By Owen Quinn author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues
Once again we look back at the legacy of Doctor Who and pinpoint the characters that have helped make him the hero he is today…
There are few Doctor Who companions that immediately spring to mind if you asked ordinary Joe public but there is one that everyone remembers. Jamie, played by Frazer Hines, later Joe Sugden of Emmerdale Farm fame, was the second Doctor’s constant companion bar one story.
A young highlander from the Battle of Culloden, Jamie was never meant to be a companion but producers were so impressed by Frazer’s performance they signed him up as a regular with the departure of Ben and Polly on the horizon.
This late addition explains his being kept unconscious in the Moonbase where the Cybermen lurked. It was only when the other characters left in the Faceless Ones that Jamie really came into his own.
Frazer had a really close off-screen relationship with Patrick Troughton and this spilled over onscreen. The banter between the second Doctor and Jamie kept audiences entertained right to the end of the era. Jamie’s playful put downs of the Doctor and his abilities were a joy to watch but the young Highlander was resolute and deeply protective of his Doctor. He would face many of the series’ most classic foes in his stories – many of which are missing from the archives – and the battles with the Yeti in the Target novelizations spurred many childrens’ imaginations, including mine.
It was this era that introduced the Ice Warriors, the Yeti, the Seaweed monster, established the Cybermen as the new big baddies and saw the introduction of the Time Lords.
With every encounter, Jamie faced these new creatures head on and was never afraid to disagree with the Doctor, especially in Evil of the Daleks where he left the Doctor over his decision to help Waterfield in his experiments for the deadly pepperpots. But they could never fall out for long and Jamie could also be a hopeless romantic and became the big brother to both Victoria and Zoe who also travelled with the Doctor.
No matter what, Jamie would be at the Doctor’s side ready to fight whatever monsters they encountered. It was only when Troughton decided to leave the role, that Frazer also moved on, even though he was asked to stay to become Pertwee’s companion. It says a lot about their off-screen relationship that Frazer stayed to the War Games to see off the second Doctor. He was returned to Earth by the Time Lords with his memory wiped of his time in the Tardis bar his first encounter with the Doctor.
But as always in sci-fi, nothing is ever permanent and Jamie returned to the Five Doctors as a phantom and later in the Two Doctors where he was paired with the sixth Doctor and Peri losing none of the magic of his onscreen persona. He has even been named in a couple of the Doctor’s post regenerative crisis as his mind recalls past companions.
In the comic strip World Shapers, the sixth Doctor returns to find Jamie remembers his travels after all but is an outcast as a crazy old man from the rest of his clan. They embark on an adventure against the Cybermen which sees Jamie sacrifice his life to save his old friend.
But in the Big Finish world, their reunion was much happier with Jamie returning to the Tardis to travel for three stories with the sixth Doctor but with no memory of his past in time travel. However events soon conspire to change all that.
Having met Frazer at conventions, I can tell you he is as enthusiastic and fun loving as Jamie. He has time for everyone and when he talks of his time on the show there is a real sense of history in his voice. With new Doctor Who rampant and the 50th anniversary coming up, there may be a chance for Jamie to make one final trip in the Tardis with his old friend. Here’s hoping…