Early life edit
Barbara was the daughter of Joan Wright, and the pair had a very close relationship when Barbara was growing up. (PROSE: A Long Night) Her father was killed in the early stages of World War II. (PROSE: Tell Me You Love Me)
In her teens, Barbara dated a boy who carried a knife. Her mother called these "her rebellious years". Barbara had an aunt named Cecilia. They met every year in London on 23 November, her aunt's birthday. (AUDIO: 1963)
Travels with the Doctor edit
Is this what she did or how she felt?
In 1963, Barbara taught Susan Foreman history at Coal Hill School in Shoreditch, London. (TV: An Unearthly Child) Her classroom was C4. (PROSE: Nothing at the End of the Lane) She had a particular interest in the Aztecs. (TV: The Aztecs) The odd gaps in Susan's knowledge and her knowledge of things she could not know intrigued Barbara. Informing her colleague Ian Chesterton of the strange girl, together they followed Susan to 76 Totter's Lane, where they heard her voice from inside a police box. They forced their way inside, discovering the massive console room of the Doctor's TARDIS.
Susan's grandfather, the First Doctor, kidnapped Ian and Barbara in the TARDIS, which travelled back in time. The TARDIS landed in Earth's Stone Age. The Doctor was taken by Kal, who had apparently seen him produce fire from his fingers (the Doctor had been lighting his pipe using matches). The others tried to rescue the Doctor, but were taken to the Cave of Skulls. The Old Mother released the Doctor and his companions because she did not want them to bring fire back to her tribe, and they escaped into a nearby forest. Ian and Barbara aided Za's injuries from an animal when he tried to chase after them, but were returned to the cave. Ian produced fire for the tribe and devised a way of scaring the cavemen by setting the skulls on fire. The group escaped to the TARDIS, which took off again. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
When the TARDIS landed on Skaro, the Doctor lied about the fluid link needing more mercury, when there was nothing wrong, so he could explore a nearby city. The Daleks imprisoned the Doctor and his companions inside the city, confiscating the fluid link they brought along.
Having escaped, they assisted the Thals in their attack on the Dalek city. The Daleks' power supply was damaged in the attack. The Daleks died and their plans to flood the atmosphere with radiation failed. (TV: The Daleks)
With the fluid link retrieved, the Doctor left Skaro for Earth, using the fast return switch. The spring in the switch was faulty, causing it to stick. The TARDIS was sent to the beginning of a solar system and everyone was knocked out in the trip. The TARDIS tried warning the crew about the atoms forming around them when they came to, but the Doctor assumed that this was Ian and Barbara's sabotage of the ship. Once Barbara figured out what was going on, the Doctor fixed the spring, ending the fault. (TV: The Rescue, The Edge of Destruction)
Still heavily damaged and malfunctioning, the TARDIS found its way to Earth, but did not make it to Ian and Barbara's time, instead landing in the Plain of Pamir in 1289. There, the Doctor and his companions met Marco Polo. Polo took the TARDIS along with its keys on his caravan across Cathay, to hand it to Kublai Khan as part of a bargain for his return to Venice. Along the way, the Mongol warlord, Tegana, also part of Polo's caravan, tried to take the TARDIS for Nogai as part of his plan to assassinate the Khan. In the chaos of Tegana and Polo's duel in Peking, the Doctor and his companions escaped in his repaired TARDIS. (TV: Marco Polo)
The Doctor landed on an island on Marinus. Arbitan asked them to search for the keys to the reprogrammed Conscience of Marinus to regain control over the Voord, as all of his followers and family members had failed to retrieve them. Arbitan trapped the TARDIS in a forcefield, preventing the Doctor and his companions' escape.
Ian and Barbara found a fake key in the Screaming Jungle and, after surviving several traps, were told the proper location of the second key by Darrius. The third key was found in a mountain cave and was guarded by Ice Soldiers.
Escaping the soldiers, Ian reached Millennius, where he was knocked out and framed for the murder of Eprin. The Doctor helped discover the true culprit, and Ian was spared execution. The fourth key was found inside the mace that killed Eprin when the man sent to fetch the key was captured.
The Doctor and his companions returned to Arbitan's island, where Arbitan had been murdered. Ian handed the Voord the fake key, which destroyed the Conscience, along with the Voord. They were able to leave in the TARDIS once more. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)The Doctor and his companions arrived in an Aztec temple in Mexico. They went through a one-way passage that prevented access to the TARDIS. Barbara posed as the Aztec god, Yetaxa, with the others as her servants, to find a way back. Barbara tried and failed to change the Aztecs' history of human sacrifice for the better, which the Doctor strongly advised her against.
