Bonnie Langford had a couple of stipulations for Big Finish before agreeing to play Sixth and Seventh Doctor companion, Mel Bush, again in Doctor Who audio adventures.
Langford, whose first Doctor Who was The Trial of a Time Lord opposite Colin Baker’s incarnation of the Time Lord, recalled what she asked of Big Finish:
“No screaming, and please can we build her character a bit… We were at a fan convention, and one of the other companions said to me, ‘But you know the companions are two-dimensional, don’t you?’ I was constantly seeking a more substantial role. [Mel] just said ‘But Doctor’ and screamed.”
Indeed, she did have a powerful scream, something which actually changed in pitch to lead into the theme tune of Terror of the Vervoids. I thought it was cool at least…
Anyway, these conditions are especially interesting now, with Bonnie confirmed as returning as Mel Bush in Doctor Who Series 14, this time opposite the Fifteenth Doctor — she’s already been seen filming with Ncuti Gatwa for the season finale!
Big Finish has built her character considerably; then again, I always liked Mel. She was spirited and fun, and given a particularly tough time by contemporary viewers.
So presumably, these conditions still stand for Series 14. We can’t see showrunner, Russell T Davies, writing her as anything less than brilliant — no way he’d bring back a classic companion, played by one of the top actresses in the business, and, in the vernacular of our age, “do her dirty”.
We expect to see Mel firing on all cylinders. And we can’t wait.