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Helen Sinclair was a companion of the Eighth Doctor.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Helen Sinclair was born in England around 1933. (AUDIO: The Red Lady) She had three brothers; Harry, whom she did not always get along with, George, and Albert, nicknamed “Albie”, who was sent to prison and disowned for being gay. (AUDIO: UNIT Dating) As a young woman, her father was cruel and acted as a bully to both her and her mother, which Helen attributed to their gender as her brothers did not receive the same treatment. (AUDIO: Absent Friends)

Both Helen and George thought that their aunt Phyllis's cat was evil as it hissed and scratched a lot, but she later learnt that it was sick and in pain and would allow Helen to stroke it if she was gentle. She found the cat's purring rewarding. (AUDIO: World of Damnation)

Her grandmother suffered from a terminal disease, which Helen took some time to come to terms with. After she died, Helen found that she could only recall when her grandmother first told the family that she was sick and not when she told them that it was terminal. (AUDIO: Ship in a Bottle)

Helen's only time spent outside of Great Britain was a camping holiday to Jersey. (AUDIO: The Galileo Trap) She also went on frequent holidays to the Lake District with her family following the Second World War. (AUDIO: Absent Friends)

Career[]

Helen worked as a specialist in translation in the National Museum's Department of Linguistics (AUDIO: Ship in a Bottle) and became assistant to Professor Walter Pritchett, with whom she shared a fond relationship. (AUDIO: The Red Lady) She commuted by bus from her home in Tooting and was often late. (AUDIO: The Galileo Trap)

Despite being more qualified and having worked at the museum four years longer, Helen was passed over for a promotion in 1963 by Professor Garland, who promoted Timothy instead. She correctly determined that the appointment was due to her gender, which was confirmed by Professor Garland. Whilst Professor Pritchett expressed his sympathies, he was happy not to have lost his assistant. (AUDIO: The Red Lady)

Meeting the Doctor and Liv[]

Helen with Liv Chenka. (AUDIO: Doom Coalition 1)

In 1963, Helen was given some of Dr Francis McCallum's papers to translate and met the Eighth Doctor and Liv Chenka, who broke into her office in search of a tablet that she was working on deciphering. She eventually joined the pair in investigating the Red Lady, in the course of which Professor Pritchett died. Once it was resolved, Helen was fired by Professor Garland for the unexplained disappearance of McCallum's collection and joined the Doctor and Liv in the TARDIS, suspecting that the police would be on her doorstep the following day. (AUDIO: The Red Lady)

The trio travelled to Florence in 1639 due to Helen's tablet being a message for the Doctor from Galileo Galilei. She was excited by her newfound ability to read Latin. She and Liv joined Cavalli 2 in investigating Cleaver and his spaceship, later helping the Doctor defeat both Cleaver and Fortuna. Galileo encouraged Helen to continue travelling with the Doctor, which she chose to do when given the offer to return home instead of going after the Eleven. (AUDIO: The Galileo Trap)

On Phaiton, Helen and Liv were put to work cooking and cleaning by the Orbs. They managed to slip away but were caught by the Eleven, who was convinced by the Eight to keep them alive whilst the Doctor was at large. Helen was to be dissected by an Orb once the Doctor was captured, but she was saved by Paine and escaped with Liv to the TARDIS, which dematerialised and rescued the Doctor. With the Eleven defeated, the Doctor told Helen and Liv that they needed a holiday. (AUDIO: The Satanic Mill)

Freeing the Sonomancer[]

Helen during her adventures after Phaiton. (AUDIO: Doom Coalition 2)

To recuperate, the Doctor took Helen and Liv to 2017 Stegmoor where Helen thought about contacting the people in her life, which the Doctor then told her not to do. She cared for the Doctor after he became unconscious and, once he awoke, told him about the spaceship on the beach. Once Ishtek and Tellat were dead, the crew departed, with the Doctor wanting to find out what happened to the Voord homeworld. (AUDIO: Beachhead)

Landing in a damaged TARDIS, Helen was manipulated by Caleera, who used their similar backgrounds and experiences with being suppressed to trick her into convincing the Doctor to "free" her from the neural amplifier. Once she was free, she told Helen that she was so much more than her. The Doctor, Helen and Liv left in the Doctor's crashing TARDIS. (AUDIO: Scenes From Her Life)

Following Caleera's trajectory, the TARDIS landed in 1906 San Francisco where the Doctor left Helen and Liv to get his hair cut. They went after him and, after witnessing Pepé Gonzalez use the Gift, Helen was taken hostage by Aldo Deluca, escaping when the earthquake hit. Once the Gift was dealt with, Helen tended to Liv's injuries. (AUDIO: The Gift)

On Syra, the Doctor made Helen their ambassador to the Syrans. After meeting Madam Yeva, she was locked in a mining capsule with River Song by Ruslan and used the sonic screwdriver to escape, joining River in helping the Doctor and communicating with Galactic Heritage to save the natives. She kept what she knew of River secret from the Doctor for the sake of causality and felt some responsibility for the planet's destruction due to her role in rescuing Caleera. (AUDIO: The Sonomancer)

