|Doctor Who character|
|First appearance||An Unearthly Child|
|Last appearance||The Dalek Invasion of Earth (regular)
Dimensions in Time (charity special)
|Portrayed by||Carole Ann Ford
Roberta Tovey (film Susan)
Jane Asher (audio play)
Susan Foreman is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The granddaughter and original companion of the First Doctor, she was played by actress Carole Ann Ford from 1963 to 1964, in the show’s first season and the first two stories of the second season. Ford reprised the role for the feature-length 20th anniversary episode The Five Doctors (1983) and the 30th anniversary charity special Dimensions in Time (1993).
Susan is introduced in the first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child (1963), with the first episode focusing on her as an unusual teenager with an advanced knowledge of history and science. This catches the attention of her teachers at Coal Hill School, Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), who follow her home to a junkyard owned by an unseen proprietor named I. M. Foreman. It is implied within the story that Susan took the surname “Foreman” from this junkyard sign as an alias for use at the school, for when her chemistry teacher made the assumption that her grandfather was “Doctor Foreman” the Doctor replied, “Doctor who? What’s he talking about?”, indicating that he was unfamiliar with the surname. It is revealed that she and her grandfather, the Doctor (William Hartnell), are exiles from their own people in “another time, another world” and have been travelling through space and time in a machine she named the TARDIS from the acronym “Time and Relative Dimension in Space”. As Ian and Barbara have gained this knowledge, the Doctor whisks them away on the TARDIS against their will, and he cannot accurately fly the machine. Through the run of the series, it is learned the Doctor, aided by Susan, stole the TARDIS.
Susan continues to travel with the Doctor and her two teachers until the 1964 serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth. During the events of that story, Susan falls in love with David Campbell (Peter Fraser), a young freedom fighter in the 22nd century. However, Susan feels that she has to stay with and take care of her grandfather. The Doctor, realising that Susan is now a grown woman and deserves a future away from him, locks her out of the TARDIS and leaves after a tearful farewell. Ford reprised the role of Susan on television in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (1983), but no mention of David, or what became of him, was made on screen. In the novelisation of the same story, they are still married, while she struggles to age herself by applying make-up. Ford also reprised her role for the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time.
In The Curse of Fenric (1989), the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) states that he does not know if he has any family. In “The End of the World” (2005), the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) states that his home world has been destroyed and that he is the last of the Time Lords. Although Susan is not mentioned by name, the Ninth Doctor says in “Father’s Day” (2005) that his “whole family” died, and in “The Empty Child” (2005), Doctor Constantine (Richard Wilson) remarks he has been a father and grandfather, but now he is neither, and the Ninth Doctor replies, “I know the feeling.” In “Fear Her” (2006), the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) states nonchalantly, “I was a dad once,” but does not elaborate on this revelation. In “The Doctor’s Daughter” (2008), the Tenth Doctor further clarifies to Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) that he had been a father prior to the creation of his “daughter” Jenny (Georgia Moffett), who was created by a machine using the Doctor’s DNA, and that he “[l]ost all that a long time ago, along with everything else.” In “The Rings of Akhaten” (2013), the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) mentions that he travelled with his granddaughter to the rings of the planet Akhaten. The 2013 episode “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” contains audio from the scene in An Unearthly Child where Susan explains how she named the TARDIS. A brief glimpse of Susan, played by an unidentified body double, is seen in the opening scene of “The Name of the Doctor“, which depicts the Doctor and Susan leaving Gallifrey in a TARDIS.
Following the revelation in 2013’s “The Day of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor” that the Time Lords were not, as originally believed, wiped out by the Doctor’s hand, Susan’s fate after The Five Doctors remains ambiguous. In “Death in Heaven” (2014), the Twelfth Doctor‘s (Peter Capaldi) companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) pretends to be the Doctor in order to confuse the Cybermen and buy herself time to escape; she describes the Doctor’s children and grandchildren as “missing and, I assume, dead.” In the Class episode “For Tonight We Might Die“, Susan’s name is displayed on the roll of honour at Coal Hill Academy, along with Clara Oswald and Danny Pink. A photograph of Susan is seen on the Doctor’s desk in a university where he is lecturing in 2017’s “The Pilot“, beside a photograph of River Song.
