When she first met the Doctor in 1965, Dodo had lost her mother and father and was living unhappily with her great-aunt. At sixteen years old, she mistook the TARDIS for a police box and joined the Doctor and Steven Taylor on their travels, outstaying Steven and eventually choosing to remain in London in 1966 after a period of conditioning by WOTAN.
Accounts differed on Dodo's life after leaving the Doctor. Whilst one said that she spent her life in psychiatric hospitals before falling in love with James Stevens and being murdered, others agreed that she lived past the 1970s.
Dorothea Anne Chaplet's (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) grandfather was French (TV: The Massacre) and, for a school project, she researched her family tree, finding evidence that she was descended from Huguenots who left France to escape persecution. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) Steven Taylor would later speculate that she was a descendant of Anne Chaplet. (TV: The Massacre)
According to one account, Dodo had lived in the poorer parts of London before her mother and father died and she moved in with her great-aunt, a wealthy social-climber. This resulted in her accent being situational, as she struggled to believe that the squalid existence into which she had been born and the world to which her great-aunt aspired were part of the same reality. Continually reinventing herself based on her surroundings made her feel that she had been an actor all her life. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask)
According to another account, Dodo's parents were not poor and had been rich enough to take her to the Florida Everglades, a trip that instilled a wish for exploration. Her mother died in an accident circa 1962 and her father was hospitalised after suffering a mental breakdown, leading to her living with her great-aunt Margaret. Dodo was forced into elocution lessons, causing her to develop a "natural" and a "posh" accent. She began to see herself in two ways: "Dorothea", the proper young lady that Margaret wanted her to be, and "Dodo", the plain child at school. (PROSE: Salvation)
Dodo was born in 1949 (PROSE: Salvation) and believed that she had family in North Yorkshire. Her mother told her about Maureen, whom she called "Mole", and said that she and Dodo had the same ears. (AUDIO: The Miniaturist)
As a child, Dodo played Mary in a nativity play, stuffing a pillow up her front to look pregnant and riding into Bethlehem on a hobby horse, but had no lines. She played under an oak tree in a park during the summer holidays, once trying to climb it but cutting herself in the attempt, and was banned by her mother from climbing after a boy from another school fell from it. When she was alone at birthday parties, including her own, she would fidget by scratching imaginary itches. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask)
Dodo went to a school where her uniform included a beret, gymslip and black stockings. (PROSE: The Celestial Toymaker) As a child, Dodo traced an atlas and pinned it to her bedroom wall, drawing a star to mark that she and her parents had been to Florida, intending to do the same for other places that they would visit in the future. (PROSE: Salvation) Whilst in her living room in her uniform, a man shook his head to let her know that her mother had died, after which she turned away and hid her face as she cried. (PROSE: The Celestial Toymaker)
Having no parents, Dodo lived with her great-aunt with whom she did not share a good relationship. (TV: The Massacre) She took the map of the world that she had traced off of her wall and folded it up before putting it in the bin with only Florida marked.
