DOCTOR WHO: Companion Pieces - ADRIC

In this week's Companion Pieces column Andrew Jero dives in and makes a case for one of his favorite companions - Adric, as portrayed by Matthew Waterhouse.

Having watched the show from Logopolis, Adric was (and remains) close to my heart. If we look at his first story, Full Circle, we see the character as he was intended to be written, something that only three other writers understood, Christopher H. Bidmead, Christopher Bailey and Eric Saward. Full Circle shows us a kid trying to choose weather to stay with the Deciders (the leaders of the Alzarian people) or to be with his brother and his group of friends. He ends up falling aboard the TARDIS which has mistakenly ended up in the Exo-Space time continuum, meets Romanadvoratrelundar (commonly known as Fred) and the Doctor. He stows away on the TARDIS and almost becomes one of the chosen ones for the Vampires, but thanks to the Doctor is saved from becoming, as Adric puts it, one of the diners.

Adric really gets to grow in The Keeper of Traken. I really enjoy how he and the fourth Doctor work together, having emerged out of Fred's shadow and able to make decisions on his own. Then he has to sit back and let the events of Logopolis (as far as the Doctors’ safety is concerned) happen, on orders of the Doctor himself. Adric is, as the Doctor warns him, prepared for the worst, so when the fourth Doctor falls to his death it is Adric who takes off and helps the fifth in the very beginning moments of Castrovalva. Incidentally, during the filming of Castrovalva, Matthew Waterhouse, after having drunk too much the night previous, throws up behind a tree and returns in shot to finish the sequence by climbing inside the TARDIS box with the rest of the cast, who were eager to escape due to Waterhouses’ alcohol related stomach flu.

Four To Doomsday is the story where the writer appears to not really understand Adric's character. He doesn’t show any independence and is really a hindrance to the Doctor throughout. Then we have Kinda, Adric's second best story. Here he is actually instrumental in controlling the time bomb that is Hindle. The Visitation is another good adventure for Adric where, after he sprains his ankle, we reference back to something we learned in Full Circle, that Alzarians heal faster than humans. Black Orchid is a story that really suits Nyssa, which in turn gives Adric very little to do, but the following adventure is Earthshock. It is here that the full praise for Adric as a companion is due.

Earthshock, a story in my all time top ten, contains what is for me is the second most emotionally impactful ending in all of Doctor Who (Davisons’ regeneration in Androzani taking the top spot). If we look at what Adric has to do it's a tour de force for the character. We start with him wanting to go home, and see his argument with the Doctor, who refuses to re-enter the Exo-Space time continuum. After finding the Androids in the caves the Doctor and Adric make up and travel to the freighter where the alien signal came from, only to find a dead body. Both of them then brilliantly try and persuade the captain and crew that they aren’t murderers.

After the Doctor and Adric find out who’s behind everything, they work together, again bringing out one of Adrics’ key points to his character, his badge for mathematical excellence. This is absolutely essential to the resolution of the plot. The Doctor is forced to take only Tegan with him to the TARDIS and leaves Adric working on the controls on the freighter, which is locked by logic codes. Adric the mathematical genius works them all out, though we’ll never know if he was right about the last one...

The destruction of the dinosaurs is alluded to in part one of this story, and when the freighter time travels to the point when they were supposed to have been wiped out we realize why. With Adric still on board, the freighter crashes, causing the destruction of the greatest beasts to walk the earth, as well as one of my favorite companions in Doctor Who

The credits role with no sound and only an image of the boy genius' broken star shaped badge in the background. A truly devastating moment when I first viewed it as a child, as well as every viewing since.

Andrew Jero lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.

Previous Companion Pieces 
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