John & Gillian

created by Neville Main


the new Sharon from blackcastle adventures

character bios


Name: John and Gillian (Who)
First Appearance: The Klepton Parasites: Issue 674 of TV Comic
Know Relatives: Doctor Who (grandfather)
Species: Human (implied) or Gallifreyan
Planet of origin: Earth, late 20th Century
Companion to: The 1st and 2nd Doctor

John and Gillian (Who?) are a strange pair.  Accompanying the TV Comic First and Second Doctors, we discover very little about them over their extensive travels with the Doctor.

Their debut story, The Klepton Parasites, implies they are human as they arrive at a junkyard to meet their grandfather, Doctor Who for, it seems, the very first time.  As we follow their adventures we find John is impulsive and adventurous and Gillian shy and sensitive.  However, every now and again interesting characteristics are briefly glimpsed. 

Gillian is seen on a few occasions to demonstrate diplomacy, for example with the Ixon King in The Therovian Quest and the Pied Piper in Challenge of the Piper.  In Ordeals of Demeter and The Trodos Tyranny, Gillian appears to have more sensitive hearing than either John or Doctor Who.  Later, whilst travelling with the Second Doctor, Gillian begins to demonstrate more independence culminating in her finally firing a gun at a dinosaur in Monsters from the Past.  However, only two stories earlier, in Master of the Spiders, she was seen to be dusting the TARDIS console room.  On the whole, Gillian is often absent for sizeable chunks of stories either being kidnapped by the week’s monsters or simply disappearing from the main action, and when she is around, spends her time panicking about the latest threat..

John, on the other hand, is the man of action – if action can be said to consist of throwing things and firing the odd gun, which is normally all John contributes to each story.  He fires the electron gun to aid their escape from the Zarbi (On the Web Planet) and in the very first story lobs a rock at a Klepton ship.  He is far more impulsive but also protective of his sister and grandfather, with a clear sense of good and evil fostered by his caring, measured grandfather (Die, hideous creature die!).

With the arrival of the second Doctor, John and Gillian very much disappear into the background.  For many of this era’s stories, the siblings appear only at the beginning and end of stories.  Usually they are told to stay in the TARDIS by the Doctor who, since his (unexplained) regeneration has become decidedly protective of the pair.  Occasionally, John and Gillian do venture out in stories such as The Zombies, Master of the Spiders and The Monsters from the Past but merely get captured by the week’s villain/monsters and have to be rescued by the Doctor.  Eventually, in Space War III we finally see John and Gillian showing some independence and proactive plot function when they are sent back to the TARDIS by the Doctor but ignore his instructions!  Returning, they manage to rescue the Doctor from the evil villain and carry him back to the TARDIS.

The new Doctor Who also seems to cause a shift in the relationship between the trio.  In the earlier strips, the relationship is very much one of grandfather and grandchildren, but in the later strips with the second Doctor, the relationship is far more vague and one doesn’t get the impression that the characters are particularly close.  Indeed in Space War III John and Gillian are convinced the Doctor has left them behind for good.

John and Gillian’s actual origins and relationship to Doctor Who, though, are shrouded in confusion and mystery.  Whilst appearing human there is never any actual direct reference to their heritage, save for the fact they are Doctor Who’s grandchildren.  That said, Doctor Who is never explicitly referred to as alien, so little can be deduced from this relationship.  Odd inconsistencies crop up as the children’s adventures continue.  John and Gillian are both familiar with Christmas and Santa Claus (A Christmas Story), but have never heard of the Pied Piper (Challenge of the Piper).  Gillian alludes to a motorway in The Gyros Injustice and pop singers and television in Challenge of the Piper but both children are regularly excited about trips to Earth with the strong suggestion that it is because they like the planet rather than it necessarily being their home (John and Gillian never seem concerned about being away from Earth in the same way Ian and Barbara did, which suggests they have nothing to go back to – least of all parents, who must be very worried by now!)

After battling the Daleks, Trods and Cybermen, John and Gillian are deposited by the Doctor at Zebedee University and never heard of again.  The Doctor joins forces with television companion Jamie McCrimmon and continues to have madcap adventures without a thought for his beloved grandchildren – if that’s who they truly were...

article written and researched by Andrew East