Doctor Who Companion Profile: Vicki

First Doctor Companion Vicki, played by Maureen O'BrienVicki

Portrayed By: Maureen O’Brien

Doctor(s): First Doctor

Tenure: 9 Stories (38 episodes), from The Rescue (Jan, 1965) to The Myth Makers (Nov, 1965)

Background: We first encounter Vicki as a survivor of a spaceship crash on the planet Dido. The Doctor, still reeling from the departure of his granddaughter Susan, rescues Vicki and invites her to travel with him. Vicki becomes like a new granddaughter to The Doctor and the two develop a very close relationship. Coming from the future, Vicki eventually falls in love on Earth in the past and decides to remain there.

Personality: In contrast to the flat, lifeless (and occasionally incredibly angsty) Susan, Vicki is chipper, bright-eyed, and adventurous. She is also very clearly aimed at attracting the youth of mid-1960s Britain, and so is very mod in her style and sensibilities.

Special Skills: Besides charm and a smile? Vicki is actually incredibly resourceful and quick to take charge of a situation. She is also decidedly rebellious and suspicious of authority, just like any right-thinking child of the ‘60s… I mean the future…

Best Story: The Space Museum is the first episode of the series to really play around with what has sense become known as the “timey-wimey” stuff. Though most of the neat structural innovations are contained to the first episode (which has The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki showing up on a planet where no one can see or hear them only to find themselves displayed in glass cases in the titular gallery), the whole serial is a great showcase for Vicki, who ends up leading a revolution by the end of the episode.

Worst Story: Galaxy 4 is weird enough to be interesting, but a lot of its oddities feel like the fun trippiness of The Web Planet with all the edges sanded off. It’s not a terrible story, but it is rather forgettable.

Highlights of tenure: Vicki develops a great interplay with The Doctor, Ian, and Barbara. These four become a family unit in a way the cast never really did with Susan around and the run that centers on them is an early highlight for the series. For Vicki personally, in her short time on the TARDIS she leads a revolution, meets the Daleks and a second Time Lord (though The Monk, as he is called, is never technically identified as such, since the term didn’t exist at that point), and falls in love during the Trojan War.

Lowlights of tenure: Getting left behind in a haunted house during what is surely the weirdest episode of The Chase, an accomplishment considering that is one of the oddest and most surreal stories in the early years of the series.

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