Solving the fate of Peri? In a DVD trailer?

; Date: Fri Jan 21 2022

Tags: Doctor Who

An enduring question from Old Who is, what the heck happened to Peri? We met her at the end of the 5th Doctors time, then she was a constant companion to the 6th Doctor, but had an ignoble end having been abandoned to a mad scientist. Now, there's an answer, of sorts, that is also a sales pitch for a new DVD set which refreshes the content of Season 22 and adds a number of interesting documentaries.

Peri Brown revealing herself as The Queen - Source - BBC

Who is Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown? First, Peri was a lot shorter a name than Perpugilliam, and that's what everyone called her. Apparently Peri's father was an archeologist fully into ancient Greek whatever, and Perpugilliam is a figure from ancient Greece. Various missteps along the way, and the next thing we know she's a Companion to The Doctor going through time and space.

An odd bit of nonsense is that the actress who played Peri, Nicola Bryant, is British, but the character is presented as an American from Pasadena, CA. Nobody at the BBC knew Nicola Bryant was British, she auditioned as an American, even competing against actual Americans. She got the part, then had to stay in character as an American in all instances, 24 hours a day, throughout her entire time on Doctor Who, because the BBC didn't know she was actually British. I don't quite know how that could be, since doesn't getting hired for a job involve showing passports and the like? But that's the story.

But.. why are we here? It's because of how Peri's story arc ended, and a sudden reveal today.

Doctor Who season 22 - new DVD boxed set

The BBC is issuing a new Doctor Who boxed set for Season 22. It's got all new special effects, remastering, new documentaries, and so forth. It's an exciting deal, really. Season 22 included these episodes:

  • Attack of the Cybermen - The TARDIS is commandeered by some people including a group of Cybermen, who go back to 1985 and plan to steer Halleys Comet into the Earth.
  • Vengeance on Varos - When the TARDIS runs out of a certain mineral, they make an emergency landing on a planet rich with the ore, and end up toppling an authoritarian government.
  • The Mark of the Rani - In Old England, the late 1800's, in a corner where coal mining is just beginning, The Rani is there harvesting a chemical from people who are angry about advances in technology. The Rani is an evil Time Lord, by the way.
  • The Two Doctors - The 2nd Doctor (and Jamie) team up with the 6th Doctor (and Peri) to thwart a plan to end the universe or some such, that plays out in southern Spain.
  • Timelash - Something about a time tunnel owned by a megalomaniac.
  • Revelation of the Daleks - What season is complete without The Daleks? In any case, Davros has made himself out to be The Great Healer, but is instead experimenting with dead humans to build a new race of Daleks that are loyal to himself.

But... what about Peri?

But... none of those episodes has to do with the new information revealed in the trailer for this boxed set. Yes, the season featured Peri as the Companion, so that's why Nicola Bryant is there. But, why did the BBC decide to reveal a new "ending" for Peri in a boxed set that has nothing to do with her ending?

What happened for Peri's ending? It occurred in the season titled Trial of a Time Lord. That season contained a season-long story arc where The Doctor was on Gallifrey undergoing a trial that ultimately had to do with what happened to Peri on a particular planet. It's all very complicated, and of course included some manipulations by The Master.

The outline is that there was a mad scientist who sought to implant the brain of his client in Peri's body. The Doctor was unable to stop that plan, and on the TV screen we saw Peri with her head shaved, speaking the other guys voice, because her brain was gone and had been replaced by the brain or personality of the client of the mad scientist.

Part of why The Doctor was unable to prevent this ending had to do with Time Lord interference.

And... there was also King Yrcanos, played by Brian Blessed, who'd taken a fancy to Peri, and tried to save her.

But, Peri's ultimate fate was left as a Great Mystery by the Time Lords and for over 30 years Doctor Who fans were left not knowing what happened to Peri. Whole books and audio dramas have been created trying to give Peri a different ending, because the ending shown to us by The BBC was simply not acceptable.

The new story for Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown

In this trailer we see a "Captain of the Guard" walking through the palace, entering a room that is forbidden to all. He see's a person, with a whole lot of candles around, and demands to know who that is, with his hand on his sword.

This person turns out to be Peri, who had ruled as the Queen of these people alongside King Yrcanos. That she had a number of adventures alongside Yrcanos, but upon his death she kind of disappeared. At which point she pointed to the TARDIS in the corner, and it's clear that Peri and The Doctor had gone off for some adventuring.

According to this trailer - Peri returns to this room honoring Yrcanos every year, to honor him. And that's what she was doing when the Captain of the Guard came across her.

This remake of Peri's story fits with some of the non-BBC attempts to give Peri a different ending. For example, Peri initially believed The Doctor had abandoned her, and felt betrayed, but The Doctor was able to meet her some time later and straighten things out. In the meantime, in that story-line, Peri had spent some time with Yrcanos on Krontep - which is mentioned in this trailer.

Basically - the Official Canon for Peri Brown now includes some elements of these alternate stories. We can all breath a sigh of relief about the fate of Peri Brown.

Peri in prayer honoring King Yrcanos - Source: BBC

Statue honoring King Yrcanos - Source: BBC

About the Author(s)

( David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.