Dodo switched schools in the middle of term after moving to live with her great-aunt and was ridiculed by her new classmates for her accent, thinking her ill-educated. They nicknamed her after the dodo, an extinct, stupid bird, but instead of rejecting the nickname she embraced it and tried to change people's perception of the name by becoming "cool". (PROSE: Salvation) According to another account, she did not know where her nickname came from. However, her memory was notably unreliable at the time. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
She was not a good student and had no aspirations to go to university, although Margaret insisted that she study for it. (PROSE: Salvation) She neither spoke nor understood French, largely because she skipped her French lessons in school to learn how to kiss behind the school gymnasium. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask) She took a first-aid course at school but was not very good at it (PROSE: The Gunfighters) and also learnt a lot about animals and plants, visiting Whipsnade Zoo and later remarking that she knew everything about nature. (TV: The Ark) She played tennis at school and won a county championship, (PROSE: The Ark) later attending a finishing school where she learnt how to play poker. (PROSE: The Gunfighters)
Dodo once owned a snakes and ladders set. (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) She was familiar with Castle Coch in Wales and went to Spain several times, the rain "bucketing" down the final time she went. (PROSE: The Ark) Before joining the First Doctor, she was a virgin, (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask) had never been given flowers before (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) and had never ridden a horse. (AUDIO: The Outlaws)
Travels in the TARDIS
Meeting the Doctor
In March 1965, when she was sixteen, Dodo was held captive for several days by Joseph, who had killed Mr Miller, whose shopping Dodo helped out with, and assumed his form. During her captivity, Joseph attempted to rape her. She managed to escape and fled to call the police. (PROSE: Salvation)
Dodo entered the the Doctor's TARDIS on Wimbledon Common, believing it to be a police box, and encountered the First Doctor. (TV: The Massacre) Afraid that she might have run into Joseph's spaceship, she pretended to be after the police due to witnessing an accident in which a young boy was injured. (PROSE: Salvation) After Steven Taylor entered the TARDIS warning the Doctor of approaching policemen, the Doctor dematerialised the ship without giving Dodo a choice. She assured Steven that her great-aunt would not mind if she never returned. (TV: The Massacre)
The TARDIS took the trio to New York City, moving in space only. Dodo and the Doctor explored the city together and she told him what really happened before they met once Joseph appeared. She convinced Joseph not to kill and almost married him on the planet of the Latter-Day Pantheon before they were left on either side of the Gateway, Dodo telling him to be his own person and choosing to travel with the Doctor for the adventure she wished for as a child. In the TARDIS, Steven showed her to her bedroom (PROSE: Salvation) and she went to the wardrobe room, putting on a tabard without asking. (TV: The Ark)
Over the course of her travels with the Doctor, Dodo never encountered the Daleks. (TV: The War Machines) When the TARDIS materialised on the Ark, Dodo exited before the Doctor could check the readings, a concern that she waved away due to her initial belief that they were in Whipsnade Zoo. She was distraught when she inadvertently passed on her cold to the Guardians and Monoids, causing a plague which infected Steven. Once the Doctor dealt with it, they arrived seven centuries in the future, where Dodo helped the Guardians on Refusis II. (TV: The Ark)
In the Celestial Toyroom, the Toymaker showed Dodo a video of her learning of her mother's death and made her and Steven play his games, including blind man's buff with living dolls, a riddle, hunt the thimble, a dancefloor with Mrs Wiggs and Sergeant Rugg and TARDIS hopscotch with Cyril. In the final game, she was frustrated by Cyril's cheating and was fooled when he pretended to be injured. Back in the TARDIS, she gave the Doctor a sweet (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) which gave him toothache.
Seeking a dentist, the travellers landed in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, fulfilling Dodo's lifelong wish to meet Wyatt Earp. As Miss Dodo DuPont and Steven Regret, she and Steven were forced by Billy, Ike and Phineas Clanton to play "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" non-stop before she was taken captive by Doc Holliday for a time. Prior to departing, the Doctor said that Dodo had been "fast becoming a prey to every cliché-ridden convention" of the era. (TV: The Gunfighters)
Only a few days after facing the Toymaker, the TARDIS was returned to the Celestial Toyroom where Dodo was made to play musical statues and various Halloween-themed games, including one that she was horrified to find involved real human organs. They managed to escape the Toymaker's game of Murder in the Dark when Dodo played a violin and the Doctor declared that they were once again playing musical statues, confusing him. (PROSE: Murder in the Dark)
