John and Gillian
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|John and Gillian|
|Doctor Who character|
John and Gillian, a young brother and sister, are characters in the TV Comic strip based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The stories featuring them were drawn first by Neville Main, then by Bill Mevin and finally by John Canning. They first appeared in the story The Klepton Parasites (issues 674 to 683). They began by looking for their grandfather, the Doctor, in a junkyard. This paralleled the events of the television series' first episode "An Unearthly Child", although in the strip, the junkyard was at No. 16 instead of No. 76.
The Doctor did not appear to have met them prior to their first appearance, but they were aware of him as being an "inventor or something" and he identified them as soon as they entered the TARDIS, saying, "You must be John and Gillian..." This lack of surprise on his part indicated his awareness of the possibility of them turning up at some point. During their visit, John playfully touched a control button and transported them to the 30th century, where they helped the peaceful Thains to defeat a race of alien invaders, the Kleptons. At the end of the tale it seemed that the Doctor was about to make an attempt to return his grandchildren to the 20th century, but this was not taken up in the second story, which commenced with a crash-landing for the three on an asteroid and went on to tell of their involvement in the quest for a moss with medicinal qualities.
John and Gillian travelled with the Doctor for many adventures and fought against many enemies, including the villainous "Great Ixa", the space pirate Captain Anastas Thrax, the ant-like Zarbi (from the televised story The Web Planet), the spherical Gyros robots and even the Pied Piper in what amounted to a sequel to Robert Browning's famous poem. A later story introduced the Trods, cone-shaped robotic creatures that ran on static electricity, created for the strip by artist John Canning as surrogate Daleks, since the latter could not at that time be used as Terry Nation had sold the rights to the Doctor's arch-enemies elsewhere; namely, City Publications' TV Century 21. After TV21's comic strip The Daleks came to an end, Polystyle Publications obtained the rights, and the Daleks swept onto the front cover of issue 788 of TV Comic in the first instalment of The Trodos Ambush, in which they massacred the Trods.
John and Gillian, who now appeared to be teenagers, remained with the Doctor for many more comic strip adventures until the first part of Invasion of the Quarks (issues 872 to 876), when the Doctor enrolled them in the galactic university on the planet Zebadee. This was their last appearance in the TV Comic strip.
In the Virgin New Adventures novel Head Games by Steve Lyons, which took place in the Land of Fiction from The Mind Robber, the new Master of the Land of Fiction creates versions of John, Gillian, and Dr. Who, to use against the real Doctor and his companions Ace and Benny Summerfield.
John and Gillian — or rather John Brent and Gillian Roberts — appeared in the novella Time and Relative by Kim Newman, featuring the Doctor and Susan, and taking place in 1963, some six months before the events of "An Unearthly Child". This John and Gillian were friends of Susan's, attending the Coal Hill School with her. Aside from the coincidence in names (an obvious homage), there is no resemblance between them and the John and Gillian of the TV Comic strips.
The original John and Gillian appeared in a comic strip story in Doctor Who Magazine issue 337. In the story, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the television series and drawn in the style of the TV Comic strips, the Doctor (in his then current guise of the Eighth Doctor) and his grandchildren shared a light-hearted adventure on the planet Darbodia. It is revealed at the end of the strip that the whole adventure was just a dream of the Eighth Doctor and he wakes up, with the artwork returning to the usual modern art style of the comic strips.