Notes from a panel presented by Marion Saunderson at Visions '96


The presentation was in 4 parts: the Doctor's origins, childhood and genetic inheritance, his personality, his interests and hobbies and then a longer section on his relationship with his companions. I mentioned the Doctor's response to physical aggression, and what he understands about it: that he knows that violence is rooted in fear. That you explore the theme of dealing with physical abuse in Hounds and Hares.

I dealt at more length with Jo and the Doctor in the companions part. What I did there was describe 4 different relationships :
1. Susan Topa's 8th Doctor with Rook ( a 17thc former prostitute) and Shu (a bisexualand hedonistic alien);
2. Lori Summer's Ace and Sylvdoc;
3. Your Jondoc and Jo;
4. And finally Rebecca Anderson's Thea and the11th Doctor.
Each of these relationships is quite different and said very different things about the Doctor and his companion to me. I do not know whether you would agree with my conclusions but here they are.

I noted your loving sense of the relationship of the Third Doctor and Jo (Please do not blush. Your affection for Jon and his Doctor is quite wonderful to read. And so apparent even without your tribute to Jon)

1. The Doctor's feeling for Jo and hers for him is gentle, warm, protective, understated; not a relationship of overt dramatics or emotional confrontations.
2. They are two people who know each other so well they never say goodbye even when he leaves for the last time: non-verbal communication suffices.
3. The Doctor respects Jo's moral and emotional strength; he treats her as an adult and lets her decide, with full understanding of consequences, whether to take a fatal dose of poison [fatal virus-- Ed.] (Spoiler removed); Book of Five Rings
4. Her courage impresses him and saves him on many occasions, in spite of her apparent weakness.
5. Jo soothes him with her sweetness, a technique that worked on her parents too; she usually does what he wants while he is looking; she is stronger in spirit than she appears and she uses whatever works for her; not insincere though. Book of Five Rings
6. Their affection is undemanding and unselfish contrasted to the Master's selfish and self-serving relationship with Mags. You used Mags and the Master as an effective contrast to the relationship of Jo and the Doctor. Book of Five Rings
7. Depth of feeling is not expressed as carnal love: cuddles in times of stress to comfort and one kiss each: she when she thinks he is dead and he after that, knowing he is dying: a gentle and inexperienced kiss. Killer Bees
8. "I will save her or die with her anyway. I am not leaving her to die alone" He is prepared to give up the universe for her. Killer Bees

I saw the relationship of the Doctor and Jo as an expression of their unrequited and spiritual love for each other. This contrasted with Susan's stories, where Rook is captive of her love for a being who may or may not be capable of returning her love; of Lori Summers'stories about the 7th Doctor and Ace, in which Ace is the adult and the Doctor the immature teen who runs away from responsibility and what I saw in Rebecca Anderson's Thea and the 11th Doctoras equal partners in a mature relationship; not without its ups and downs but which will survive on the basis of their committment to it.

As I read each story, it gave me an altered perspective on the other stories. I greatly enjoyed preparing this presentation, for the opportunity it gave me to consider stories I had skimmed before or had not been aware of. For instance, it was through working on this panel that I found your own stories.

Thank you again for agreeing to be part of it. I look forward to whatever you might next produce.

--Marion Saunderson