Why Osgood Is So Popular
Guest contributor Josh Steer explains how Ingrid Oliver’s character is such a fan favourite already.
Every member of the Whovian community remembers the moment they saw Osgood killed. Never has the word “Bananas!” had so much emotional burden, and I will definitely never listen to the song “Hey Mickey” the same way again. It seems after seeing fans love for Osgood, Steven Moffat decided to bring her back, but why and how is Osgood’s character so influential after just 2 episodes?
As we examine and study the connotations, it becomes clear that in the 50th, even Osgood was there to commemorate something, that is, of course, the fans. In The Day of the Doctor (DotD) Osgood wears Tom Baker’s iconic scarf, with the addition of the geeky glasses and the inhaler, her costume paints a picture of the stereotypical science fiction fan. This shows us that Osgood was designed to commemorate the fans that loved and cherished the show, and made it into what it is today. This is particularly relevant to Moffat, since it is a known fact that it was possible for David Tennant’s Doctor to end the Nu-Who era. However, when Moffat took over from Davies, he had huge success, and this was down to the loyalty of the fans. The character of Osgood therefore acts as Moffat’s demonstration of appreciation to us all.
One thing about Osgood that truly strikes home is her loyalty to the Doctor. When trapped with a Zygon in DotD she tells herself “The Doctor will save me” this helps her build up the courage, to trip over the Zygon and get out of there. This scene also connotes back to the idea of stereotypical geeks being pushed over and bullied by more popular people. This is overtly expressed when “Zygood” (as the Zygon imitating Osgood has been called) taunted Osgood about her more beautiful sister, however, this is also expressed with the significance of the stage direction. Osgood is forced into a corner by Zygood; however even then, she has the courage to stand up for the Doctor. Throughout the half century, fans have stood up for their beloved Doctor countless times and this scene represents and commemorates the fact that though Doctor Who may not always be top of the pops, its fans are loyal and have always stood up for it even when facing bullies or threats.
Even in just 2 episodes we’ve seen Osgood develop massively. This is down to some spectacular writing and directing. In DotD, we start by seeing a shy young woman who was very geeky, and throughout the episode was revealed to be the stereotypical fan, and then shown to be kind and compassionate to Zygood in the black archive. In Death in Heaven (DiH) she entered in a confident manner, launching the UNIT takeover of the area outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral. This was a proud moment for her fans seeing her in action and very confident compared to the scientist we saw in Day. In the scene that followed she was used as a companion in Clara’s absence, this is because she did what is one of the key roles for a companion: Asking questions! Throughout that scene, Osgood asked questions and moved the story along like a companion would. However the fan card was still played later on in the episode when the Doctor promised her she could go on an adventure with him. Could episodes 7 and 8 be the adventure promised?
Osgood’s costume development is also something of importance. Osgood’s scarf in DotD was of course designed to be one of those little “Easter Eggs” in the episode similar to Tennant’s quote of the 2nd Doctor “you’ve re-decorated, I don’t like it”. However, the idea of her commemorating the Doctors has gone from there. In DiH she is seen rocking Smith’s bow tie. And in the recent BBC pictures, we can see her wearing Sylvester McCoy’s question-mark heavy pullover, McGann’s cravat, along with the re-appearance of Tennant’s converse. Now, during filming, she has been seen wearing Colin Baker’s question – mark shirt and what fans are speculating to be the Brigadier’s old jumper. Does this costume evolution go along with Osgood’s character development? Slowly getting more confident? In DiH, her look was, in my opinion, quite chic, and stylish however, the Brigadier brown jumper could be intended to pull her back to her roots, so is the brown jumper intended to make her look a little more nerdy again?
Relationship and interaction
As well as her connotations and development, Osgood also has a very unique relationship with the different characters. Of course the only place we could possibly start is with the Doctor.
As a part of UNIT, Osgood is very familiar with the Doctor and cases linked to him; this is shown in DiH when Osgood identifies Missy as the Master. What makes Osgood different to anyone else is the fact that she is his number one fan. We see that everything to do with the Doctor makes her ecstatic and therefore makes her need a puff of her inhaler. The inhaler acts as a very convenient indicator of Osgood’s emotion, which shows us that though Osgood may be brains, she is still an emotional person. Her love of the Doctor means that she is immensely loyal to him; delivered when in DotD when she faces Zygood. Osgood treats the Doctor like a god in Day, and we can see that she endeavours to impress him, following him through the national gallery waiting to be given an opportunity to prove her discipleship to the Doctor.
Her relationship with Kate Stewart is also revealing about her character. Though it is clear Kate is Osgood’s superior, it is also clear that they are still friends. When Osgood finds Kate all wired up to a Zygon she was over the moon with relief. She also knows Kate very well, recognising both the Doctor’s ringtone and the Brigadier’s files in DotD. This show’s Osgood’s loyalty again, this time to UNIT and ultimately, Kate.
One thing that’s striking about Osgood is the way she interacts with monsters. So far, we’ve seen her face 2 villains, the Zygons and of course, Missy. However, for someone who works in UNIT Osgood’s reactions have been surprisingly peaceful. In both occasions she has pleaded and tried to negotiate for her life. This is yet another tribute to the Doctor, this time to David Tennant, who may have inspired her pacifism. This is a striking contrast to UNIT and their militaristic tone. It also could again relate back to the idea of stereo-typical Whovians not being the toughest, roughest, hardest of them all.
Where to next?
Earlier this year, we were given the news that Osgood was to return in Peter Harness’ Zygon 2-parter. Since then we’ve seen details emerge as to her presence in the episodes and having seen the trailers and news stories it seems that the following two episodes are practically dedicated to her. From the trailers we see Osgood being abducted by Zygons and being forced to represent the Zygons. As far as speculation is concerned, from the interviews seen, it appears that the answer of her survival is slightly more complicated than just the Zygood theory. The Radio Times has revealed their theory in this article (theory number 7 Spoiler warning). The trailers have yet again, identified another dimension to Osgood; her presence in the trailer portrays her to be very confident, similar to DiH. Clearly she is not afraid to defend her precious idol. This suggests that the episodes to come will excel in consolidating her character, giving us a sound knowledge, allowing us to better understand Osgood, ready for her role in UNIT extinction.
A Personal Statement
Personally, I was a fan of Osgood from the moment I first met her in a cinema in Newcastle on November 23rd. When I got to see her again in DiH I was over the moon. However, that moment when Missy said the word “Bananas” I was stunned, there I was, on my sofa, shocked. This inspired me that night to log onto Facebook, go onto my Doctor Who Fan page and notify my fans that I was changing my Admin name to “~Osgood” this was down to my love for the character, a character who, in my opinion is the character I can relate to most. Oliver’s portrayal, Moffat’s writing and the directing of both Nick Hurran and Rachel Talalay made Osgood my favourite character to date.
Osgood, though her relatability, is a character who puts me into the world that is already my passion, and I am excited to see her return which making one of my dreams, as a fan, come true. Osgood is the fans ambassador written into the adventures of the Doctor, and I cannot think of a character that I would rather represent me in the Doctor Who. Thank you for being truly fantastic, Osgood, and see you soon ….Geronimo!