Real Name: Nyssa of Traken
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Like Zöe and Liz before her, Nyssa had a brilliant intellect. She was particularly gifted in the field of bioelectronics. But she was also born into the ruling class on her home planet. Had her planet not been destroyed by the Master, she likely would have followed her father, Tremas, into the highest echelons of government.
Instead, she was left as a homeless wanderer with the Doctor, forced to encounter the Master on several subsequent occasions. Although largely unexplored by the script writing team, this must've been quite traumatic, as the Master had taken control of her father's body. Thus, every time she encountered the malevolent force that was the Master, she was looking into the face of her father.
Though she would leave the series with this mine of potential drama untapped, she has gotten something of a rebirth from the audios and at least one novel.
Peter Davison, the actor who played the Fifth Doctor, is known to have preferred Nyssa to all his other companions. He vocally stood up to the production team, who wanted to get rid of her. He has expressed regret over never having gotten to do a televised story featuring just the two of them. With the advent of the Big Finish audio range, however, he has gotten his wish on several occasions. Many of the Fifth Doctor/Nyssa adventures are considered to be some of the very best audios produced to date.
U.N.I.T. members aside, Nyssa is unusual—and possibly unique—in the history of Doctor Who companions in that she was not specifically created as a companion. She was originally just a guest star who was asked to return for a limited number of stories following her debut. Consequently, her character is actually owned by Johnny Byrne, writer of her first story, "The Keeper of Traken". In this way, the copyright to her character is very like that of the Daleks.
This makes her use on the show all the more puzzling. They were having to pay royalties to Johnny Byrne each and every episode she starred in, yet they barely used her. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time (2013)
First Appearance: The Dr Who Annual (1965) 1983
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Doctor Who Yearbook (1992)
#5 Doctor Who: The Forgotten (2008)
- '5th Doctor, 1981-1984'
The Dr Who Annual (1965)
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