The clock and the Crucible[]

Instead of arriving on Gallifrey, the TARDIS materialised in 1998 Calcot where Helen managed to convince Liv to cover for her as she took the train to London to find out what happened to her family. She met George and, pretending to be her own daughter named "Ruth", she learnt from him of the pain that she caused her family. She intended to return to apologise after speaking ill of their father, but she received a phone call from him due to a piece of the Doomsday Chronometer, meaning he had died after their meeting. (AUDIO: Absent Friends)

Searching for other pieces of the Chronometer, Helen went to 2016 Rome to visit the Science Museum and unknowingly bumped into the Eight outside. (AUDIO: The Eighth Piece) River used her vortex manipulator to take Helen across history, solving a puzzle which led them to a piece of the Chronometer hidden beneath the Vatican in the 1960s, before returning her to 2016 (AUDIO: The Doomsday Chronometer) where she met the Clocksmith, posing as a professor. (AUDIO: The Eighth Piece)

Helen with Liv and River. (AUDIO: The Crucible of Souls)

Helen apparently completed the Chronometer and was held hostage by the Clocksmith, forcing River to hand over the final spring. As the Chronometer began to tick, Helen and Liv fled outside and witnessed the museum collapse, leading them to believe that the Doctor had died. Upon entering the TARDIS, they met the regenerated Nine and assumed that he was the Doctor. (AUDIO: The Doomsday Chronometer)

Whilst the Nine left Liv behind in the Panopticon Archive after stealing information on the Crucible of Souls and the regen gun, Helen was taken to the Crucible and used as a hostage once she realised who he was. Cardinal Padrac later took Liv and Helen prisoner and ejected them and the Doctor into non-time in an emergency escape shuttle. (AUDIO: The Crucible of Souls)

Defeating the Doom Coalition[]

In the escape shuttle, Helen confessed to Liv that she sometimes felt redundant next to her and the Doctor. However, after exhausting several ideas to leave the Time Vortex, the Doctor returned to Helen's first idea of a leap of faith which was successful. Whilst the Doctor was sent to a time and place unknown, Helen and Liv found themselves floating in space in their pressure suits. (AUDIO: Ship in a Bottle)

Helen on the escape capsule. (AUDIO: Ship in a Bottle)

Helen and Liv were saved by a vortex sphere and travelled to London, stealing a skimmer to leave Earth before it was destroyed by the Doom Coalition's cataclysm. They were ultimately teleported to Gallifrey by River and left in the TARDIS with Veklin, River later sending the Doctor in there with them. (AUDIO: Songs of Love)

In 1970s New York City, Helen and Liv were given a lift by Joanie Carrington to the City Museum where they looked at Native American artwork of the Weeping Angels. The Monk locked them in a room with a projection of an Angel which came alive, eventually being rescued by Joanie and Veklin and taking a helicopter back to the planning office. Once the Angels were defeated, Helen and Liv joined the Doctor in the TARDIS, leaving to defeat Padrac. (AUDIO: The Side of the Angels)

On Gallifrey, the Doctor tasked Helen with helping evacuate members of the resistance before she was taken hostage by the Eleven, who took her into a Battle TARDIS. The Sonomancer communicated with her, transferring her powers to her and asking her to pilot the ship into the Resonance Engine. She did so, sending the TARDIS into the Time Vortex due to a temporal implosion. (AUDIO: Stop the Clock)

Reunion with the Doctor and Liv[]

The Battle TARDIS crash landed on Rykerzon, and Helen and the Eleven were taken as prisoners. During that time, Helen cared for the Eleven and tried to help him control his condition and suppress the voices of his other incarnations. She would sing to soothe him, and he pretended to reciprocate, and called her his saviour. When the Eighth Doctor and Liv arrived looking for Helen, she was thrilled to see them again, despite the Doctor being sceptical of her. Eventually, the Eleven joined with the Kandyman to take over Colony 23, a plan which was then stopped by the Doctor, Liv and Helen. Helen was then welcomed back on board the TARDIS. (AUDIO: World of Damnation, Sweet Salvation)

After re-joining the TARDIS, Helen continued travelling with the Doctor and Liv. During this time, they took a trip to Liv's home world, Kaldor. (AUDIO: Escape from Kaldor)

After the Doctor was dragged into hell in an unfavourable trip to Salzburg, Helen spent decades trying to pilot the TARDIS. After bringing a notable saint to Salzburg to save the day, she was on the brink of death, having aged considerably in the time she spent trying to figure out how to control the TARDIS. Liv remembered the Wish Granter's cryptic quote and realised that she could use his powers to restore Helen to her old self. (AUDIO: Better Watch Out, Fairytale of Salzburg)

Stranded in 2020[]

Helen with the Doctor in 2020. (AUDIO: Stranded 1)

After escaping the collapsing console room, Helen, Liv and the Doctor moved into 107 Baker Street. As the most familiar with Earth, Helen ended up managing the bills and the Doctor’s new responsibilities as a landlord. Six weeks after arriving on Earth, Helen and Liv encountered the Curator twice, first at the TARDIS and later in a cafe. Helen worked with the letting agent to find residents for the empty flat and asked Liv to get a job to help with their bills. After sighting him again, Helen followed the Curator to the Under Gallery where he told her that she and Liv had to make sure to look after the Doctor. (AUDIO: Lost Property) She gave Robin Bright-Thompson some tuition in history and decided to become a tutor.

