In Praise of Adric.

TV And so my anniversary watch through all of Doctor Who nearly reaches the end of the fourth Doctor era. Tomorrow, Logopolis. Today, The Keeper of Traken and a real surprise. Even having seen the story a few times before in relative isolation, on VHS, as part of that transitional dvd boxed set, what I hadn't noticed is just how incorrect one of the series great reputation misnomers actually is.

Reputationally, Adric as played by Matthew Waterhouse is a terrible, terrible character, and in truth some way into the Davison era he does fulfill that criteria, especially when he's turning against his team mates and acting like a smart arse.

But early on, when twinned with the Fourth Doctor, he's actually really rather good and more importantly, Waterhouse isn't awful and against expectations and despite the supposed problems off screen, has some really quite useful chemistry with Tom.

The relationship is one of tutor and student, a return in some respects to the Leela years, but the Doctor knows that Adric is something of a genius and actively engages him and asks for his second opinion and not always because he knows the answer himself. On a couple of occasions, for example in relation to the source (you'll have to watch the story to understand what that means), Adric provides some useful inspiration.

I know!  I know!  Imagine my surprise given how Adric's become a byword for how not to do a companion and the key element in the argument against then producer John Nathan Turner, at least terms of what was on screen.

Since Adric's more of a guest character in Full Circle, barely meets Tom in State of Decay and spends most of Warrior's Gate wandering the void or getting up Lalla, sorry, Romana's nose, his only real stories with Fourth of Traken and Logopolis.

In such situations, the spin-off materials from the wilderness years and onwards usually flowed in desperate to create new stories.  As I've discussed during Who 50, that certainly happened for the Fifth Doctor and Peri, whose own on screen collaboration similarly only lasted about a story and a half.

There are a few E-Space set Companion Chronicles from Big Finish with Romana II & K9 also on board, but presumably because of his reputation and for reasons of commerciality and writers being interested in producing material to fill the gap between Traken and Logopolis, there's practically nothing that's been officially licensed.  A contemporary annual containing five short stories and a short trip.  No Virgin Missing Adventures, no BBC Past Doctor novels.  Even Dodo's had more appearances.

Now that Big Finish have revealed Waterhouse's participation in some Fifth Doctor stories, now that everyone's older and wiser, what do you think are the chances that he and Tom will gather again for a season of stories?  Or that a well known author will look at what's missing and decide to write one of those BBC eBooks.  Come on Jenny Colgan, you know you want to...

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