Charlotte Elspeth Pollard — known to her friends as Charley and to her family as Lottie — was a human companion of the Eighth Doctor. Later, she came to travel with the Sixth Doctor. Her existence was always temporally problematic for the Doctor.
When he met her in his eighth incarnation, he saved her from what should have been her natural death, although it was what the Tenth Doctor would later call a "fixed point in time". This act of compassion was a violation of the Laws of Time. It destabilised the Web of Time and created a rift into the universe of anti-time, eventually forcing the Doctor to exile himself into the Divergent Universe.
The Doctor and Charley eventually returned to the true universe, but they became separated in a confrontation with the Cybermen, Charley believing that the Doctor was dead and the Doctor's mind scrambled by the Cyber-Controller's attempt to take control of him so that he couldn't remember their last few hours together. Charley was subsequently rescued when the Sixth Doctor responded to her distress call, staying with him despite knowing that her very presence at this point in his life threatened to break Time Lord law by exposing him to foreknowledge about his own future.
Before the Doctor Edit
She had two sisters, Margaret and Cecelia. Cecelia was also inadvertently involved in Time Lord politics. (AUDIO: A Blind Eye) The three sisters grew up in a manor house in Hampshire, looked after by servants. (AUDIO: The Chimes of Midnight, Zagreus)
Her maternal grandmother was named Ermentrude Elspeth Pollard. She had died by 1936. (AUDIO: The Fall of the House of Pollard) She gave Charley a copy of Alice in Wonderland for Christmas 1919. (AUDIO: Zagreus) She also had a maternal uncle, Jacques. (AUDIO: Memory Lane, The Girl Who Never Was, The Fall of the House of Pollard)
Her childhood hero was the Victorian explorer Pieter Mon Marchè. During her travels with the Doctor, she learned that Mon Marchè was a not real person but a fictional character that she herself had inadvertently created. (AUDIO: The Man Who Wasn't There)
Meeting the Doctor Edit
Making an appointment to meet a young man, Alex Grayle, in Singapore on New Year's Eve 1930, Charley stowed away on the British airship R101, having disguised herself as a male crew member named Simon Murchford. This was known only by the Pollards' cook, Edith Thompson. (AUDIO: The Fall of the House of Pollard) On 5 October 1930, she met the Eighth Doctor and they uncovered the secret mission that the airship was on. She was rescued from the fated crash of the R101 by the Doctor and taken on board his TARDIS as his newest companion. (AUDIO: Storm Warning, Seasons of Fear)
Initial voyages with the Doctor Edit
Following their adventures aboard the R101, Charley and the Doctor encountered the Cybermen in 2503, (AUDIO: Sword of Orion) visited Venice in 2294 (AUDIO: The Stones of Venice) and faced the demon Marchosias in Malebolgia in 2003. (AUDIO: Minuet in Hell)
In an alternative timeline created by the Master, she met the Fourth Doctor and Leela in the former's TARDIS. As the Eighth Doctor had never told her of regeneration, she was at first sceptical of the Fourth Doctor's claim to be the Doctor but was soon convinced. As he had detected temporal disturbances in the Time Vortex, the Fourth Doctor realised that Charley must be one of his companions from the future. When she asked how he knew this, he told her that if she was one of his previous companions, he would be able to recognise her. He soon came to believe that Charley was very clever.
