- You may be looking for John Frobisher.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Footnotes
- 5 External links
Frobisher began life as a street urchin in a slum on Xenon without much friendly company. (COMIC: Once Upon a Time-Lord) He was married to another Whifferdill named Francine, who left him because she felt she was a better detective. He was a con man for the most part, using his abilities to make money regardless of the cost to others. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter, AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin) Being a private detective, Frobisher became used to being knocked unconscious to the point where he almost enjoyed it. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
Travels with the Doctor
Joining the Doctor
Living as Avan Tarklu in the 82nd century, he came across the Sixth Doctor when Josiah W. Dogbolter placed a bounty on the Time Lord. Following the Doctor, he infiltrated his TARDIS, shifting into the central column and piloting it. However, instead of turning the Doctor in for the money (even though the TARDIS interested Dogbolter more), Tarklu decided that he liked the Doctor, and helped him escape. They stole the money which they split evenly. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter)
Frobisher joined the Doctor on his journeys. He took the name of Frobisher because he felt that it sounded British, thinking that the Doctor would like that. He also settled on the form of a penguin. Frobisher and the Doctor were assigned by Voyager to return his star charts.
The Doctor defeated Plink, whom he had encountered before, in battle. After the Doctor referred to their encounter as their "peripatetic perigrinations", Frobisher asked for a dictionary. (COMIC: Death to the Doctor!) Later duing their travels, Frobisher met Peri, after the Doctor picked her up. (COMIC: Kane's Story)
Sometime later, when the Sixth Doctor and Peri were out of the room, the Tenth Doctor appeared to Frobisher through the TARDIS control console; the same way that Frobisher had first appeared to him. The Doctor told him that he needed his help, and that he would also be helping himself and many other companions.
The Sixth Doctor landed in the year 7214, where a nature preserve was keeping the last Penguins alive. The Doctor was captured by the local robotic officials, who believed him to be insane, and was locked in a mental institution. There he learned that the robots were under the control of the Master, and that all of the staff in the prison were his Auton slaves. Frobisher and Peri broke into the prison, Frobisher shape shifting into a hospital staff member pretending to be escorting Peri. When they were discovered, the Auton staff attacked, Frobisher and Peri running away through the building.
The Doctor broke out of his cell, and ran into Frobisher, who was disguised as Peri, as the Tenth Doctor had instructed. They were chased into a room by the Autons, but the Doctor was able to stop them by melting the plastic inside them. When he turned around, though, he saw Peri, actually Frobisher, captured by a cloaked figure. (COMIC: Façades)
Now in the same cell system that the cloaked figure had used to capture the Doctor's other companions, Frobisher escaped his cell- designed to hold Peri rather than himself- and began exploring. After the true culprit had explained his plans to the Eleventh Doctor, and the Doctor had summoned his other ten selves to assist him, Frobisher made his move. He disguised himself as a remote control that would have ended the lives of all the Doctor's companions minus one, only revealing the switch to Adam Mitchell when Adam tried to use it in response to the Doctors' presence. With some instruction from the Second Doctor, Frobisher masqueraded as an Auton and freed all of the Doctor's companions so that they could help the Doctors hold off the Autons until Rose Tyler, the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors could convince Adam that he was wrong. (COMIC: Endgame)
Frobisher became ill with mono-morphia, trapping him in the form of a penguin. (COMIC: Genesis!) He travelled back to prehistoric Earth and went swimming, trying to catch a fish. A reptile in the sea began chasing him, but Frobisher was unable to change due to his illness.
The Doctor was forced to throw some waste from the future at it. This set history on the course it was intended to follow. Peri joined them on their travels again after she watched a baseball match. (COMIC: Time Bomb)
Frobisher began to recover from the mono-morphia. He battled a Kymbra Chimera after it infiltrated the TARDIS, his powers holding out long enough for the Doctor to have it sucked out. (COMIC: Changes)
The Doctor promised to take them to Arcadia, but instead, they landed on a spaceship called the Mayflower. There, they met Kara McAllista, and helped her repel the Profiteer of Ephte. (COMIC: Profits of Doom!)
They attended the Lorduke of Zazz's party on the planet Zazz. There, Frobisher danced and performed for the guests. He helped prepare Professor Strut's rocket to deliver a plague of self-replicating robots to the planet's moon. (COMIC: The Gift)
Second batch of travels
Frobisher eventually left the Doctor, and returned to work as a detective. The Doctor visited him to see if he wanted to resume travelling; Frobisher declined. Alicia Mulholland approached him and asked him to follow her husband, Arthur Gringax, to see if he was cheating on her. Frobisher performed part of this mission in the Doctor's shape, in order to remain inconspicuous.
