What Ever Happened To… Peri?

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Guest contributor Gustaff wonders what became of Nicola Bryant’s companion.

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“Stop wasting your time talking to that old goat. You look silly.” – Peri
“In this civilization, this creature might be the dominant species. It is by no means a waste to converge with my friend Neddy here.” – Sixth Doctor
“It was Neddy I was talking to.” – Peri

Born Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, Peri was an American college student who elected to travel with the Doctor to quench her thirst for adventure. Of all the companions, Peri has arguably the most contradicting account surrounding her life after the Doctor than any companion to date, but don’t worry, we’ll get to that a bit later.

First things first, when we last left Peri, the High Council of Time Lords forced the Doctor to abandon her on the alien planet Thoros Beta where Lord Kiv replaced her brain with his own. This death proved to too violent, so the killing of Peri Brown was retconned and it was explained that the footage showing the brain swap was a lie concocted by the Valeyard and that the real Peri Brown was safe, living as a Warrior Queen alongside King Yrcanos. Personally, if I’d been given the choice, I’d have chosen death.

The Five Peries

peri-and-the-piscon-paradoxNow we get to the large number of contradictory accounts surrounding this character. Almost all of these contradictions stem from the audio story Peri and the Piscon Paradox. The Time Lords seemed to deem life as Yrcanos’ queen a fate worse than death as well and elected to rewrite Peri’s life after the Doctor, resulting in five different Peries existing at the same time.

The first Peri in existence is of course the version that was killed on the operating table and whose body was occupied by Kiv in Mindwarp without the latter retcon.

The second Peri is the one most of us are familiar with. It is the version of her that was removed from the timeline moments before her death and allowed to live out the rest of her life as Yrcanos’ queen. This Peri had three children and at least three grandchildren. The novels support the existence of this Peri as the original because in Reunion, the Seventh Doctor came across Peri and in Bad Therapy, he returned her to earth.

The third Peri was a version which had her memories wiped clean of the Doctor, except for their first adventure together, similar to what the Time Lords did to Jamie and Zoe at the end of The War Games. This might seem like your new favorite Peri fate as you’re reading this, but this version endured bitter hardships in her life. After marrying a childhood sweetheart, this Peri’s husband physically abused her to the point she could not bear children. Afterwards, she abandoned botany and ironically became a relationship counselor.

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A fourth Peri was lucky enough to be returned to Earth with all her memories intact. The tie-in website Who is Doctor Who? lists a woman named Peri Brown meeting and travelling with the Doctor and looking to find him again similarly to what Sarah Jane did after the Fourth Doctor dropped her off on earth. This Peri had at least one child according to The Mind’s Eye.

The last Peri was a version who travelled to earth with Yrcanos for a life together where she acted as his valet after Yrcanos became a professional wrestler.

So Which Is The Real Peri?

While the second Peri is the only one referenced onscreen, there are fans (like myself) and later writers who feel that maybe the ending to Peri’s story was not handled very well. Nicola Bryant herself has mentioned that she liked the first Peri ending and fans in general tend to make fun of or ignore the Yrcanos marriage angle in a similar fashion as their dismissal of the Eighth Doctor’s half-human comment. Luckily the Who is Doctor Who? website and the audios try to give fans more than just one possible take.

This Author’s Take

If anything else, I interpret Peri #5 as a joke aimed at some silly portion of the fandom as the idea is so ludicrous (even by Doctor Who standards) that I’ll have to conceive a new word to describe it. I prefer Peri #4. Her ‘supposed’ death crushed this author and her retcon later on twisted the knife in my heart and had me going: “No. Put her down. It’s better that way!”

And there you have it. This is my take on the contradictions surrounding Peri Brown. Comment below and tell us which Peri you think is the real one. You have five choices. Good luck and thank you for reading.

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