Sir Ian Francis Chesterton (TV: The Crusade, HOMEVID: Ian Chesterton: An Introduction, COMIC: Hunters of the Burning Stone) was one of the First Doctor's first human companions to join him on his travels.
Before meeting the Doctor, Ian was a science teacher at Coal Hill School in 1960s London. During a trip to the 12th century, he was knighted as Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa. After leaving the TARDIS, Ian had adventures with the Doctor in his fifth and eleventh incarnations. Ian travelled alongside future wife Barbara Wright, Susan Foreman and Vicki Pallister, as well as briefly meeting Steven Taylor.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 Teaching at Coal Hill
- 1.3 Travels with the Doctor, Susan and Barbara
- 1.4 Leaving Susan behind
- 1.5 Travels with the Doctor, Barbara and Vicki
- 1.6 Leaving the Doctor
- 1.7 Life after the Doctor
- 1.8 Legacy
- 1.9 Alternate timelines
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Behind the scenes
Ian was born in Reading (PROSE: Byzantium!) and spent his earliest years in the north-east, where he supported Sunderland F.C. (AUDIO: The Flames of Cadiz) He grew up in London during the Blitz in World War II (AUDIO: The Time Museum) and had a brother and sister with whom he went on family holidays to a cottage in North Wales. (PROSE: Byzantium!) He was raised in the Church of England. (AUDIO: The Flames of Cadiz)
As a child, Father Michael taught Ian the Ten Commandments in Sunday school. (PROSE: The Eleventh Tiger) He would visit his grandparents every Sunday and enjoyed climbing the trees in their garden. (AUDIO: A Small Semblance of Home) As a boy, he holidayed in the Peak District. (AUDIO: The Invention of Death)
The young Ian loved the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, whose stories inspired him to pursue a career in science, (PROSE: The Eleventh Tiger) and also enjoyed reading the Carter of Mars books. (COMIC: A Religious Experience) Ian's hero was Sir Francis Drake. He had seen films depicting the Spanish Armada in which Drake was played by Errol Flynn and Queen Elizabeth I were played by Bette Davis and Flora Robson. (AUDIO: The Flames of Cadiz)
During the 1950s, Ian was a private in the British Army. His national service number was 15110404. (PROSE: The Time Travellers) He served the first part of his national service in Wales, during which time he boxed. (PROSE: The Eleventh Tiger) He later joined the Royal Air Force, serving the remainder of his national service in Malay, (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy) from which he was honourably discharged after two years. (PROSE: Byzantium!) He also served in Cyprus for a time. (AUDIO: Domain of the Voord)
Also in the 1950s, Ian visited Pugwash in Nova Scotia. (PROSE: Who Discovered America?) In addition, he had always wanted to visit Australia (AUDIO: The Transit of Venus) and New York City. (AUDIO: The Great White Hurricane)
Suzy was a woman who Ian loved. She died after being hit by a Ford Anglia, leaving Ian devastated. He found out about the event in a newspaper, although he would later dream he was actually there. (PROSE: Romans Cutaway)
Teaching at Coal Hill
By 1963, had begun teaching at Coal Hill School in London, as a science teacher, (TV: An Unearthly Child, PROSE: Time and Relative) but also taught English and occasionally PE. (PROSE: Byzantium!) He taught Susan Foreman from at least March of that year (TV: An Unearthly Child, PROSE: Time and Relative) in classroom C3. (PROSE: Nothing at the End of the Lane) At the time, he lived in a small flat (PROSE: A Long Night) on Fenby Street with Mrs Russell as his landlady. (AUDIO: The Flames of Cadiz)
Ian met Barbara Wright during his first year teaching at Coal Hill. That year was also the first time the two of them met outside of the school, with one such occasion being when he helped her with a school history trip to the Tower of London at the end of the summer term in June. Ian hadn't enjoyed the tour, owing to the scorching heat and the noisy school children accompanying them, who found a plethora of ways to annoy him, including getting lost, dripping ice lollies and screaming, fraying both of the teachers' tempers. (PROSE: The Nine-Day Queen)
On one occasion, Ian taught his class about Alexander Fleming and the discovery of penicillin. One student, which Ian recalled was either called Cedric or Sydney, wanted to know if other moulds could affect bacteria, and so Ian helped the student to set up an experiment to test this, growing moulds on different food and culturing bacteria on different petri dishes in the student's own time. At the final experiment, another boy told the student the expected result in the experiment, having read it in an encyclopaedia. From that point, the student's interest in science was lost, teaching Ian that one should "never mess with people's dreams". (AUDIO: The Transit of Venus)
On 26 March 1963, Ian's science class spent forty minutes establishing that magnesium burns, an activity which bored Susan. On 28 March, the heating stopped working at Coal Hill, so Ian had all the bunsen burners on at full blast, which apparently made no difference. On 29 March, all of Year Four were put in the Coal Hill assembly hall and given board games. They were supervised by Mr Chesterton, who allowed them to play records, even suggesting dancing to keep warm. On 30 March, Ian and Barbara Wright saw the movie Saturday Night and Sunday Morning at the Rialto. Susan and her friend Gillian Roberts had snuck in to see the X-certificate film, and had to hide themselves from the two teachers to avoid having their ages given away.