Frobisher followed Gringax to an inn. There he was taken prisoner by Elric Chandler and delivered to Josiah W. Dogbolter. He escaped, but was soon recaptured. The economy broke down after the workers read a joke and became imaginative as a result. Dogbolter then escaped. Alicia revealed herself to be Francine, and told Frobisher that he should leave with the Doctor, as he would later regret staying with her. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
The TARDIS "went on strike" after Frobisher harmed a Gumblejack created by the dimensional stabiliser. She took them to a medieval-style castle. Upon emerging, the people were fascinated by "a talking bird" and believed Frobisher to be the Doctor's master.
After the current "god", Pepin VII, abdicated from his rule, he proclaimed Frobisher as his successor and the new god. Frobisher attempted to improve life for the inhabitants of the bizarre and dictatorial world, but he and the Doctor learned this was a simulation: they were in a prison designed to punish Eugene Tacitus, which came under attack from the apparition of Eugene's murdered son. Frobisher was horrified to see all the inhabitants killed before him, unable to save them. Eugene had his son kill him, removing the threat, and the Doctor and Frobisher left in the recovered TARDIS. Frobisher was left upset by his failure as he knew the simulated people had believed themselves to be real. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
After the Doctor regenerated into his seventh form, Frobisher found the journeys less fun without Peri and that he wasn't needed as much anymore. To cheer him up, the Doctor took him to the luxury planet A-Lux where they encountered Arryx and his Ice Warriors, who had sabotaged the planet's weather controls, turning it into a snowy wilderness. Frobisher hooked up with the A-Lux resistance under Korr and, despite his reluctance, risked his life to find destroy the weather control machines. He was left dismayed to find the Doctor had already reprogrammed them and was gently needling him for planning to just destroy them, ignorant of the risks Frobisher had took.
After the planet was saved, Frobisher decided he would stay behind in 41st century A-Lux; he wanted a quiet life now and the locals needed him in a way the Doctor did not. The two parted, the Doctor telling him not to apologise for leaving as the penguin's happiness was what mattered. (COMIC: A Cold Day in Hell!)
Life after the Doctor
Frobisher eventually took on a human form, calling himself "Bish". He came to run a bar, Bish's, where he eventually met the Eighth Doctor, though neither recognised the other due to both having changed their appearance since they'd parted ways. He talked with the Doctor, trying to find out why he looked so sad. When a robot called Zalda entered the bar, threatening to blow herself up, the Doctor talked her out of it. Frobisher then called for drinks on the house. When everyone had left the bar apart from his wife Caralla, who worked there, he morphed back into his penguin form. (COMIC: Where Nobody Knows Your Name)
As part of the Twelfth Doctor's plan to bring down Dogbolter, Frobisher disguised himself as one of the Doctor's old opponents, Chiyoko. As "Chiyoko", Frobisher pretended that he had suspended the inhabitants of Stockbridge in time in the year 2016 to lure the Doctor there so that Dogbolter could take his TARDIS; in reality the Doctor had done this to keep the villagers safe as the Doctor lured Dogbolter into a trap. When the Doctor and Maxwell Edison arrived at St Justinian's Church, Frobisher revealed his identity and knocked out Dogbolter's henchmen. However, anticipating that Frobisher might show up again, the robot Hob blocked his powers. When Dogbolter tried to kill the Doctor, Max saved the Doctor's life, and Izzy Sinclair arrived at the church to knock Dogbolter out. Sharon Allen ultimately broadcast Dogbolter's confession to murder in his own century, and Dogbolter was arrested, with his assets seized.
With Iris Wildthyme
The renegade Time Lord Iris Wildthyme (who had a habit of claiming that various of the Doctor's adventures had happened to her, not him) once said that she travelled with a mouthy shape-shifter companion who liked to stay in the shape of a penguin. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Frobisher, like the Doctor, made light of threatening situations and tended to make jokes at these and other inappropriate times. Despite this, he became a loyal and trustworthy companion to the Doctor. (COMIC: Voyager)
He had no qualms about killing, shooting guards at Dogbolter's estate (COMIC: The Shape Shifter) and being unconcered about the tactics used against Ice Warriors on A-Lux. (COMIC: A Cold Day in Hell!) Frobisher was not picky in his eating habits. He ate an earthworm that was offered to him by Brock. (COMIC: Once Upon a Time-Lord)
Frobisher was keen to party when arriving on Zazz. This led to some conflict between him and the Lorduke. He also annoyed Professor Strut, a hater of music, by performing a rendition of Fireball XL5. (COMIC: The Gift)
Frobisher left the Doctor for some time as he felt he was playing second fiddle, with the Doctor always saving the day. He believed the Doctor "cramped his style". Although Frobisher felt bad at leaving the Doctor, he surmised that he needed to work solo. He came to realise that he was better suited to rescuing cats than saving the day. His second departure was also over the fact the Doctor did not need him. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin, COMIC: A Cold Day in Hell!)
