Borusa was a notable and ultimately tragic figure in the history of the Time Lords of Gallifrey, and a very important figure in the life of the Doctor. At various points in his life, he assumed the ranks of Lord President, Cardinal and Chancellor of Gallifrey.
Early life and career Edit
Like all Time Lords, Borusa was taken from his family at the age of eight for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, Borusa was driven mad by what he saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
Borusa held the degree of a jurist and was a tutor to the First Doctor, (TV: The Deadly Assassin) the Master, (AUDIO: Masterplan) and the rest of the Deca at the Time Lord Academy. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
When the Doctor was a young boy, Borusa told him off for his attitude, and that he would be lucky to receive a Class Three Doctorate. Borusa taught him to be seen to respect tradition, even though he did not. (COMIC: Vortex Butterflies)
Among the other subjects, he taught mind shielding. He wrote a paper on reason, which the Doctor had read. (TV: The Invasion of Time) Borusa presided over the Doctor's expulsion from the Academy, at a hearing which was also attended by President Drall, who pushed Borusa for the expulsion. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
His previous student, Magnus, began to rise rapidly in the Time Lord hierarchy, and Cardinal Borusa saw him as a threat to his own position of power, and persuaded the Celestial Intervention Agency to manufacture evidence of treason against him. Believed to be a criminal, Magnus fled from Gallifrey and became a renegade. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Involvement with the Master Edit
When the Doctor returned to Gallifrey in his fourth incarnation, he was framed by the Master and Chancellor Goth for the assassination of the outgoing President. By this time, Borusa was Lord Cardinal on the High Council. During his trial, the Doctor proclaimed his candidacy for the President as a delaying tactic. Once the Doctor was shown to be innocent, Borusa set about "adjusting the truth" in the wake of the events, portraying the late Goth not as the Master's ally, but as a hero who had given his life to stop the Master. Unsurprisingly, the Doctor was appalled, and was more than happy to leave Gallifrey in return for the charges against him being dropped. (TV: The Deadly Assassin)
During the Sontaran invasion Edit
After the Doctor had left Gallifrey once more, Borusa became Lord Chancellor - illegally, according to the Doctor - and at some point regenerated. The Doctor later returned to Gallifrey briefly to claim the post of Lord President, based on his previous candidacy for the position. The Doctor was secretly working to defeat the telepathic Vardans in their quest to invade Gallifrey, a ploy which he eventually confided to Borusa. The Doctor asked his old mentor to remain in a lead-lined room to prevent the Vardans from reading his mind. Borusa acknowledged that he was too one-track-minded to employ the Doctor's 'trick' of keeping his thoughts too chaotic for the Vardans to read. Once the Vardans and their puppet masters, the Sontarans, had been seen off, the Doctor departed, again leaving Gallifrey in Borusa's hands. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
Career as Lord President Edit
Some time before the second crisis involving Omega, Borusa was inducted officially as Lord President, and regenerated again. Councillor Hedin left evidence of his own crimes that made it seem that Borusa was the criminal. Borusa corrected the Time Lords, revealing Hedin's wrongdoing, and hoped that Omega would find peace after the Fifth Doctor sent him back to the antimatter universe. (TV: Arc of Infinity)
Descending into madness Edit
Regenerating yet again — with his stubborn streak apparently enhanced in the process — Borusa used his presidential powers to investigate the legacy of Rassilon from the Dark Time of Gallifrey. He pursued access to the Tomb of Rassilon, where he believed he would find the secret of immortality, ruling Gallifrey forever as "President Eternal". To this end, he reactivated the ancient Time Scoop, and revived the long-forbidden war games between captured representatives of various species in the Death Zone surrounding the Tomb.