Dodo enjoyed her time in Russia 1812, where she was hired as companion to Olga Nikitin and taught her how to play the piano, but found it too quiet and did not want to stay forever. Dodo agreed not to tell Steven about the French invasion of Moscow until after Semian and Glasha's wedding. (AUDIO: Mother Russia)
At Dodo's suggestion, the trio visited London in 1966 and investigated the theft of the Jules Rimet Cup. Dodo chased the alien who shoved the cup's base and a ransom note into Steven's hands before he teleported away and, once the cup had been recovered, asked the Doctor if he had known how the cup was supposed to be found after he sent her to buy sausages so that a dog would find it. (AUDIO: This Sporting Life)
In the Himalayas in 1630, Dodo met Oddiyāna and learnt about his religion from the Doctor, who told her not to judge him because of what she was used to in her own time. She encountered and fed some Tibetan Yeti, whom she became enamoured of, and brought one to Det-Sen Monastery to help fight the bandits who attacked the monks there. (AUDIO: The Secrets of Det-Sen)
On a passenger liner to Bukol, Dodo and Steven were captured and imitated by Orsa and Alëza. Dodo found a hatchway, enabling them to escape their cell, and the two were reunited with the Doctor, later going to a carnival together whilst the Doctor spoke with Yerma. (PROSE: The Golden Door)
Dodo, the Doctor and Steven followed Roztoq to 64 Carlysle Street, where Dodo successfully applied to become a maid. She was instructed in her new duties by Alice Fittle and left with her companions after Roztoq's defeat. (PROSE: 64 Carlysle Street)
In 1240 Kyiv, Dodo befriended Lesia and visited Steven with her when he was arrested. She unwittingly inspired Dmitri to catapult diseased corpses into the city and potentially giving the Mongols the idea to do the same, resulting in the Black Death. However, the Doctor comforted her and assured her that that was not the case. (PROSE: Bunker Soldiers) After leaving Kiev, they visited Logopolis. (AUDIO: He Jests at Scars...)
Dodo gave Steven a 1967 diary as a present after the Doctor discovered that they had landed on Ulysses 519 on his birthday. She and the other women were taken captive by the Rocket Men, who intended to sell them as slaves. Eventually, she was rescued by Steven, who later survived Van Cleef's bullet thanks to the diary that Dodo gave him. (AUDIO: Return of the Rocket Men)
On Comfort, Dodo was terrified at the thought of being split up from the Doctor and Steven and sent to war. Although she did well during the initial assessment, she was judged as a person not naturally suited to fighting, lacking the physical aptitude of a natural fighter. (AUDIO: The War To End All Wars)
Dodo and Steven accompanied the Doctor to the Jungle of Tropicalus where he defeated Questor in a battle of wits. (COMIC: Death to the Doctor!) After receiving a distress signal, they landed in Africa during the Boer Wars and investigated a crashed spaceship from which they learnt Kali Carash had escaped. (AUDIO: Tales from the Vault)
On a planet in the far future, Dodo wandered off into the city and discovered Senta's laboratory, uncovering the life-force transference that kept the Elders alive. She said farewell to Steven when he chose to remain on the planet to oversee the peace between the Elders and the Savages, telling him that she would miss him and asking the Doctor if they would see each other again. (TV: The Savages)
Alone with the Doctor
Dodo and the Doctor continued travelling together, visiting Tarron circa 10,000,000 where they investigated the Azmec Corporation, (PROSE: Tarnished Image) 1947 Scrabster Harbour where she had difficulty finding her sea legs (AUDIO: Master of Earth) and the Golden Hind. (AUDIO: Maker of Demons)
In 19th century England, Dodo was concerned by the Doctor's lack of curiosity regarding strange goings-on and sneaked out of the inn to investigate. She joined Jay and the other platelayers in following the beast, which she later found to be a hyper-evolved European mole. The Doctor hurried Dodo away into the TARDIS after returning the mole to its usual size, not telling her that the Time Lords had arrived. (AUDIO: The Horror at Bletchington Station)
Dodo came to recognise that the Doctor was becoming increasingly frail. At one point, he explicitly said that she would have to leave the TARDIS as Steven had done and that he would have to face the next phase of his life alone. During this melancholy period, Dodo often had to nurse the Doctor. They arrived in France in an alternate timeline where she lost her virginity to Dalville. She contracted Minski's virus, possibly sexually, but chose to keep it as a reminder of the lost timeline. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask)
Landing in the 13th century, the Doctor and Dodo encountered the remnants of an outlaw attack. She was arrested for treason as her education taught her that King John was a bad man. William of Berkshire kidnapped her from her cell and she met the Monk. He showed him their ways and brought her to ambush the Sheriff's tax collection. The Doctor managed to find her. She helped the Doctor tend to the wounded. Her confession to Nicholaa de la Haye meant that the Monk was to be executed. (AUDIO: The Outlaws)
