Doctor Who Companion Profile: Adric

Matthew Waterhouse as Doctor Who Companion Adric

Matthew Waterhouse as Doctor Who Companion AdricAdric

Portrayed by: Matthew Waterhouse

Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor

Tenure: 11 stories, from Full Circle (Oct, 1980) to Earthshock (March, 1982)

Background: Adric is a child genius, with a focus in math, from the 32nd century. Though he looks outwardly human, he’s actually Alzarian, or from Alzarius, a planet in E-Space (a parallel dimension). After working with the Doctor and Romana to help the Alzarians take to the stars, Adric stows away aboard the TARDIS and joins them on their adventures.

Family/Friends: Adric has an older brother, Varsh, from whom he seeks acceptance. Varsh and some of his friends have left the starliner that is the Alzarian’s home, seeking a new way of life, and though he tries to impress them, Adric is not allowed into the group. During the events of Full Circle, Varsh dies, leaving Adric without any family and prompting him to join the Doctor and Romana. Adric is enormously affected by Varsh’s death and this is one of the earliest Companion tragedies explored in the series. Though previous Companions had mentioned their families from time to time, Adric is the first example of the show remembering and referencing an important familial relationship throughout the Companion’s run.

Personality: Adric is intelligent and inventive, and he’s very aware of this. He can be pompous, competitive, and brash, but he’s also insecure and self-conscious. Having joined up with the Doctor after losing his only family, he’s somewhat possessive of him, particularly after Romana’s departure, leading to some tension between Adric and Nyssa and Tegan, when they come aboard. Adric is much closer with the Fourth Doctor than the Fifth, with whom he frequently bickers, perhaps because they’re more similar in personality. He’s brave, frequently putting himself in danger to help the Doctor, and he’s incredibly inquisitive and curious, unwilling to put down a puzzle until he solves it. These two traits eventually lead to his death, as he takes it upon himself to prevent a freighter locked by logic codes from crashing into the Earth. The controls are destroyed just as he’s entering the final code, leaving him trapped in the doomed-to-crash ship. His final words, said as he holds his brother’s sash, are, “Now I’ll never know if I was right.”

Special Skills: Intelligence, creativity, bravery, mental strength (he manages to overpower the Master’s mind control)

Best Stories: State of Decay lets Adric shine and highlights his relationship with the Doctor and Romana and his death in Earthshock is incredibly powerful

Worst Story: Black Orchid is a welcome return of the true (rather than quasi-) historical as a format for the show, but there’s not enough story to sustain even its mere two episode runtime.

Highlights of tenure: Rapport with the Doctor and Romana in the E-Space trilogy, outwitting the Master even while under his control in Castrovalva

Lowlights of tenure: His bickering with the Doctor and the rest of the TARDIS team gets pretty old and Adric suffers pretty significantly from Boy Genius syndrome- these characters almost never work (the prototypical character may be Wesley on Star Trek: the Next Generation).

Other notes: As well as being one of only two Companions in the entire series (the other being Katarina) to die, Adric is one of only a few Companions to successfully fly the TARDIS. His death hangs over the rest of the Fifth Doctor’s tenure, deeply affecting him as well as the rest of his TARDIS team, Nyssa and Tegan.

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