Gavrok, Leader of the Bannermen
Delta and the Bannermen
The leader of the ruthless Bannermen, Gavrok is unquestionably one of the Doctor’s most ruthless humanoid enemies, freely resorting to indiscriminate murder to accomplish his goal of the destruction of the Chimeron race – a race where the females looked like simply slightly green-tinted humans while the males had green, scale-like skin, destroying an entire bus full of innocent tourists because he thought there was a chance that the last Chimeron was on board. Although the reasons for his ‘vendetta’ against the Chimerons were never specified, it seems likely that the two races are natural enemies, given that a young Chimeron had a natural defence that allowed her to repel the Bannermen by emitting a high-pitched scream while still a child.
Whatever the origins of the Bannermen/Chimeron conflict, by the time their war attracted The Doctor’s attention, the Bannermen had almost completely annihilated the Chimerons, the last known survivors of the race being Delta, a Chimeron queen, and a single Chimeron egg. Retreating to a space tollport, Delta hitched a ride with time-travelling tour organisation Nostalgia Tours, travelling back to the 1950s with a group of Navarino tourists – aliens capable of transforming themselves into a human appearance, accompanied by the Seventh Doctor and his companion Mel after the two of them won a free trip after becoming the tollport’s tenmillionth customers. Although the ship – disguised as a 1950s tour bus – sustained damage when it hit a satellite after arriving in the past, The Doctor was able to guide it to a safe landing in the TARDIS, arriving at the Shangri-La Holiday Camp in South Wales.
With Delta sharing a room with Mel while The Doctor helped to repair the bus, she was forced to share the truth about her past with her roommate after her egg hatched into a bright green baby that grew at an exceptional rate. Trying to take her mind off her peoples’ fate, Delta attended a dance at the camp, attracting the attention of camp mechanic Billy, much to the disappointment of his old friend Rachel (Nicknamed Ray). Although Gavrok was able to follow Delta to the tollport, questioning the tollmaster failed to reveal where the bus had landed, Gavrok simply killing the tollmaster after he proved useless. While attempting to comfort Ray, The Doctor discovered a mercenary among the tour group who alerted the Bannermen to Delta’s presence, but he and Ray were rendered unconscious when Gavrok sent an ionisation pulse along the bounty hunter’s radio signal, vaporising him to avoid having to pay the mercenary.
Regaining consciousness the following morning, The Doctor was forced to reveal the truth about the ‘tour group’ to Burton, the camp’s owner, while he went off to find Delta and Billy after they left for a romantic retreat after Delta had told her story to Billy and Mel. Although The Doctor and Ray found Delta and Billy, things became increasingly dire when they returned to the camp to find that the Bannermen had already arrived, Gavrok having destroyed the Navarino tour bus on the chance that Delta had been on board, leaving Mel and Burton alive simply to use them as hostages after seeing that Delta was still alive. Confronting Gavrok under a flag of truce – which Gavrok promptly shot down, The Doctor coldly rejected Gavrok’s ‘offer’ to give The Doctor his life if he gave Gavrok Delta, informing the Bannerman leader that he knew nothing of life, dealing only in lies, destruction and murder as his currency, and that his methods would catch up with him eventually.
Although Gavrok allowed The Doctor to depart with Mel and Burton, he only permitted it because he had planted a tracking device on the three in the hope that they would lead him to Delta – although The Doctor swiftly found and disposed of the device, simultaneously booby-trapping the TARDIS by surrounding it with an energy field that would incinerate anything that made contact with it. Taking refuge with Goronwy, the local beekeeper, and Hawk and Weismuller – two American agents who had been sent to find the satellite that the tour bus had crashed into earlier, the small group lured the Bannermen into a trap, tipping shelves of Goronwy’s honey over the Bannermen and releasing his bees on them.
Returning to the Shangri-La camp, Billy and Burton were able to rig up the camp’s sound system to amplify the scream of the Chimeron princess, the young girl having entered the ‘singing time’, a point in her development when her vocal chords were capable of controlling her ‘song’ so that she could choose to sooth or attack those around her. With this weapon, she was able to effectively traumatise the attackers, leaving the majority of the Bannermen off-balance. Gavrok in particular was so shaken that he accidentally fell against the force field he’d erected around the TARDIS, absorbing so much energy that his body was completely atomised and the shield shut down. With the Bannermen defeated, Delta and the princess departed, accompanied by Billy, now transforming into a Chimeron himself after consuming the ‘royal jelly’ that Delta had been feeding the infant so that he could be with her (Inspired by Goronwy’s tales about bees creating queens with royal jelly). The final fate of Gavrok’s remaining Bannermen was never established, given that Delta spoke of contacting galactic authorities about the Bannermens’ genocide of her people, the most likely explanationis that they were collected and taken to answer for their crimes.