Cliff was a brilliant Welsh biologist and mycologist. He published a paper on DNA synthesis which the Third Doctor admired for being advanced relative to the 20th century Earth standard. He became a Nobel laureate.
By the 1970s, he lived at the alternative community known as Wholeweal, or "the Nuthutch," where he studied fungi. He was especially interested in the overlooked nutritional value of fungi and thought they might solve the problem of world hunger. Like the rest of the Wholeweal community, he opposed Global Chemicals and protested against them at a public announcement by their director, Stevens.
He first encountered Jo Grant in his laboratory, just as she accidentally ruined one of his experiments. Although he treated her gruffly initially, Cliff gradually fell in love with Jo. By the time that Global Chemicals had been defeated, he asked her to marry him, to which she agreed, having already pulled some strings with her influential uncle to have Wholeweal provided with UN funding. (TV: The Green Death)
The two honeymooned in the Amazon while looking for obscure fungi. (TV: Planet of the Spiders) They had some "adventures" for which the locals blamed the Metebelis crystal given to Jo by the Third Doctor, so she sent it back to him. (PROSE: An Overture Too Early)
One account mentioned they had a son together but had divorced by the 1990s. (PROSE: Genocide) Another stated that they had seven children and thirteen grandchildren by 2010. While Jo attended what she thought was the Doctor's funeral, Cliff was picketing an oil rig in the Ascension Islands. (TV: Death of the Doctor)
Behind the scenes edit
- Katy Manning was not fond of the Cliff character and did not think that Jo's marriage would have lasted. She said in 1993 at the annual Panopticon fan event that she would be willing to reprise her role as Jo only if Jo was divorced from Cliff. However, the two characters were still married when Manning guest-starred in The Sarah Jane Adventures seventeen years later. Russell T Davies did not want to contradict the happy ending presented in The Green Death.