The events of recent Companion Chronicles, the PDAs and the Short Trips featuring Leela, the Fourth Doctor Lost Stories and the comics featuring her need to be added.
These omissions are so great that the article's factual accuracy has been compromised. Check out the discussion page and revision history for further clues about what needs to be updated in this article.
|Affiliated with:||Sevateem, Time Lord Academy|
|Place of origin:||Colonised planet|
|First seen in:||The Face of Evil|
|Main actor:||Louise Jameson|
Leela was a warrior of the savage Sevateem, a tribe of regressed humans. She met the Fourth Doctor during his visit to her home planet and aided him against Xoanon. The two became friends and, when offered the possibility of becoming leader of her world's new society, she left to follow the Doctor. Although he initially rejected her request to go with him, she ran into the TARDIS and became his companion. (TV: The Face of Evil)
Leela's origins meant she had little understanding of the technological wonders to which her travels exposed her. She was educated by the Doctor, who attempted to instruct her on the nature of societies beyond her own. During one such trip, she met Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot, whom she would revisit a number of times thereafter. Despite the Doctor's misgivings, she remained quick to violence and her primitive edge never dissipated. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang, AUDIO: The Renaissance Man, The Ruthven Inheritance, Dead Men's Tales)
They were joined on their travels by K9. (TV: The Invisible Enemy) Having fallen in love with Andred, a member of the Chancellery Guard, Leela chose to leave the Doctor and live on Gallifrey. K9 decided to remain with her. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
She married Andred (TV: Arc of Infinity) and, taking the name Leelandredloomsagwinaechegesima, (PROSE: Lungbarrow) became embroiled in Gallifreyan politics as the bodyguard of Romana II. (AUDIO: Weapon of Choice) The Time Lords allowed her to retain her youth for an unnaturally long time. (AUDIO: The Catalyst)
In the course of her time on Gallifrey, Leela became involved in a civil war and was blinded. (AUDIO: Fractures) Following Andred's death, (AUDIO: Insurgency) she explored a number of alternative Gallifreys in other dimensions (AUDIO: Reborn) and restored her sight in one of them by drinking blood. (AUDIO: Annihilation) Leela survived the destruction of Gallifrey, but instead became a prisoner of the Z'Nai. (AUDIO: The Catalyst) She died in their dungeon. (AUDIO: The Time Vampire) Her soul was reborn as Emily. (AUDIO: The Child)
Early life Edit
Leela was a member of the Sevateem, descended from the human survey team of the Mordee expedition. She was the daughter of Sole. (TV: The Face of Evil) Leela was named after Leela, the greatest warrior in Sevateem history, who sacrificed her life to save the tribe. (AUDIO: The Catalyst, Arbitration, The Abandoned) In 60, she told Boudica that the name had no meaning. (AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)
Meeting with the Doctor Edit
Leela argued against the tribe's shaman, Neeva, in his decision to attack the rival Tesh tribe - a purpose he claimed came from the Sevateem's god, Xoanon. Leela's blaspheming against this deity secured her banishment. Sole undertook the ritual Test of the Horda on her behalf and was killed.
While attempting to leave Sevateem land, Leela came into conflict with two men, sent by Neeva to kill her. She used a crossbow to slay one of her assailants while Tomas, her friend, killed the other. Leela instructed him to return to the tribe and, before going far, met with the Fourth Doctor. She believed him to be the Evil One - a figure from Sevateem religion who supposedly held Xoanon captive - due to the resemblance between him and the carved face on a cliff nearby.
Leela was experiencing a crisis of religion. The Doctor saved her from the psychic projections of Xoanon that resided in the jungle, earning her trust. After the Doctor was captured, Leela returned to the Sevateem village and helped him escape. Her use of janis thorns to paralyse and kill was criticised by the Doctor.
Calib used a janis thorn against Leela, and only through the Doctor's use of a bioanalyser was she restored from paralysis and saved from death. Leela then went with the Doctor to the base of the Tesh - in fact the spacecraft used by the expedition. There, the Doctor found the supercomputer Xoanon and set about trying to cure him of his insanity while Leela fended off the attacking Tesh, killing several. The Doctor was able to unify the mind of Xoanon, slipping into unconsciousness as he did so.
