a real world point of view
Bonita Melody Lysette "Bonnie" Langford (born 22 July 1964) appeared as the Doctor's companion Mel, debuting in Terror of the Vervoids, one of the stories in The Trial of a Time Lord, and departing at the conclusion of Dragonfire. She has since reprised the role in several audio dramas for Big Finish Productions. She first achieved fame as a child actor, starring in the television series Just William and the film Bugsy Malone.
Her stage work includes Annie, Peter Pan: The Musical, Cats and The Pirates of Penzance. Langford was a regular guest (2003-2005) on Sandi Toksvig's weekday lunchtime show on LBC radio and occasionally deputised when Sandi was ill or on holiday. Langford had just completed a run in Peter Pan at the time she was announced as the Doctor's newest companion. A publicity photo was passed round of Langford in costume as Peter and Colin Baker in costume as the Doctor, "flying" together on wires.
She has received a fair amount of abuse over her career, as she has been widely perceived as an overly perky youth. Some Doctor Who fans have voiced similar complaints about the character of Mel. Noël Coward reportedly made the comment, after seeing a play with the young Bonnie Langford in it in which a horse also defecated on the stage, "If they had shoved the child's head up the horse's arse, they would have solved two problems at once."
On 23 October 2005, Bonnie performed in Children Will Listen, a 75th birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. She then appeared in the pantomime Cinderella at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.
Langford has the distinction of being the first companion actor to have been born after the start of the original series, and the only such actor to appear in the original series.
Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker praised Bonnie Langford in an extra for the The Trial of a Time Lord DVD Box Set. He states that in his long career, he has never worked with anyone more professional than her.
- Dimensions in Time (1993) (TV)
- Doctor Who (1986-1987)
- The Hot Shoe Show (1983) TV Series
- Wombling Free (1977)
- aka Wombling Free: The Movie (UK: video title)
- Bugsy Malone (1976) (as Bonita Langford)
- Just William (1976) TV Series