Susan was to be punished for denying marriage to the Perfect Victim and Ian to be executed when he was framed by the High Priest of Sacrifice, Tlotoxl, for attacking the High Priest of Knowledge, Autloc. Autloc's faith in Yetaxa was shattered, and he left for the wilderness. The Doctor, Ian and the Doctor's accidental fiancée, Cameca, distracted Ian and Susan's guard to escape. Ian prevented Tlotoxl's murder of Barbara and fought off the warrior Ixta. They worked on a wheel and pulley system to open the doorway back to the TARDIS, taking the wheel with them to avoid contaminating history (the Aztecs had never used wheels). As they departed, the sacrifice of the Perfect Victim continued as planned. (TV: The Aztecs)
The Doctor landed inside a spaceship in the 28th century, where two crewmembers were suspended in a state resembling death and another, John, had had his mind opened and turned insane, following an attack on their minds by the Sensorites. The Sense Sphere, which the ship had been trapped around, had its aqueducts' water supply poisoned with atropine by survivors of a previous human expedition whose ship had been destroyed.
The TARDIS' lock was taken by the Sensorites, leaving the Doctor and his companions trapped on the spaceship. After the Doctor and his companions resisted the Sensorites, the Doctor, Ian and Susan agreed to go down to the Sense Sphere to treat the "disease" and cure John. Barbara had to stay behind as assurance for the Sensorites, but arrived on the Sense Sphere after the Doctor had discovered a cure for the poison. The Doctor and Ian, later followed by Barbara, went to the aqueducts where Atropa belladonna had been growing. They found the human expedition and pretended to be a welcoming party for them and that the "war" against the Sensorites was won. The expedition were taken into custody on Maitland's ship. Maitland's ship was free to leave and the TARDIS crew had regained their lock. (TV: The Sensorites)
Passionate about history, Barbara could see both sides to a story. When the travellers arrived in revolutionary France, she befriended Léon Colbert. When he died, she was distraught and defended his treachery. (TV: The Reign of Terror)
On 22nd century Earth, the travellers found the Daleks had invaded and occupied the planet. Barbara helped a small resistance group in their plotting and with Jenny took Dortmun through London. With the Daleks defeated, Susan left their company. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
When they arrived on the planet Dido, they met an inhabitant there named Vicki. Vicki was initially unable to closely bond with Barbara, who had killed Vicki's pet sand beast, Sandy, thinking it to be dangerous. After Barbara offered an apology, the two got on well and Vicki joined them on their travels.
Perhaps owing in part to Barbara missing Susan, she and Vicki became confidantes. Despite how well Barbara and Vicki got along, Barbara seemed unamused when Vicki said that she must be "about five hundred and fifty years old", as she came from 1963. (TV: The Rescue)
The strength of character Barbara showed when accepting the fate of the Aztecs allowed her to persevere through the discomforts she faced on their travels. While on Vortis, Barbara survived working for the Zarbi, (TV: The Web Planet) and although she was captured by a Saracen band led by El Akir, she had the strength of mind to survive this as well. (TV: The Crusade)
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki then travelled to 1868, where they attended a lecture by Thomas Huxley. The four of them travelled into the London Underground to investigate a group of missing students and discovered that the Zarbi had populated themselves in the there. Travelling further into the sewers, they found the Animus, who had reformed itself and had moved to Earth to take revenge on the human race. Ian was able to kill it by driving a train into it. The Doctor and his companions prepared to leave, but the Doctor discovered that his companions were missing, having been pulled out of time by an entity. (COMIC: Prisoners of Time)
Barbara's knowledge of history prepared the travellers for the hardships they would encounter when they landed in Rome. She warned Ian, once they had been captured to be sold as slaves, just how badly Roman slaves were treated. (TV: The Romans) Here she gained her most treasured keepsake from her travels — the gold bracelet she had been given by Nero. (TV: The Romans, The Chase)
She was the first to realise that she and Ian might be able to return home in the Dalek time machine. Determined to get home, she was willing to risk her life in the Dalek ship. On returning home, Barbara and Ian were thrilled to have safely arrived. Once they had left the Dalek ship, and it had self-destructed, the two friends realised that they had some explaining to do, as they had arrived home in 1965 — two years after they had left. (TV: The Chase) Barbara and Ian claimed to have been missionaries in Africa to account for the time gap. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
Life after the Doctor edit
In 1965, Ian and Barbara were pulled into an illusionary world, and made to believe they were in Coal Hill. They encountered the Eleventh Doctor, who helped them overcome the illusion. Ian was sceptical when the strange young man proclaimed himself to be the Doctor, brushing off his intimate knowledge of their adventures as being a result of him being some sort of mind-reading alien. Barbara, on the other hand, was more willing to believe him, citing all the strange things the Doctor had done during their travels. They went with the Doctor to Cornucopia, where they discovered the place in ruins.
