Frobisher (Doctor Who)

Frobisher (Doctor Who)


series=Doctor Who
affiliation=Sixth Doctor Seventh Doctor
era=82nd century
start= The Shape Shifter
finish= Where nobody knows your name
portrayed=Robert Jezek (voice)

Frobisher is a fictional character who appeared in the "Doctor Who Magazine" comic strip based on the long-running British science fiction television series "Doctor Who" in the 1980s. He was a companion of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. The canonicity of the comic strips, like other "Doctor Who" spin-off media, is open to interpretation.

Frobisher is a Whifferdill, one of a shape-changing extraterrestrial race. What is assumed to be his natural form, as seen in his first comic strip appearance, is humanoid, pale yellow in color, three to four feet in height, with a round, featureless head, and wearing spectacles. However, he preferred to spend his free time in the form of a penguin.

When he first appeared in "The Shape Shifter" (DWM #88-#89), written by Steve Parkhouse with art by John Ridgway, Frobisher was a private investigator calling himself "Avan Tarklu" (a play on the phrase "Haven't a clue"). He came across the Doctor when an enemy, Dogbolter, had placed a bounty on the Doctor. After infiltrating the TARDIS, instead of turning the Doctor in for the money, Tarklu decided that he liked the Time Lord and helped him against Dogbolter. He then joined the Doctor on his journeys. He assumed the name of Frobisher because he felt that it sounded British and thought that the Doctor would like that.

Frobisher was once married to Francine, another Whifferdill, who left him because she was a better detective than he was. Apparently, he was very fond of her in penguin form, and so adopted it to remind himself of her. It is not a static form, however, as Frobisher has been seen emulating different types of penguins.

Frobisher travelled with the Doctor for quite a long time, occasionally parting company only for their paths to cross once again. When he first came on board the TARDIS, the Sixth Doctor was travelling alone, but in "Kane's Story" (DWM #104), the Sixth Doctor's television companion Peri Brown returned, apparently placing Frobisher's stories between Seasons 22 and 23 (indicated by Peri's changing hairstyles in the comic strip compared to her television appearances).

Frobisher was obviously not with the Doctor and Peri in Season 23's "The Trial of a Time Lord", but no explanation was provided in the comic strip for his absence. Frobisher's last appearance prior to "Trial" was "The World Shapers" (DWM #127-#129).

At the end of "Trial", it was revealed that Peri had married King Yrcanos and settled on the planet Krontep. The graphic novel "The Age of Chaos", written by Colin Baker (who played the Sixth Doctor) revealed that Frobisher and the Sixth Doctor visited Peri's descendants several times, so Frobisher must have rejoined the Doctor after "Trial" in an unseen story. After this story, Frobisher apparently departs again, since he is never again seen travelling with the Sixth Doctor.

Frobisher was ultimately reunited with the Seventh Doctor, once again "off-screen", and eventually departed permanently in "A Cold Day in Hell" (DWM #130-#133). Subsequently, he was seen to have set up a bar called "Bish's" and remarried to a bird-like humanoid named Caralla ("Where Nobody Knows Your Name", DWM #329). Frobisher therefore had at least three distinct tenures with the Doctor, only one of which has a depicted ending.

The canonicity of Frobisher as a companion is open to interpretation, as he has never appeared in a televised serial. Since his departure from the comic strip, Frobisher has occasionally appeared alongside the Sixth Doctor in spin-off media. These include a novel, "" by David A. McIntee and two Big Finish Productions audio plays, "The Holy Terror" and "The Maltese Penguin", both written by Rob Shearman and featuring Robert Jezek as Frobisher. "Maltese Penguin" also featured Dogbolter (Toby Longworth) and Francine (Jane Goddard). The placement of these spin-off stories is not firmly established, but as the Sixth Doctor and Frobisher are travelling alone, they may take place between "Trial" and "The Age of Chaos".

In the novel "The Scarlet Empress", Iris Wildthyme claimed that a shape-changer who assumed the shape of a penguin was once her companion. This could refer to Frobisher, Francine, or someone else entirely. However, like much of everything associated with Wildthyme, this claim may or may not have anything to do with actual events.

In the casting news for "Torchwood"'s third season, Peter Capaldi was named as playing a character named Frobisher. Whether this is just a name coincidence remains to be seen.

External links

* [ Frobisher at TARDIS Index File]

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