Place of Origin:
Evelyn Smythe’s mother
Evelyn Smythe’s father
Ex-husband, Justice Rossiter
First Seen In:
The Marian Conspiracy
Main Voice Actor:
Evelyn started off her time in the TARDIS in a rather unique way. A history lecturer from 2000 whose focus on her research into the Tudor period had resulted in her marriage breaking down when she attended a conference on the date of her wedding anniversary, Evelyn met The Doctor when he was tracking a temporal anomaly that was traceable to her, and was caused by an ancestor of hers – according to the TARDIS databanks, her ancestor John Whiteside-Smith had never actually existed. Despite believing The Doctor was someone hired by the faculty to make her believe she was crazy and retire, she went along with him to the TARDIS (Dispelling those beliefs, naturally) and went back to the era of Queen Mary of England, where The Doctor ended up in the Queen’s room trying to help her through her phantom pregnancy while dealing with her lovesick lady-in-waiting Sarah Whiteside while Evelyn’s mistake about the date – toasting Elizabeth while Mary was still Queen – resulted in her being forcibly recruited by a secret conspiracy trying to depose Mary. Although evidence briefly suggested that The Doctor would be John Whiteside -Smith’s father with Sarah as the mother – and thus making The Doctor Evelyn’s ancestor, the father was later confirmed to be Reverend Thomas Smith, who was killed after his attempt to kill the Queen (Ironically aided by Evelyn’s own actions in the past) was foiled. With the situation resolved, Evelyn thus joined The Doctor as his new companions, unable to turn down the chance to really see history.
Evelyn was radically different from the other female companions The Doctor has ever had, most notably in the fact that she was about in her early fifties while typical companions were normally in their twenties. For another, she was a far cry from the average female companions that stuck by The Doctor and screamed at the first sign of trouble, The Doctor referring to Evelyn as one of the few companions who could hold her own against the monsters he faced without his help (“Instruments of Darkness“), describing her as the most well-prepared and useful companions he’d ever had early on in her travels with him (“The Marian Conspiracy“). Her strength of character came with a personal warmth that allowed her to form fast friendships with a diverse range of people and survive a variety of dangers, including two of The Doctor’s most difficult confrontations with the Daleks as his greatest enemies invaded his home planet (“The Apocalypse Element“), followed by the two of them arriving in an alternate timeline where the British Empire conquered Earth with Dalek technology after they thwarted an invasion in their future (“Jubilee“). Despite the scale of both problems, Evelyn not only survived, but thrived, playing an important role in the Time Lords‘ victory over the Daleks after The Doctor locked all of Gallifrey’s retinal security systems to respond only to her eyes, – and she actually befriended a Dalek in the alternate history, the Dalek having been disarmed and helpless for the past hundred years and thus grateful for someone to talk to who didn’t just want it to act like how they believed it should act.
She has met her fair share of famous people in her time, including witnessing Charles Darwin develop his theory of evolution (“Bloodtide“), as well as spending time with Daft Jamie, one of the last victims of William Burke and William Hare (“Medicinal Purposes“), saddened when the adventure concluded with Daft Jamie infected with a virus that prevented her from simply being able to give him a farewell hug. During a brief return to her original time, Evelyn even paid a visit to Sally, one of her students, who was contemplating suicide as she blamed herself for the death of her lover in a car accident, telling Sally about a recent adventure to help Sally see that even the darkest night could seem better in the morning (“Doctor Who and the Pirates“). Whether dealing with historical persons or common men, Evelyn also had a knack for seeing the true colours of the people she met, which came in particularly useful when she met a vampire called Cassie, she had looked into Cassie’s eyes, and knew she was no killer at heart, even if she did now need blood to survive (“Project: Twilight“). Despite her age, she even formed a potentially romantic attachment with a few men she encountered in her travels, most notably Rossiter on the planet Vilag (“Arrangements for War“), although her friendship with The Doctor proved to be too important to her for her to abandon him. Her strength of character was reflected most keenly by the fact that, before she met The Doctor, Evelyn’s fellow staff members were trying to convince her to retire because of a combination of her husband having left her (Not a major deterrent in wandering around Time) and a heart attack (A far more obvious problem), and yet she continued to travel, unable to resist the temptations offered by the TARDIS, although she concealed her true health from The Doctor. While Evelyn understood the dangers of changing history herself, she was not above allowing historical changes to remain if they had already happened, as seen most obviously when she assumed that she and The Doctor had accidentally altered the circumstances of Julius Caesar’s conception so that he was born a girl instead, Evelyn willing to allow the new timeline to play out while The Doctor tried to convince her that they had to change it back (Although it was later established that The Doctor and Evelyn had actually witnessed the birth of Caesar’s unknown older sister as The Doctor had set the coordinates incorrectly) (“100“).
