Caroline John

The actress Caroline John, who played Dr Elizabeth Shaw alongside John Pertwee’s Doctor, has died.

Elizabeth Shaw was an inspiration to me when I was young. She showed me that women do not have to fit into traditional roles. Of all the companions, she was one of the few that treated the Doctor as an equal rather than a demi-god.

You can read her obituary in The Guardian.

One comment

  1. cathannabel says:

    Liz Shaw was undoubtedly a landmark companion. As the Guardian obit says, ‘she provided brains, cool-headed intelligence and maturity where once the Doctor’s female companions had screamed and asked questions.’ I remember her from the time – she was indeed an inspiration.

    What I had forgotten was how short her tenure was. And that’s not unconnected with the first point. It seems that the incoming producer, Barry Letts, saw the role of the companion as a proxy for the viewer, someone to ask the questions that the viewer might ask, rather than an expert to match the doctor. He therefore decided to phase her character out, to make way for a more ‘suitable’ companion. Jo Grant, who came next, whilst intended to be much more than a ‘pretty doll… who can just stand there and scream’, was much less academically brilliant, and more naive than Liz Shaw, and lasted 3 seasons, as compared to Liz Shaw’s one.

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