Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Problem with Peri

The other week I did a little post on Peri, and it got me thinking about the problems surrounding the characters departure from the series. In the original TV series Trial of a Time Lord, they left us a little confused about events, firstly killing off Peri, and then at the end of the series giving us a last minute "oh by the way she's not dead, but got married to King Yrcanos" happy ending. Yeah like, as if. I stopped watching the original TV show after they served up that crap.

[Photocredit shillpages]

I watched a few old documentaries online recently with interviews with JNT, the Who producer, and Eric Saward, the script editor, at the time of TOTL. We find out that the ending we watched was a JNT cobbled together bag of shite, and that the original plot, as envisaged by writer Robert Holmes, who sadly died, and then subsequently developed by Sarward, was withdrawn when Sarward resigned, following disagrements with JNT over the story. What we have therefore, is a miss-translation of the actual story, and sadly until Sarward's laywers fall asleep, we will have to wait for the details of the 'original' story.

Perhaps Peri did die, as we were shown in Mindwarp. But I wondered what, if any thing, had been done with Peri in spin-off media, such as the Big Finish audio dramas and New Adventures books.

My first port of call was to check the Companion Chronicles published by Big Finish. Now I've got a few of these, but I haven't really got into any of them, so am undecided on their merits. However we are in for more of these, as I see BF have a long list of titles to be published. But surprise surprise, no Peri. Now BF have used Peri, voiced by Nicola Bryant, in their main series of stories, but these slot in within the existing timeline for the character whilst travelling with the Doctor (I think, again I haven't listened to them, although I like the BF dramas, I just haven't got to these yet).

But I did find a New Adventure story, Bad Therapy, where the seventh Doctor finds Peri, now Queen Gilliam, twenty-five years later and blaming the Doctor for leaving her on Kron'tep. She gives him a nice slap, but happily they make up and he takes her home to the latter days of the 20th century. Well that's good then, but not exactly what I was hoping for.

Apparently there is another story which gives us information on Peri, The Age of Chaos, a graphic novel featuring the sixth Doctor and actually written by Colin Baker (news to me!), where we find out the Doctor visited Peri's descendants on Kron'tep.

Now all this raises the question of canonnity of spin off Who stories, such as the New Adventures, or Big Finish dramas. I'm more tempted to see Big Finish as canonish, but not New Adventures, but then I've never read any. So for me Audio dramas yes, but books no. And graphic novels, well, perhaps not this one.

So nothing really of merit... surely it's a loose end for BF to pick up in their Companion Chronicles? I've got a little idea of a story of my own, but the big question is what to do with poor Peri at the end... perhap's I'll kill her off!

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