Leela cared for him for two days until he came to his senses. She followed him back to his TARDIS and requested that he take her with him. The Doctor protested, admitting that he liked Leela, but saying he could not take everyone he liked with him as they were too numerous. She walked past him into the TARDIS, he followed, and Leela's use of the console led to dematerialisation. (TV: The Face of Evil)
Travels with the Doctor Edit
Leela and the Doctor visited Storm Mine 4. After members of the crew were found dead, the pair were accused of murder. The Doctor suspected that the Sandminer robots were responsible and Leela and he were exonerated when this was proven. D84, a Dum class robot, approached Leela and revealed that it could talk. She agreed to keep the secret, but told the Doctor.
Leela became friends with Lish Toos, treating her injury and comforting her after she was attacked by V6. They hid inside a hopper together, narrowly avoiding detection by the robots. Taren Capel, who had inspired the robot revolution was on board. The Doctor had Leela hide inside a vent and release helium when Capel entered the room. It changed the tone of his voice so that SV7 did not recognise his commands and killed him. (TV: The Robots of Death)
As part of the Doctor's efforts to teach Leela about her ancestors, he brought her to Victorian London in 1889. She saved the Doctor from an assailant, a member of the Tong of the Black Scorpion, by killing him with a janis thorn.
Leela found the hypnotised Teresa and took her clothes, allowing her to gain access to the 51st century war criminal Magnus Greel's laboratory. She attempted to prevent the death of a woman, but the catalytic extraction chamber Greel used had already drained her.
As she fled, the Doctor saved Leela from a giant rat by shooting it with a Chinese fowling gun. She then went to the home of George Litefoot where she was attired in clothes bought by her host on the basis that they were fashionable. Leela wore them to accompany the Doctor to the Palace Theatre.
Greel attacked Leela in Litefoot's home. She pulled off his mask and saw his disfigured face. The Doctor negotiated with Greel to have the unconscious Leela left behind while they went to the House of the Dragon. Leela infiltrated the building, killing one a member of the Tong as she did so. She attacked Greel, but was seized by his men. When Mr Sin turned on Greel, she used a firearm for the first time, destroying the dragon statue's weapon capabilities. Greel was killed by the chamber.
Litefoot gave Leela some instruction on how to drink tea before he and Jago said goodbye to the travellers. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) Back in the TARDIS, they were alerted by an interstellar distress signal emanating from an English manor house in 1895.
Keeping their Victorian clothes on, they journeyed there and discovered the aftermath of a pitched battle between Lord Jack Corrigan's troops and the peaceful alien Drellerans, the last survivor of whom warned them of the dire consequences should the humans escape with their spacecraft, the Aeolus. They chased the craft a millennium into the future, to the newly constructed Space Dock Nerva, which was orbiting around Jupiter. Corrigan's man, Henry McMullan boarded Nerva and infected members of the crew with a virus. Leela and the Doctor befriended Alison Foster and fled Nerva aboard the supply ship Chandler with her and Giles Moreau.
Moreau was infected so the Doctor, Leela and Foster left the craft in spacesuits. The Drellerans teleported them into their presence and revealed that they had infected Corrigan in order to destroy humanity after Lord Jack had subjugated their species. Leela joined Foster and the Doctor in pleading for humanity, arguing with the Drellerans that the species had progressed since Corrigan's time. Leela, the Doctor and Foster were teleported back to Nerva after being injected with an anti-viral. When they came into contact with the infected humans, the virus was destroyed. Those humans recently infected were freed, but Lord Jack and his crew died after their bodies became their actual age. The Doctor asked Leela where she would like to go next, and she requested that he educate her. (AUDIO: Destination: Nerva)
To fulfil this wish, the Doctor took Leela to the famous Morovanian Museum on Morovania Minor. They went to see the opening of the renaissance section, but found themselves instead surrounded by people who believed they were living on Earth. The Doctor discovered that they were former experts who had had their knowledge stolen by Reginald Harcourt. Harcourt was an expert whose own knowledge had been stolen and who had been turned into a data-storing device by Jephson. By collecting all this information, Jephson hoped to know everything.
