Bolles Virus brings The Doctor back to Forêt as I always intended he would. My plan is that Louise will remain by his side as a companion until next year when he will choose to retire to Forêt and give up being a Time Lord altogether. This will wrap up the TEN series and let me work on Eleven instead!

Louise, of course, was first mentioned in the story Overlords of Forêt, in which she is the victim of something very much like rape. With Forêt overrun by an enemy, she was in the same position as a lot of women in Nazi occupied Europe and other places where men have been able to take advantage in that way. She gave birth to a stillborn alien child and slowly got over the trauma with The Doctor’s help. As that story closed, she had begun to refer to him as ‘Mon Docteur a moi’ which is a French possessive phrase implying that he is far more than her physician. But The Doctor didn’t pursue the idea yet. He knew there was a potential romance that might be kindled, but he wasn’t yet ready for it.

Human companions of The Doctor

Now, having left Donna and Ben in Australia and done his duty by Ben’s sister Elsie, The Doctor is alone again, and he heads for Forêt to see his family there, only to arrive in the middle of a crisis.

Marcas, of course, was the Irish Time Agent that The Doctor met way back in the forty-third TEN story, Fear Dubh, and who was with him for just the three adventures before settling down on Forêt with Inès. Time, of course, has passed on Forêt. Dominique, The Doctor’s first sweetheart from that planet died of old age. Marcas and Inès are grandparents now and knocking on a bit.

I originally intended to put in some detail about Louise being shunned by the young men of Forêt because she had allowed herself to be used by the Overlords, but that didn’t really fit with the storyline about the virus, so I dropped that idea.

There was, in the first draft a lot of running across snow covered walkways between Angeletta’s tree house and the one where Marcas and his family lived. I decided instead that Inès was being cared for in Angeletta’s home because it saved everyone getting cold. Because the story mainly features Marcas, Inès and Louise, The Doctor’s family, his children and grandchildren, are really only background characters here, which is a pity since I spent so much time on them in previous stories. But really it was the love affair between The Doctor and Louise in the course of the night keeping vigil by her mother’s side that was important.

Non-Humans

The creation of artificial antibodies using samples of blood containing natural antibodies is something which makes sound scientific sense. It is the basis of modern vaccinations. I am no scientist, though, let alone a virologist, so it really does only sound as if I know what I am talking about in that particular scene. I don’t think what I describe is too far from the truth, though.

The crashed space shuttle, bringing an extra-terrestrial disease to afflict the people of Forêt was written in so that The Doctor would use his own modern medical techniques to treat the virus. Quite rightly, when ordinary illnesses came to the people in the winter cold, he treated them with the crushed bark medicine. But when something came from beyond Forêt he felt justified in treating it with knowledge from beyond Forêt. This also serves to remind us that Marcas came from elsewhere, and his daughter, therefore, is only half Forêtean. That is the difference between Louise and Dominique, who The Doctor didn’t want to leave Forêt with him.

Of course, there is the old issue about The Doctor’s companions. The ones who have always worked best were the Human ones from more or less contemporary Earth. Sarah Jane Smith is the classic one. Rose, Martha and Donna in recent years were also successful for the same reason. The Doctor is an enigma. So is the universe. We, the viewer, need to see him and the universe through a Human perspective. The contemporary Human companion does that.

But conversely, I think a lot can be got out of a companion who doesn’t come from Earth. Remember some of the stories in which Leela came to terms with Human society – her encounter with clothes in Talons of Weng Chiang or with late 20th century life in Curse of the Fendahl. Louise is not a primitive in that sense. But there will be stories in which a girl with no concept of a monetary system, for example, who has never seen a skyscraper, or been in a huge city, will be our fresh eyes on planet Earth.