Susan’s character has been expounded upon in spin-off media. In 1983, Doctor Who’s then-script editor Eric Saward wrote a short story dealing with the Doctor’s departure from Gallifrey for the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special. This story, “Birth of a Renegade”, depicts Susan as a descendant of Time Lord founder Rassilon and the last surviving member of Gallifrey’s royal family, unrelated to the Doctor. A later script editor, Andrew Cartmel, had another explanation of Susan’s origins. This account, part of the “Cartmel Masterplan“, was not used in the programme, but was used as background for several of the Virgin New Adventures novels, most notably Lungbarrow by Marc Platt. In this version, Susan is the granddaughter of the mysterious Gallifreyan founder known as the Other, who may have been reincarnated as the Doctor. The Doctor had travelled back to the dawn of Time Lord civilisation and rescued Susan, who recognised him as her grandfather. The Doctor did not initially recognise her, but knew that this was somehow true.
The character has also appeared in several licensed novels. She makes a cameo appearance in the 1994 New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire  and stars in the 1995 Virgin Missing Adventures novel The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. She appears in three Past Doctor Adventures novels set within her time on the television programme, The Witch Hunters (1998), City at World’s End (1999) and The Time Travellers (2005). The latter gives an explanation for why the Doctor left Susan. During the events of that novel, the Doctor becomes involved in the British Army‘s time travel experiments, which risk him being noticed by the Time Lords. He then resolves to begin looking for a place where Susan can be safe and content so that if he is ever apprehended by their people, she will still be free. Susan reappears in the 1998 Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Legacy of the Daleks by John Peel, which takes place after the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. At the end of that novel, Susan comes into possession of the Master‘s TARDIS after he tries to capture her, and is once again able to roam time and space. The 2001 Telos novella Time and Relative takes place just prior to An Unearthly Child and involves Susan and several of her classmates from Coal Hill School trying to survive an alien invasion of Earth by a race of ice beings called the Cold and at the same time convince the Doctor to stop the attack. In the 2003 Telos novella Frayed, which also takes place prior to the serial An Unearthly Child, Susan’s name was given to her from a young girl in a besieged human medical facility on another planet, after the girl’s mother.
Susan also appears, played by Ford, in the Companion Chronicles audio drama series from Big Finish. Quinnis (2010) takes place before the television series, when the Doctor and Susan were traveling alone. In the Big Finish bonus release An Earthly Child (2010), Susan is reunited with the Doctor in his eighth incarnation (Paul McGann), and has a son named Alex (Jake McGann). She appears in the Eighth Doctor Adventures audio plays in Relative Dimensions (2010) and Lucie Miller / To the Death (2011). Ford also played an alternate version of Susan in Big Finish’s Doctor Who Unbound audio plays Auld Mortality (2003) and A Storm of Angels (2005), in which Susan has become President of Gallifrey. In the 2003 Doctor Who Unbound play Exile, an alternative Doctor, whose latest regeneration was female (played by Arabella Weir), settles on Earth in 2003 using the identity and 1963 school records of Susan Foreman.
In addition, the spin-off film adaptions Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966) have a version of Susan, portrayed by Roberta Tovey and much younger than the television version. Rather than being her teacher, Barbara is her older sister.
On 9 July 1994, BBC Radio 4 broadcast Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman?, a humorous investigation into Susan’s background. Susan was portrayed by Jane Asher. In the 2013 BBC drama An Adventure in Space and Time, which told the story of the first three years of the show, played Carole Ann Ford.
Conception and development
Susan was the first ever on-screen companion of the Doctor, though actress Carole Ann Ford felt that their relationship was different from that of later characters who had been branded as “companions” because she was also the Doctor’s granddaughter. The original outline for the series did not intend the pair to be related, but writer Anthony Coburn created the family tie. According to founding producer Verity Lambert, “Coburn felt there was something not quite proper about an old man travelling around the galaxy with a young girl for a companion.” The unaired pilot gave a different and more specific background to Susan and the Doctor, with their dialogue explaining that they came from the “forty-ninth century”. Ford recalled that she was told Susan would be “an Avengers-type girl – with all the kapow of that – plus she would have telepathic powers. She was going to be able to “fly the TARDIS” as well as her grandfather and have the most extraordinary wardrobe”. However, none of this happened as the character was decided to become more of an “ordinary” teenager which would give younger viewers an identification figure.
