The Unauthorised Melanie Bush Biography
The following is a detailed biography covering Mel's life as detailed in the series and books (mostly the books, since the series didn't dwell much on Mel's personal history) There are spoilers below for the Virgin and BBC Mel books, audios, Just War, Doctor Who: Heritage, and, of course, Mel's television appearances.
Abbreviations: MR = Millennial Rites, HG = Head Games, JW = Just War, BU = Business Unusual, QA = The Quantum Archangel, IoD = Instruments of Darkness, FoV = Fires of Vulcan, OD = The One Doctor, TJ = The Juggernauts, SS = Spiral Scratch, U = Unregenerate!.
Melanie Jane Bush was born in 1964 [JW] on July 22. [BU] [BU] Her mother is named Christine - Christine's birthday is the 3rd of August and she is a housewife [BU]. In MR, the Melaphyre remembers her as a "stout, dour woman with jet black hair" now deceased, though this may not be an indication of reality. Her father is Alan Bush, birthday 24th July, he works at the Town Hall as an accountant in the Business and Commerce sector. He also plays golf with Detective Inspector Bob Lines whom the Doctor assists during BU. She had a grandfather who was killed in World War II [JW]. She befriended Trey Korte when she was fifteen.
When she was very young, her family lived at 8 Gosling Street, Croxdale. It was there that her older sister Anabel tripped over her and died after falling down some stairs. Mel repressed this memory and believed she was an only child [SS]. During her primary school years, they lived at number 14 The Lawns, Ardingly, seven miles from Pease Pottage [SS, OD]. In 1989, they were living at 36 Downview Crescent, Pease Pottage [BU].
At some point she had a nasty encounter with a bat getting caught in her hair. [BU; This took place in Durham cathedral, and neatly explains her adverse reaction to the bat-like Tetraps] When she was thirteen, she became a vegetarian and gave up tea and coffee, forcing her mother to provide appropriate meals. [MR] She made a model of Mount Vesuvius. She also learned enough Latin to be able to read graffiti in Pompeii. [FoV] It was a Bush family tradition to put on a Christmas show for pensioners at the church hall [OD]. She was in the Girl Guides [OD].
During her school days, she took part in a production of MacBeth as the Third Witch. [TATR novelisation] Both parents went to Durham University and wanted Mel to attend there as well, but she refused [BU]. She left school with five A levels and ten O levels. By the age of 9 she'd read the entire canon of Sherlock Holmes stories. [U]
After leaving school, she travelled to France to pick apples and spent eight months exploring Europe. Following this, she gained employment at a nature reserve in Scotland, opting to run the office after taking a bite from an owl [Probably a reference to JW]. She set about organising their computer system, eventually realising she'd be better off attending University.
At age 22, Mel took a computer science degree at West London University and became friends with Chantel Edwards, Leonor Pridge and Julia Prince. She excelled and was regarded as the best of the class. The degree also involved Mathematics [MR]. She also knew Paul Kairos, Arlene Cole, and Anjeliqua Whitefriar. She was taught at one point by Stuart Hyde, a character from The Time Monster [QA]. The programming languages she learnt were Cobol and Fortran [TJ]. During this time she lived in a flat in Goldhawk Road and had a relationship with Jake [SS].
The course was completed in 1989 at which point she was offered jobs at IBM, I² and ACL (Ashley Chapel Logistics) [MR].
In Business Unusual, She gained temporary employ at BITS (Brighton Information Technologies in Kemp Town) and was intending to take the job at ACL in September. However, a month after leaving university, and shortly after her 25th birthday, she met a mysterious stranger...
Joining the Doctor
Business Unusual (PDA)
The story opens in Brighton, July the 24th, 1989. The Doctor has succeeded in foiling a joint-plan by the Master and a Usurian to topple the world's stock markets. To clean up, he requires the help of a computer programmer. DI Bob Lines calls in Mel, much to the Doctor's dismay...