Frobisher stated that the loss of Francine had hurt him deeply. He theorised that no one should ever get too close to another. (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin) When Pepin VII told him not to get married, he replied that he had tried it, in reference to Francine. However, he "was no longer the Ogron she fell in love with". (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
Frobisher did not believe in heaven. However, he reminded others not to take his word as gospel. Frobisher was reluctant to rule upon his proclamation as a god. He began introducing basic government principals to them, such as free will and voting.
Frobisher told the Doctor that, despite only existing in Eugene's World, the inhabitants were still people. The Doctor compared this to Frobisher's claim that the Gumblejack wasn't real so Frobisher learned his lesson. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
Frobisher could shapeshift. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter, AUDIO: The Holy Terror, AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin.) This was definitely the most memorable bit about him, considering that in an adventure with the Tenth Doctor and Donna Nobel, the Doctor references a friend, Frobisher, who could shapeshift. (AUDIO: Death's Deal)
Frobisher usually remained solely in penguin form, undressed. A number of his forms involved dress but these were part of his body. (COMIC: War-Game) As a disguise he once morphed a pair of glasses, moustache and false nose (extended to accommodate his beak). (COMIC: Voyager) He once wore a top hat and carried a cane. (COMIC: Time Bomb) On occasion he donned headgear and glasses. (COMIC: The Gift) On Marinus, the Worldshaper caused Frobisher to moult quickly. (COMIC: The World Shapers) He once claimed to be wearing black and white trousers whilst in penguin form. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
Frobisher used the form of a pale yellow humanoid, three to four feet in height, with an egg-shaped featureless head, wearing spectacles. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter) He once told the Doctor he spent fourteen years in the form of a supermarket till. (COMIC: Voyager) While with Francine, Frobisher used the form of an Ogron, at least upon occasion. (AUDIO: The Holy Terror)
He assumed the form of a pigeon on at least one occasion to allow himself to fly. Inside the Doctor's TARDIS, he morphed to change into the time rotor of the TARDIS console. He then took on the Doctor's form so as to trick his captors. (COMIC: The Shape Shifter)
After Francine left him, Frobisher adopted the form of a penguin as she had been fond of that shape. He did this to remember her. (COMIC: Voyager) He temporarily took on the form of the Sixth Doctor once more in order to investigate a murder because, as he explained, "A penguin detective would be shocking." (AUDIO: The Maltese Penguin)
Frobisher morphed into the forms of a big cat, a dinosaur and a robot to combat a Kymbra Chimera. (COMIC: Changes) He stretched his penguin form to one similar to a hang-glider. He used this form to save Professor Strut (COMIC: The Gift) and later, Jamie McCrimmon. (COMIC: The World Shapers)
While running away from the red robots, Frobisher took the form of a merry-go-round horse. When the red robots weren't anywhere near he and Peri, Frobisher went back to the shape of a penguin, and the changed to the form of a kid, posing as Peri's child. After the Tenth Doctor contacted him, Frobisher used Peri's form. This way, when the cloaked figure captured "Peri", he could help the Doctor from inside the fortress. (COMIC: Façades)
He took the girl-like form of Chiyoko to lure Dogbolter into a trap on Earth. He later morphed his body to avoid laser fire, and took the form of a rocky humanoid figure with hammers for hands and a masked superhero with an "F" emblem on his chest, the latter two both wearing spectacles. When Hob blocked his powers with a null-beam, Frobisher changed back into a penguin. (COMIC: The Stockbridge Showdown)
Behind the scenes
- "Avan Tarklu" is a play on the phrase "haven't a clue."
- The many of Frobisher's travels with the Doctor don't mesh easily with televised Doctor Who continuity, other than Peri's reference in The World Shapers to having met Jamie McCrimmon in Spain in TV: The Two Doctors. A Cold Day in Hell! however, can be placed in a period when the Seventh Doctor has left Ace behind in Cretaceous times, as seen in Living in the Past and Birthright.
- A mock interview with Frobisher appeared in Doctor Who Magazine after he had left the series. The article refers to various humorous "on-set" anecdotes, including Frobisher's unwelcome interest in Nicola Bryant, which caused tension during production. The interview was reprinted in the graphic novel The World Shapers. Years later, Doctor Who Magazine issue 318 would again show Frobisher as a real actor, displaying him recording a new audio drama for Big Finish Productions as a real person.
- In 2020, Robert Shearman, writer of The Maltese Penguin and The Holy Terror, stated that he had always believed that Wilfred Mott was Frobisher, partly because he considered Bernard Cribbins a good casting choice for the character, and partly because he thought that having a shapeshifting penguin grandfather made a great deal of sense for Donna Noble as a character.