When these events were wiped, so were all of her and the Doctor's memories of said events. For a reason unbeknownst to them, the Doctor suddenly felt the need to visit Bob Dovie at 59A Barnsfield Crescent in Totton, Hampshire on 23 November 1963. There they were surprised to learn that Bob had already been visited by all of the Doctor's past incarnations, and was very irate. (AUDIO: The Light at the End)
In New York City in October 1938, they met Orson Welles and repelled the Laiderplacker invasion by using The War of the Worlds broadcast to convince the aliens that another invasion was already ongoing. (AUDIO: Invaders from Mars)
While attempting to take Charley to her rendezvous in Singapore 1930, the Doctor met the immortal Sebastian Grayle, who was working for the Nimons and gloated about having killed the Doctor. The Doctor and Charley went back in time to 305, 1055, and 1806, each time meeting Grayle, and in the end stopping him and the Nimons. (AUDIO: Seasons of Fear)
While trying to investigate the disappearance of sun in the Cimmerian System, Charley and the Doctor went to a Throxillian mining base. The Cimmerians, descendants of the Solarians and inhabitants of the system, feared light because it would allow the Solarians to track them, and burned out the eyes of everyone on the base, including Charley. When the Doctor got the artificial suns working, the Solarians came to the system and cleared up the misunderstanding. The Cimmerians healed the crew's eyes. (AUDIO: Embrace the Darkness)
During her adventures with the Doctor, she was trapped by the Celestial Toymaker, not remembering who she was, and forced to play games, with the spirit of the Doctor stuck inside a ventriloquist puppet, only able to talk with her voice. She finally defeated the Toymaker and fled in the TARDIS with the Doctor inside. (AUDIO: Solitaire)
By that time, Charley's existence was causing problems to the Web of Time, culminating in a confrontation with the Time Lords. Charley had become a gateway to the Antiverse, causing anti-time to flow through and infect the Universe. When Charley helped save the Web of Time these events became part of the Web, resolving the paradox. (AUDIO: Neverland)
In the divergent universe Edit
Charley and the Doctor's initial landing in the Divergent Universe was within a strictly designed experiment to study evolution. As such, Charley and the Doctor merged to create an evolved life form, and their sound evolved to the point of achieving sentience. (AUDIO: Scherzo)
Not long after landing in the Divergent Universe, Charley and the Doctor met C'rizz when they entered the Eutermes Zone on Bortresoye. Charley was transformed into a giant hybrid insect and later saved by the Doctor and reversed to her normal self. (AUDIO: The Creed of the Kromon)
The Kro'ka sent them to a tropical jungle, where she betrayed the Doctor to military forces because she didn't trust him very much in this universe. She became very upset with the Doctor, her mind being influenced by a living organism in the form of a cave system. (AUDIO: The Twilight Kingdom)
Following their visit to different experimental zones of the Divergent Universe, they arrived at the Multihaven, a city run as a religious forum with innumerable faiths having set up churches, temples and retreats. C'rizz was still grieving over the loss of L'da and in a moment of madness, he mistook Charley for L'da and tried to strangle her. The Doctor arrived just in time to save Charley by overpowering C'rizz with his Venusian aikido. (AUDIO: Faith Stealer)
Trapped on a dying world, Charley became critically injured and her body was totally paralysed. She asked C'rizz to kill her but he didn't want to do it. She later was murdered by the Excelsior, the dictator from the planet in ruins. The planet had been looking after itself, killing everybody and starting the cycle all over again, so finally Charley didn't die and continued travelling with the Doctor and C'rizz to the next zone. (AUDIO: The Last) In the Caerdroia world, the Doctor's personality became split in three (innocent, normal and grumpy); to Charley's annoyance, she got teamed up with the "nasty" side of the Doctor, while the others went on different paths to investigate and try to solve the puzzle. Reunited, they finally solved the mystery of this place and were able to regain the TARDIS. (AUDIO: Caerdroia)
Once the travellers were reunited with the TARDIS, the ship was plunged uncontrollably into the atmosphere of a mysterious blue planet, where the Doctor was forced to take emergency action and they became separated.
Charley found herself visited by her mother and had to come to terms with how hardened to death she had became in her travels with the Doctor. She also had an encounter with Simon Murchford, whose identity she stole to board the R101 all those years ago.
Charley was forced by Rassilon to live in an artificial reality, until she discovered the truth about Zagreus and the anti-time virus. Charley felt extremely jealous for not having the Doctor for herself anymore and resented C'rizz. Faced with the opportunity to return to our universe, the Doctor only was willing to do so if Charley and C'rizz resolved their differences. (AUDIO: The Next Life)
Back home again Edit
Having returned to her universe, Charley was grateful to be back on more familiar territory, despite some initial tension between her and C'rizz due to his past as an assassin. As time progressed, however, the two became good friends, Charley recognising that morality could be more complicated than her initial perceptions after such experiences as an encounter with serial killer Eunis Flood, who was about to be killed as part of an experiment to research the nature of evil. Charley concluded that Flood didn't deserve such treatment no matter what he'd done in the past or would do in the future. (AUDIO: Scaredy Cat)
Charley also experienced an interesting historical encounter when she met the Duke of Wellington during a trip to the Great Exhibition of 1851, Charley forced to pose as a French ambassador after the original ambassadors were briefly trapped in the TARDIS. While talking with the Duke, Charley assured him that he personally would be remembered as a great hero even if Britain itself still had problems in the future. (AUDIO: Other Lives)
In the end, however, C'rizz was killed when the TARDIS was trapped on a planet resembling Hell and was forced to serve as a spiritual storage facility for the souls of the entire planet (a purpose that the Doctor speculated C'rizz had been intended to serve for the Foundation), only for C'rizz to burn himself out when he acted to restore the planet to normal. His last words being to describe Charley as his sister before he died. (AUDIO: Absolution)
Angry at the Doctor's apparent lack of concern for the loss, Charley ordered the Doctor to take her to Singapore once and for all. However, although Charley changed her mind after she arrived in Singapore, a subsequent confrontation with the Cybermen during their latest attempt to harness time travel resulted in the Doctor and Charley being separated as the Cybermen' ship collapsed. After a battle with the Cybermen, she was stranded on a desert island in 500,002, believing that the Doctor had been killed by the Cybermen, while the Doctor returned to Singapore in 2008 after the TARDIS' HADS activated when the ship they were on disintegrated; his recent memories so scrambled by the attempted conversion that he was unable to precisely recall what had happened to Charley. (AUDIO: The Girl Who Never Was)
Meeting the other Doctor Edit
When the TARDIS arrived in response to her distress signal, Charley found the Doctor, but in an earlier incarnation. (AUDIO: The Condemned) Because of her travels with the future Doctor she knew not to let him find out anything about her past, but he grew suspicious of her mysteriousness.
