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Josephine "Jo" Grant is a fictional character played by Katy Manning in the long-running Britishmarker science fiction television series Doctor Who. A junior civilian operative for UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, later retitled UNified Intelligence Taskforce for the new series), an international organisation that defends the Earth from alien threats, she was a companion of the Third Doctor and a regular in the programme from 1971 to 1973, and the longest-serving female companion during the Third Doctor's tenure.

Conception

For his first series, producer Barry Letts had primarily worked on stories inherited from the previous production team. When it came to assessing his and script editor Terrance Dicks' approach to the next series, they identified a need to replace the Doctor's assistant, for the purposes of exposition and audience identification. Previous companion Liz Shaw had been conceived of as a brilliant scientist, and so could discuss matters with the Doctor on an equal footing; the replacement would be younger and more naive, someone who could ask, "Doctor, what's all this about?" Along with the Brigadier's new second in command, Captain Mike Yates, the character of Jo Grant was inspired by the male-female companion pairing of Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield, whom Letts had previously directed, with the intention of a possible romantic subplot for the two.

Letts and Dicks also intended that Jo Grant would be cast so as to go beyond the stereotype of a "pretty doll... who can just stand there and scream." They settled on young actress Katy Manning, whose personality had impressed in an otherwise shambolic audition. Like previous companions, Manning's character was clothed in contemporaneous fashions and attitudes, providing useful reference points for the audience of a science fiction series which couldn't incorporate events of the day. And similar to Pertwee's Doctor, Jo Grant was an "action-style" character, with the actress performing some of her own stunts — understandably so, given that her diminutive stature could not easily be doubled by a male stunt performer — though it is debatable whether the character fully broke any stereotypes.

Character history

Jo first appears in the 1971 serial Terror of the Autons, having been assigned to the Doctor as a replacement for Liz Shaw. Apparently, she gained the assignment to UNIT because her uncle, a high ranking civil servant, had "pulled some strings". Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart assigns her to the Doctor, who is initially dismayed when he finds out that she is not a scientist, but accepts her because he does not have the heart to tell her otherwise.

An enthusiastic, bubbly and sometimes scatter-brained blonde, Jo soon endears herself to the other members of UNIT, especially Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton. The Third Doctor is also particularly attached to her, and she is devoted to him, refusing to leave his side even where mortal danger was involved.

There is plenty of danger to go around as well, especially after the Time Lords restore the Third Doctor's ability to travel through time and space. Jo faces the hazards and wonders of travel with the Doctor with courage and plucky determination. Together with the Doctor and UNIT, she encounters such perils as killer daffodils, time-eating monsters, renegade Time Lords, is miniaturised, hypnotised, flung through time, nearly aged to death and menaced by giant maggots and ancient dæmons.

Over time, Jo also grows more confident and mature, until she is independent enough to stand up to the Doctor, which she does in her last serial, The Green Death. During the events of that story, Jo falls in love with Professor Clifford Jones, a young, Nobel Prize-winning scientist leading an environmentalist group. At the end, she agrees to marry Jones and go with him to the Amazon to study its vegetation, the news of which the Doctor greets with a mixture of pride and sadness.

Other appearances

Her life after she left the Doctor and UNIT is not explored in the programme. Jo is briefly mentioned in the serial Planet of the Spiders, when she sends a package back to UNIT from the Amazon. In the 1985 story Timelash The Sixth Doctor and Peri arrive on Karfel, a planet which was previously visited (off screen) by the Third Doctor and Jo. One of the locals wears a locket with a picture of Jo inside, Peri recognises that the girl in the picture, explaining that she had seen her only in photographs, but never in person. A middle-aged Jo is featured in the spin-off novel Genocide, by Paul Leonard, where she and Jones have a son named Matthew and are divorced, Jo collaborating with the Eighth Doctor and his current companion Samantha Jones to avert a plot to erase the human race from history. Alternatively, text stories in an UNIT-oriented special issue of Doctor Who Magazine, written as in-universe articles, state that Jo, her husband Clifford and their eight-year-old daughter Katy "now" live in North Wales and she is standing for Parliament as a Green Party candidate. Jo's appearance in Genocide was highlighted in a trailer for the re-launched Doctor Who range which was included on a number of BBC videos in 1997-8. The trailer used a clip from Frontier in Space to illustrate Jo.

Jo is mentioned by the 5th Doctor in Castrovalva, by both the 5th Doctor and The Brigadier in Mawdryn Undead, by the 6th Doctor in Timelash and The Mysterious Planet and whispered by the 7th Doctor in The Curse of Fenric. A vision of Jo Grant is seen along with every other companion aside from Leela on the scanner screen in Resurrection of the Daleks.

List of appearances

Television

Season 8
Season 9
Season 10


Audios



Novels

Virgin New Adventures


Virgin Missing Adventures


Virgin sidestep novel


Past Doctor Adventures


Eighth Doctor Adventures


Telos Doctor Who novellas


Short stories



Comics

  • "The Time Thief" by Steve Livesey (Doctor Who Annual 1974)
  • "Menace of the Molags" by Steve Livesey (Doctor Who Annual 1974)
  • "Dead on Arrival" by Edgar Hodges (Doctor Who Annual 1975)
  • "After the Revolution" by Edgar Hodges (Doctor Who Annual 1975)
  • "Target Practice" by Gareth Roberts and Adrian Salmon (Doctor Who Magazine 234)


References

  1. Leith, Tim, "Yates Speaks Out", Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special, 1991, Marvel Comics Ltd., p.21.
  2. Dylan, Andrew, "An Army of Shadows", Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special, 1991, Marvel Comics Ltd., p.6.


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