|Main aliases:||Avan Tarklu, Bish|
|Place of origin:||Xenon|
|First seen in:||The Shape Shifter|
|Main actor:||Robert Jezek|
- You may be looking for John Frobisher.
Frobisher was married to another Whifferdill named Francine, who left him because she felt she was a better detective. He was a con man for the most part, using his abilities to make money regardless of the cost to others. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter, AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin) Being a private detective, Frobisher became used to being knocked unconscious to the point where he almost enjoyed it. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
Travels with the Doctor
Joining the Doctor
Living as Avan Tarklu in the 82nd century, he came across the Sixth Doctor when Josiah W. Dogbolter placed a bounty on the Time Lord. Following the Doctor, he infiltrated his TARDIS, shifting into the central column and piloting it. However, instead of turning the Doctor in for the money (even though the TARDIS interested Dogbolter more), Tarklu decided that he liked the Doctor, and helped him escape. They stole the money which they split evenly. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter)
Frobisher joined the Doctor on his journeys. He took the name of Frobisher because he felt that it sounded British, thinking that the Doctor would like that. He also settled on the form of a penguin. Frobisher and the Doctor were assigned by Voyager to return his star charts.
Frobisher became ill with mono-morphia, trapping him in the form of a penguin. (COMIC: Genesis!) He travelled back to prehistoric Earth and went swimming, trying to catch a fish. A reptile in the sea began chasing him, but Frobisher was unable to change due to his illness.
The Doctor was forced to throw some waste from the future at it. This set history on the course it was intended to follow. Peri joined them on their travels again after she had taken a break. (COMIC: Time Bomb)
Frobisher began to recover from the mono-morphia. He battled a Kymbra Chimera after it infiltrated the TARDIS, his powers holding out long enough for the Doctor to have it sucked out. (COMIC: Changes)
The Doctor promised to take them to Arcadia, but instead, they landed on a spaceship called the Mayflower. There, they met Kara McAllista, and helped her repel the Profiteer of Ephte. (COMIC: Profits of Doom)
Sometime later, when the Sixth Doctor and Peri were out of the room, the Tenth Doctor appeared to Frobisher through the TARDIS control console; the same way that Frobisher had first appeared to him. The Doctor told him that he needed his help, and that he would also be helping himself and many other companions.
The Sixth Doctor landed in the year 7214, where a nature preserve was keeping the last Penguins alive. The Doctor was captured by the local robotic officials, who believed him to be insane, and was locked in a mental institution. There he learned that the robots were under the control of the Master, and that all of the staff in the prison were his Auton slaves. Frobisher and Peri broke into the prison, Frobisher shape shifting into a hospital staff member pretending to be escorting Peri. When they were discovered, the Auton staff attacked, Frobisher and Peri running away through the building.
The Doctor broke out of his cell, and ran into Frobisher, who was disguised as Peri, as the Tenth Doctor had instructed. They were chased into a room by the Autons, but the Doctor was able to stop them by melting the plastic inside them. When he turned around, though, he saw Peri, actually Frobisher, captured by a cloaked figure.
Now in the same cell system that the cloaked figure had used to capture the Doctor's other companions, Frobisher escaped his cell and began exploring. It was after that all the Doctors had come together that Frobisher made his move. He disguised himself as a remote control that would have ended the lives of all the Doctor's companions minus one. With some instruction from the Second Doctor, Frobisher masqueraded as an Auton and freed all of the Doctor's companions.(COMIC: Prisoners of Time)
They attended the Lorduke of Zazz's party on the planet Zazz. There, Frobisher danced and performed for the guests. He helped prepare Professor Strut's rocket to deliver a plague of self-replicating robots to the planet's moon. (COMIC: The Gift)
Frobisher eventually left the Doctor, and returned to work as a detective. The Doctor visited him to see if he wanted to resume travelling; Frobisher declined. Alicia Mulholland approached him and asked him to follow her husband, Arthur Gringax, to see if he was cheating on her. Frobisher performed part of this mission in the Doctor's shape, in order to remain inconspicuous.
Frobisher followed Gringax to an inn. There he was taken prisoner by Chandler and delivered to Josiah W. Dogbolter. He escaped, but was soon recaptured. The economy broke down after the workers read a joke and became imaginative as a result. Dogbolter then escaped. Alicia revealed herself to be Francine, and told Frobisher that he should leave with the Doctor, as he would later regret staying with her. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
The TARDIS "went on strike" after Frobisher harmed a Gumblejack created by the dimensional stabiliser. She took them to a medieval-style castle. Upon emerging, the people were fascinated by "a talking bird". They believed Frobisher to be the Doctor's master.
After the current "god", Pepin VII, abdicated from his rule, he proclaimed Frobisher as his successor and the new god. They found themselves to be in the prison world of Eugene Tacitus, and came under threat from the apparition of Eugene's son. Eugene had his son kill him, removing the threat. The Doctor and Frobisher left in the recovered TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
The Seventh Doctor and Frobisher travelled to the luxury planet A-Lux where they encountered Arryx and his Ice Warriors, who had sabotaged the planet's weather controls, turning it into a snowy wilderness. After defeating them, Frobisher decided he would stay behind to enjoy the luxuries of A-Lux. (COMIC: A Cold Day in Hell!)
