Tales of the TARDIS – the latest Doctor Who spin-off from the Whoniverse – reunites many of the Classic Series companions, and reveals intriguing new details about their lives after the Doctor.
Zoe is now a president
Zoe Heriot was arguably one of the Doctor’s brainiest companions, so it should be no surprise that she found a way to use her immense intelligence to help others. In ‘The Mind Robber’ episode of Tales of the TARDIS, Zoe is reunited with the Second Doctor’s companion Jamie, and during their discussion it’s revealed that she has become President of Earth, no less, and is currently celebrating her third inauguration.
Of course, Zoe and Jamie lost all of their memories of the Doctor when the Time Lords wiped their minds, but thanks to the power of the Memory TARDIS from Tales of the TARDIS, the pair are able to remember one another, and their adventure in the land of fiction.
Jamie, meanwhile, has accrued a sizeable number of offspring, with multiple children and grandchildren ready to take on any wee hairy beasties that should stumble across their paths.
Jo Jones is now a widow
One of the more poignant moments from Tales of the TARDIS involves the return of Jo Jones née Grant (played by Katy Manning) when she is reunited with Clyde Langer, who was one of Sarah Jane’s friends from The Sarah Jane Adventures. Clyde offers his sympathy to Jo following the death of her husband, the scientist Clifford Jones.
What is particularly poignant is the fact that this is a nod to the real life passing of the actor Stewart Bevan, who played Clifford Jones and died in 2022. Bevan was also, at one time, the partner of Katy Manning, which makes the scene feel even more appropriate.
As you may know, Jo met her husband during the classic adventure ‘The Green Death’ when the pair battled an army of giant maggots which had mutated as a result of Global Chemicals’ machinations. Clifford reminded Jo of a younger, more dashing version of the Doctor, such was his passion for science and justice. She left the Time Lord at the end of ‘The Green Death’ to marry Clifford and go travelling around the world.
Tegan and Nyssa are a couple… possibly
The canonicity of Tegan and Nyssa’s relationship has never been confirmed, but Tegan Jovanka‘s Tales of the TARDIS episode is probably the closest we’ve come to an answer. The pair travelled with the Fifth Doctor in the 1980s, but parted ways when Nyssa left the TARDIS in ‘Terminus.’ There was certainly no implication of romance during their time with the Doctor, and indeed the producer John Nathan-Turner was keen to avoid any suggestion of “hanky panky” between the Time Lord or his companions.
But in Tales of the TARDIS, Tegan mentions that she was just about to go to bed and had “said goodnight to Nyssa” which, on its own, could mean anything. But this comment comes after the Russell T Davies-penned ‘Farwell, Sarah Jane’ – an online short which was written and produced during the first COVID lockdown. In the mini adventure, a number of the Doctor’s past companions attend the funeral Sarah Jane Smith, and it is here that it is revealed that Tegan and Nyssa are now a couple and living in Australia.
But is it canon? The debate starts here. Certainly, there was no reference to this titbit when Tegan appeared in ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ and she appeared to be living life as a single woman. And then in ‘The Passenger‘ minisode she was, again, apparently living alone and seemed surprised when she received a visit from Nyssa.
What do you think? Let us know below.
Ace was looking for someone to blame
The final Tales of the TARDIS episode sees the Seventh Doctor reunited with his companion Ace. For many years, the fate of his friend was shrouded in mystery; Doctor Who was cancelled while Ace was still the incumbent companion, and when the TV movie aired in 1996, the Seventh Doctor was an old man and travelling alone.
Many theories have been put forward over the years, with the Virgin New Adventures books having Ace moving to Gallifrey to join the Time Lord Academy. ‘The Power of the Doctor,’ however, seemed to dispense with this idea and had Ace leave the Doctor as the result of a fall-out.
This is a plot point that Tales of the TARDIS builds upon. Ace, apparently, was so heartbroken and disillusioned by all the people that had died as the result of her and the Doctor’s actions that she was looking for someone to blame. The Doctor, therefore, dropped her off in London, but not the London she was expecting; in true Time Lord fashion, Ace found herself in London, Ontario, and had trouble getting home owing to her lack of passport!
And perhaps the most interesting detail that is revealed in Tales of the TARDIS is that Ace’s departure came hot on the heels of a skirmish with the Rani – an adventure yet to be told, unless this is a cheeky nod to the 1993 special ‘Dimensions in Time‘ which, technically, was the last time viewers saw the Seventh Doctor and Ace on screen prior to her departure.
Is there more to come?
Showrunner Russell T Davies has hinted that there is more going on with the Tales of the TARDIS spin-off. Speaking in a recent interview to SFX Magazine, Davies said: “There are bigger plans behind this that we can’t talk about yet. Eventually, [Tales of the TARDIS] will begin to make more sense as the series next year unfolds, you will see. But it’s really a lovely thing to do for the 60th.”
What are your theories about Tales of the TARDIS and how it fits into the wider Whoniverse? And which other Classic characters would you like to make a return? Let us know in the comments below.
Catch the full series of Tales of the TARDIS on BBC iPlayer.