Meanwhile SenéNet is moving in and taking over companies. It takes over BITS, and Mel is forced to resign after experiencing the odd nature of the staff. The Doctor suspects something is going on, and he and Mel decide to infiltrate SenéNet HQ in the hope of finding Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
Mel is captured and, after an abortive escape attempt, is locked up with the Brigadier. The pair escape, and Mel draws off the Stalker. After the beast is destroyed, she aids the police in storming SenéNet HQ and constructs a virus to scramble the deadly computer games which the company has been selling.
Fearing his future as the Valeyard, the Doctor refuses to let her travel with him, but she stows away regardless.
Additional Notes: This story starts on 24 July. Mel stows away on
the 26th. She is 25 at this point.
Travelling in Time
A couple of years pass between BU and MR. In the next few months they encounter Chelonians twice, the second time in Fegovy. The first time would have been at the height of Chelonian conquests and may well be the story mentioned in Zamper in which the sixth Doctor saved Big Mother's spacecraft. They also encounter the Herecletes (a race of red-haired humanoids who appear in Craig Hinton's Zeigeist story in Decalog 3) and the Stalagtrons (Probably on Earth, as they had plans for the human race). They have a harrowing adventure with "the Quarks and the giant wasps" and Mel insists that the Doctor instruct her in the use of the TARDIS. Although the lessons don't last long, Mel is confident enough to consider flying the TARDIS at one point during Millennial Rites.
Millennial Rites (MA)
Mel attends a reunion at West London University in 1999 and meets with her old friends. It is her idea for the cellular phones that she and the Doctor use. Julia asks Mel to break into ACL's computer. Mel feels jealousy over not leading a normal life and appears to be faintly jealous of Anne Travers' friendship with the Doctor. She breaks into ACL's computer with the aid of a book from the TARDIS library and unknowingly debugs the Millennium Codex. She and Louise evade a cybrid created by Chapel.
When the codex is activated, Mel becomes the Technomancer Melaphyre, one of the three rulers of the bizarre kingdom which London has been transformed into and a devotee of the goddess, the Lady Tardis. In this much changed form she commands the cybrids and assists the Doctor, accompanying him to visit the Hierophant(Travers). The two women co-operate in rescuing the Doctor from the Archimage(Chapel). After a short time her personality begins to revert back and she feels guilt for debugging the Codex. When Barry dies at the hands of Chapel, She blames Travers, but later apologises. She helps the Doctor search through the books in the library for ways to reverse the damage. Mel intends to sacrifice herself as atonement for completing the Codex, but is saved when Travers takes her place. During the new years celebrations, she is seen to disappear into a corner with a bottle of wine and a young man.
Additional Notes: During the course of the adventure, Mel claims to have an IQ of 162. References made during the reunion tend to indicate that Mel is a virgin, though there's some debate over just what went on in that dark corner and whether that is still the case...
The Doctor is suffering under Mel's regime of strict exercise and carrot juice. He comments on her memory and suggests he's comparing her to an elephant. She visits the hydroponics lab and narrowly avoids death by electrocution. After receiving Hallet's message, she disregards the Doctor's advice to stay away from cabin six. She approaches Professor Laskey to inquire about the stolen seeds. She records a Vervoid conversation and is the victim of an attempted murder. The Doctor saves her at the last moment from being tipped into the pulveriser. While searching Janet's cabin, she hides from a Vervoid. With the Doctor's help, she avoids being caught up in the attempted hijack of the Hyperion. When she, Janet and Doland decided to attack the lounge, Mel risks her life, clambering through the Vervoid infested air ducts to warn the Doctor. The Doctor hatches a plan to destroy the Vervoids and Mel takes part. The Vervoids discover her and she is once again saved by the Doctor.
Additional Notes: When she and the Doctor discover the Vervoids victims, he reminds her of her large garden in Pease Pottage and its compost heap. The Doctor makes a comment on her memory, twice comparing her to an elephant [It would seem to be the first time he's made this joke].