Life after the Doctor
Frobisher eventually took on a human form, calling himself "Bish." He came to run a bar, Bish's, where he eventually met the Eighth Doctor, though neither recognised the other due to both having changed their appearance since they'd parted ways. He talked with the Doctor, trying to find out why he looked so sad. When a robot called Zalda entered the bar, threatening to blow herself up, the Doctor talked her out of it. Frobisher then called for drinks on the house. When everyone had left the bar apart from his wife Caralla, who worked there, he morphed back into his penguin form. (COMIC: Where Nobody Knows Your Name)
With Iris Wildthyme
The renegade Time Lord Iris Wildthyme (who had a habit of claiming that various of the Doctor's adventures had happened to her, not him) once said that she travelled with a mouthy shape-shifter companion who liked to stay in the shape of a penguin. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Frobisher, like the Doctor, made light of threatening situations and tended to make jokes at these and other inappropriate times. Despite this, he became a loyal and trustworthy companion to the Doctor. (COMIC: Voyager)
He had no qualms about killing, shooting guards at Dogbolter's estate. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter) Frobisher was not picky in his eating habits. He ate an earthworm that was offered to him by Brock. (COMIC: Once Upon a Time Lord)
He did not seem to fully understand penguin physiology. At one point he believed himself to have laid an egg. Frobisher was overly active, which often landed him in dangerous situations. (COMIC: Time Bomb[additional sources needed])
Frobisher was keen to party when arriving on Zazz. This led to some conflict between him and the Lorduke. He also annoyed Professor Strut, a hater of music, by performing a rendition of Fireball XL5. (COMIC: The Gift)
Frobisher left the Doctor for some time as he felt he was playing second fiddle, with the Doctor always saving the day. He believed the Doctor "cramped his style". Although he felt bad at leaving the Doctor, he surmised that he needed to work solo.
Frobisher stated that the loss of Francine had hurt him deeply. He theorised that no one should ever get too close to another. Frobisher came to realise that he was better suited to rescuing cats than saving the day. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
When Pepin VII told him not to get married, he replied that he had tried it, in reference to Francine. However, he "was no longer the Ogron she fell in love with".
Frobisher did not believe in heaven. However, he reminded others not to take his word as gospel. Frobisher was reluctant to rule upon his proclamation as a god. He began introducing basic government principals to them, such as free will and voting.
Frobisher told the Doctor that, despite only existing in Eugene's World, the inhabitants were still people. The Doctor compared this to Frobisher's claim that the Gumblejack wasn't real so Frobisher learned his lesson. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
Frobisher usually remained solely in penguin form, undressed. A number of his forms involved dress but these were part of his body. (COMIC: War-Game) As a disguise he once morphed a pair of glasses, moustache and false nose (extended to accommodate his beak). (COMIC: Voyager) He once wore a top hat and carried a cane. (COMIC: Time Bomb) On occasion he donned headgear and glasses. (COMIC: The Gift) On Marinus, the Worldshaper caused Frobisher to moult quickly. (COMIC: The World Shapers) He once claimed to be wearing black and white trousers whilst in penguin form. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
Frobisher used the form of a pale yellow humanoid, three to four feet in height, with an egg-shaped featureless head, wearing spectacles. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter) He once told the Doctor he spent fourteen years in the form of a supermarket till. (COMIC: Voyager) While with Francine, Frobisher used the form of an Ogron, at least upon occasion. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
He assumed the form of a pigeon on at least one occasion to allow himself to fly. Inside the Doctor's TARDIS, he morphed to change into the time rotor of the TARDIS console. He then took on the Doctor's form so as to trick his captors. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter)
After Francine left him, Frobisher adopted the form of a penguin as she had been fond of that shape. He did this to remember her. (COMIC: Voyager) He temporarily took on the form of the Sixth Doctor once more in order to investigate a murder because, as he explained, "A penguin detective would be shocking." (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
Frobisher morphed into the forms of a big cat, a dinosaur and a robot to combat a Kymbra Chimera. (COMIC: Changes) He stretched his penguin form to one similar to a hang-glider. He used this form to save Professor Strut (COMIC: The Gift) and later, Jamie McCrimmon. (COMIC: The World Shapers)
Behind the scenes
- "Avan Tarklu" is a play on the phrase "haven't a clue."
- The continuity of Frobisher's travels with the Doctor mostly doesn't mesh well with televised Doctor Who, other than Peri's reference in The World Shapers to having met Jamie McCrimmon in Spain (Peri and Jamie's meeting had happened in The Two Doctors). A Cold Day in Hell occurs in an otherwise unknown period of the Seventh Doctor's life when he and Frobisher travel together without Melanie Bush appearing.
- A mock interview with Frobisher appeared in Doctor Who Magazine after he had left the series. The article mentions Frobisher's unwelcome interest in Nicola Bryant, which caused tension "on set". The interview was reprinted in the graphic novel The World Shapers.