No love for the boy genius

“In my Dr Who spud days, I remember going to a Dr Who convention and Peter Davison was there. They screened Earthshock which had never been shown on American television. When Adric died, the audience stood up and cheered. He was not a well liked character at the time.”


8 thoughts on “No love for the boy genius

  1. You really have to blame the showrunners for much of Adric’s unpopularity. The actor himself has since admitted that he was not a very good actor at the time, and had not had much (any??) acting experience when cast in the role.

    Combine that with the overcrowded Tardis full of multiple companions while Adric was on board… and he really never had a chance.


    • True. It’s also bizarre that he was envisioned as a rambunctious rebellious kid (and math wizard???), while the on-screen Adric was hardly rebellious at all. It’s a combination of a bad idea, bad writing and bad acting. I actually prefer him against Tom and think that he lacked any real rapport with Davison with exceptions (Four to Doomsday and Kinda). I think that Adric was actually his second acting role, but his previous part was as a member of a young make ensemble cast. Going from that to Tom Baker must have been a shock.

      Many of the Doctor Who characters are best helped by strong acting. Not sure where you stand on Turlough, for instance, but I think 90% of his (admittedly limited) success is down to Mark Strickson. Many stories that he’s in (such as Resurrection of the Daleks) seem to forget that he’s even a companion yet he still looked for things to do… or things over his shoulder lurking in the darkness, apparently.


      • Don’t you love the moment in State of Decay when Adric accuses the Doctor of cowardice and Romana shouts “How dare you!” in a voice like ice.

        That said, in real life Lalla Ward did say some quite unkind things about Matthew Waterhouse at later conventions.


      • I actually liked Turlough in hindsight.

        Initially he was irritating, because you knew he was a bad guy but the Doctor didn’t know… but the Doctor, being the Doctor, ultimately revealed that he sort of suspected something was up with Turlough all along… and they redeemed Turlough as being not bad, but just a pawn.

        Sometimes, though, the Doctor’s companions end up being a lot like what John Byrne described how he wrote the Avengers… he didn’t know how to write a team book and use all of the Avengers, so he often opted to put some of them in peril to get them out of most of the panels. That seemed to happen a lot in the older Doctor Who… that the writers sort of forgot they had companions on the show and needed to give them lines so they weren’t just standing around looking dumb.


      • There are VERY few Davison stories that utilize all three companions (Four to Doomsday and the Visitation maybe?). Even the slimming down to two assistants (Nyssa and Tegan then Turlough and Tegan) posed problems, it seems as cited in my Resurrection of the Daleks example!

        And to be fair, Waterhouse justified almost anything bad said about him by writing his critically acclaimed ‘tell-all’ autobiography of his time on Doctor Who, Blue Box Boy (, in which he painted Baker as a drunken lout.


      • Waterhouse’s very negative portrayal of Baker is supported by the claims of other people who worked with him.

        Did you read the interview with Baker in a recent issue of Doctor Who magazine? His vicious side really came out in that.


      • I haven’t read the interview but Baker himself has gone on record about his drinking problem at the time and described himself as ‘impossible to work with’ as well. He has always struck me as someone who is more than aware of his personal flaws.

        I don’t want to be too negative on a book that I haven’t read and I have heard that Waterhouse’ memoir is a great read, but going on about Baker’s filthy fingernails and gin/sweat-stained armpits strikes me as opportunistic (and fair enough), but to use that opportunity to strike at a public figure like Baker is petty. When Blue Box Boy was released, the press ran with it as an expose of Tom Baker which was laughable as Baker himself has said far worse things about his own behavior.


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