut before appearing on screen: in early drafts, he was the son of Henry van Statten.[13] In the DVD commentary for "The Long Game" director Brian Grant and actor Bruno Langley discuss Adam's scripted motive of bringing future medical knowledge back home to cure his father, who was suffering from ill health, though this motive did not remain in the final episode.[14] To promote the character during the week "The Long Game" was first broadcast, the in-universe tie-in website "Who is Doctor Who?" announced that "14 year-old Adam Mitchell from Nottingham" had won a competition arranged by van Statten the previous week. Adam's winning essay on "Why I Want To Meet An Alien" mentions a desire to acquire advanced knowledge from them with the explanation "I don't think it's cheating, really. It's just a shortcut".[15]

Reception[edit]

Dek Hogan of Digital Spy reacted negatively to Adam's introduction in "Dalek" stating he "didn’t really see the point of Todd Grimshaw out of Corrie popping up." He suggested it would have been more entertaining had the episode featured Langley's screen mother from Coronation Street instead.[16] Ian Hyland of the Sunday Mirror also disliked Adam's introduction, describing "the introduction of a puppy-love sequence between Rose and a cute English boy" as "very, very irritating".[17] SFX Magazine commented on the similarity between Adam's introduction to the future and that of Rose in "The End of the World" stating "it was clearly a deliberate parallel on Russell's part, as part of his scheme to contrast and compare the reactions of Rose and Adam". Their website reviewer observed that Adam's "comedy faint" marked him out as an unsuitable traveller.[18] Marc Edward DiPaulo of the University of Oklahoma notes that Adam's role in "The Long Game" is to provide satire on the media and to function as "a condemnation of those who cannot stop immersing themselves in television, the Internet, iPods, and other nonstop broadcasters of what the Doctor calls "useless information.""[19] Fraser McAlpine, reviewing Adam's appearances as companion for BBC America's Anglophenia blog describes him as a "craven meddler" and a "social climber". By virtue of his failures, Adam becomes "the companion that proves the worth of all of the other companions".[20]

"Adam was always designed as a “Companion who couldn't”, and although he's not the most memorable character, the pay-off to his sheer ineptitude is more than worthy of mention."

—Den of Geek on the character of Adam.[21]

In their book Who is the Doctor, Graeme Burk and Robert Smith described Adam in "Dalek" as "somewhat annoying".[22] Burk referred to him in "The Long Game" as "arrogant and narcissistic", which made Rose appear shallow for insisting he travel with them, but felt that Langley did "a superb job" conveying the character's flaws.[23] He stated that it was "a shame" that the backstory of Adam's motivations were cut from the script, as it would have made his character more believable.[24] The two found a logical flaw in the Doctor's decision to drop Adam off, as it was a possibility that someone could get their hands on the future technology.[25] Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern gave a positive overview of Adam, describing the character as "bumptious yet likeable" and his departure as "literary precision". He commented that Adam "adds an interesting dynamic, subtly different" from Mickey Smith and Captain Jack Harkness, who also worked with Rose and the Ninth Doctor. Instead of threatening the Doctor and Rose's relationship, Adam "serves to strengthen it".[26] In 2010 Mark Harrison of Den of Geek listed the character's exit from the TARDIS as the tenth greatest companion farewell scene stating that it was "great to get a glimpse of the Doctor outright booting someone out." He felt that the character "struck out in spectacular fashion" by attempting to steal future technology and that his eventual fate was an example of poetic justice.[21] Charlie Jane Anders also praised the concept of Adam's story arc positioning his departure as the seventh most depressing exit from a companion in Doctor Who's history. She felt that to have "a companion who flunks out" was one of Davies' "cleverest ideas" as executive producer of the series and that Adam's human flaws made him relatable.[27] In 2010 readers of the Radio Times voted Adam the 45th most popular companion, out of forty-eight viable options.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Writer Rob Shearman, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson (30 April 2005). "Dalek". Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 6. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One. 
  2. ^ Writer Russell T. Davies, Director Brian Grant, Producer Phil Collinson (7 May 2005). "The Long Game". Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 7. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One. 
  3. ^ Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #9
  4. ^ Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #11
  5. ^ Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #6
  6. ^ Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #12
  7. ^ https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-ninth-doctor-chronicles-1628
  8. ^ a b Russell, Gary (2006). Doctor Who: The Inside Story. BBC Books. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-563-48649-7. 
  9. ^ "Interview with Bruno Langley" (Press release). BBC. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Doctor Who (before the Tardis)". BBC News. BBC. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "The Dark Side". Doctor Who Confidential. Series 1. Episode 7. 7 May 2005. BBC. BBC Three. 
  12. ^ Fysh, Eloise (30 April 2005). "A date with the Daleks; From being chased by a Dalek to flirting with Billie Piper Bruno Langley tells Eloise Fysh about his role on Dr Who". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  13. ^ Berriman, Ian (17 November 2005). "Doctor Who Commentary Facts!". SFX Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Christine Adams, Brian Grant, Bruno Langley (2005). Commentary for Doctor Who episode "The Long Game" (DVD (Region 2)). United Kingdom: BBC. 
  15. ^ "Competition winner". BBC Who is Doctor Who? website. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Hogan, Dek (1 May 2005). "Daleks Conquer and Destroy". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  17. ^ Hyland, Ian (1 May 2005). "Ian Hyland: Staired Witless". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Doctor Who: The Long Game". SFX. 7 May 2005. Archived from the original on May 27, 2006. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  19. ^ DiPaulo, Marc Edward (2010). "Political Satire and British-American Relations in Five Decades of Doctor Who". The Journal of Popular Culture. Wiley Periodicals. 43 (5). ISSN 0022-3840. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5931.2010.00782.x. 
  20. ^ McAlpine, Fraser (16 December 2011). "A Companion To The Doctor’s Companions: Adam Mitchell". BBC America. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Harrison, Mark (20 September 2011). "Doctor Who: 10 great companion farewell scenes". Den of Geek. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Burk and Smith? p. 25
  23. ^ Burk and Smith? p. 33
  24. ^ Burk and Smith? p. 34
  25. ^ Burk and Smith? p. 32
  26. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (11 March 2013). "Doctor Who: The Long Game". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  27. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (28 September 2012). "10 Most Depressing Departures of Doctor Who’s Companions". io9. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Jones, Paul (16 November 2010). "Billie Piper's Rose Tyler voted the best Doctor Who companion". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Burk, Graeme; Smith?, Robert (6 March 2012). "Series 1". Who Is the Doctor: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who-The New Series (1st ed.). ECW Press. pp. 3–62. ISBN 1550229842. 

External links[edit]