Borusa summoned all of the Doctor's previous incarnations to the Zone (though the Fourth Doctor ended up becoming trapped in the Time Vortex), convinced that at least one would gain entry to the Tomb. He also arranged for the Master to be sent into the Death Zone- officially to help the Doctor but unofficially to 'inspire' the Doctor by giving him a clearer villain to face- and time-scooped at least one Dalek, one Yeti, and a squad of Cybermen to go into the Zone as well. Although the Fifth Doctor was sent to the Capitol and managed to learn what Borusa was doing despite his attempts to frame other parties, Borusa used the Coronet of Rassilon to take control of the Fifth Doctor once the first three Doctors had reached Rassilon's tomb and been tricked into deactivating the forcefield blocking transmat access to the Tomb. After reaching the Tomb, Borusa used the Coronet to paralyse the Doctors' assembled companions, but the first three Doctors were able to link minds to free their fifth self, the four Doctors joining together to stand against Borusa. As the spirit of Rassilon appeared in the tomb, he offered Borusa immortality, but as the First Doctor had realised, the promised immortality was a trap set by Rassilon to capture power-mongers such as himself. Borusa was condemned, like others before him, to live his "immortal" life trapped within a sarcophagus. (TV: The Five Doctors)
Political Legacy Edit
Although Borusa was officially declared missing after the events of the Death Zone in order to preserve the High Council's reputation, they were soon forced to acknowledge that Borusa had caused far more problems than the obvious. Certain of his impending immortality and responsibility to be Gallifrey's true ruler, Borusa had not only discredited and dismissed many of the more competent Time Lords from the High Council, but had also created a council composed of weak-willed Time Lords who lacked the personal strength to take action without him. Faced with a political system on the brink of collapse, the Time Lords were forced to recall the Doctor to act as President, as he was a relative outsider with no ties to anyone else who would be controversial enough to establish himself as a credible candidate. After spending a short time in the role, the Doctor was able to create a new political system on Gallifrey, dealing with some of his personal perceived flaws in the political process, before handing power over to his appointed successor and departing on his travels once again (AUDIO: Time in Office).
Revival and retirement Edit
The Eighth Doctor persuaded Rassilon to free Borusa from his immortality to reform the corrupt High Council that had been responsible for the Sixth Doctor's latest trial. He was released from his punishment to carry out this duty- simultaneously being regressed back to an earlier, more stable incarnation- but apparently returned to Rassilon afterwards. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) He was released once again when the Committee of Three — a group of renegade Time Lords whose careers had been ruined by the Doctor's actions — attempted to use the powerful Agonal against Rassilon to make him release Borusa, but, having seen the error of his ways, Borusa instead aided Rassilon, Romana II and the Seventh Doctor in defeating Agonal before he passed on for good. (PROSE: Blood Harvest)
During the War, the Lord President reintegrated several barely-reformed renegades into Gallifreyan society. Allopta trained with Raston Warrior Robots in the Death Zone under the oversight of an aged figure in crimson robes, with piercing eyes and a silk skullcap. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)
Rassilon retro-evolved Borusa into a possibility engine during the Last Great Time War. He resided in the Dark Tower in the Death Zone. He had been wired up to the Time Vortex and constantly regenerated through his different incarnations. Rassilon used Borusa to predict the most suitable timeline for Time Lord victory throughout the War. Rassilon came to Borusa to ask him about the most successful way to detonate the Tear of Isha into the Tantalus Eye.
The War Doctor later stole Borusa from Rassilon. Being further altered by proximity to the Tantalus Eye, Borusa helped the Doctor to erase all presence of the Daleks around the Tantalus Eye. He was killed in the process but that was the fate he wanted after a miserable existence as Rassilon's experiment. (PROSE: Engines of War)
Borusa seemed to have been a strict teacher towards the Doctor, and didn't give his former pupil much credit for saving Gallifrey from the Master (giving him a mark of nine out of ten). (TV: The Deadly Assassin) However, the pair seemed to have a love/hate relationship, only for their relationship to completely shatter when Borusa placed all of the Doctor's incarnations in mortal danger. (TV: The Five Doctors) After being set free from the possibility engine by the War Doctor, Borusa was willing to help the Doctor, if in return he would end his suffering from what Rassilon had done to him. (PROSE: Engines of War)
Behind the scenes Edit
- Borusa is one of the few Time Lords to be depicted in televised episodes through multiple regenerations on-screen.
- According to The Brilliant Book 2012, Borusa's Portrait of Rassilon was stolen during his tenure as Lord President. The Corsair, a renegade Time Lord with whom the Doctor was friends, was accused of and censured for the crime.
- In the TV sketch The Pitch of Fear, Mark Gatiss plays a character called Mr Borusa, obviously in reference to the character.
- Borusa was dubbed by voice actor Herbert Weicker in the German dub of The Five Doctors.