On 1 April - as part of an array of pranks played by teachers for April Fools' Day - Ian sent Little Titch Critchley to fetch a "left-handed blackboard rubber" from the supplies cupboard. Later that day, despite the principal having banned snowballs, Ian threw a snowball at fellow teacher A. Okehurst, launching a snow fight between them. While this was going on, The Cold had begun to awaken, and a Cold-controlled snowman had stabbed Francis Minto in the leg with a shard of ice. Ian then went for a nurse. The Cold was eventually defeated by the First Doctor, who took it to Pluto in the far future. (PROSE: Time and Relative)
On one summer holiday, Ian holidayed in a seaside town in Dorset. He met a fortune teller called Rosy Parks, but when putting out his hand to have his palm read, a wound from a splinter he'd removed earlier in the day opened, and blood poured out, causing Rosy to leave.
At a later date, he attended a party hosted by Barbara, where he met another fortune teller, this time named Rosemary. She told him they would have to meet in person for her to be able to read his future properly.
The following Friday, he met with Rosemary, who told him that he would go on a long journey and face many great challenges and that he could change his fate by not taking a package from a woman in a café. As Ian took his money out to pay for the session, Rosemary grabbed the money and left, leaving a package - her crystal ball - behind. Ian took the ball with him, allegedly sealing his fate. (PROSE: The Splintered Gate)
He was intrigued by Susan's advanced scientific knowledge — she saw simple experiments involving inactive chemicals turning from red to blue as child's play and also pointed out to him that a problem involving A, B and C as the three dimensions was impossible to solve without the use of D and E to represent the dimensions of time and space. In talking with Susan's history teacher, Barbara Wright, he found he was not the only one who had noticed Susan's unusual knowledge and ability. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
Ian befriended River Song when she was hired at Coal Hill as a history teacher. He acted as a sort of guide for her, welcoming her at the school and inviting her to join him and other teachers at a pub after work, where he introduced her to Barbara. Barbara told the pair of her worries about a student, Sheila Page, who seemed to be behaving strangely. Later, when the Principal fired River because he found out that her curriculum had been forged, Ian tried to protest, and offered River any help he could give her. They then met up with Barbara, who told them that she had gone to Sheila's house and had spoken to her foster parent about her, but to no effect as the man was very rude and refused to help. She enlisted the help of Ian and River to come back and insist, but when they returned to the house, they found the owner dead and Sheila and her adoptive brother, Lloyd Walker, missing. Ian and Barbara went to fetch the police while River surveyed the area. When they returned, River announced that she had found Lloyd. The four of them headed to the pub, where River left Ian and Barbara to take care of Lloyd as she went looking for Sheila, turning down Ian's request to come with her. The two teachers eventually came out nonetheless, but River assured them that it was all over. Before leaving Coal Hill, River said a fond goodbye to both. (AUDIO: An Unearthly Woman)
Meeting the Doctor
One evening, as school was finishing, Ian and Barbara decided to indulge their curiosity about Susan and followed her home to where she lived with her grandfather. They followed her back to I.M. Foreman's junkyard at 76 Totter's Lane, where she entered and closed the gate behind her. (TV: An Unearthly Child) Susan was worried that she was being followed by a car. (COMIC: Prologue: The First Doctor) They followed her into the yard and discovered a police box sitting incongruously amidst the junk. Shortly thereafter, they hid as they heard an old man, the Doctor, approaching. As he began to open the police box, they heard Susan's voice from inside. After a brief confrontation with the Doctor, they barged their way into the police box and were amazed at the massive control room of the Doctor's TARDIS. (TV: "An Unearthly Child")
