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Doctor Who Is Bringing Back One of Its Most Controversial Companions



Doctor Who usually likes to save its returning stars for anniversary events, but with the upcoming trilogy of specials to celebrate its blockbuster 60th already jam-packed, now it’s up to Doctor Who’s 14th season to shoulder a few surprise appearances—and its latest certainly is quite the surprise.

Today the BBC confirmed that Bonnie Langford would reprise her role as Melanie Bush, ‘80s companion to the Sixth and Seventh Doctors, in the next season of the show alongside Ncuti Gatwa’s 15th Doctor and Millie Gibson as incoming companion Ruby Sunday.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing Melanie Bush back. To be part of the exceptional cast, crew and production team led by the force of nature that is Russell T Davies is a career highlight,” Langford said in a statement. “I’m so privileged and proud to have been a member of the Doctor Who family since the classic era and to be included in the new generation is phenomenal.”

This is actually not the first time Langford has reprised the role of Mel recently—she made a minor cameo appearance in “The Power of the Doctor,” Jodie Whittaker’s swan song as the 13th Doctor. But according to returning showrunner Davies, this time Mel will be back in the thick of it alongside the Doctor.


“Open those TARDIS doors wide, because Bonnie’s back! What an honor, delight, and hoot to welcome back the character of Melanie, after too long away,” Davies added in his own statement. “And this isn’t just a cameo, Bonnie is right in the thick of the action, battling monsters and chaos and cliffhangers, right at the Doctor’s side, just like the old days.”

It’s a surprising move, given that while Langford has always been an ardent supporter of Who since her tenure on the series, the character of Mel has long been seen as something of annoyance rather than a particularly engaged character in the eyes of fans. An overly enthusiastic fitness fanatic, Mel is best remembered for primarily one character trait: her ear-splitting shriek when in the presence of anything even remotely dangerous. Reaction to the character was so poor that Mel was rapidly written out after Sylvester McCoy’s tenure began, hastily packing her off with the space pirate Sabalom Glitz in the same story that introduced Sophie Aldred’s Ace, a companion who time has been particularly much kinder too (and likewise last appeared in Whittaker’s final story last year, albeit in a much bigger supporting role).

Hopefully time and space, metaphorically and quite literally, will lead to Mel getting the kind of justice she never really got in her prior time in the TARDIS in the here and now—and create an all-new legion of fans for the character. Langford will return in the 14th season of Doctor Who, expected to begin airing sometime in 2024 on BBC 1 in the UK and on Disney+ internationally.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

Source: Gizmodo


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