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Mel Bush: The Character

One of Mel's greatest assets is her wonderful personality, attributable in no small way to Bonnie's energy and enthusiasm for the role.

She has boundless optimism. She is always polite and willing to help others. On numerous occasions, she displays great determination, searching for the Doctor in TATR and reaching the swimming pool in PT. She is a great reformer of people, helping Pex overcome his cowardice and undertaking the task of reforming Glitz from his criminal ways. Unfortunately, as well as being trustworthy, she is extremely trusting, in PT she doesn't realise the Rezzies true intentions until it is too late.

Although easily frightened, she undertakes many acts of bravery, such as traversing the perilous air ducts of the Hyperion to get a message to the Doctor and venturing into the Rani's base. This said, she does tend to scream with alarming frequency in certain adventures.

She tends to speak her mind often, which doesn't endear her easily to others and occasionally gets her in trouble. She's self-righteous to the point of bossiness.

Mel has an excellent memory, causing the Doctor to compare her to an elephant. "It's so ludicrously inappropriate, I find it funny." She remembers the exact wording of the mayday call in TOTV.

Health and Exercise

Mel is greatly into fitness. When she first appears in Terror of the Vervoids she is forcing the Doctor to use the exerciser while she skips with a skipping rope. She also feeds him carrot juice, much to his disgust. She makes use of the Hyperion gym. At the end of The Ultimate Foe, she's keen to get him straight back into the fitness plan. Millennial Rites and Business Unusual also make it clear that she's a vegetarian and has given up caffeine. She also encouraged her workmates at BITS to join a local gym, some of them weren't enthusiastic.

Regeneration is a great aid to weight loss, and with the seventh Doctor on the scene, the fitness fad vanished.

Computers

The background story given in John Nathan-Turner's character outline is that Mel met the Doctor on Earth and helped him foil a plan by the Master to defraud the world banking system. Her status as a computer programmer is alluded to several times during her term on the show. She didn't actually get the opportunity to do much programming...

Despite being a computer programmer, Melanie cannot operate the TARDIS. On the odd occasion that she tries, disaster ensues. (from JNT's character outline, 1985)

Mel does get to do some system hacking and programming in Millennial Rites. In Business Unusual she helps clean up the Master's computer mess, and is responsible for shutdown and destruction of SenéNet's systems.

Original Outline

Some interesting extracts from JNT's original outline.

Melanie is one of those annoying young ladies who is a 'feminist' at all times, except at moments of great stress, when she relies heavily on playing the hard-done-by, down-trodden, crocodile-teared female.

Oh, the pain! Where'd this come from?

She has a strong sense of humour and is often heard singing in the TARDIS, much to the annoyance of the Doctor.

La lala la la. They did manage to get her dancing in Delta.

Melanie is the first Earth-UK Companion for twelve years. We shall soon see why.

The Doctor knows the British all turned into fitness freaks in the mid-seventies?

The Clothing

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Terror of the Vervoids
Yellow track-suitish top and trousers over a cyan shirt, with white boots. The yellow jacket has an inbuilt teleportation device and can be teleported to and from any local gymnasiums. (Costume Designer: Andrew Rose)

The Ultimate Foe
Dark-blue shirt, under a light blue top (which was discarded early in the story.) and dark-blue trousers with matching boots. I love blue. She also wears her hair up. (Costume Designer: Andrew Rose)

Time and the Rani
White dirt-repellant trousers with sneakers and pink-and-white striped leg warmers. A pink-and-white striped top with padded shoulders and white collar. Popularly used in places such as the illustration in Time Lord and on the cover of Head Games... (Costume Designer: Ken Trew)

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Paradise Towers
White trousers with light blue dots, a light blue top with white dots and a collar and sleeves which match the trousers. She wears a white ribbon with blue polka-dots in her hair. Underneath she wears a swimming costume with white, frilly bits around the legs. The Time Lord book suggests that it is "typical clothing" for Mel. (Costume Designer: Janet Tharby)

Delta and the Bannermen
Several costumes: Dark blue jacket over a white shirt and a long blue-and-white-striped dress; blue demin shirt and jeans with a red scarf tied around her neck. She also wears pyjamas to bed. (Costume Designer: Richard Croft)

Dragonfire
Dark blue/grey jacket and trousers over red top with a sort of sailor-style collar. Black boots with bright-red laces. What appear to be red ribbons(?) in her hair. (Costume Designer: Richard Croft)

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Millennial Rites
Her attire to the reunion is not mentioned, but later she changes to a "dark blue leotards, red leggings and a heavy black woollen jumper". As Melaphyre, she wears blue power armour which can expand to protect her during combat.

Head Games
Mel first appears wearing a "shapeless powder blue tracksuit" and has her hair cut short. She later throws on a pink, half-length leather jacket. Of course, it's a picture from TATR on the cover. Yeesh.

Just War
In the first segment Mel wears a cream trouser-suit and a floppy straw sun-hat. Later, at the party, she wears a "striking creation in sequins and pink organza" (thin, stiff, transparent silk) from the TARDIS wardrobe.

Business Unusual
A lemon trouser-suit. (during her first scenes)
A powder-blue dressing gown.
A blue sweatshirt. (during the infiltration of SenéNet)

Quantum Archangel
Mel wears cream slacks and a white blouse with a dark blue jumper tied around her neck. Her Prime Minister self wears a navy-blue trouser suit.

Instruments of Darkness
She wears a pink top with a black triangle on the chest, with white slacks and black ankle-length boots. Later Evelyn fetches her a fifties-looking denim jacket, red sweatshirt and black leggings

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