Bonnie Langford is returning to Doctor Who to reprise her role of Mel Bush in season 14 of the BBC science fiction show opposite Ncuti Gatwa.
She played the character Melanie “Mel” Bush in the classic Doctor Who series from 1986 to 1987 and briefly appeared recently in The Power of the Doctor along with other former companions in October 2022.
Known for her bubbly personality, fondness for fitness, and aptitude for computer programming, Mel brought a unique dynamic to the Doctor Who universe when she first arrived. During her tenure, she accompanied two Doctors: the Sixth Doctor, portrayed by Colin Baker, and the Seventh Doctor, portrayed by Sylvester McCoy. Although her time on the show was relatively brief, Mel made a significant impact, thanks to Langford’s vivacious performance.
As we prepare for her to return for more adventures in Space and time with Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday in 2024, we take a look back at seven of her very best episodes from her first tenure in the TARDIS…
Bonnie Langford’s 7 best episodes as Mel Bush in Doctor Who
“Time and the Rani” (Season 24, Episodes 1-4)
Mel’s first adventure with the Seventh Doctor is a whirlwind ride. Although the episode itself has been criticised by some fans for its plot and special effects, it is memorable for showing Mel’s perseverance and bravery in the face of the Rani’s manipulations, and her strong bond with the newly regenerated Doctor.
“Delta and the Bannermen” (Season 24, Episodes 8-10)
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A lighthearted episode featuring an alien queen, a 1950s Welsh holiday camp, and a deadly army of mercenaries. Mel’s knack for investigation and her compassionate nature play an integral role in the resolution of this story. Classic stuff from classic Who.
“Paradise Towers” (Season 24, Episodes 5-7)
This dystopian tale of a decaying high-rise block showcases Mel’s courage and resourcefulness as she navigates the dangerous environment, dealing with the authoritarian caretakers, the cannibalistic Rezzies, and the marauding Kangs.
“The Ultimate Foe” (Season 23, “The Trial of a Time Lord” parts 13-14)
The dramatic conclusion to the “Trial of a Time Lord” arc sees Mel supporting the Doctor in uncovering the true nature of the Matrix and the Master’s sinister plans. Her spirit and unwavering loyalty to the Doctor are particularly well highlighted here.
“Dragonfire” (Season 24, Episodes 11-14)
This episode not only marks the departure of Mel from the TARDIS crew but also introduces the new companion Ace. The dynamic between Mel, the Doctor, and the new character gives the episode depth and complexity. Mel’s departure is emotional, giving a fitting end to her tenure.
“The Mysterious Planet” (Season 23, “The Trial of a Time Lord” parts 1-4)
This is the beginning of the “Trial of a Time Lord” story arc, where the Doctor is brought to trial by his own people, the Time Lords. Although technically Mel doesn’t appear in this story, her presence is felt in the Doctor’s defense of his actions, showing how much of an impact her character has.
“Terror of the Vervoids” (Season 23, “The Trial of a Time Lord” parts 9-12)
Arguably the most memorable of Mel’s adventures, it presents her as a companion from the Doctor’s future. She’s the star of the show here, with her smarts and tenacity driving the plot. The Vervoids themselves are compelling villains, and the mystery element of the narrative is a perfect vehicle for Mel’s deductive skills. As a character-defining story for Mel, this stands as the best of Bonnie Langford’s “Doctor Who”