Doctor Who: Companion Pieces - DODO CHAPLET

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Christopher Morley tracks down the lessor spotted Dodo.


It would come to be the end for the First Doctor soon after meeting his brief travelling companion Dorothea ''Dodo'' Chaplet. In a foreshadowing of his first meeting with a certain Aussie- who would stumble upon the TARDIS after mistaking it for a genuine police box- young Dodo would do the same, with the Doctor rather taken by her physical similarity to his beloved Susan.

Their first encounter comes during the pure historical adventure The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, after the surprisingly youthful, given his wizened appearance, Gallifreyan runaway & Steven return from fifteenth century France and a very nasty conflict between the Catholics & Huguenots - part of a period which has come to be known as the French Wars of Religion. They arrived with ten years of this infighting already having gone by, finding themselves in 1572.

But what of the actual Massacre itself? As lepg.org neatly puts it:
"The 19 year-old Henri de Navarre and Margot de Valois were married in Paris on August 17 and the festivities were still going on. The entire Huguenot leadership came to Paris for this wedding. Henri himself brought 800 mounted noblemen in his train.
On August 22, as Admiral de Coligny was returning to his lodgings from a visit with the king, an assassin fired at him, breaking his arm and wounding him severely, but not killing him outright."
And if you recall, de Coligny features in The Massacre! As does Dodo's ancestor Anne Chaplet, a Huguenot running from Catholic persecution.
CAPTAIN: Let us pass, sir!
GASTON: And what do you want?
CAPTAIN: The girl who came in here.
GASTON: My Lord Cardinal's guard aren't you? What does he want with a wench?
CAPTAIN: She's a servant. She ran away. I have orders to bring her back.
GASTON: She doesn't appear to care for the Cardinal's service. I suggest you let her go.
CAPTAIN: She is chosen for the staff of the house of the Abbot of Amboise.
GASTON: Clearly, she likes that no more.
CAPTAIN: Let me pass! My Lord Abbot shall hear of this when he arrives.
GASTON: Yes I'm sure he will. Tell him to take this story to our Cardinal in Rome. No doubt he'll like it also. There now. I thought he might be roused. What a pity. Hey, come, Mister Englishman. Join us again. It's clearly not safe for you to walk alone.
STEVEN: Yes, but what about the girl? Where is she?
GASTON: She's just a servant. A chance to bait a Catholic. Forget her. Come, come, come.
Evidently she survives, shaking Steven from a bout of temporal depression & leading him to reverse his decision to leave the Doctor's side.


They will of course pick up Dodo, she of the ever changing accent, before heading off to The Ark where her cold spells trouble for the Monoids.



But why does her accent seem to veer from Mancunian to a ''posher'' burr? Actress Jackie Lane was born in Manchester, as was Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston- who would later make the very good point that ''lots of planets have a North''. Ms Lane might also have read his recent comments regarding their shared manner of speaking with interest. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Chris said:
"I wanted to move him away from RP [received pronunciation] for the first time because we shouldn’t make a correlation between intellect and accent, although that still needs addressing."
Leading us to the question of why Jackie didn't follow suit while accompanying the man who was at that point nine incarnations away from shunning his more formal Edwardian-style coat in favour of a leather jacket.

It seems her quick change of speaking voice was necessary after the BBC passed down a post- Massacre edict requiring that all its lead actors speak with Received Pronunciation rather than regional or ''common'' accents. Thus her discovery of what she thinks is the common old police box is the first & only time we hear her speak in Jackie's natural Northern accent.
DODO: Where's the telephone?
DOCTOR: What did you say?
DODO: The telephone. I've got to ring up.
DOCTOR: Oh, pull yourself together, child. I think you've made a mistake.
DODO: Who are you? Are you the police?
DOCTOR: Oh, good gracious. Of course not.
DODO: Well, this is a police box. It says so outside.
DOCTOR: Yes, yes. I know. But, er, it isn't, if you know what I mean. Now run along and find another police box. In any case, child, what do you want to do with the police?
DODO: There's been an accident. A little boy's been hurt and I've got to phone the police.
DOCTOR: Oh, well, I'm afraid I can't help you. No, you must run along and phone the police somewhere else. And the same time phone for an ambulance.
DODO: Wait a minute, if this isn't a police box, what is it? And who are you?

She'll also be there when the Doctor comes across the first of many Old Ones who've crossed into our universe in the shape of the Celestial Toymaker, before adopting the guise of pianist Dodo DuPont in The Gunfighters & witnessing The Savages at first hand.

At some point between these she would appear in the Past Doctor Adventures novels Salvation & Bunker Soldiers with Steven as a fellow traveller, the Virgin Missing Adventure The Man In The Velvet Mask offering she & the Doctor a chance to witness an alternative French Revolution.



She would then depart at the conclusion of The War Machines, with Ben & Polly replacing her after stumbling upon the (to them) conventional police box. It would be they who would witness the first regeneration, remaining with the Second Doctor until being dropped off at a point just before their fateful stumbling into the blue bastion of law, order & time travel.

Lane, now 73 may well have allowed herself a hearty cheer if she was watching when the first & to date only Doctor from her neck of the woods introduced himself to the viewing public in their shared tones. One in the eye for stuffy old RP, courtesy of RTD- Russell T Davies! 

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