We meet Polly when she’s out at the Inferno nightclub, where she meets Ben, a sailor who’s shipping out the next day. They become embroiled in the Doctor’s battle against WOTAN when he comes looking for Dodo at Inferno and at the end of the story, they end up entering the TARDIS just before it takes off, becoming Companions. Polly is a contemporary young woman who is very fashionable and, for the time, independent.
As a love letter to the creation of Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss’ An Adventure in Space and Time gets a lot right. It’s faithful, it features excellent performances, and it is appropriately wistful about a series that has become an institution. Unfortunately, by adhering so closely to this notion of fond remembrances, the film limits its potential, becoming little more than a curiosity for interested Whovians. Doctor Who, which just celebrated the 50th anniversary of its debut, is a television phenomenon, arguably more popular now than when it burst onto the scene in 1963 with its incredibly popular second story, The Daleks. Given Who’s less-than-smooth journey from concept to broadcast and the many colorful people involved with its creation, a TV movie exploring the series’ beginnings makes narrative and commercial sense, particularly during its Golden Jubilee year. An Adventure in Space and Time delivers on this promise, showing the genesis of the characters and Who’s now famous title sequence, sound effects and music, and set design. For those uninterested in how a bobbin and some punched out cardboard gave viewers the TARDIS, however, there’s only so much to hold on to.
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.
Ben is a Cockney sailor set to ship out with the Royal Navy when he meets Polly and, later that night, the Doctor at a club. Ben is a contemporary young man, designed to pair with Polly and follow on from Ian and Steven as the Male Action Hero of the series, given the First Doctor’s advanced age and failing health.
Katarina is a servant girl from Troy who is tasked with spying on Vicki when the Doctor and his Companions wind up there during the Trojan War. She befriends Vicki and ends up caring for the injured Steven, helping the Doctor carry him into the TARDIS, which convinces her the Doctor is Zeus. At the end of her first story, Katarina joins the Doctor and Steven aboard the TARDIS, though it will not be for long.
Sara Kingdom is the dedicated, powerful, top agent for the Space Security Service, working under the traitorous Gaurdian of the Solar System Mavic Chen, when she meets the Doctor. Initially an antagonist, Sara discovers Chen’s treachery and switches allegiances, working with the Doctor to bring down him and his allies, the Daleks.
Steven is a human from the 23rd century who has been stranded on the planet Mechanus for two years when the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki stumble across him while fleeing the Daleks and the Mechanoids. Rather than being invited aboard the TARDIS, Steven stows away, but he quickly becomes part of the TARDIS team, picking up the slack for the just-departed Ian in the Male Action Hero role.
Barbara Wright is a history teacher at the Coal Hill School alongside Ian Chesterton. We are introduced to her in the series’ pilot episode as the teacher of Susan Foreman, who is soon revealed to be The Doctor’s granddaughter. Perplexed by Susan’s strange behavior, Ian and Barbara follow her back to her home in a junkyard, where they see her enter a mysterious police box. They follow her in, only to discover the TARDIS, the time machine that serves as a home to Susan and The Doctor. Though they promise to keep the secret, the paranoid Doctor refuses to let them leave and instead whisks them off through space and time.
Susan is introduced as a British teenager who doesn’t particularly fit in with her peers at Cole Hill School. We discover in the pilot that she’s actually an alien (the Time Lords aren’t named until the end of the Second Doctor’s run) who lives with her grandfather in a dump, in what looks to be a police box but is actually the TARDIS, a space-time ship. She loves England of the ‘60s and wants to stay for a while, but when her teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright follow her to the TARDIS and discover who she and The Doctor really are, the Doctor takes off in the TARDIS, kidnapping Ian and Barbara and kicking off the series.
We know very little about Dodo when she literally wanders into the TARDIS right before it takes off, thinking it’s a police box. We do find out her grandfather is French, letting viewers hope that potential Companion Anne Chaplet from The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve survived the slaughter of the Huguenots. Dodo, short for Dorothea, is a British teen from 1966, making her contemporary for when her stories aired.
Ian Chesterton is a science teacher at the Coal Hill School alongside Barbara Wright. We are introduced to him in the series’ pilot episode as the teacher of Susan Foreman, who is soon revealed to be The Doctor’s granddaughter. Perplexed by Susan’s strange behavior, Ian and Barbara follow her back to her home in a junkyard, where they see her enter a mysterious police box. They follow her in, only to discover the TARDIS, the time machine that serves as a home to Susan and The Doctor. Though they promise to keep the secret, the paranoid Doctor refuses to let them leave and instead whisks them off through space and time.