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Was it time for Susan to go?

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Exterminate
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« on: June 20, 2011, 09:57:19 am »

I really like Susan and I know Carole Ann Ford left because she felt the character wasn't really developing or going anywhere, but I have always felt that we could have got so much more from the character than we did. I think they made her the damsel too often and she spent a bit too much time screaming but if they had taken the time they would have had so many possible stories for the character and could have really explored her in more depth.

But do you think it was her time to go?
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 12:16:51 pm »

While generally I quite like Susan, I do think it was time for her to go by this point. None of the companions were being particularly developed I feel, but Susan in particular seemed stuck in a bit of a rut and they obviously had no intention of developing her further, or at least showed no signs of it. And if you are going to leave, this is a great story to do it in
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2011, 05:35:17 pm »

One of the problems with Susan was that she was written very inconsistently.  In The Sensorites, for instance, she showed clear signs that she was growing up and wanting to spread her wings, as in this one, but then in The Reign of Terror, she was back to beeing a scared little girl.

I agree, though, that this was a great way to go.  Remember, it was the first time one of the regular cast had left, so in a way it was as important to get it right as the first regen.
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 08:51:37 pm »

I think an appropriate analogy here is with Tasha Yar in Star Trek TNG. I think everyone was a little uncertain as to the longevity of the show, the role of the companions and the show was only just starting to find its "voice". Carole Ann Ford herself said that she wanted to grow and develop, but the writing hadn't helped her. I think Nyki's point is a good one; in many ways this was as significant for the show as the regeneration in the Tenth Planet. Up until then, the companions had seemed integral to the show. The moment that Susan left was a critical point in establishing the 'expendable' nature of the companion.
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 03:09:15 pm »

Didn't they initially want to replace her with Jenny from this story?
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2011, 07:57:43 pm »

Did they? Well I am glad they didn't. I don't think she would have worked well. Did they decide against it or did she refuse like Pauline whatsername
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2011, 12:24:23 am »

Apparently, the idea was to make Jenny a younger girl and have her as the new companion, so it wouldn't have been a matter of the actress refusing.  I've never heard any explanation of why they decided against it, but my suspicion has always been it was because Jenny would have basically been coming along with Barbara, and they wanted the new companion to have a more direct link with the Doctor, as Susan had and Vicki did to a slightly lesser extent.
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2011, 02:50:23 pm »

I'm glad that Jenny didn't come on board. Well, this version at any rate. I don't like her
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2011, 03:38:47 pm »

Yeah I don't think I would have warmed to her as a companion as she is in this.

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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2011, 06:22:53 pm »

Based on how they used the character, I say yes it was her time to go. However, the character had a lot of unused mileage in it that the writers could have delved into, but ultimately decided against for whatever reason. She had some great moments and was a good character, but possibly one of the most underdeveloped of the classic series.
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2011, 11:05:50 pm »

They never quite seemed to know what to do with her. She was intended to be the character that the children watching the show would most identify with, the one most like them (to the extent that they rejected Carole Ann Ford's suggestion that Susan should wear bits of 'alieny' costume that she'd picked up on her travels and liked the look of - they wanted her to look just like a 'normal' kid); BUT, they'd written her as an alien who presumably hadn't been on Earth very long when we first meet her, and has already travelled around in time and space.
Whether or not this was the ideal time for her to leave I'm not sure, but I can understand how they might think the character wasn't really working and decide it was time to write her out.
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 11:14:02 am »

But they didnt decide to just write her out though did they? I thought Ford decided it was time to go?
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2011, 05:17:53 pm »

Based on how they used the character, I say yes it was her time to go. However, the character had a lot of unused mileage in it that the writers could have delved into, but ultimately decided against for whatever reason. She had some great moments and was a good character, but possibly one of the most underdeveloped of the classic series.

I think this is absolutely spot on!
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2011, 09:25:46 pm »

But they didnt decide to just write her out though did they? I thought Ford decided it was time to go?

Depends which version of the story you hear.
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 09:30:33 pm »

But they didnt decide to just write her out though did they? I thought Ford decided it was time to go?

Depends which version of the story you hear.

Ooh is there a bit of gossip to be had here? I'd always heard it was CAF's decision to go. Never heard she may have been pushed
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 11:40:04 pm »

But they didnt decide to just write her out though did they? I thought Ford decided it was time to go?


Depends which version of the story you hear.

Ooh is there a bit of gossip to be had here? I'd always heard it was CAF's decision to go. Never heard she may have been pushed

In the book "The Handbook: The First Doctor" by Howe-Stammers-Walker there is a section called "Production Diary" which quotes a large number of memos and letters sent around the BBC by the people in charge of Doctor Who, and it's fairly clear in that that they decided she should be replaced. On the other hand I'm sure I've seen interviews with her where she has said it was her decision, that she wanted to leave because she didn't think her character was going anywhere.
So who knows?
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2011, 01:38:48 pm »

I had heard a few whispers that she may have been written out but the majority of reports are that she left of her own accord and I have always just assumed it was a fan assumption. I don't suppose it matters much either way but its an interesting spin, for sure
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2011, 02:12:20 pm »

I don't think they wrote her out. Pretty much every companion who has left has had a rumour go around that they were asked to leave. I really do think it was her own choice
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« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2011, 05:49:11 pm »

I think by this point it was time for her to go. For whatever reason, they decided not to advance her character and I think there was little point in having her there for the sake of it. Barbara and Ian were lucky in that they represented the Historical and Scientific aspects of the show and Susan was a great way of bringing them in, but she didnt really play a role from then on. They could have made more of her character which would have made her stay more worthwhile, but as it was it was best for her to go
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2011, 09:27:29 pm »

The original purpose of her role was supposed to be "a kid to get into trouble", which I suppose she fulfilled, but it can't have been very challenging for her as an actress.  Most of the later young girl characters had a bit more to them.
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