Leela lost her knowledge of hunting as it was assimilated by Harcourt. The Doctor introduced incorrect information into the data base, causing the fictional world created in the museum to collapse. Leela thanked the Doctor for teaching her about learning - knowledge was something to aspire to, but not at the expense of others. (AUDIO: The Renaissance Man)
Deciding that interacting with history would be better for her education, the Doctor took Leela to ancient Norfolk at the height of Roman occupation. She saved a woman who was being attacked by two Roman soldiers and learnt that it was Boudica, queen of the Iceni. Knowing the queen's fate, the Doctor told Leela he wanted to leave. She refused, believing that the repressed Britons deserved helped, regardless of the Doctor's warnings.
Bragnar and the Doctor escaped the camp and Boudica pursued. Leela stopped the queen from killing the Time Lord and told her of her coming defeat, saying the Doctor was a prophet. He was taken captive and Leela swore allegiance to Boudica, receiving assurances that the Doctor would not be tortured. Leela believed that Boudica wanted to end the suffering of her people, but was made uneasy by the queen's intent to slaughter the population of Camulodunon. She went to the captive Doctor and pretended to threaten him while secretly handing him a knife.
During the attack on Camulodunon, she was with Boudica and confronted her, saying she aught not to kill the remaining Romans as they were defeated and accused her of fighting for revenge, not her country. Leela told Boudica that she had freed the Doctor and that she could not serve a queen such as she, so the two fought. She had Boudica at her mercy, but chose not to kill her. Leela told the queen she had once been like her and fled. On their way back to the TARDIS, the Doctor told Leela of Boudica's eventual fate and admitted that he wanted a break from education, suggesting a visit to the 21st century. (AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)
The Doctor and Leela arrived in London on 30 January 2025, after the Doctor detected some unusual power readings there. There they found that a huge satellite dish had been fitted on top of the National Gallery, along with a base and giant solar panels on the Moon. The GlobeSphere Corporation was making limitless supplies of energy available to the people of Britain — but at a price. Caught up in a demonstration in Trafalgar Square the Doctor and Leela were swiftly separated and, as the Doctor fell in with affable protester Jack Coulsen, Leela found herself captured and at the mercy of the Daleks. (AUDIO: Energy of the Daleks)
The Doctor and Leela then arrived in England in the 1970s, where they were put on the trail of the White Worm. It seemed that some kind of giant worm had been eating the local cattle, and had now eaten a girl. The legend of the White Worm dated back to Roman times, and said that a great White Worm, as wide as a man, slithered out of the rocks of the Dark Peak Gap to take animals, sometimes even children, for its food. They soon discovered that the legend of the Worm was very much alive — even in 1979. It turned out that The Master was there also searching for the White Worm. (AUDIO: Trail of the White Worm)
The Master was working with the Kraals, and he gave the Doctor over to them as prisoner. The Kraals then started their invasion of Earth led by Marshal Grinmal. The Kraals also eventually arrested the Master. Their plan, using the help of Colonel Spindleton, was that the Kraal army and their legions of androids would attack a small village to get UNIT to respond, then destroy them, thus leaving the way clear for them to take over. (AUDIO: The Oseidon Adventure)
While trying to get to Brighton, the Doctor and Leela found themselves on Fang Rock in the 1900s. They visited the lighthouse there. With reports of a "fireball" and Ben Travers dead, the Doctor suspected alien involvement and Leela when sighted a creature in the waters, she had to be persuaded that it wasn't the mythical Beast of Fang Rock.
Aside from the lighthouse keepers, they were also joined by the crew of a steam yacht that crashed in the fog. One of the passengers, Adelaide Lessage, irritated Leela with her screams and swooning in the face of their alien aggressor. Leela hit Lessage across the face to silence her.
The creature was a Rutan and Leela helped the Doctor prepare a makeshift weapon to kill it. They put various items from their pockets into a telescope. Leela lit it and it fired the contents at the Rutan scout, killing it. She suggested that the Doctor modify the lighthouse and he did so, fitting it with a carbon oscillator, which he used to destroyed the Rutan mothership. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
She saved the Doctor from a fire within the console room. She didn't feel comfortable on Synchronis. She later thought the Doctor was dead. She took part in the empathy games as Vilor Angell's chanmpion. (AUDIO: Empathy Games)
Travels with K9 and the Doctor Edit
In 5000, the Swarm brought the Doctor to the Bi-Al Foundation, which they took over. As the Doctor fell into a self-induced coma to fight off the influence of the Nucleus, he sent a shrunken clone of Leela and himself inside his brain to fight the infection. Absorbing Leela's clone unleashed her antibodies into the Doctor's system, saving him.