When the attackers (known as "the Hunters of the Burning Stone") attacked, the Doctor got their attention by claiming to possess the item they sought, allowing Ian to attack their leader from behind (and finally convincing him that he really was the same man he once knew). Barbara was then kidnapped by Miss Ghost, and transported to her ship. There, Barbara learned that Miss Ghost was actually Annabel Lake, an acquaintance of the Doctor's from 20th century Prague.
Using Annabel's ship, they flew to the Prometheans' ship, narrowly escaping the Hunters (who were revealed to be the Tribe of Gum) and saved the Doctor, Ian and Annabel's father, Patrick Lake. Unfortunately, they could not prevent the Prometheans from using their "Neural Extractor" to regress humanity to a neanderthal mindset. On Annabel's ship, Ian and Barbara encouraged the Doctor to think of a plan, and he finally hit upon one, taking the TARDIS to the past.
As the Tribe of Gum instructed the primitive humans to worship the Prometheans, the Doctor returned, having planted the image of the TARDIS throughout human history, and using that image to alter the neural platform, reversing the effect, destroying the platform, and "locking" the minds of the human race from being altered again. Incensed, the Tribe of Gum, at the Prometheans' urging, attacked the Doctor. Barbara and Ian landed their ship on a fragment of the neural platform, and convinced the Tribe to stop by telling them of love and sacrifice, and how the Doctor protected the people of Earth for years. When the Tribe of Gum ceased their assault, the Prometheans attacked Barbara and Ian. The Tribe of Gum then turned on the Prometheans. Both sides were destroyed in the ensuing struggle. Barbara and Ian returned to their own time, and married, with the Doctor attending their wedding. (COMIC: Hunters of the Burning Stone)
At some point, Barbara was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have her record as a companion of the Doctor taken, her memories of the visit were subsequently erased and she was sent on her way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
She began a career as a university lecturer, specialising in Aztec history. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) The couple had a child, John Alydon Ganatus Chesterton, who grew up to be a famous musician under the name Johnny Chess. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation, Byzantium!)
According to a rumour Sarah Jane Smith shared with Clyde Langer and Rani Chandra, Barbara and Ian had become professors at the University of Cambridge by at least the 2010s and had not aged since the 1960s. (TV: Death of the Doctor)
In 1985, Barbara wrote a GCSE textbook called Journeys Through History: A Sourcebook for GCSE for the Associated Exam Board with Ian Martin in which Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign from 10 to 19 July 1553 was covered. She, the Doctor and Ian had met Lady Jane shortly after she was deposed by Queen Mary I. (PROSE: The Nine-Day Queen)
Barbara was keen to see the good in all things. She was frequently protected by Ian. (TV: The Keys of Marinus) She believed in the innate goodness of people and saw that sometimes there was more to a situation than met the eye. (TV: The Romans)
Barbara was also capable of great endurance and feats of bravery. She killed Sandy with a flare gun in shock, after which she was keen to make it up with Vicki. (TV: The Rescue) While a prisoner, Barbara looked after her fellow captives at risk to herself. (TV: The Romans) Barbara would take her aggression out on the Daleks. Despite her initial fear, she overcame it and fought them to save her group and the Thals. (TV: The Daleks) In her second encounter with them, Barbara drove a truck through a roadblock of Daleks, crushing at least one of them. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth) The next time she met the Daleks, Barbara was eager to violently attack them as soon as the Doctor gained the weaponry they needed. (TV: The Chase)
Behind the scenes edit
- The roles of Ian and Barbara as, respectively, science and history teachers were part of the series' original plan to alternate between science-fiction and historical stories. In an original format document, Barbara's age is listed as twenty-three, but it was decided to cast a slightly older actress in the role instead.
- Barbara Wright has the distinction of being the first regular Doctor Who character to appear on screen. She also spoke the first line of dialogue ever heard in the series, "Wait in here please, Susan. I won't be long." She was the first character to meet a Dalek on screen.
- Compared to later companions, Barbara was not a screamer, so when looking back at the famous cliffhanger to the first Dalek episode, where the camera takes the Dalek's point of view as it closes in on her, her scream is all the more powerful.
- Russell T Davies has stated that he sees Tenth Doctor companion Donna Noble as how Barbara would be presented today (REF: The Writer's Tale):
- "She's an equal to the Doctor, a friend, a mate, a challenge. It struck me — this is how Barbara Wright would be written, if she were a 2007/8 character."