Geek Couples: Jo Grant & Cliff Jones (& The Doctor) - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Geek Couples: Jo Grant & Cliff Jones (& The Doctor)

Chris Morley looks back at a classic Who companion's romance, and the third man in the relationship.

If until now your staple diet has been New-Who, it'll no doubt come as a surprise to learn that the Doctor has been third wheel in a companion's love life well before his Eleventh incarnation met the Ponds! Anything 2010 can do, 1973 can in a more understated fashion.......

Welcome, then, to The Green Death, Jo Grant finding love waiting in Wales in the middle of a rather nasty giant maggot infestation! And how will the unwitting third man of this love triangle take the bombshell of the end of their travels together? After all, he's grown fond of her despite initial misgivings, the tea lady having not a chance of a look in after the Doctor is thrown together with Miss Grant - as the Brigadier rather stiffly calls her.

DOCTOR: Three months delicate work and now look at it, you ham-fisted bungler.
JO: But this whole place might have gone up in flames.
DOCTOR: My dear young lady, steady state micro-welding always creates more smoke than fire.
JO: Steady state micro-welding?
DOCTOR: Yes. An advanced engineering technique pioneered by the Lammerdenes. A remarkably gifted race. They have nine opposable digits.
JO: Nine what?
DOCTOR: Nine opposable digits. Yes, well, never mind. Look, I said I don't want any tea today, thank you.
JO: I'm not the tea lady.
DOCTOR: Then what the blazes are you doing in here?
JO: I've
DOCTOR: Don't you know this area is strictly out of bounds to everybody except the tea lady and the Brigadier's personal staff?
JO: I'm your new assistant.
But from such iffy beginnings great things came for the two of them. The pair are initially confined to Earth while various aliens popped by for a chat & the odd attempt at invasion before the Doctor gets the secret of time travel back & Jo presumably gets a bit of a headache after meeting the two men he'd been previously. In light of which you probably can't blame her for wanting a bit of normality. Free spirit that she is it arrives against a backdrop of ecological protest courtesy of a man very like the Doctor, in outlook if not wardrobe.

Where she'd spent most of The Daemons wondering if the Age of Aquarius had really dawned, time now for Cupid's arrow to strike as she finds herself drawn into the life & work of Professor Clifford Jones - all without a little Barry White to set the mood & calm the maggots into the bargain.

Professor Jones lived at the alternative community known as Wholeweal, or "the Nuthutch," where he studied fungi. He was especially interested in the overlooked nutritional value of fungi and thought they might solve the problem of world hunger. He'd also published a paper on DNA synthesis which the Third Doctor admired for being advanced - relative to the 20th century Earth standard that is!

Miss Grant's introduction to the Welshman of her dreams ploughs a familiar furrow!
JONES: Well, now, what. Shut the blasted door! Of all the silly young goats.
JO: Oh, I'm sorry. What did I do?
JONES: Probably ruined a month's work, that's all. Can't you read? It said on the door to watch it, didn't it?
JO: Yes.
JONES: Half a degree drop and....
JO: Well, I... Ow! For goodness sakes.
JONES: No, no, no - not there, you'll have the lot over. Not there either. You'll contaminate my spores.
JO: Where can I go, for Pete's sake?
JONES: Well, just try standing still, my love, eh? Tell us the dreadful news. You've come to join us, right?
To her credit she doesn't just storm off - perseverance is the key here just as it was in her first meeting with the Doctor - and although he treated her gruffly initially, Cliff gradually fell in love with Jo. Pulling strings with her influential uncle to have Wholeweal provided with UN funding likely going some way to show the Professor the kind of socially caring person Jo was.

But the course of true love hit a maggot sized bump when the pair found themselves trapped in a cave in a slag heap! Jo desperately radios for anyone to hear her, and of course her Time Lord in shining canary-yellow Edwardian roadster is quick to respond..

Bessie ploughs through the green hordes to save Jo & in a roundabout manner deliver her to a date with destiny.
JONES: Go on, tell them.
JO: Cliff and I are going to get married.
BENTON: Getting married?
YATES: Well, that's marvellous. Congratulations, Professor Jones.
JONES: Thank you.
BRIGADIER: Congratulations, Jo. Not before time.
There's even a first hint that the Time Lord isn't the best at weddings, preferring to slope off from the celebrations for the future Mrs Jones well before he has to contemplate the nuptials for a certain Ms Pond (who he'll in a sense become a third wheel to once more in her relationship with her Rory) then his own to their daughter.

Off-screen Jo & Cliff honeymooned in the Amazon while looking for obscure fungi, as the Doctor revealed in Planet of the Spiders. Several lifetimes later, after swapping velvet shirt for tweed jacket, it would be the "raggedy man" that would drop in on his old friend.

JO: What Doctor? The Doctor? My Doctor?
SARAH JANE: Yeah, well, he can change his face.
JO: I know, but into a baby's?
DOCTOR: Oi. Imagine it from my point of view. Last time I saw you, Jo Grant, you were, what, 21, 22? It's like someone baked you.
Charming! A far cry from their initial parting.

Catching the Doctor up, Jo reveals that her and Cliff are still together, have seven children and thirteen grandchildren, and true to form he's picketing an oil rig in the Ascension Islands! Proof positive, you'll surely agree, that companion romance was not solely a Steven Moffatt preoccupation!

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