With the help of K9, Leela killed some of the Titan Base who were infected with the Swarm. She urged the Doctor to blow up the hatchling Swarm, to which the Doctor finally agreed. Leela begged him to accept Professor Marius' offer of K9 as a gift. K9 entered the TARDIS of his own accord, joining them on their journeys. (TV: The Invisible Enemy)
When they visited the home of the Doctor's former companion Joshua Douglas and his family, Leela met the imprisoned emperor of the Z'nai, whom the Doctor had contained long before. He hoped to find an antidote for the plague which Douglas had released to destroy his people. Douglas' daughter freed the emperor, sparking a resurgence of the Z'nai empire. Leela became the virus' vector, infecting the Z'nai with it. She wiped out the Z'nai except for the emperor, whom the Doctor imprisoned again. (AUDIO: The Catalyst)
The Doctor arrived on Agratis to see the Jewel of Fawton and eat a banquet. However, the Jewel had gone missing, and the Judoon had been called in to reclaim it. While the Doctor searched for the Jewel's thief, Leela and K9 distracted the Judoon out of the city so the Doctor could leave; K9 connected himself to a tank, and Leela hijacked a motorbike.
When the species that originally owned the Jewel were discovered, the Judoon's search was called off. Becoming much less aggressive, Leela invited them to dine at the banquet. While feasting with the Judoon, Adam Mitchell kidnapped both Leela and K9. (COMIC: Prisoners of Time)
At some point during her travels with the Doctor, they visited Bob Dovie at 59A Barnsfield Crescent in Totton, Hampshire on 23 November 1963. (AUDIO: The Light at the End) At another time, they encountered the Tzun on Mimoza II. (PROSE: First Frontier)
Parting with the Doctor Edit
The Doctor signed a treaty with the Vardans, agreeing to help them invade Gallifrey in return for complete control over the Time Lords. He disabled the TARDIS scanner to stop Leela from watching the proceedings. His lack of trust annoyed her, but as the Vardans could read minds, he chose to keep his plan to trick them to himself.
They went to Gallifrey and the Doctor claimed the office of Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords. Leela met Andred, a member of the Chancellery Guard. He tried to help her select an outfit for the Doctor's induction ceremony, but she found nothing to her liking. Leela and Andred were stood together at the ceremony when the Doctor was attacked by the Matrix. Borusa had Leela taken prisoner, deeming her to be responsible. The Doctor ordered that she be sent out of the Capitol.
Leela fled and, after a time, managed to find the Doctor. She followed him back to the TARDIS, only to find he had locked her out, forcing her to flee to evade Andred and the other guards. She found Rodan, who was separated from her by a force field. The two talked and, taking a liking to the savage, Rodan turned off the barrier, letting Leela in. They watched as a hostile spacecraft entered Gallifreyan space and learnt of the Vardan invasion.
Leela and Rodan met with Andred and told him of their plan to leave the Capitol. Outside, they were taken prisoner by the Outsiders, led by Nesbin. They managed to gain the confidence of the group and Leela persuaded them to help fight against the Vardans. She showed them her proficiency with a bow and tactically plotted their assault on the Capitol. They managed to make their way to the President's office where the Doctor used K9 to send the Vardans back to their planet.
The Sontarans followed the Vardans to invade Gallifrey after the force field had been opened. Leela, as with the Doctor's other allies, followed him to the President's office. She killed a Sontaran on the way, throwing a knife into its probic vent. The Doctor and Borusa split away from the main group who were led by Leela back to the TARDIS.
The Doctor and Borusa joined them and, shortly after, the Sontarans gained access to the TARDIS. Leela and the Outsiders attacked and killed the soldiers, leaving only Stor, whom the Doctor erased from time with the De-mat Gun.
Leela decided to stay on Gallifrey, having fallen in love with Andred. When the Doctor was ready to leave, he indicated his intent to Leela. She told him she wanted to remain and when he asked why, Andred took her hand. The Doctor assured Andred that Leela would look after him, saying she was "terribly good with a knife".
