Name: Nancy Norton
Time of Origin: First fought The Doctor in 1934; The Doctor, Liz Shaw and Mike Yates had a brief confrontation with an alternate version of her in an alternate 1970.
Appearances: “The Eye of the Giant”
Doctors: Third Doctor
Companions: The Brigadier, Sergeant Benton, Liz Shaw and Mike Yates
Although Nancy herself appeared to be little more than a spoiled former Hollywood starlet when she first met The Doctor – overly paranoid about any potential threat to her livelihood after dragging herself up from the slums to become the star she was as an adult, justifying her harsh attitude by claiming that she had to be ‘tough’ to survive – the circumstances under which she met him resulted in her becoming a threat to freedom on a global scale, with the situation being particularly personal because she would never have been able to go that far if it weren’t for The Doctor’s own interference in the past.
A Hollywood starlet from the 1930s, Nancy was the second wife of film producer Marshal Grover, accompanying him on his expedition to the legendary lost island of Salutua as he allegedly sought to use it as the setting for a realistic monster movie. However, Grover had also brought various scientists along on the expedition to study the rumours about Salutua’s unique life, as well as his daughter, Amelia, who had lost her left arm from the elbow down in the car crash that killed his first wife. Upon arriving at Salutua – protected from the outside world by what appeared to be an atmospheric disturbance – Grover’s expedition were surprised at the unnaturally large growth rate, which created such anomalies as giant crabs or reptiles. Nancy initially refused to do any filming on the island after she was attacked by a giant snake, only to become paranoid and hostile after Grover’s cameraman suggested using Amelia for long-range shooting, to the extent that they contemplated making the whole movie about a one-armed woman’s attempts to survive on the island after an accident. While the jealous Nancy argued with Amelia on the Constitution’s deck, ignoring Amelia’s attempts to reason with her, the ship was attacked by giant crabs, Nancy accidentally knocking Amelia overboard in the resulting chaos.
While searching for Amelia – although Nancy stayed on the ship due to her own guilt – the expedition was subsequently joined by the Third Doctor and Liz Shaw from 1970 (Although they claimed to simply be members of a British expedition); while attempting to track the origins of a fragment from what appeared to be a spaceship that had recently washed up on the coast of Australia, The Doctor had turned his Time-Space Visualiser into a Time Bridge as an effort to escape his exile, tracing the ship fragment’s origin to Salutua only for he and Liz to be lost in the past when UNIT headquarters’ power generators overloaded while they were exploring the island. Learning that the fragment came from a ship that had crash-landed in the volcano at Salutua’s centre – the ship drawing on the volcano’s geothermal energy to maintain a force field rendering the island invisible to the rest of the world – The Doctor, Liz, and Sergeant Mike Yates – who had followed The Doctor and Liz through after the bridge had been repaired – were able to help find Amelia after The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to save the expedition from a flock of giant bats. However, after saving Amelia, Mike discovered a strange stone statue with a giant red eye and a miniature tank gathering flora and fauna, followed by the expedition finding various sheets of paper thrown through the bridge by The Brigadier, the remaining UNIT officers in the future having discovered that Salutua would be destroyed by a volcanic eruption that night.
Examining the statue, The Doctor learned that it included a container for phials of drugs developed by the Semquess, the most skilled bio-engineers in the galaxy; two phials remained in the statue, but the third phial had been released at some point after the crash, causing the gigantism on Salutua. Grover attempted to take the phials himself, having come to Salutua in the hope that the cause of the unnatural growth could be harnessed to help restore Amelia’s lost arm, but Nancy unintentionally destroyed herself in Grover’s eyes when she lashed out at her step-daughter’s self-righteousness, calling Amelia a ‘Bible-sprouting cripple’ before she could stop herself. With Grover ignoring The Doctor’s protests that humanity wasn’t ready to harness the power of the Semquess – as well as Amelia’s own refusal to take the drugs, seeing her missing arm as a test from God – Nancy seduced one of the crew to try and take the statue’s eye so that she could sell it to sustain her lifestyle. However, it turned out that the ‘statue’ was actually an alien called Brokk who’d stolen the phials from the Semquess in the first place, having crash-landed on Earth while escaping and remaining in stasis due to his damaged spacesuit as his species required higher temperatures than those on Earth. Although trapped in a dormant state, Brokk was able to influence the crewman Nancy had sent to acquire the eye to build a fire that would allow him to regain the ability to move, Brokk using Nancy as a hostage as he made his way back to his ship to stop the expedition trying to attack him. As the Semquess arrived in force – the tanks Yates and Amelia had encountered earlier were the Semquess determining their drugs’ role in the island’s growth – Brokk’s ship was shot down, scattering it into fragments – including the fragment that would eventually be brought to UNIT in 1970 – and giving The Doctor and his UNIT allies time to escape before his ship’s nuclear core triggered the predicted eruption.
Unfortunately, as The Doctor and UNIT learned when they returned to the present, their actions had changed history for the worse; whereas before Brokk and the expedition had all died in the eruption, thanks to The Doctor’s interference, the ship had returned to America… and Nancy, seeking power, had made a deal with Brokk while she was his ‘prisoner’, Brokk giving her the Semquess phials and fragments of his ruby hypnotic eye so that part of him might survive the attack. Using the contents of the second Semquess phial to merge with Brokk’s eye, Nancy gained mesmeric powers that grew stronger as she spread her influence through Grover’s films, essentially transforming herself into the ‘Goddess’ of the world, humanity fighting off the Semquess and working to prepare a new body for Brokk while using Nancy’s access to his knowledge to increase humanity’s own technological development.
Fortunately, the time bridge had irradiated UNIT headquarters with artron energy that rendered them relatively immune to the changes in history, although the new timeline took ‘precedent’ once The Doctor’s allies began to power down the time bridge. When Nancy’s soldiers captured Liz to talk to the time-travellers about the new world she had created – unaware that the loss of the time bridge would eventually erase the remaining UNIT staff from existence – Nancy’s arrogance caused her to tell Liz exactly what she needed to know about how sje had changed history. Although Nancy believed that the people would now love her even without Brokk’s influence, Liz rejected that idea, recognising that Nancy’s ‘utopia’ was based on fear rather than love and would inevitably collapse once she lost Brokk’s influence. After The Doctor added some surplus time bridge components to Bessie to allow them to use the car in the new timeline without being erased, he, The Brigadier, Benton and Yates were able to rescue Liz and then return to the past using the information she had acquired from Nancy.
Arriving back in the past just as Nancy prepared to bring the whole of the ship’s crew under her influence, The Doctor and the three UNIT soldiers were able to disarm Nancy’s ‘followers’. However, when The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to shatter the ruby fragments of Brokk’s eye while The Brigadier shot Nancy, their efforts backfired when Nancy fell onto the second phial, causing her to merge with Brokk’s eye and the organic fragments of the ship to become an insane animal/vegetable/mineral hybrid. As 1970 became a desolate landscape around the rapidly-fading UNIT base due to the destruction the monster would cause, The Doctor discovered the third phial, but Amelia drank it before he could, the power it unleashed transforming her into an angelic being as the phial triggered the full potential of the life-form who drank it. Having subdued the Nancy/Brokk/ship hybrid, Amelia took it into space to care for it until she could separate it, as well as exploring her new place in the cosmos. With the crisis resolved, The Doctor and the UNIT staff returned to 1970, history restored to normal apart from a few newspaper headlines that confirmed the survival of the expedition, all of them confident that Amelia could be trusted with her new power.