Ford stated that little background information on Susan’s character or history was provided to her by the production team, and so to inform her performance, she would often discuss and invent ideas about Susan with co-star William Hartnell. They established that the Doctor had “done something to annoy the other Time Lords” which caused his and Susan’s exile. Ford also points out that suggestions that Susan was not the Doctor’s natural granddaughter were only first put forward in the 1990s. However, in 2013, she revealed that the producers had initially insisted that Susan not refer to the Doctor as her grandfather in The Five Doctors special. Ford recalled, “They said, ‘We don’t really want people to perceive him as having had sex with someone, to father a child.’ I just screamed with hysterical laughter and said, ‘In that case, I’m not doing it.'” The script was changed to include mentions of the characters’ relationship.
Media historian James Chapman wrote that the way Susan was written made her limited, because “she was required to fill the role of the ‘screamer’ and often had little to do beyond looking pretty and frightened”. Ford was similarly displeased with her character, sometimes finding her “pathetic” and frustrating because she was not allowed to develop. In addition, Ford found the series too repetitive. Susan became the first companion to leave the programme, after just 51 episodes. Ford felt that Susan was allowed to develop more in the Big Finish audio dramas.
- Coburn, Anthony (writer); Hussein, Waris (director) (23 November 1963). “An Unearthly Child”. An Unearthly Child. Doctor Who. BBC.
Barbara: And that’s your grandfather? Susan: Yes. Barbara: Well, why didn’t you tell us that? First Doctor: I don’t discuss my private life with strangers.
- Coburn, Anthony (writer); Hussein, Waris (director) (23 November – 14 December 1963). An Unearthly Child. Doctor Who. BBC.
- Nation, Terry (writer); Martin, Richard (director) (21 November – 26 December 1964). The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
- Dicks, Terrance (writer); Moffatt, Peter (director) (23 November 1983). The Five Doctors. Doctor Who. PBS.
- Dicks, Terrance (24 November 1983). The Five Doctors. Target Books. ISBN 0-426-19510-8.
- Nathan-Turner, John; ; McDonald, Stuart (director) (26–27 November 1993). Dimensions in Time. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
- Briggs, Ian (writer); Mallett, Nicholas (director) (25 October – 15 November 1989). The Curse of Fenric. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
- Davies, Russell T (writer); Lyn, Euros (director) (2 April 2005). “The End of the World“. Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 2. BBC. BBC One.
- Cornell, Paul (writer); Ahearne, Joe (director) (14 May 2005). “Father’s Day“. Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 8. BBC. BBC One.
- Moffat, Steven (writer); Hawes, James (director) (21 May 2005). “The Empty Child“. Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 9. BBC. BBC One.
- Graham, Matthew (writer); Lyn, Euros (director) (24 June 2006). “Fear Her“. Doctor Who. Series 2. Episode 11. BBC. BBC One.
- Greenhorn, Stephen (writer); Troughton, Alice (director) (10 May 2008). “The Doctor’s Daughter“. Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 6. BBC. BBC One.
- Cross, Neil (writer); Blackburn, Farren (director) (6 April 2013). “The Rings of Akhaten“. Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 7. BBC. BBC One.
- Edwards, Richard (6 April 2013). “Doctor Who 7.07 “The Rings of Akhaten” Review”. SFX. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Debnath, Neela (27 April 2013). “Review of Doctor Who ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’ – Series 7, episode 10”. blogs.independent.co.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Spilsbury, Tom; Moffat, Steven (April 2015). “Second Time Around”. Doctor Who Magazine. Tunbridge Wells: Panini UK Ltd (#484): 14.
Since the events of 2013’s The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, the Doctor has learned that he wasn’t actually responsible for the death of all the Time Lords, and despite thinking that his ‘Eleventh’ incarnation would be his last life, he’s now been granted a whole new set of regenerations. So why hasn’t the Doctor become a little bit more at peace with himself, and — well — happy? ‘You mean because he’s disposed of the burden of the Time War?’ Well, yes. And because of his brand new life cycle.