The Doctor and Dodo landed at Coulton Salt Mine. She was curious about learning about her family which apparently.[statement unclear] She went down the mine and heard a weird noise. Shortly afterwards she saw an ethereal girl, which looked like her mother Maureen and encountered the Miniaturist taking on her appearance. She found that the small dolls house size were miniaturised originals,[statement unclear] such as the TARDIS. She theorised that the Miniaturist took the energy from the universe to show people what they missed. (AUDIO: The Miniaturist)
Due to previous adventures, Dodo became mistrustful of the Doctor and, on a planet in the grip of a crystalline parasite, wondered not for the first time if she was cut out for adventure. (PROSE: There are Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden)
The TARDIS landed in London on 20 July 1966 and Dodo and the Doctor went to the Post Office Tower, where WOTAN affected Dodo. She went to Inferno with Polly Wright and met Ben Jackson, later receiving a phone call which conditioned her to serve WOTAN. Under its control, she tried to recruit the Doctor to the cause but was found out and was released from its control by the Doctor's hypnosis.
Dodo, who was left in a forty-eight hour sleep, was taken to recuperate with Sir Charles Summer's wife (TV: The War Machines) at their country estate in Hertfordshire. (PROSE: "WOTAN - The Super Computer!") Upon awakening, she sent a message with Polly for the Doctor, saying that she felt much better and planned on staying, (TV: The War Machines) intending to go back to live with Margaret. (PROSE: The Smugglers) She told the police that she had no memory of her experiences. (PROSE: "WOTAN - The Super Computer!")
Struggles and death
According to one account, Dodo experienced visions of her time on the Ark, in Tombstone and in the Celestial Toyroom following her conditioning, none of which she believed had really happened to her. She remained in the country for several months, recovering before returning to London seeking employment. However, she began suffering from blackouts and was repeatedly hospitalised as a result before being sent to a string of psychiatric hospitals.
In an institution near Colchester, Dodo was subject to shock therapy over a fourteen-month period. When she attempted to leave, she was put in a mixed sex ward for serious cases and accidentally killed a fellow patient in self-defence when he tried to rape her. She was declared a "hopeless case" and sent to the Glasshouse where she was interrogated by the Master about the Doctor and UNIT, eventually being left in London with her memory largely wiped.
Homeless, Dodo regularly stayed at halfway houses and got clothes from the Salvation Army. In 1970, she read James Stevens' article in the Metropolitan and contacted him to tell him what she could remember of the Glasshouse. The two became friends and lovers, with Stevens letting her live with him. She became pregnant, but before she could tell Stevens she was shot and killed by the conditioned Francis Cleary on 11 August 1971.
Dodo's funeral was attended by only Stevens and the Doctor in his second or seventh incarnation. Upon hearing of Dodo's death, the Third Doctor told Stevens that he still saw Dodo as being his responsibility and that she had died before her time. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
According to other accounts, Dodo lived past the 1970s. One source stated she went on to have a relationship with a man called Bill and worked as a secretary. One day, whilst questioning her decision to leave the Doctor on her way back from the shops, she bumped into Sarah Jane Smith and scattered the contents of their bags. Upon returning home, she realised that she had accidentally picked up Sarah's diary and decided to return it anonymously the following morning. (PROSE: Ships)
In the 21st century, Dodo attended Sarah Jane's memorial where she discussed her with the other guests and helped fight the Jackals of the Backwards Clock, foiling the Trickster's revenge plot. (WC: Farewell, Sarah Jane)
At some point, Dodo, along with all the other companions, was scooped out of time by Adam Mitchell and held captive until the first eleven numbered incarnations of the Doctor arrived. She was later freed and returned to her own time. (COMIC: The Choice, Endgame)
At some point, Dodo was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have her record as a companion of the Doctor taken. Her memories of the visit were subsequently erased and she was sent on her way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
Whilst not academically gifted, (PROSE: Salvation) Dodo had an extensive knowledge of animals and plants from around the world (TV: The Ark) and was interested in the Wild West, always wanting to meet Wyatt Earp (TV: The Gunfighters) and see Eddie Foy. (PROSE: The Gunfighters) She drank red wine and brandy (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) and enjoyed practising the piano, (TV: The Gunfighters; AUDIO: Mother Russia) going to nightclubs (TV: The War Machines) and playing snakes and ladders, (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) also being skilled at cards, (PROSE: The Ark) poker (TV: The Gunfighters) and tennis.