K9 chose to stay too, in order to look after "the mistress". Leela told the Doctor she would miss him, an admission he only made in kind when alone inside his TARDIS. Once the craft had dematerialised, she asked K9 if the Doctor would be lonely without them, but he could only reply that there was "insufficient data". (TV: The Invasion of Time)
Life on Gallifrey Edit
She spent the next decades in the Capitol. Andred and Leela married (TV: Arc of Infinity) and conceived a child, the first born on Gallifrey for millennia. (Pythia had long ago made the Gallifreyans a sterile race.) (PROSE: Lungbarrow) There were hints that the Doctor was really her son; this was covered up by family, politics and paradox-avoiding paranoia.
Andred vanished, and Leela served as bodyguard and confidante to President Romana, another former companion of the Doctor. (AUDIO: Weapon of Choice) She was drawn into Time Lord politics and conspiracies while working on Presidential missions with Celestial Intervention Agency operatives Torvald and Coordinator Narvin. (AUDIO: Square One, A Blind Eye) She discovered that Torvald had caused Andred's death, but later that Torvald was really a regenerated Andred. (AUDIO: A Blind Eye) Braxiatel appointed her to acting Castellan after the disappearance of Wynter; this angered Andred. (AUDIO: Pandora) Braxiatel's last act as chancellor was to appoint her as a tutor at the Time Lord Academy, where she taught Neeloc, Taylor Addison, Galadina and B'arech about living in harmony with the Time Lords. (AUDIO: Insurgency)
Leela had not forgiven Andred for his deceit when he died soon afterwards. During the troubled time that followed, Leela's most trusted friend, K9, was destroyed in an explosion aimed at off-world students of the Time Lord Academy. Bitter at the loss of her last link with the Doctor, Leela refused a replacement. (AUDIO: Imperiatrix) In the Time Lord civil war, Leela fought on Romana's side and was blinded by a bomb. (AUDIO: Fractures) She protected Romana when she fought Pandora inside the matrix. (AUDIO: Warfare)
After the Sunari, Nekkistani and Phaidons invaded Gallifrey after the civil war, she was tasked in finding K9 Mark II so that he could fix the transduction barriers. (AUDIO: Appropriation). When Romana was imprisoned by Darkel, Leela posed as part of Romana's legal counsel to talk to her. She also pursued Darkel's would be assassin into the catacombs. Leela was told by Narvin to go to Braxiatel's office to check his notes, and found Braxiatel there. (AUDIO: Mindbomb) When Romana left the capitol, Leela, following K9's prediction, went to the House of Heartshaven to find her. She then smuggled Romana into Elbon's medical wing. After the destruction of the matrix Narvin used her first hand evidence about the criminal activities of Mephistopheles Arkadian to the High Council. She followed Arkadian for the CIA tower to the biodata archive. She, with the archive, Narvin and Arkadian, was timescooped to the Braxiatel Collection. (AUDIO: Panacea)
Exploring alternate realities Edit
When Braxiatel took her to the Axis she explored alternative Gallifreys. The first she visited was a Gallifrey where the alternate version of herself searched for the Key to Time. Chancellor Dondequest wanted to install her as a puppet President of this Gallifrey so she could have ultimate power. (AUDIO: Reborn)
In another Gallifrey she met an alternative version of herself where she was the interrogator General of Gallifrey. She was tortured by her alternative self and forced to relive her memories. (AUDIO: Disassembled)
She started to age being away from the prime Gallifrey. On a Gallifrey where the Vampire war still went on, Leela's sight and youth were restored by drinking vampire blood as part of Borusa's hound creation process. (AUDIO: Annihilation)
She then set up many townships for the freed slaves with her as the head of one and Sura another. She spoke with Allora about mining rights near her township. There was an assassination attempt on her, which was later discovered to be Valyes under Allora's orders. (AUDIO: Emancipation)
A fellow outcast, Maris, led Leela to an abandoned research facility where she met Hector and Taine who were running the experimental side of Jonias' research. (AUDIO: Evolution). She captured Lord Zakar to put him on trial for the murder of 237 slaves. (AUDIO: Arbitration)