At some point after Terror of the Vervoids Mel is kidnapped by the Master (by some mechanism, probably similar to the way the Doctor was captured) and taken to the Doctor's Trial which was held some time before she met him. The TARDIS at this time is parked in Oxyveguramosa, a stellar fragment in the Apus constellation [According to the novelisation, anyway!]
The Master has apparently brought her to the station as a witness and she claims herself to be as honest "and about as boring" as they come. She attempts to join the Doctor in the Matrix but is foiled by the Keeper. After the Doctor is lured into a false trial room, she finally succeeds, only to find her help wasn't needed. She recognises the Valeyard's particle disseminator incorrectly as a "megabyte modem". She attempts to clear the trial room before the disseminator takes effect.
Additional Notes: Mel doesn't recognise the Master. The Doctor's age also seems to come as a surprise to her.
The Quantum Archangel (PDA)
Shortly before this adventure, the Doctor and Mel have an adventure on the planet Maradnias, which is destroyed partly due to the Doctor's actions. This causes Mel to storm out on him - he drops her off in London in 2003.
There, Mel contacts Anjeliqua Whitefriar and discovers her old friend has changed markedly. The Master is in town with a plan to take control of a source of tremendous power. The plan naturally goes wrong and turns Anjeliqua into the Quantum Archangel, a being of immense power, which begins altering reality. Mel's alternate reality involve her being Prime Minister of England, but like the other created realities, it is doomed.
Once the adventure is resolved, Mel resumes travelling with the Doctor again.
Additional Notes: Previous adventures involved the Daleks, a man named Troy, Mel's obtaining of a stuffed owl as a present, and an adventure with rogue Bandrils during which she and the Doctor had to repair the TARDIS's dynamorphic generators.
The One Doctor (BFA)
The TARDIS picks up a distress call from the Generios system at the vulgar end of time, however on arriving, the Doctor and Mel find a conman and his assistant impersonating the Doctor. Then a huge alien cylinder arrives and demands the inhabitants of Generios gather up their three most valuable treasures as tribute. The Doctor and Mel have no choice but to co-operate with their imposters, or the Generios system is doomed...
The Doctor and Mel are seperated when they're on board a ship under heavy attack, and Mel takes an escape pod while the Doctor stays on board to find the TARDIS. Mel ends up working in a research facility on Lethe where she helps in the reactivation of some Mechonoids.
Additional Notes: She's familar enough Shubert's Ave Maria to recognise the music box version. She hasn't met the Daleks or Davros prior to this story. She adds a back door into every program she writes.
A short time prior to this adventure, the Doctor and Mel had visited Australia, where the Doctor had "borrowed" a green Volkswagen, and bought a beach house [first mentioned in Sleepy].
The Doctor and Mel have returned to Earth, 1993, to pay for the Volkswagon, but get caught up in another adventure. They join up with Evelyn Smythe [a companion created for the Big Finish audios] who at the end of the adventure leaves with them in the TARDIS, with the aim of taking the scenic route to the year 2000. Mel also meets up with Trey Korte and Joe Hambidge again.
Spiral Scratch (MA)
Immediately prior to this story, the Doctor and Mel have an adventure on Caliban, and previous encounters have included the Zarbi, the Proctor of Darruth, the singing sands of Cousus VI, and the Pakhars.
The Doctor and Mel visit Carsus to see Professor Rummas, a friend of the Doctor's, and become involved in fighting a Lamprey, which involves encounters with Doctors and Mels from alternate universes. The adventure culminates in the Doctor managing to defeat their foe, but at great cost, which forces him to regenerate as the TARDIS is being shot down, leading into Time and the Rani. in HG, Mel claims that he hit his head on the console.
Time and Tide
The TARDIS crashes on Lakertya. Mel is removed from it by Ikona and inadvertently encounters Sarn before the latter perishes in one of the Rani's bubble traps. She saves Ikona's life, preventing him from falling into a trap and gains his trust. Ikona returns the favour when she falls into a trap herself. When she is captured by the Tetraps, a hologram duplicate is used to trick the Doctor. The Rani forces her to help in attaching the Doctor to the brain. When the Doctor interferes with the brains operation, Mel assist him in trapping the Rani in one of the storage capsules. She uses one of the net guns during their escape. Later, she helps the Doctor remove the Rani's bangles from the Lakertyans. She expresses regret that Ikona can't accompany them in the TARDIS.