Dodo did not like dentists. (PROSE: The Ark) She thought that John Smith of John Smith and the Common Men was "a bit past it" and, whilst the band was Janet's preferred pop group, they were not Dodo's. (PROSE: Salvation)
Dodo did not much care for being told what to do (TV: The Ark) and encouraged Steven to disobey the Doctor, pointing out that he was a grown man. In Steven's words, she would be "first in the queue" for something that was not allowed and would go absolutely anywhere, exploring places that others of her age would be too afraid to. Indeed, she did not care for conducted tours. (TV: The Savages) Her impetuousness meant that she often got herself and others into trouble. (TV: The Celestial Toymaker, The Savages; AUDIO: The Horror at Bletchington Station)
A caring person, Dodo disliked cheating and other unfair behaviour but could also be naïve, being easily fooled by Cyril pretending to be injured (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) and by the Monk's claims of philanthropic intention. (AUDIO: The Outlaws) She had a bad sense of direction and said that she never knew where she was. (AUDIO: The Miniaturist)
Initially enjoying travelling in the TARDIS, (TV: The Ark) Dodo was lonely, although Steven was unaware of this, and was always happy to talk to the people she met on her adventures. (AUDIO: The Secrets of Det-Sen) She thought on how travelling with the Doctor changed her and made her more likely to risk her life (AUDIO: The Horror at Bletchington Station) and that she might not be best suited to it, (PROSE: There are Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden) something which Oddiyāna told her was okay. (AUDIO: The Secrets of Det-Sen)
Missing Steven, Dodo decided that she would be leaving sooner rather than later. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask) When she was "older and wiser", she regretted her decision to leave, believing that she was unable to properly appreciate her travels at the time but, later in life, she would be. (PROSE: Ships)
The Doctor was fond of Dodo, calling her "special" (AUDIO: The Miniaturist) and being reminded of his granddaughter, (TV: The Massacre) but he disliked how she spoke (TV: The Ark, The Gunfighters) and, when faced with capture by the Time Lords, considered leaving her behind in the 19th century. (AUDIO: The Horror at Bletchington Station) James Stevens believed that she was intelligent, charming and naturally innocent. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) He did not believe that she had a devious bone in her body. (AUDIO: The Outlaws)
Ben said that Dodo seemed like a "nice bird", finding her friendly and, unlike Polly, not stuck up. (TV: The War Machines) Whilst Steven was fond of Dodo, he sometimes called her silly and a fool and told her off for acting stupidly. (TV: The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker; PROSE: The Savages) Nicholaa de la Haye did not believe that Dodo seemed "the conniving sort". (AUDIO: The Outlaws)
Dodo was short and slim with dark hair, black eyebrows and hazel-green eyes. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) She was elfin-like (PROSE: The Ark) and had an oval-shaped face with a wide mouth and thin lips and had small and delicate hands. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) She was flat-chested and looked sexless with her short hair. She described herself as short and dumpy with bad teeth. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask)
Dodo was the spitting image of Anne Chaplet (PROSE: The Massacre) and reminded the Doctor of Susan Foreman, to whom she bore some resemblance. (TV: The Massacre) Her friend Janet likened her to Rita Tushingham. (PROSE: Salvation)
Skills and abilities
Behind the scenes
- In initial drafts of The Massacre, it was Anne Chaplet who joined the Doctor and Steven. The character of Dodo was created when John Wiles and Donald Tosh realised the burdens of having a companion from the past, the same which had caused Katarina to be killed off.
