Zoe Heriot

Doctor Who character
Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot,(publicity still).jpg
Zoe Heriot
First appearance The Wheel in Space
Last appearance The War Games (regular)
The Five Doctors (cameo)
Portrayed by Wendy Padbury
Affiliated Second Doctor
Species Human
Home planet Earth (Space Station W3)
Home era 21st century

Zoe Heriot (sometimes spelled Zoe Herriot) is a fictional character played by Wendy Padbury in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A young astrophysicist who lived on a space wheel in the 21st century, she was a companion of the Second Doctor and a regular in the programme from 1968 to 1969.[1][2]

Character history

Zoe first appears in the serial The Wheel in Space,[3] where she is the librarian[4] on board Space Station W3, also known as the Wheel. When the Cybermen attack, she aids the Doctor and Jamie in defeating them before stowing away aboard the TARDIS.[5] In David Whitaker‘s script for The Wheel in Space, Zoe’s last name is spelled “Heriot”, but the double-“r” misspelling is also seen in reference works.

Zoe’s age is not given in the series, but according to initial publicity she was fifteen when she joined the TARDIS crew.[6] She holds a degree in pure mathematics[4] and is a genius, with intelligence scores comparable to the Doctor’s. Coupled with her photographic memory[7] and the advanced learning techniques of her era, this makes her somewhat like a human calculator, able to perform complicated mathematics in her head. Part of the reason for her wanting to travel with the Doctor is her chafing at the restrictions and sterile surroundings of her station-bound existence. However, her real-world experience is severely limited, causing her to get herself into trouble frequently.

Together with the Doctor and Jamie, she meets the Cybermen again when they invade 20th century London, enters the surreal Land of Fiction, fights the Ice Warriors[3] and survives the battlefields of the War Chief‘s war games. Her journeys with the Doctor come to an end in that serial, when the Time Lords finally catch up with the Doctor. As well as forcing a regeneration on him and exiling him to Earth, the Time Lords return Jamie and Zoe to their own times, wiping their memories of their experiences with the Doctor (save for their first encounters with him) in the process.

Other appearances

Zoe’s life after her return to her own time is not further explored in the series. In the spin-off short story “The Tip of the Mind” by Peter Anghelides, it is revealed that although her intellect allows her to resist the memory blocks by the Time Lords, she is unable to access the memories of her time with the Doctor consciously. This causes her strange dreams, and makes her work suffer. An encounter with the Third Doctor makes the memory blocks permanent, but she ultimately never reaches her full potential.

Padbury has appeared in Doctor Who audio adventures from Big Finish Productions, first as a character other than Zoe in the full-cast audio Davros, and then as Zoe in Fear of the Daleks, part of the “Companion Chronicles” talking book series. The latter story portrays an older Zoe having detailed dreams of her adventures with the Doctor; she suspects that something is blocking her memory, but she does not know what, and is seeing a psychiatric counselor in an effort to understand the “dreams”. She has returned as Zoe in several more Big Finish plays such as Echoes of Grey and her second Companion Chronicle, Prison in Space, based on an unmade TV story. An older Zoe is reunited with the Doctor in his sixth incarnation in Legend of the Cybermen, where her life after leaving the Doctor is explored.

The novelisation of the TV serial The Mind Robber mentions, in passing, that Zoe discussed that adventure “long afterwards”,[8] suggesting that she eventually recovered some or all of her lost memories.

Wendy Padbury returned to Doctor Who as an illusory image of Zoe in the 20th anniversary episode, The Five Doctors.[9]

List of appearances


Season 5
Season 6
20th anniversary special

Audio drama

Short Trips audios

  • A Stain of Red in the Sand
  • The Five Dimensional Man
  • Penny Wise, Pound Foolish


Virgin Missing Adventures
Past Doctor Adventures
Telos Doctor Who novellas
BBC Books

Short stories


  • “The Vampire Plants” by David Brian (Doctor Who Annual 1970)
  • “The Robot King” by David Brian (Doctor Who Annual 1970)
  • “The Tides of Time” (Cameo) by Steve Parkhouse and Dave Gibbons (Doctor Who Magazine)
  • “Land of the Blind” by W. Scott Gray and Lee Sullivan (Doctor Who Magazine 224–226)
  • “Renewal” by Tony Lee and Pia Guerra (Doctor Who: The Forgotten #2)


  1. ^ Howe, David J.; Stammers, Mark (1995). Doctor Who: Companions. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 1-85227-582-0. 
  2. ^ Haining, Peter (1988). Doctor Who: 25 Glorious Years. W.H.Allen. ISBN 1-85227-021-7. 
  3. ^ a b “Wendy Padbury | Doctor Who Interview Archive”. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  4. ^ a b “Doctor Who – Classic Series – Companions – Zoe Herriot”. BBC. 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Doctor Who – The Invasion (production subtitles) (DVD). 2 Entertain Video. 2006. 
  7. ^ “A Companion To The Doctor’s Companions: Zoe Heriot | Anglophenia”. BBC America. Retrieved 2015-07-22. 
  8. ^ Ling, Peter (1986). The Mind Robber. Target Books. p. 73. ISBN 0-426-20286-4. 
  9. ^

External links

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