According to one version of events told by Ian himself, he never taught at Coal Hill School and never met the Doctor, Susan or Barbara prior to their travels in the TARDIS. He had just failed to get a job as an assistant research scientist at Donneby's when he was involved in a car crash at Barnes Common where he met the three of them. Instead of travelling to the Stone Age, the group travelled directly to Skaro. (PROSE: Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks)
Travels with the Doctor, Susan and Barbara
Susan's grandfather, the Doctor, kidnapped Ian and Barbara in the TARDIS, which travelled back in time. The TARDIS landed in Earth's Stone Age. At first Ian could not believe that the TARDIS could travel anywhere, and just saw it all as a game set up by the Doctor and Susan, but he soon believed it. The Doctor was taken by Kal, who had seen him produce fire. The others tried to rescue the Doctor, but were taken to the Cave of Skulls. The Old Mother released the Doctor and his companions and they escaped into a nearby forest. Ian and the others aided Za's injuries from an animal when he tried to chase after them, but were returned to the cave. Ian produced fire for the tribe and devised a way of scaring the cavemen by setting the skulls on fire. The group escaped to the TARDIS, which took off again. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
When the TARDIS landed on Skaro, the Doctor lied about the fluid link needing more mercury, when there was nothing wrong, so he could explore a nearby city. The Daleks imprisoned the Doctor and his companions inside the city, confiscating the fluid link they brought along.
Having escaped, they assisted the Thals in their attack on the Dalek City. The Daleks' power supply was damaged in the attack. The Daleks died and their plans to flood the atmosphere with radiation failed. (TV: The Daleks)
With the fluid link retrieved, the Doctor left Skaro for Earth, using the fast return switch. The spring in the switch was faulty, causing it to be stuck. The TARDIS was sent to the beginning of a solar system and everyone was knocked out in the trip. The TARDIS tried warning the crew about the atoms forming around them when they came to, but the Doctor assumed that this was Ian and Barbara's sabotage of the ship. Once Barbara figured out what was going on, the Doctor fixed the spring, ending the fault. (TV: "The Rescue", The Edge of Destruction)
Still heavily damaged and malfunctioning, the TARDIS found its way to Earth, but did not make it to Ian and Barbara's time, instead landing in the Plain of Pamir in 1289. There, the Doctor and his companions met Marco Polo. Polo took the TARDIS and its keys on his caravan to travel the breadth of Cathay in order to hand it over to Kublai Khan as part of a bargain for his return to Venice. Along the way, Ian discovered the Mongol warlord, Tegana, also part of Polo's caravan, wanted to take the TARDIS for Nogai as part of his plan to assassinate Kublai. In the chaos of Tegana and Polo's duel in Peking, the Doctor and his companions escaped in his repaired TARDIS. (TV: Marco Polo)
On an apparently drifting spaceship, he found a dead body in an airlock. After examining the ship with Toban he was attacked by a Shift. Barbara rescued him from his imprisonment, but was captured herself. This made Ian distraught. He wanted to go after Barbara. He helped the Doctor to build a radiation filter to go after the Shifts. He realised that the Doctor had suggested riding a radiation stream. After the ship was damaged by an electromagnetic pulse he drove it into a gas bubble for protection which Myla though was suicide. His actions caused the section where the Doctor was to go missing. He went on a spacewalk with Toban to get to the engineering section to restart the engines. Getting into the engineering section he was attacked by the Shift. He and Susan piloted a small ship to lure Arran back to the Endevour. He then drew Arran back to the ship. (AUDIO: The Age of Endurance)
Arriving inside the tomb of Menkaure in Egypt in 26th century BC, the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara were arrested and taken to the palace. Itennu planned to assassinate Pharaoh Menkaure with a poison dart and then blame the travellers. However, the Doctor inadvertently foiled the attempt with his walking stick and, when a more open attack began, the TARDIS crew fled back to the TARDIS. (COMIC: The Forgotten)
The Doctor landed on an island on Marinus. Arbitan asked them to search for the keys to the reprogrammed Conscience of Marinus to regain control over the Voord, as all of his other followers and family members had failed to retrieve them. Arbitan trapped the TARDIS in a force field, preventing the Doctor and his companions' escape.
