Name: Claire Aldwych.
Time of Origin: 2001.
Time Span: “The Shadow in the Glass”
Doctor: Sixth Doctor.
Fellow Companions: The Brigadier.
Claire Aldwych is one of The Doctor’s most tragic companions, having the potential to be a modern-day Sarah Jane Smith – a comparison that was even made by The Doctor himself when he first met her -, only for her time with him to be cut tragically short before it could progress further than one adventure.
When The Doctor met her, Claire worked as a journalist for the Conspiracy Channel, depressed at some of the outlandish stories she found herself sent on while nevertheless intrigued about the reality of what happened behind the camera rather than the idea of illusions being created in front of it, which was why she went against her mother’s wishes for her to become an actress. However, Claire’s career was changed forever when she investigated the village of Turelhampton, abandoned in 1944 after a plane was apparently shot down and crash-landed in it, the town still being under military control in 2001; when the tape she had made was examined in the aftermath, mysterious demon-like creatures were visible around Claire that hadn’t been seen when she had been at the village herself, prompting her to hand the tape over to Captain Palmer of UNIT when he came to investigate her presence at the base.
Still reeling from recent events, Claire was shocked to receive a call from her colleague, Brian Goldman, who, remembering a documentary she did on the last days of Adolf Hitler, wanted to alert her to a Nazi ceremony he’d just discovered led by a man who appeared to be Hitler. Although Brian was killed, he was able to mail the tape to Claire before his death – killing himself to stop the Nazis torturing him to reveal his contacts -, prompting Claire to call UNIT for protection. With UNIT itself occupied with containing Turelhampton – the crashed ship revealed to be a Vvormak ship, now forced to contain a nuclear explosion that had been detonated during their investigation -, Claire was left in the ‘custody’ of The Brigadier and the Sixth Doctor, who had been called in to advise on the situation.
Although bemused by the strange turn her world had taken, Claire came to easily bond with her two new friends. Although she reflected The Doctor’s dress sense suggested that he either deliberately shunned normality to find somewhere to fit in or merely genuinely thought he looked good, she decided that she liked him instantly. She also developed a strong affection and respect for The Brigadier, recognising in him a commanding presence that could be father, brother, mentor and friend to his men when he was in the army, as well as a man who, while good at giving orders, would only take them if he was certain they were the right thing to do At the time. After watching Brian’s tape of the Nazi ritual, The Doctor recognised the ‘scrying glass’ they were using to see the future as a Vvormak ocular celluprime – used by the navigator to see the future and avoid obstacles -, prompting him to travel back in time to investigate the Nazi raid that had resulted in them acquiring the celluprime while The Brigadier and Claire followed up her original research on Hitler to determine if it was possible for him to have survived his ‘death’. During their investigation, The Brigadier’s briefcase was stolen by a Nazi agent, but he managed to acquire skull fragments and bodily fluids taken from the corpses of Hitler and Eva Braun by the Russians after their deaths, Claire tracking the briefcase thanks to a webcam she had installed to determine that the Nazi base was somewhere snowy.
With the skull fragments and bodily fluids now in their possession – The Doctor and The Brigadier going back to 1942 to acquire blood samples from Hitler and Eva to confirm their authenticity -, the three companions were able to confirm that Hitler had died in the bunker, but that Eva Braun had been smuggled out of Berlin due to her pregnancy, her son – Adolf Hitler Junior – being raised to venerate his father’s memory and prepare The Fourth Reich for war. Thanks to research she had done for an earlier documentary, Claire correctly guessed that the Nazi base was in Antarctica, but when the three travelled to the base in the TARDIS, they were captured by Hitler Junior and his men. Despite the danger of their current location, The Doctor arrogantly dismissed Hitler Junior’s philosophy as barren and antiquated, stating that the reason he had remained in hiding to ‘plan’ for so long was that he knew there was no place for his ideas in the modern world while mocking his faith in the ‘scrying glass’. Outraged at The Doctor’s defiance, Hitler Junior took him and his companions to observe the next ritual… which showed The Doctor taking Hitler Junior back in time to meet his father, a prediction that was fulfilled when Hitler and his associate Hanne threatened to shoot Claire.
Having arrived in the past, The Doctor took Hitler Junior into the bunker to meet his father, leaving The Brigadier and Claire as Hanne’s hostages. Despite his age, The Brigadier managed to escape from Hanne, subsequently poisoning her with cyanide he found in the base with the hope that she would be used as the double for Eva Braun, The Doctor’s prior contact with Hitler helping him create the impression that Hitler Junior was only a lunatic, culminating in Hitler shooting his son in the head and the body being dumped in the nearby water tower (The presence of a double of Hitler in that location had been noted by The Brigadier and Claire during their earlier research, a casual comment made by The Brigadier inspiring Hitler to use that solution). Unfortunately, Claire had sneaked away to explore the bunker while The Brigadier dealt with Hanne, briefly tempted by the opportunity for such a ground-breaking story before she accepted that she couldn’t betray her friends. Just as she was returning to the TARDIS, however, she was caught by party secretary Martin Bormann, Bormann killing her and using her body as the substitute for Eva Braun. Although The Doctor and The Brigadier were able to return to the present and convince the Vvormak to leave Earth without retaliating for being shot down, subsequently using the information gathered from the Nazi base to break up the remaining Nazi sleeper cells, it is clear that each of them would remember Claire’s death as a true tragedy, The Doctor regarding her as an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of his ‘war’ on time and The Brigadier mourning the senselessness of the death of such a good, innocent person for such a vile purpose.