Although the Caesar crisis was a particularly turbulent experience, their mutual personal strength meant that The Doctor and Evelyn had more than the usual Doctor/companions debates, ranging from minor details like The Doctor arguing that historical research based on records was flawed as all records were based on the views of their writers (“Jubilee“) to more emotionally intense ones like The Doctor’s apparently casual attitude towards Cassie Schofield’s death at the hands of the ruthless vampire Nimrod (“Project: Lazarus“). Despite this, Evelyn nevertheless valued her friendship with The Doctor when it truly counted, refusing to believe the claims that The Doctor was the monstrous ‘Sandman’ who terrorised the Galyari ‘Clutch’ even when The Doctor himself confirmed that the tales were true (“The Sandman“), encouraging her friend to take action when he felt depressed (“Pier Pressure“), and vocally defending The Doctor to the ruthless egotistical time-traveller Doctor Robert Knox when he claimed to be on a humanitarian mission in the past. (“Medicinal Purposes“). Although close to The Doctor, Evelyn never lost sight of the fact that he was an alien, noting once that his ability to relate to others was still defined by an alien perspective no matter how much others might want to see him as being more different from his fellow Time Lords (“Instruments of Darkness“).
Her close but sometimes difficult relationship with The Doctor extended to her interaction with her fellow companions. While she initially bonded with Melanie Bush – her ‘successor’ as The Doctor’s companions – in their first meeting, the two still had the occasional argument due to their feeling that the other was closer to The Doctor, to the point that Mel assumed at first that Evelyn had been The Doctor’s wife (“Instruments of Darkness“). Her interaction with Victorian thief Thomas Brewster – who had briefly travelled with the Fifth Doctor (“The Boy That Time Forgot“) – was more strained due to her natural distrust of his motives and actions, when they met he had been providing a sentient planet with hosts for another alien race by helping it abduct passengers from the London Underground, culminating in him forcing his way into the TARDIS to try and make The Doctor take him home at gunpoint (“The Crimes of Thomas Brewster“), and he later showed a remarkable willingness to betray The Doctor to the powerful Axos for his own benefit (“The Feast of Axos“), although Brewster’s later attempts to help workers in his time helped improve his standing in Evelyn’s eyes (“Industrial Evolution“). However, Evelyn had an easier time relating to past companions The Brigadier (“The Spectre of Lanyon Moor“) and Romana (“The Apocalypse Element“), each of them respecting her current friendship with The Doctor while she appreciated the chance to learn more about her friend while meeting them.
Evelyn left The Doctor after only around a year of travelling with him, deciding she’d seen enough, although they parted on relatively good terms despite her disagreement with some of his actions, The Doctor remembering Evelyn with great affection and describing her as a steadying influence on his initially blunt sixth personality due to her willingness to challenge him. However, since The Doctor needed someone to keep an eye on Earth history for a while due to some unfinished business – he felt that he couldn’t afford to focus on Earth when so many other worlds needed his help, he dropped her off in 1988 rather than 2000, Evelyn keeping an eye on certain problems for The Doctor until he met her again in the last few days of 1993, now accompanied by Melanie Bush, Mel convincing The Doctor to take Evelyn home after they had defeated a duo of powerful psychic aliens called the Cylox who were using the Third Doctor‘s amnesic ex-companions Jeremy Fitzoliver – now called John Doe – as one of their agents, Evelyn requesting that they go back to 2000 via ‘the scenic route’ (“Instruments of Darkness“). Although the precise details are unknown, it would appear that the TARDIS returned to the planet Vilag during this trip, Evelyn deciding to stay on Vilag and make a new life with Principal Triumviur Rossitier, The Doctor simply leaving Evelyn behind after she told him of her intentions, while a later, unrecorded adventure resulted in Mel losing her memory of her meeting with Evelyn. During a brief return visit (“Thicker Than Water“), The Doctor was able to treat Evelyn’s health problems after learning she had been the subject of illegal DNA-splicing experiments, subsequently attending Evelyn and Rossitier’s second wedding, standing in as Evelyn’s ‘father’. Most significantly, The Doctor’s seventh incarnation paid Evelyn a brief visit while she was in hospital to tell her that he now travelled with Cassie’s son, medical student Thomas Hector ‘Hex’ Schofield (“The Harvest“), assuring Evelyn that Cassie’s legacy would continue.
Evelyn was reunited with the Seventh Doctor for a final time, ten years after Rossiter’s death, when she was accidentally transported from Világ to the planet Pelicham, billions of years in the past, by a temporal stabiliser that she had discovered in a timeship that had recently been uncovered in an archaeological dig on Világ. Evelyn lived on Pelicham for two years before finally suffering a fatal heart attack, being contacted by Hex – now aware of his heritage – andthe Seventh Doctor shortly before her demise. With no other way to defeat his new, powerful foe the Word Lord – a being from a universe composed entirely of language and communication rather than matter and energy, The Doctor was forced to use Evelyn as part of a complex plan which involved trapping the Word Lord in the Handovale, a pocket universe composed entirely of words, sustained only by Evelyn’s ‘narration’. As a result, when Evelyn died, the Word Lord died with her (“A Death in the Family“). Despite this loss, Evelyn died content with her life, assuring The Doctor that he had given her new experiences that she had never dreamed possible at a time when she believed her life was over, and she would always love him for that, appreciative of the wonders she’d seen in her time with him and the chances she’d had to help so many people.
Back to Big Finish page