Additional Notes: She knows about regeneration before the event. She has read all of C. P. Snow's books. She has an innate fear of the Tetraps. Mel doesn't know the Rani, but it's clear that the Rani knows her since the only contact the two had before the Rani's impersonation was while Mel was unconscious. [Perhaps she saw the Master's broadcast of the Doctor's trial.]
Soon after Time and the Rani, the Doctor is sidetracked to a mental asylum where he's captured and incapacitated. Mel teams up with a cabbie and tracks him to the asylum where they rescue the Doctor and help foil a Time Lord experiment.
At various points while travelling with the seventh Doctor, she visits Cheldon Bonniface [to do some brass rubbing, mentioned in Timewyrm: Revelation] and Llanfer Ceiriog [Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark]
Just War (NA)
In Cairo, 1936, they meet Emil Hartung and watch him practising for the Cairo 500 race. Emil seems quite taken with Mel. They attend a party where Mel dances with Emil and professes a dislike of owls. She and Emil appear to be getting close when he reveals he's a member of the Nazi party. This sours things slightly for Mel who decides she wants to leave now.
Additional Notes: Mel has been travelling with the Doctor for a couple of years. They had just previously visited Troxos 4. Mel says she has only been to the future so far. She also says she will be born 28 years from now (1964) [The author stated (jokingly?) in an interview (TSV #48) that he had contemplated a sex scene with Mel and Hartung.]
The Doctor regrets jettisoning the TARDIS swimming pool, as Mel is looking forwards to a nice swim. They arrive in Paradise Towers. Mel practically suggests the pool as a meeting point should they get split up. Of course, being a typical adventure, they do. Due to her trusting nature, Mel is lured in by the Rezzies and fed fattening food.
When Pex "rescues" her, she initially places her trust in him, only to be told by the Kangs that he was lying all along. She leaves him immediately and is captured by the Rezzies who reveal their true colours. Pex rescues her again and she realises he's a nice fellow who's just keen to impress people.
Realising that the Rezzies will probably have been given a map, she digs it out and they use to find their way around. A trip in an errant elevator leads them to the basement and finally to the pool. When Mel is attacked by a servo robot while swimming, Pex is unable to act and she is force to take action for herself.
She assists the Kangs in setting up the Doctor's trap. When the trap is on the verge of backfiring, Pex, influenced by his adventures with Mel, sacrifices himself to destroy Kroagnon.
The Doctor and Mel masquerade as the commander of space station Dark Space 8 and his pilot in order to investigate a series of murders threatening the Intergalactic Song Contest.
Prior to this adventure, the Doctor and Mel encounter the Quarks on the space yacht Pinto. As Quarks explode in the presence of leptonite crystals, the pair visit Puxatawnee, the only planet in the galaxy where these crystals can be found. Flip-Flop appears to take place in two parallel universes.
Mel and Delta share a cabin in Shangri-La. She persuades Delta to attend the dance on the first night of the enforced stay. Despite danger to her life, she lies to Gavrok to through him off Delta's trail. She assists in preparations for the defence of the holiday camp against the Bannermen.
Additional Notes: Mel says she "hasn't been to Earth in ages". She likes 50s music. She tells the Doctor that guns make her nervous. In the novelisation, Mel remembers visiting burial chambers on Zoth and recognises Soltens, Giboks and Wormese.
Mel's initial lie that the pair are messangers from Isis (the Doctor said it first!) haunts them later on... Despite the fact the Doctor already knows the TARDIS will be unearthed from the ruins of Pompeii in two thousand years time, Mel maintains a positive attitude and insists they must recover their ship. She makes friends with Aglae early on.
Previously established continuity: She knows who UNIT are. She gives her full name as Melanie Bush, and says she's a vegetarian.
