Portrayed by: Katy Manning
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
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Tenure: 15 stories, from Terror of the Autons (Jan, 1971) to The Green Death (1973)
Background: Jo is a young woman brought in by the Brigadier to replace Liz Shaw as the Doctor’s assistant. Her uncle, who has ties to UNIT through the United Nations, is also partially responsible for her assignment. Initially the Doctor is displeased with her appointment and skeptical of her abilities, but eventually her skill set proves to be incredibly valuable, despite being decidedly different from her predecessor’s.
Family/Friends: We hear briefly of Jo’s uncle, but never actually meet him and the rest of Jo’s family don’t come up during her time on the show. During most of her tenure, however, the Doctor is grounded by the Time Lords and unable to fly his TARDIS, causing him and Jo to investigate Earth-based mysteries with a recurring cast of characters (Sgt. Benton, Capt. Yates) who form a pseudo-family.
Personality: Jo is very kind, friendly, and a bit daffy. She is inquisitive and determined, made of sterner stuff than she may appear at first glance. A fierce supporter of environmental and social causes, Jo is very aware of the plight of the downtrodden and works tirelessly to combat injustice. She’s also extremely loyal and strong-willed, able to repeatedly defeat the Master’s attempts to control her mind after failing to do so in their first encounter.
Special Skills: Jo’s escapology course comes in handy quite frequently (picking locks, loosing bonds, etc.), as does her will power
Best Story: The Daemons is atmospheric and fun and The Green Death, along with being an early foray into social storytelling, features some of the most squicky villain design the show’s ever come upon with- giant wriggling maggots
Worst Story: The Mutants is rather unfortunate, despite some interesting makeup and character design
Highlights of tenure: Foiling the Master’s numerous attempts at mind control, much to his frustration, being wooed in The Curse of Peladon, and exploring her new world after being miniscoped in Carnival of Monsters
Lowlights of tenure: Jo may escape a lot, but that’s because she spends a lot of time being captured. Plus her space-case demeanor can be grating, particularly coming immediately after the too-short run of the practical and scientific Liz.
“Of all the idiotic plans. As if blowing things up solves anything.” The Daemons
“You know, Doctor, you’re quite the most infuriating man I’ve ever met.” The Time Monster