Okay, I am going to go ahead and say it, I really like the 6th Doctor, and while he may not be ‘My Doctor’, I think he’s one of those Doctors who really needs to be re-evaluated.
Many things are wrong with the 6th Doctor, his costume, his seriously odd and frankly scary post-regeneration behaviour, many, many of his stories, and of course his companions, Peri and Mel.
Now listen, I like Peri, I think she’s great in Trial of a Timelord, and the Big Finish episodes, and I don’t totally hate Mel either, but saying that, they were probably the worst companions to pair a character like the 6th Doctor up with.
Peri was the left over companion from Peter Davidson’s younger, softer, 5th Doctor, an American student, with a fondness of bikinis, and bright, bright colours, she was paired well with Doctor number 5, and in the two brief stories that they share together, you can see the affection between the characters begin to grow.
Peri’s relationship with the 6th Doctor starts out combative (with the Doctor attempting to strangle her) and it stays that way, the bickering reaching such a level, that at points you actually wonder why either of them are subjecting themselves to any of this, but…
But, then after an extended break, and escaping cancellation the first time, The Doctor and Peri return in Trial of a Timelord, and we see a tantalising glimpse of what their partnership always could have been, a nagging, knock-about friendship, filled with real warmth and deep affection-think 10 and Donna or 12 and Clara (but without all the Whouffaldi undertones).
Peri’s full name was made up, a ‘Pig Latin’ version of the words ‘little handful’, the ridiculous sounding, Perpugilliam.
Thankfully however, Perpugilliam, usually went by the shorter and far more manageable, Peri.
Oddly enough, and maybe this is just me, but I like the name Peri, it’s not as dated as the other 80’s sounding names already featured, Tegan and Nyssa, and it has a fresh modern sound to it.
Peri is a name with various geographic origins and meanings.
Meaning: Mountain Dweller. Fruit. Fairy.
Origin: Greek. Hebrew. Persian.
Ah, Melanie Bush, with your massive hair and your oh-so very special scream.
Mel is one of those companions who has the misfortune as to be forgotten completely, or remembered poorly.
If Peri’s continued travels with the 6th Doctor made little logical sense on an emotional level, at least she got an introduction, and an actual cute-meet, before all of the running, and the radical haircuts took place, Mel on the other hand just appears, taken out of her own time line by the prosecution in The Doctor’s trial, Mel is a companion he hasn’t actually met yet.
This is a brilliant idea, and would go on to be executed wonderfully, in the character of Professor River Song, however not so much with Mel.
Mel’s character is one of the things that is emblematic of the show in the 1980’s, and by that I mean there are far, far too many things going on.
Mel is a computer programmer, future companion, who also happens to come from a small village called Pease Pottage in the late 20th century, so far, so good, but none of these things ever become anything more, they don’t feed into her character, or really matter to any of the stories, in the same way, that say being a genius when it came to tech did for Zoe, or Amy’s desperate need to kick the dust from growing up in a small village, off her feet.
But as with the 6th Doctor, Mel isn’t completely irredeemable as a character, and while she may be no Ace, she’s still scrappy, won’t be pushed around by The Doctor, and as mentioned, Mel comes complete with a scream that can shatter glass at 10 paces, plus the space hair, all of the spacehair.
Added bonus, Melanie Bush is the perfect name for an 80’s companion.
Meaning: Black. Dark.