Leela tried to defend this Gallifrey when the Daleks from the prime universe invaded. She knew all the secret passages through this Capitol which allowed, Romana, Narvin, Lukas and herself to manoeuvre around without the Daleks knowing. On returning to the Axis she killed the Dalek Overseer of the Axis. (AUDIO: Extermination)
Returning to Gallifrey Edit
Leela and Narvin were held in a Chronic Hysteresis and couldn't immediately get to Gallifrey from the Axis. After Romana agreed on a deal with her future incarnation, Leela escaped from the Hysteresis. She didn't like her new rooms and argued with Romana about it. Leela also could see Romana's watcher before anyone else could. Lady Tre still valued her friendship after thousands of years not seeing her. She wanted to leave Gallifrey when Romana was exiled by her future self. She could see a haze behind her. She was worried about Romana when the Eye of Harmony started to break down. (AUDIO: Renaissance)
When Romana mysteriously disappeared, she was anxious about what happened. She spotted Coordinator Tallan in the corridors and in the archives, and recognised he was like someone she met on one of the alternate Gallifrey. When Tallan turned out to be K9, she was excited. It turned out this Gallifrey on which she thought they were was a Matrix construct. She escaped the Matrix, but after doing so, Slyne released the Daleks from the Matrix. She tried to stop Romana from sealing herself in the Matrix with the Daleks. She watched the Data Pocket containing the artificial Gallifrey close and collapse. In fact Romana wasn't trapped in the Matrix, and Leela was amazed at this. (AUDIO: Ascension)
Death and rebirth Edit
Leela survived the destruction of Gallifrey. She ended up a prisoner of the Z'Nai, who had returned to power. While Leela lived on Gallifrey, the Time Lords had allowed her to retain her youth for a greatly extended time. This was no longer so. While the Z'nai tortured Leela for information about Gallifrey and the Time Lords, she aged physically, one year for each day.
The Z'nai had abandoned their ancient custom of leaving their chests bare. Just before the Z'nai interrogating her was to kill her, she gave him a choice — stop the killing or be killed. He laughed, but she infected him with the plague that had wiped out the Z'nai originally. The entire race died, leaving Leela and the other prisoners at first joyful, then terrified as they realised they were trapped and abandoned. Leela remained bound, without the strength to free herself, reminiscing about her days with the Doctor as she waited to die. (AUDIO: The Catalyst)
After the Z'nai had all died and all torture had stopped, the machines used to torture Leela and her fellow prisoners kept them alive. Leela told a fellow prisoner who was crying a story about when she saw the Doctor being afraid. (AUDIO: Empathy Games) Leela eventually died in the Z'nai prison. (AUDIO: The Time Vampire)
Summoned to Gallifrey because of the Omega plots, the Fifth Doctor asked about Leela and was told by Damon that she was "well and very happy". He was sorry to have missed her wedding. (TV: Arc of Infinity)
At some point, Leela was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have her record as a companion of the Doctor taken, she met Sergeant John Benton there. Leela's memories of the visit were subsequently erased and she was sent on her way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
After Xoanon was made sane, Leela declined the opportunity to be the leader of the unified Tesh and Sevateem. The Doctor admitted to liking her, but refused to take her on as a companion, so she entered the TARDIS against his wishes. (TV: The Face of Evil)
Leela retained the mindset that life among the primitive and superstitious Sevateem had imprinted upon her. She took the noises of a ship on the River Thames for the attack sound of a swamp creature. When a Chinese man she had implicated in a crime refused to talk, Leela insisted that he be tortured into speaking. While in the home of George Litefoot, Leela displayed her savagery to the host, tearing meat off the bone with her teeth. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang)
The Doctor described Leela as "a huntress, a creature of instinct". She felt better suited to the wastelands of Gallifrey than the Capitol. Nevertheless, Leela was confident she could "survive anywhere". Her single-mindedness convinced the Doctor that she would be susceptible to Vardan telepathy, so he ordered that she be banished from the Capitol.