Helen witnessed a robber leaving Sanjit's convenience store and found that Liv had been shot before giving chase. She apologised to DCI Treadwell for the Doctor's behaviour and involvement in the case and, after the man was caught, she encouraged the Doctor not to give up on the TARDIS nor on living his life. (AUDIO: Wild Animals)

Helen helped the Doctor investigate the extraterrestrial surveillance of the house and Mr Bird after they became suspicious of him. (AUDIO: Must-See TV)

After the Doctor won You Either Know It or You Don't, Helen and Liv convinced him to invest the £80,000 on the house rather than towards his efforts to restore the TARDIS. She took Robin shopping and attempted to discourage his interest in Divine Intervention, whose representative, Rafaella Hicks, told her that she was unsuited for. They went to meet the others for dinner, however the Doctor and Andy Davidson arrived being pursued by two Rakilians. She followed the Rakilians, who had taken Robin hostage to force the Doctor to show them his time machine, to the TARDIS where they triggered a paradox by killing the Doctor, partially-restoring the ship. The revived Doctor told her to come with him into the TARDIS where he explained the TARDIS had saved him and trapped the Rakilians in two time periods at once, which Helen through was horrible. He agreed and used the TARDIS to send them away instead. Afterwards the Doctor told her that they would soon take it for a test drive. (AUDIO: Divine Intervention)

Helen accompanied the Doctor on a test flight in the TARDIS, along with Liv, Tania and Andy. After they arrived 6 million years in Earth’s future, they found Robin had stowed away so the Doctor told Helen to stay behind to keep an eye on him. She and Robin argued and he ran into the corridors and then slipped outside, with Helen trying to find him amidst the ruins of London. She found the Doctor, Liv, Tania and Andy and explained Robin’s escape. With an army of decontamination robots approaching, the Doctor told her to take Tania and Andy back to the TARDIS however they were unable to get inside. When the Doctor, Liv and Robin returned the ship yielded and the Doctor was able to disable the robots and take them back to 2020. (AUDIO: Dead Time)

When Tony began struggling with his memories, Helen persuaded Liv to help. They helped Tony recollect events in the past with the Doctor and discovered his radio was connected to the past, using their TARDIS keys to interfere with it to try to send a message to the Doctor by morse code. Afterwards Liv asked Helen why she’d been so interested in Tony and Ron’s relationship and Helen told her about her elder brother for the first time. (AUDIO: UNIT Dating)

Helen travelled back in time to 1941 to meet the Baker Street Irregulars along with the Doctor, Akhtar sisters and Liv and Tania. After the Doctor and Zakia went on a mission to France to rescue the sisters’ gran Nisha, Helen and Aisha met their grandfather, Adi, whom they convinced to admit his feelings for Nisha, ensuring Aisha and Zakia's birth in the future. They reunited with the others after their return to London and went back to 2020. (AUDIO: Baker Street Irregulars)

Helen travelled with the Doctor to 2050 to investigate the altered future, along with Liv, Tania and Andy. They were all immediately captured by forces opposing Divine Intervention and Helen was subsequently interrogated by Gemma Houlbrooke, being shocked to learn about Divine Intervention’s power and rejecting Gemma’s accusations about the Doctor. The Doctor eventually convinced Gemma to release them and they returned to 2020. (AUDIO: The Long Way Round)

Personality[]

Helen was intelligent, sceptical and willing to admit when she was wrong. (AUDIO: The Red Lady) She was compassionate, which could sometimes allow her to be manipulated, (AUDIO: The Gift, World of Damnation) and trusting, to the extent that she did not tell Liv or the Doctor about River Song's identity. (AUDIO: The Sonomancer, Songs of Love) She was sensible, except when running from the law. (AUDIO: World of Damnation)

She felt that society had never allowed her to be the best that she could be and was pleased that her strengths were celebrated rather than feared whilst travelling with the Doctor. (AUDIO: Scenes From Her Life) She wanted to be successful to spite her father. (AUDIO: Absent Friends) She sometimes felt redundant next to the Doctor and Liv, but Liv assured her that she had more than proved herself. (AUDIO: Ship in a Bottle)

Above all else, Helen admired lexicology and linguistics. (AUDIO: L.E.G.E.N.D.)

Behind the scenes[]

In the behind the scenes extras to Doom Coalition 1, producer David Richardson cites Doctor Who's first producer Verity Lambert, (BFX Doom Coalition 1) who at the time was BBC's youngest ever and first female producer,[1] as a source of inspiration for the character of Helen Sinclair. This is acknowledged through Helen's coming from 1963, the same year that Doctor Who first aired. (BFX Doom Coalition 1)

Footnotes[]

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