After landing on an unnamed planet which looked like a manor house with servant cottages, Charley and the Doctor were chased by werewolves. She devised a plan to get the werewolves to follow her and not the Doctor but fell into a pit trap. The police werewolves captured her and took her to Dr Paignton. Paignton wanted extra human urges, thinking she was a werewolf. Charley thought that this would make her a lettuce. The Valeyard stopped this process, and threatened to tell the Doctor that she travelled with his eighth incarnation. The Valeyard also explained to her the history of the colonists. He tried to convince her to change the Web of Time. (AUDIO: The Red House)
Eventually, the Doctor demanded to know Charley's secret, but before she could answer him, she was infected with a virus that had slipped through the TARDIS' defences. Charley discovered the virus had come from an entity called Mila, a human guinea pig in experiments by the Daleks to create a virus to transform all lifeforms into Daleks. When the experiments failed, the Daleks attacked her, making her phase into another dimension. She had slipped aboard the TARDIS in the Doctor's first incarnation and remained there since, invisible to everyone. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, Mila had used the virus to transform Charley into herself and vice versa, leaving Charley out of phase with reality and allowing her to take Charley's place at the Doctor's side. (AUDIO: Patient Zero)
Charley was found and cured by the Viyrans, whom she helped for several millennia in their quest to expunge all the viruses which had escaped from the Amethyst station. Finally they crossed paths with the Doctor and Charley/Mila in an alternate timeline created by the Viyrans' attempt to remove a virus from Earth's population. After Mila sacrificed herself to save the Doctor and the Earth, Charley revealed her identity to the Doctor. To make him want to forget his travels with her, she told him that when he met her, he would die (still believing that the Eighth Doctor had not regenerated). She used the Viyrans' memory-altering technology to replace Mila with herself in the Doctor's memories of their travels together. (AUDIO: Blue Forgotten Planet)
After the Doctor Edit
Info from The Lamentation Cipher, The Shadow at the Edge of the World, The Fall of the House of Pollard, The Viyran Solution, Embankment Station, Ruffling, Seed of Chaos and The Destructive Quality of Life needs to be added
For years, Charley travelled with the Viyrans, helping them find and destroy various Amethyst viruses. Eventually, she decided to escape their custody, and ended up travelling through a space-time anomaly known as the Ever-and-Ever Prolixity. (AUDIO: The Lamentation Cipher)
She eventually found herself in a Scottish forest infected with another of the viruses, and was found by Viyrans again. (AUDIO: The Shadow at the Edge of the World) She again decided to leave through the Prolixity, and was briefly reunited with her parents in 1936. However, she was found and taken prisoner by the Viyrans, while her parents' memory of her ever existing was erased. (AUDIO: The Fall of the House of Pollard)
Travelling through the Ever-and-Ever Prolixity with Robert Buchan and a Rogue Viyran, Charley and her friends ended up in Embankment tube station in the early 21st century. (AUDIO: Embankment Station)
The Tenth Doctor, put on trial by the Shadow Proclamation, cited the saving of Charley Pollard as an example of his saving the life of someone who had been declared a "fixed point in time" and destined to die. (COMIC: Fugitive)
Behind the scenes Edit
- The reference to Charley in IDW Publishing's Doctor Who Ongoing series marked the first time a character created for the Big Finish Productions audio drama line had been referenced in a comic book; she was also one of the names mentioned by the dying Eighth Doctor prior to his regeneration. (TV: The Night of the Doctor)
- In December 2014, Charley was added as a playable character to the game Doctor Who: Legacy. She is the only character who originated from Big Finish to appear in the game. However, the game also features the companions of ARC, Cinder, Gabby Gonzalez and Alice Obiefune, who all derive from spin-off material.
- Along with Thomas Brewster, Evelyn Smythe and Liv Chenka, Charley is one of only four companions created by Big Finish to be depicted travelling with or meeting two incarnations of the Doctor.
- According to the Big Finish podcast, Charley was originally going to be a travel agent from the 1950s.