Steven Taylor (Doctor Who)
|Doctor Who character|
Steven in The Time Meddler.
|First appearance||The Chase|
|Last appearance||The Savages|
|Portrayed by||Peter Purves|
|Home era||23rd century|
Steven Taylor is a fictional character played by Peter Purves in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A space pilot from Earth in the future, he was a companion of the First Doctor and a regular in the programme from 1965 to 1966. Steven appeared in 10 stories (45 episodes). Only three of the serials in which Steven appeared as a regular are complete in the BBC archive (The Time Meddler, The Ark and The Gunfighters)
Steven first appears in the serial The Chase, when the Doctor and his companions, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki, find him on the planet Mechanus where he crash-landed two years before. He joins the Doctor and Vicki as a companion in the following serial, The Time Meddler, when they discover that he stowed-away in the TARDIS after having escaped the burning Mechanoid City. Steven is a strong-willed individual, who is more capable when there is something physical to do than when there is thinking to be done. He has a finely developed sense of right and wrong, and places a high value on human life.
Steven follows the Doctor through The Daleks’ Master Plan, a dark and dangerous adventure that takes the lives of Sara Kingdom and Katarina. He argues with the Doctor when he refuses to prevent the events of The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve. Steven is ready to part company with the Doctor over the deaths that happened, in particular that of a woman named Anne Chaplet. He rejoins the Doctor, however, at the same time that they acquired a new travelling companion, a young woman by the name of Dorothea “Dodo” Chaplet, who is apparently a descendant of Anne’s.
Steven’s journey eventually ends during the The Savages, when he decides to accept the responsibility of leading the combined society of Savages and Elders that is attempting a lasting peace. His life beyond that is not explored in the series.
The exact time period that Steven originally came from is not specified in the television series. However, in The Daleks’ Master Plan, set in the year 4000, Steven states that he comes from “hundreds of years” before that period.
Steven appears in three spin-off novels: The Empire of Glass (1995) of the Virgin Missing Adventures range, and Salvation (1999) and Bunker Soldiers (2001) of the Past Doctor Adventures range. Steven, often voiced by Purves, also appears in many Big Finish Productions audio dramas including The Five Companions alongside the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). In addition, he appears in many stories of the BBC Short Trips and the Virgin Decalog.
Peter Purves originally auditioned for the part of a giant insect in The Web Planet, but failed. He then appeared in the third episode of The Chase as Morton Dill, a “hillbilly”. He then appears as Steven in the final episode. Purves had grown “the beginnings of a beard” to disguise the connection between the two characters of the serial. The production team had been looking for a character to replace Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell), who were leaving in the serial, and Purves was suggested by both William Hartnell and Maureen O’Brien. Early drafts of the story used the names “Bruck” and “Michael” for the character of the captured astronaut, before settling on “Steven”.
- “Doctor Who – The Companion Chronicles – Steven Taylor”. Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- “x. The Five Companions (Subscription Exclusive)”. Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- “Who’s With Doctor Who”. Radio Times. London: 113. 19–25 November 1988.
- Cook, Benjamin (4 February 2010). “Who on Earth is…Peter Purves”. Doctor Who Magazine. Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics (418).
- “The Fourth Dimension: The Chase”. BBC. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- “Peter Purves: Taylor Made”. Dreamwatch. Total Sci-Fi Online. 9 March 2009. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Howe and Walker (2003), p. 86
- Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (2003). The Television Companion: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to DOCTOR WHO (2nd ed.). Surrey, UK: ISBN 1-903889-51-0.
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