Name: Catherine Harries
Time of Origin: Earth, Banquo Manor, England, 1898
Appearances: “The Banquo Legacy”
Doctor: Eighth Doctor
Companions: Fitz Kreiner, indirectly encountered Compassion.
lthough Catherine Harries was not the greatest threat The Doctor faced during his encounter with her, she was the most direct threat; his other adversary during this trip was more of a handicap that had to be overcome than a genuine danger to The Doctor.
The sister of scientist Richard Harries, Catherine was staying in Banquo Manor in 1898, an old, specially-built manor house that was notorious for the brutal murder that had taken place there in 1798, when the owner was killed by his insane cousin after she escaped from the asylum where she had been placed after killing their grandmother. Although seemingly normal, the Harries siblings were also dangerously unstable, possessing an unhealthily dependent relationship – although there is nothing to suggest that they were illegally involved with each other -, blackmailing a variety of Harries’s old schoolmates and alleged friends in order to gain the funding to support Richard’s work to create a means of artificial thought transmission, using rats as his test subjects by ‘teaching’ on rat how to make its way through a maze and then ‘sending’ this information to other rats. This experiment was carried out in Banquo Manor with the ‘permission’ of its current owners, George and Elizabeth Wallace, observed by solicitor John Hopkinson (Gordon Seavers, another old schoolfriend, would have been present, but he had committed suicide a few days previously and Harries had not been informed of his demise) and Richard’s fiancé, Susan Seymour.
The Doctor was drawn to Banquo Manor when the Eighth Doctor and Fitz Kreiner were travelling in the sentient Type-102 TARDIS Compassion in order to escape the Time Lords (“The Shadows of Avalon”). Unable to track Compassion’s travels directly after The Doctor’s installation of a Randomiser (“The Fall of Yquatine”), the Time Lords had set up various agents in particular areas of time and space where they had calculated that Compassion was likely to materialise based on past trips The Doctor had made, with Time Lord agent Cuthbert Simpson posing as the manor’s butler. Using the residual Artron energy generated by the intense emotional energy of the past murder, Simpson was able to set up an Artron field inhibitor around the manor, with the result that, when Compassion approached this part of space-time, she was drawn off-course and ‘crash-landed’. Having been drained of most of her Artron energy supplies, Compassion was forced to merge with Susan – currently walking in the Manor grounds after calling off her engagement with Harries after learning about his blackmailing – to stabilise herself, her personality alternating between herself and Susan, forcing The Doctor and Fitz to try and track the Time Lord agent who had set up the field while uncomfortably aware that the Artron field would also prevent The Doctor from regenerating (Although The Doctor noted that their enemy would be similarly handicapped).
Arriving at Banquo Manor as Harries prepared to begin his experiments, The Doctor was able to infiltrate the manor by posing as Doctor Friedlander – a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Forensic Sciences, who had been invited to the experiment but been delayed due to poor weather -, introducing Fitz as his assistant, Herr Kreiner. When Harries attempted to demonstrate his experiment using himself and his sister as the test subjects, a miswiring in the equipment resulted in Harries receiving a fatal electric shock, his body being left badly burned and charred. With local Sergeant Baker and Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Stratford arriving at the Manor shortly after the death to question Hopkinson about Seaver’s suicide – Hopkinson having been the person who discovered Seaver’s body -, they took charge of the investigation, with Hopkinson and The Doctor becoming their prime suspects (Although Simpson also attracted their interest when he claimed to have seen The Doctor and Fitz leaving the conservatory where Harris’s equipment was kept while gardening despite the cold weather).
Attempting to expose the Time Lord agent, The Doctor faked his death by going out for a walk and throwing his coat over a cliff before being cornered by an unseen attacker, The Doctor hanging on to an overhanging ledge while his attacker saw his coat flying on the lower ground, filled with sticks in a manner that suggested The Doctor had broken most of his bones in the fall. Despite his depression as Susan began to act increasingly less like Compassion, Fitz continued to assist Stratford in the investigation, which took on a new turn when the Wallaces were found beaten brutally to death after Harries’s body vanished. Although Stratford deduced that Hopkinson was responsible for rewiring Harries’s equipment to avenge Seaver’s suicide, the situation became more complicated and horrifying when Harries’s dead body appeared, seemingly reanimated and killing everyone in the house to preserve his reputation from accusations of blackmail.
Fortunately, The Doctor revealed his deception and returned to the fold just in time to help the others fight off Harries, simultaneously determining that Simpson was the Time Lord agent when he accidentally said ‘Great Rassilon’ instead of ‘Good God’ upon seeing Harries. Although Simpson refused to disable the Artron inhibitor unless The Doctor revealed Compassion’s location even after Harries broke his leg, The Doctor was able to deduce that Harries’s corpse was being animated by Catherine, guessing that the telepathic link created by Harries’s experiment – enhanced by the artron field being generated by Simpson’s equipment – had resulted in Catherine gaining subconscious control over her brother’s corpse to attack those who could ruin his reputation.
Although Catherine managed to trick the group into splitting up by temporarily halting Harries’s advance – Fitz, Susan and Simpson remaining upstairs while The Doctor, Hopkinson, Baker and Stratford searched for something to bind Harries -, she swiftly revealed her full conscious control over her brother, claiming that his mind still remained within her and revelling in the new perspective she believed she had gained when perceiving the world through his eyes and hers simultaneously. Simpson was apparently killed by Harries when Fitz and Susan used a makeshift rope to escape out the window of their room, but The Doctor was able to recover some dynamite from nearby mining operations, only to be hampered by the lack of anything to light it.
In the final confrontation with Harries, The Doctor and his allies gained an advantage when Harries’s body retained enough independence to allow him to refuse to harm Susan despite Catherine’s own hatred of Susan for ‘stealing’ her brother, allowing Baker to shove the dynamite into Harries’s jacket before Catherine shot him. Hopkinson subsequently threw an oil lamp at Harries’s body, igniting the dynamite and destroying all but Harries’s burned skull and one arm, the remaining arm helping The Doctor and Stratford grapple with Catherine to protect Susan long enough for her to accidentally shoot herself with her own gun. Having identified the inhibitor as the remaining undamaged valve from Harries’s equipment, The Doctor, Fitz and Compassion departed, leaving Susan free to marry Hopkinson (Albeit since Stratford couldn’t prove that he’d killed Harries).