- Moffat, Steven (writer); Hurran, Nick (director) (23 November 2013). “The Day of the Doctor“. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
Curator: You were curious about this painting, I think. I acquired it in remarkable circumstances. What do you make of the title? Eleventh Doctor: Well, which title? There’s two. No More, or Gallifrey Falls. Curator: No, you see that’s where everybody’s wrong. It’s all one title: Gallifrey Falls No More. Now, what would you think that means, eh? Eleventh Doctor: That Gallifrey didn’t fall. It worked. It’s still out there. Curator: I’m only a humble curator. I’m sure I wouldn’t know. Eleventh Doctor: Then where is it? Curator: Where is it, indeed? Lost. Shh. Perhaps. Things do get lost, you know. Now, you must excuse me. Oh, you have a lot to do.
- Moffat, Steven (writer); (25 December 2013). “The Time of the Doctor“. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
Clara: Doctor, are you OK? Eleventh Doctor: It’s not Gallifrey. Gallifrey’s gone. Clara: Unless, unless you saved it. You thought you might have. Eleventh Doctor: Even if it survived, it’s gone from this universe. That is not my home.
- Moffat, Steven (writer); Talalay, Rachel (director) (8 November 2014). “Death in Heaven“. Doctor Who. Series 8. Episode 12. BBC. BBC One.
- Lane, Andy (June 1994). All-Consuming Fire. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20415-8.
- Bulis, Christopher (July 1995). The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Virgin Missing Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20447-6.
- Lyons, Steve (2 March 1998). The Witch Hunters. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-40579-1.
- Bulis, Christopher (September 1999). City at World’s End. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-55579-3.
- Guerrier, Simon (November 2005). The Time Travellers. Past Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-48633-3.
- Peel, John (April 1998). Legacy of the Daleks. Eighth Doctor Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-40574-0.
- Newman, Kim (November 2001). Time and Relative. Telos Doctor Who novellas. Telos Publishing. ISBN 1-903889-02-2.
- Samms, Tara (October 2003). Frayed. Telos Doctor Who novellas. Telos Publishing. ISBN 1-903889-22-7.
- “Doctor Who — The Companion Chronicles — Susan”. Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Platt, Marc (writer); Bowerman, Lisa (director) (December 2010). Quinnis. Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles. Big Finish Productions.
- Cook, Benjamin (December 2010). “Who on Earth is…Carole Ann Ford”. Doctor Who Magazine. Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics (429).
- Platt, Marc (writer); Briggs, Nicholas (director) (December 2010). An Earthly Child. Doctor Who: Bonus Releases. Big Finish Productions.
- Platt, Marc (writer); Edwards, Barnaby (director) (December 2010). Relative Dimensions. Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Adventures. Big Finish Productions.
- Briggs, Nicholas (writer/director) (February 2011). Lucie Miller. Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Adventures. Big Finish Productions.
- Briggs, Nicholas (writer/director) (March 2011). To the Death. Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Adventures. Big Finish Productions.
- Platt, Marc (writer); Briggs, Nicholas (director) (May 2003). Auld Mortality. Doctor Who Unbound. Big Finish Productions.
- Platt, Marc (writer); (January 2005). A Storm of Angels. Doctor Who Unbound. Big Finish Productions.
- Briggs, Nicholas (writer/director) (November 2003). Exile. Doctor Who Unbound. Big Finish Productions.
- Flemyng, Gordon (director); Subotsky, Milton (screenplay) (23 August 1965). Dr. Who and the Daleks (film). AARU Productions.
- Flemyng, Gordon (director); Subotsky, Milton (writer) (5 August 1966). Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (film). AARU Productions.
- “Verity Lambert (1980’s)”. Dr Who Interviews. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Chapman 2006, p. 24.
- Moreton, Cole (7 April 2013). “‘Doctor Who? It destroyed my acting career‘“. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Chapman 2006, p. 23.
- Ford, Carole Ann, Verity Lambert, William Russell (30 January 2006). Audio Commentary for An Unearthly Child (DVD). The Beginning Boxset: BBC Worldwide.
- Cusick, Raymond, Carole Ann Ford, John Gorrie, William Russell (21 September 2009). Audio Commentary for The Keys of Marinus (DVD). The Keys of Marinus DVD: BBC Worldwide.
- Chapman, James (2006). Inside the TARDIS: The Worlds of Doctor Who. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1-84511-163-X.
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