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Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

Barbara Wright
Also known as:
Race: Human
Home Planet: Earth
Home Era: 1963
Appearances: Full List of Appearances
Actor: Jacqueline Hill

Barbara Wright (later Barbara Chesterton) was one of the earliest companions to travel with the Doctor. Before meeting the Doctor, Barbara was a History Teacher at Coal Hill School, in 1960s London.

Contents

Profile

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Biography

Travels with the Doctor

Barbara first got involved with the Doctor's life through his granddaughter, Susan. Like her colleague, Ian Chesterton, Barbara taught at Coal Hill School in Shoreditch, London, Ian teaching science classes and Barbara history. (DW: An Unearthly Child) She had a particular interest in the Aztecs. (DW: The Aztecs) The strange gaps in Susan's knowledge and her curious ability to know what she could not have known intrigued her. Ian and Barbara decided to follow Susan home to 76 Totter's Lane when they discovered the Doctor's TARDIS and the Doctor, who abducted them. (DW: An Unearthly Child)

Although Barbara accepted the seemingly impossible more easily than Ian, her first inclination was to try to rationalize things. She felt that there must be an explanation for the TARDIS, and that it was an illusion Susan and her grandfather had created in their loneliness and isolation. However, Barbara was practical and realistic. Once she had realized that Susan, and the Doctor, have told the truth about the TARDIS she accepted it fully.

Barbara was an instinctive person, and her combination of practicality and intuition made her the ideal mediator, not only in the alien worlds and times, but also within the TARDIS. Many arguments between the Doctor and Ian were smoothed by Barbara's intervention. Her intuition didn't fail her when the travellers arrived on Skaro. She felt uncomfortable, and wanted to return to the safety of the TARDIS. When the Daleks captured her, she knew that her fears were reasonable. (DW: The Daleks)

Barbara's strong beliefs, and acceptance of truth, made her a formidable character. When she believed in something, she stood up for it. This was most notable when the travellers arrived in Mexico during the time of Aztecs.. Her interest in history allowed her to see the good and the evil in the Aztec society, and her belief that they could be a truly good people led her to become determined to change the course of history when the Conquistadors arrived. Barbara learnt that history cannot be changed, and was disappointed, but she had the strength of character to live with this. Her idealism was admirable, as she wished to preserve all that is good and honourable, whilst driving out the horrors and ignorance of human sacrifice. (DW: The Aztecs)

The strength of character Barbara showed when accepting the fate of the Aztecs allowed her to survive some of the discomforts she faced on her travels. While on Vortis, Barbara survived working for the Zarbi (DW: The Web Planet), and although she was captured and tortured by a Saracen band led by El Akir, she had the strength of mind to survive. (DW: The Crusade)

Passionate about history, Barbara could see both sides to a story. When the travellers arrived in revolutionary France she befriended Léon Colbert. When he died, she was distraught, and defended his treachery. (DW: The Reign of Terror) Barbara believed in the innate goodness of people, and saw that sometimes there is more to a situation than meets the eye. Her knowledge of history also prepared the travellers for the possible hardships they would encounter when they landed in Rome. She warned Ian, once they had been captured to be sold as slaves, just how badly Roman slaves were treated. (DW: The Romans)

Barbara and Susan became confidantes, and perhaps because she missed Susan once she has left the TARDIS, Barbara immediately took to Vicki, who they met and helped on the planet Dido. When Barbara accidentally killed Vicki's pet, she was distraught. Despite how well Barbara and Vicki got along, Barbara was not amused when Vicki says that she must be "about five hundred and fifty years old", as she came from 1963. (DW: The Rescue)

Perhaps Barbara's most treasured keepsake from her travels was the gold bracelet which she was given by Nero. (DW: The Chase)

But her happiest moment was when she realized that she and Ian may be able to return home in the Dalek time ship. She was the first of the two friends to realize this, and her single-minded determination to get home led her to decide to risk her life in the Dalek ship.

On returning home Barbara and Ian were thrilled to have safely arrived. Once they had left the Dalek ship, and it had self-destructed, the two friends realised that they have some explaining to do, as they had arrived home in 1965 - two years after they had left. (DW: The Chase)

Life after the Doctor

Barbara and Ian claimed to have been missionaries in Africa to cover up the time gap. Barbara began a career as a university lecturer, specialising in Aztec history. (MA: Who Killed Kennedy)

Barbara and Ian later had a child together, John Chesterton, who grew up to be a famous musician. (NA: Timewyrm: Revelation, PDA: Byzantium!)

Behind the Scenes

  • The roles of Ian and Barbara as, respectively, science and history teachers was part of the series' original plan to alternate between science-fiction and historical stories. In an original format document, Barbara's age is listed as twenty-three, but it was decided to cast a slightly older actress in the role instead.
  • Barbara Wright has the distinction of being the first ongoing Doctor Who character to actually appear on screen (if one does not consider the Doctor's TARDIS to be a character, that is).
  • In I Am the Doctor: The Unauthorised Diaries of a Timelord it is suggested that Wright may have written a novel based upon her experiences with the Doctor, which in turn may have been turned into a motion picture in the 1960s.

Quotes

Companions of the First Doctor
Television
Susan Foreman  • Ian Chesterton  • Barbara Wright  • Vicki  • Steven Taylor  • Katarina  • Sara Kingdom  • Dodo Chaplet  • Ben Jackson  • Polly Wright
Other media
John and Gillian  • George, Helen, Alan and Ida Mortimer

This article uses material from the "Barbara Wright" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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