Additional Notes: She mentions school twice: she made a replica of Mount Vesuvius out of papier mâchè at primary school, and she learned Latin.
Mel befriends Ace early on while the Doctor and Glitz hunt for the dragon's treasure. When she and Ace are captured by Kane, she is ordered frozen, but Ace threatens Kane with a can of nitro. (In the novelisation, Mel effects a rescue when Ace is overcome by fumes halfway down the cliff face) Ace affectionately dubs her "Doughnut". When Kane's mercenaries are closing in, Mel happily lobs nitro at them. During their escape from the mercenaries, she falls and is knocked unconscious, but Ace conceals them both from the hunting mercenaries. Ace confides her real name to Mel. They meet up with the Doctor and Glitz and visit the ice gardens where Kane's origins are revealed. While Mel and Ace are left out of the action, they play "I spy". Although Ace is captured by Kane, Mel is reluctant to hand over the Dragonfire crystal. After Kane's demise, she decides to stay aboard the Nosferatu II to keep Glitz in line.
What happens next? Well... In Goth Opera, Glitz (post-Dragonfire obviously) is travelling with Dibber (Where had Dibber been during Dragonfire?) in the Nosferatu 2 and remembers that Mel had gone home to Earth...
We next find Mel on Avalone three years later, she has been intending to reach Earth with the dubious aim of organising its rebuilding. She has apparently left Glitz after six months, and arrived on Avalone another six months after that, only to be stranded by lack of funds. She attempts to contact Glitz to get a ride off the planet, but he attempts to use her computer system to access a galactic bank and brings the authorities down on her. (Head Games)
While on the run she meet Benjamin Heyworth. The pair eventually marry and settle on the out-of-the-way planet Heritage. There she develops small cleaning robots known as Fussies, to deal with the red dust which covers the planet. As Mel is unable to have children, they arrange for a local scientist, Wakeling, to create a clone.
The resulting child is meant to be a mingling of Mel and Benjamin's DNA, but Wakeling (in pursuit of his own agenda) creates a pure clone of Mel which the couple name Sweetness. When they find out the truth and confront Wakeling, the pair are killed and their deaths covered up by the people of Heritage.
A number of years later, the Doctor and Ace come looking.
Later, the Doctor (possibly inadvertantly) wipes the incident from his mind [at the start of Timewyrm: Genesis] and accidentally also wipes portions of Ace's memories. They travel on, and are joined by Benny.
Head Games (NA)
The master of the Land of Fiction embarks on a crusade to defeat the Doctor using a fictional duplicate of the Time Lord. He and the ersatz "Dr Who" travel to Avalone where they intercede in original time line, removing Mel from the planet just after her run in with Glitz.
During their escape and subsequent adventures, Mel encounters the Doctor's current companions, Bernice, Roz and Chris and expresses distaste at people who she sees as gun slinging murderers. Benny tells her of the Seven Planets, and they also encounter Ace who is by now time travelling separately from the Doctor. During a train journey, the Doctor suffers from some sort of stress induced psychological attack and argues bitterly with her, suggesting that he unduly influenced her decision to stay with Glitz.
Later in the TARDIS Mel argues with Ace over Ace's new life style. Benny attempts at a reconciliation and it is here that Mel claims the Doctor's regeneration was bought about by him hitting his head on the console.
The Doctor asks Mel "How long since you left 1986" to which she replies "four years" (This contradicts the years stated in both Millennial Rites and Business Unusual, The former of which was published simultaneously with Head Games).
She storms out of the TARDIS, expressing her desire to never see the Doctor again. Ace follows her, hoping to sort her out. After that, Mel is never heard of again, though the Doctor mentions her in passing.
I've stuck largely to "canon" sources. Although many people don't regard the novels as canon, without Millennial Rites and Business Unusual, this biography would be a lot sparser.
This said, there are many sources which might be considered part of Mel's adventures, even if they will not be officially recognised. The Further Adventures Page has details of unmade scripts and Dimensions in Time while the Fanfiction page has (oddly enough) fanfiction written by various people.