Leela was unwilling to believe that the Doctor was a traitor, despite Rodan's insistence, even declaring that "reason [was] a liar" for suggesting otherwise. The Doctor told Borusa that he trusted Leela after the Chancellor questioned his decision to hand her the Great Key of Rassilon. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
The sociology of the tribe instilled Leela with the belief that the only way to learn was by listening to the wisdom of elders. Leela maintained that the "fate of the old and crippled" was to be slain and asked the Doctor to kill her when she thought she was blind. She did not consider herself to be a lady. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
Leela rejected the belief that Xoanon was a god. She referred to the phantoms that supposedly resided in the lands beyond Sevateem territory as "feast fire stories". (TV: The Face of Evil) She abandoned her belief in magic, telling Adelaide Lessage "I too used to believe in magic, but the Doctor has taught me about science. It is better to believe in science". (TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
Leela did not hesitate to use the weapons she kept about her person, despite the Doctor's disapproval. (TV: The Robots of Death) He didn't berate her for saving his life through violence. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) Leela boasted over the wounded Rutan scout on Fang Rock, telling it "I enjoyed killing you". She believed it was "fitting to celebrate the death of an enemy", a point the Doctor disagreed with her on. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
Leela admired Boudica. She doubted her knowledge of the Doctor's character after he refused to help the Iceni, saying "I thought you were a man of honour". She ignored his warnings about altering history, told Boudica of her coming defeat, and swore fealty to her. The slaughter at Camulodunon convinced Leela that she had misjudged the queen's character. She recognised her former self in Boudica and chose not to kill her when she had the chance. (AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)
Leela became angry with K9 after he failed to provide her with information, telling him to "shut up". When K9 started to sulk, she apologised, saying she was sorry and assuring him that she "didn't mean to shout". K9 chose to stay on Gallifrey with Leela to look after her.
On Gallifrey, Leela met Rodan. The Time Lord advised her to put her knife away, lest she hurt herself, which Leela said was something the Doctor often remarked. When Rodan allowed a fleet to pass and told Leela it was probably going to "blast some part of the galaxy to dust", Leela told her she ought to have stopped them, but Rodan explained that the non-interference policy forbade such action. Leela mocked Rodan's manner of speaking, saying "one must, one must, yes". Rodan only replied "I knew I'd like you" and turned off the force field that separated the pair.
At their parting, Leela told the Doctor she would miss him. He made an admission in kind only when alone in his TARDIS, saying "I'll miss you too, savage". Leela left him in order to be with Andred, whom she fell in love with. (TV: The Invasion of Time) Romana considered Leela to be her best friend. (AUDIO: Extermination)
While in London in 1889, the Doctor had Leela wear a less conspicuous outfit, befitting the time. Leela thought these alternative clothes were ridiculous. In order to affect a disguise, she took and dressed in Teresa's clothes.
In order to accompany the Doctor to the Palace Theatre, Leela wore a fashionable dress selected by George Litefoot. She was pleased by the comments the pair made, with Litefoot labelling it as "quite delightful" and the Doctor saying he would "be proud" to take her the theatre "looking like that". (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang)
Leela dressed in a skirt and wore a boater hat for a trip to Brighton. When she found herself on Fang Rock instead, she changed into men's clothes belonging to the lighthouse keepers. The explosion of the Rutan mothership resulted in pigmentation dispersal that caused Leela's eye colour to change permanently from brown to blue.
While on Fang Rock, James Skinsale commented that Leela was "not a bad looker", but Adelaide Lessage thought her "perfectly grotesque". Skinsale told her he had learnt to "appreciate nature" during his time in India. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
On Gallifrey, Andred helped Leela to chose an outfit. She went through many clothes, rejecting them all, much to Andred's annoyance. He asked her what outfit she would like and she replied: "a quiver, a bow, a pouch of Janis thorns and my knife back". While with the Outsiders, she wore a fur cloak over her other clothes. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
After she stopped travelling with the Doctor, one of her skins remained in the TARDIS wardrobe. The Fifth Doctor's companion Peri Brown considered wearing it on one occasion. (AUDIO: No Place Like Home) The Eighth Doctor's companion Izzy Sinclair tried it once. (COMIC: Ophidius)