- Jackie Lane had long hair when she auditioned and John Wiles hoped that Dodo could be made distinctive by having her hair styled differently in each of her stories. However, Lane had her hair cut short after passing her audition, making this impossible.
- Lane was contracted to play Dodo for thirteen episodes, from the final episode of The Massacre to the last of The Gunfighters, with an option for thirteen more. During the filming of The Gunfighters, it was announced that Lane and Peter Purves would be leaving with Lane being issued a contract for six more episodes, the reason being to allow for the introduction of more fashionable companions. The script for The War Machines, which originally had Dodo continue her adventures with the Doctor and new companion Rich (later renamed Ben), was rewritten to include Polly and to write Dodo out.
- Dodo appeared in The Massacre with a northern accent, one which was kept in mind when the script for The Ark was written. However, Lane was asked to make the accent less pronounced due to displeasure with a regular character not speaking Received Pronunciation, in-universe explanations for which were given in the novels The Man in the Velvet Mask and Salvation. Dodo's original accent was used in Big Finish audio dramas, namely by Purves, Stephen Critchlow and Lauren Cornelius. In Who Killed Kennedy, her original accent is described not as northern but as cockney.
- As years have gone by, Dodo has appeared in novels and audio dramas to further flesh out her travels with the Doctor. However, as established by the Doctor noting in The War Machines that Dodo never encountered the Daleks, Dodo is notable amongst companions for being one of the few who can never have a story in which she battles the Doctor's greatest foes, unless memory erasure were to be used.
Will the real Dodo Chaplet please stand up?
Because she only had four-and-a-half stories on television, Dodo is one of the companions least featured in other media. Unfortunately, almost all of these other appearances conflict. The Man in the Velvet Mask differs from Salvation on what Dodo's childhood was like. Salvation differs from "Bell of Doom" over why she first approached the TARDIS in Wimbledon Common. Mask, Who Killed Kennedy and Ships all disagree over what might have killed her in the 1960s or 1970s — or even whether she died in those decades.
In the twentieth anniversary edition of Kennedy, James Stevens contacts the Twelfth Doctor and convinces him to alter the coordinates of the Master's Time Ring so that he can travel to 11 August 1971 and prevent Francis Cleary from killing Dodo. Both he and Cleary die in the struggle but it allows Stevens' younger self and Dodo to live on happily together. In the new timeline, it is no longer known who killed Kennedy and Stevens and Dodo eventually write a series of children's stories about an old man who travels through time and space. She had died by December 2015.
To be sure, other companions have stories which differ over the odd biographical detail. We can wonder, thanks to The Sarah Jane Adventures story Death of the Doctor, whether Liz Shaw actually died in the novel Eternity Weeps. However, the degree of difference between individual Dodo stories is unusually high and approaches that of the conflicting descriptions of the life of Ace, who effectively has several largely irreconcilable alternate timelines.
Did Dodo die from syphilis?
There is a widespread belief in fandom that Dodo's fate in the novels is that she contracted syphilis. This view was taken by the long-running podcast, Radio Free Skaro, some of whose hosts vociferously maintained in episode 177 that she "died of syphilis" in Who Killed Kennedy. Even David Bishop, the author of Kennedy, said in his notes to the e-book version of his novel that Dodo contracted "an illness interpreted by some as a form of space herpes".
All that's pretty wide off the mark, however. The idea that she died of syphilis is a common conflation of Who Killed Kennedy, where she's simply killed by the Master, and The Man in the Velvet Mask, where she contracts the genetically-engineered Minski's virus through sexual contact. However, she doesn't die from it, nor was it even possible for her to do so, according to the Doctor. Minski's virus wasn't anything close to a venereal disease and could have been contracted by drinking water or consuming food contaminated by it. Perhaps more to the point, the word syphilis doesn't occur once in either novel. Dodo does have two sexual tragedies in Kennedy, however; she admits to having killed her would-be rapist in unarmed combat and she is murdered while pregnant.