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Vislor Turlough
Also known as:
Race: Trion
Home Planet: Trion
Home Era: 1980s
Appearances: Full List of Appearances
Actor: Mark Strickson

Vislor Turlough — more commonly just "Turlough" — was a companion of the Fifth Doctor who principally traveled alongside Tegan Jovanka, but also had a few adventures with Nyssa and Kamelion. He briefly met — and saved the life of — Peri Brown before departing the Doctor's company. He also had significant interaction with the Brigadier, the First Doctor and Susan Foreman. He encountered, but did not speak with, the Second and Third Doctors, and Sarah Jane Smith.

Turlough was a complex individual, whose motivations were often unclear to those around him. He was for a time — by his own choice — under the influence of the Black Guardian. During this period he was actively trying to kill the Doctor. Later, after overcoming the Black Guardian, he was mostly a trusted member of the TARDIS crew, but there remained instances where his actions were questioned. It was only at the end of his time on the TARDIS that the Doctor finally discovered the truth about how Turlough ended up on Earth, and why he was susceptible to the Black Guardian in the first place.


Little is known about Turlough's life on Trion before and during the civil war, although his desperation to destroy a distress beacon he recognises as being Trion in origin, and his reluctance to contact his own people to save the people of Sarn, indicate that there were severe penalties for him escaping his exile. It can be reasonably assumed he was an active member of the military, as he was assigned the rank and serial number of "Junior Ensign Commander Vislor Turlough. VTEC9/12/44" (DW: Planet of Fire) His mother was killed during the civil war, and his younger brother Malkon and father exiled to the abandoned colony planet of Sarn, while Turlough himself was exiled to Earth. (DW: Mawdryn Undead)

Turlough speaking to the piece of Enlightenment with which the Black Guardian controlled him

On Earth he lived as a human schoolboy, hiding his alien origins and attending Brendon Public School (which had amongst its staff members Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart). Turlough was under the supervision of a Custodian masquerading as a solicitor in Chancery Lane. He was contacted by the Black Guardian, who offered him his freedom in exchange for the death of the Doctor. Turlough subsequently ingratiated himself with the Doctor and his companions Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka, assisting in resolving a time paradox, after which he was invited to join the Doctor in his travels. (DW: Mawdryn Undead)

In subsequent adventures, Turlough received recurring messages from the Black Guardian, reminding him of his obligation to kill the Doctor, an act he became more loath to do as he grew fonder of the Time Lord. Finally, he chose to destroy a prize that would have guaranteed his freedom and his pact with the Black Guardian rather than kill the Doctor, ending his association with the villain and becoming a loyal member of the Doctor's team. (DW: Enlightenment)

Turlough revealing the mark that proved his connection to Trion

It was after breaking away from the Black Guardian that Turlough's outlook changed from one of self-preservation to wanting to help others, leading to him deliberately putting his own life at risk to save the Doctor and Tegan (DW: Warriors of the Deep), facing the demons of his own people (DW: Frontios) and finally accepting personal responsibility and trading his own freedom to save the lives of the population of Sarn. (DW: Planet of Fire)

Although he initially expressed a desire to return to his homeworld, and even at one point asked the Doctor to take him home (DW: Enlightenment), after he had spent more time travelling with the Doctor he became more reluctant to return home, to the extent of destroying a distress beacon from a Trion ship, attempting to disable Kamelion (whom he believed was reacting to the beacon), and showing extreme reluctance to contact his own people. (DW: Planet of Fire)

After discovering his younger brother was still alive, and the persecution of political prisoners had long been abandoned on Trion, Turlough finally left the Doctor's TARDIS to return to his home planet, after effectively putting the Doctor ("who gets into the most terrible trouble") in the hands of new companion Peri Brown. (DW: Planet of Fire) Later, as he regenerated, the Doctor had visions of several of his past companions, including Turlough. (DW: The Caves of Androzani)

Not much is known of Turlough's life after leaving the Doctor, although it is known that soon after his return to Trion he became involved in an adventure to save both his homeworld and the planet Earth. (TC: Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma)

There is also a possibly apocryphal account that suggests Turlough might have briefly travelled with the Sixth Doctor and Peri. (Crisis in Space)

Behind the scenes

  • Turlough was the last male companion to travel with the Doctor on-screen until Adam Mitchell, who joined in DW: Dalek in 2005.
  • Turlough is also one of a small number of human-appearing companions who is not from Earth. Others include, Astrid Peth, (DW: Voyage of the Damned), Adric and Nyssa.
  • Turlough was also one of the few companions that could operate some TARDIS systems on his own. He could tell the instruments were functioning properly in The Five Doctors and set the TARDIS controls to retrieve the Doctor and Peri in Planet of Fire.

See also

Aliens and Enemies of Season 20
Arc of Infinity: Omega  • Hedin  • The Ergon  • Time Lords Snakedance: The Mara  • Manussans Mawdryn Undead: Black Guardian  • Mawdryn Terminus: Vanir  • Lazars  • The Garm  • Black Guardian Enlightenment: Eternals  • Wrack  • Mansell  • Black Guardian  • White Guardian The King's Demons: The Master  • Kamelion The Five Doctors: Borusa  • Cybermen  • Cyber-Leader  • Cyber-Lieutenant  • Robot Yeti  • Raston Warrior Robot  • Dalek  • Kaled mutant  • Time Lords
Companions of the Fifth Doctor
Adric  • Tegan Jovanka  • Nyssa  • Turlough  • Kamelion  • Peri Brown
Other media
Thomas Brewster  • Sir Justin  • Shayde  • Maxwell Edison  • Gus Goodman  • Erimem  • Antranak  • Amy

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


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