Leela was skilled in combat, both armed and otherwise. She was particularly adept with knives, which she used as throwing weapons. (TV: The Robots of Death) Leela was able to hit a Sontaran's probic vent with a thrown knife and the Doctor congratulated her, calling the act "prodigious" and "amazing". (TV: The Invasion of Time) She was once found by a policeman to be strangling her opponent with his own pigtail. She had never used a handgun until her visit to London in 1889, but managed to utilise it effectively against Mr Sin. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) She was skilled with a bow and displayed her talent for archery to the Outsiders on Gallifrey. (TV: The Invasion of Time) The Doctor claimed that "Leela [was] an expert in armaments". (AUDIO: The Renaissance Man) Before his death, Andred showed her how to operate a staser. (AUDIO: Extermination)
Leela wrote with her left hand, but threw her knife and performed other actions with her right. (TV: The Invisible Enemy) During her travels with the Doctor, he taught her to read and write. (PROSE: People of the Trees; AUDIO: The Time Vampire, White Ghosts, TV: The Invisible Enemy) She was able to swim and did so in the TARDIS swimming pool. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
The Fourth Doctor told James Skinsale that "Leela's senses [were] particularly acute" when explaining how she had sensed a change in temperature that alluded everyone else present. Leela also believed she had a keen sense of hearing. (TV: Horror of Fang Rock) She could sense an evil about the Swarm and was able to tell that a communique from Titan Base had a non-human source. (TV: The Invisible Enemy) In Jack Corrigan's house, she was able to "smell" death and correctly predicted that a battle had taken place there. She also recognised that Corrigan was "not what he [seemed]" by being in his presence and hearing him talk. (AUDIO: Destination: Nerva) The Doctor believed that her "tracking skills [were] peerless". (AUDIO: The Renaissance Man)
Alternative timelines Edit
In an alternative timeline in which it was standard policy for the Time Lords to sell their temporal technology to the highest bidder and regenerations could be extracted and sold, Leela and K9 Mark I accompanied the Doctor on his search for the Key to Time. She was the only human to hold the Key to Time in her hands. Consequently, when her counterpart from the proper timeline visited this alternative Gallifrey, she was appointed Lady President. (AUDIO: Reborn)
In another alternative timeline in which the Time Lords regularly altered history through the Temporal Intervention Agency, Leela was brought to Gallifrey to amuse the then Lord President. She subsequently murdered Interrogator General Narvin and assumed his position under Lady President Romana. When her blind counterpart from the proper timeline visited this alternative Gallifrey, she took great pleasure in torturing her. (AUDIO: Disassembled)
Behind the scenes Edit
Creation of the character Edit
Leela was first conceived by producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes. They wanted someone in the mould of Eliza Doolittle from George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion: a bright but unsophisticated primitive who would learn from the Doctor. Writer Chris Boucher had submitted a story proposal entitled The Mentor Conspiracy. It featured a character named Leela which fit Hinchcliffe and Holmes's ideas.
Although The Mentor Conspiracy was not produced, Boucher reused the character of Leela for The Day God Went Mad (later renamed The Face of Evil), seeing her as a mixture of Emma Peel from The Avengers and Leila Khaled. Boucher was asked to write two endings to the story, in one, Leela left with the Doctor and in the other she stayed behind. The decision to have Leela become a companion was made soon after.
Initially, Leela was to have only appeared in three stories. It was decided later she would stay for the remainder of season 15. One consequence of this decision was a plot contrivance added to Horror of Fang Rock to allow the character's eye colour to change, so actress Louise Jameson would not have to wear uncomfortable coloured contact lenses.
Jameson felt that Doctor Who's writers sometimes neglected to write for Leela as an individual, instead writing her as a stereotypical "Doctor Who girl." For example, in Underworld, the script originally had Leela screaming when overwhelmed by poisonous gas. Jameson declined to do this, pointing out that it was not in character for the warrior Leela. (INFO: Underworld) In fact, Leela screamed in only one television story, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, when her leg was being gnawed by the giant rat — a scream which Jameson felt was justified. (DCOM: The Talons of Weng-Chiang)
Leela ranks as one of the most violent companions, regularly threatening or using deadly force against other humanoids (often to the Doctor's disgust as in The Invisible Enemy, but occasionally not as in Underworld). Although other companions sometimes killed (for example, Romana I shot a guard in The Pirate Planet), others have killed in spin-off productions (most notably Jack Harkness in Torchwood) and Ace racked up body counts in the New Adventures novels, Leela remains, to date, the only TV companion to be shown killing on a frequent basis.
Along with Irving Braxiatel, she is one of only two characters to play a major role in two audio spin-off series: Gallifrey and Jago and Litefoot. Leela and Braxiatel have both also appeared in the main range of Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories as a result of their guest roles in the audio story Zagreus.
Katarina - the first television companion who can be considered primitive - was axed almost immediately by the production team to avoid the exposition that would necessary with a character that knew nothing of modern society.