Doctor Who Convention Encounters: Nicola Bryant

As I’ve mentioned a few times now, I attended a Doctor Who convention that I attended in Philadelphia, around October 1985. This was sometime after Colin Baker’s first full season as the Doctor, while we were the shocking-for-the-time 18 month hiatus for the program. Colin Baker was at the convention, making him as I’ve mentioned the first and only “current” Doctor that I ever met at a convention. Along with him was Nicola Bryant, who was the “current” companion.

(Daily Doctor Who #95)

Nicola Bryant played Peri (actually, Perpugilliam) Brown, a college student from America who was studying botany. She was a bit of a controversial figure on the show for a variety of reasons: she was portrayed in a much sexualized way than most characters on the show (lots of low-cut tops and so on), she had a somewhat shrill and constantly worried manner of delivering many of her dialogue, and Nicola Bryant’s American accent was inconsistent and could sound a little odd.

Nonetheless I was excited at the prospect of meeting the actress, and I waited patiently or impatiently online to be able to get her autograph. Sadly, time ran out and she had to leave just a few people before I got there! So I missed out. No Nicola Bryant autograph.

However, that isn’t the end of the story. More than eight years later I went to Chicago and attended an even larger event called Visions ’93. Amongst the guests, once again, was Nicola Bryant.

The show had been off the air for several years now, and so she was no longer the current companion, or even the most recent companion. She was, however, sort of the current companion for someone called the Stranger, in a series of Doctor Who-like straight-to-video films from a company called BBV, which also starred Colin Baker. In the early installments of this, the character’s backstories were barely employed, making it almost possible that the characters were basically the Doctor and Peri–Nicola Bryant’s character was called, simply, Miss Brown.

However, later episodes made it clear that they were original characters.

She also featured in another project from the same company around that time, the ecologically-based thrilled The Airzone Solution, which also included former Doctors Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison and Jon Pertwee in its cast. Keeping with tradition, Nicola’s character was again given the last name “Brown” (Ellie Brown, in this case).

In any case, this time, I was successful in my quest to get Nicola Bryant’s autograph. For whatever reason, she didn’t sign my book but I get a nice signed photo.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any memory from either convention about anything Nicola Bryant might have talked about in any sort of audience presentation. I did, however, have the opportunity to have a photograph taken with her, which was fun and she seemed charming. But I will wait to share about that until another time for reasons that will be clear later.

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