They used Arbitan's travel dials to reach Morphoton. Barbara released Arbitan's daughter, Sabetha, and the rest of the city from the Morpho's mind control, and retrieved the first key. Ian and Barbara found a fake key in the Screaming Jungle, and after enduring several traps were told the proper location of the second key by Darrius. The third key was found in a mountain cave and was guarded by Ice Soldiers.
Escaping the soldiers, Ian reached Millennius, where he was knocked out and framed for the murder of Eprin. The Doctor helped discover the true culprit, and Ian was spared execution. The fourth key was found inside the mace that killed Eprin when the man sent to fetch the key was captured. The Doctor and his companions returned to Arbitan's island, where Arbitan had been murdered. Ian handed the Voord the fake key, which destroyed the Conscience, along with the Voord. They were able to leave in the TARDIS once more. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
The Doctor and his companions arrived in an Aztec temple in Mexico. They went through a one-way passage that prevented their return to the TARDIS. Barbara posed as the Aztec god, Yetaxa, with the others as her servants, to find a way back. Ian was declared rival to the warrior Ixta.
Susan was to be punished for denying marriage to the Perfect Victim and Ian to be executed when he was framed by the High Priest of Sacrifice, Tlotoxl, for attacking the High Priest of Knowledge, Autloc. Autloc's faith in Yetaxa was shattered and he left for the wilderness. The Doctor, Ian and the Doctor's accidental fiancée, Cameca, distracted Ian and Susan's guard to escape. Ian prevented Tlotoxl's murder of Barbara and fought off Ixta. They worked on a wheel-and-pulley system to open the doorway back to the TARDIS. As they departed, the human sacrifice of the Perfect Victim continued as planned. (TV: The Aztecs)
The Doctor landed inside a spaceship in the 28th century, where two crewmembers were suspended in a state resembling death and another, John, had had his mind opened and turned insane, following an attack on their minds by the Sensorites. The Sense Sphere, which the ship had been trapped around, had its aqueducts' water supply poisoned with atropine by survivors of a previous human expedition whose ship had been destroyed.
The TARDIS' lock was taken by the Sensorites, leaving the Doctor and his companions trapped on the spaceship. After the Doctor and his companions resisted the Sensorites, the Doctor, Ian and Susan agreed to go down to the Sense Sphere, where the Doctor worked out the cure for this "disease", which had also afflicted Ian, while the Sensorite scientists treated John. The Doctor and Ian, later followed by Barbara, went to the aqueducts where Atropa belladonna had been growing. They found the human expedition and pretended to be a welcoming party for them and that the "war" against the Sensorites was won. The expedition were taken into custody on Maitland's ship. Maitland's ship was free to leave and the TARDIS crew had regained their lock. (TV: The Sensorites)
After visiting the Sense Sphere they landed on the Endeavour where the Doctor wanted to throw him and Barbara off the ship. Whilst trapped on the ship with the Doctor he met James Cook soon after they observed the Transit of Venus. He started to hear voices which the Doctor didn't believe was true. He was thrown off the ship by Joseph Banks or so he believed in a delirium. He was still experiencing the effects of the Sensorite's telepathy, and this allowed Barbara to tell him that she was still alive and hadn't drowned. (AUDIO: The Transit of Venus)
When the group landed on Destination, Ian and Barbara mistakenly presumed they were landed on Earth in the future; their mistake was proven wrong when their host, Robac, explained to them the meaning of Space Year 2003 (the date on Destination) as the year since when the forefathers of Destination arrived on the planet. Ian, Barbara and the Doctor followed Robac to the central building to undergo bureaucratic matters, but Ian was sent back by the Doctor to retrieve Susan. He arrived just in time to witness Susan and Reena, Robac's daughter, being summoned to meet the Inventor, the mysterious benefactor of Destination; he went along with them and met the Master. Hypnotised by him, he told the Master everything about him, Barbara and the Doctor, and was later subdued into sleep. When he woke up, Barbara and the Doctor had joined them, and Ian assisted the Master in explaining to the travellers how he exploited the development of Destination's people to rebuild his TARDIS and leave Destination. Ian was then thrown out in the middle of the war between Destination's colonists and the original people, the Dalmari, as part of the Master's attempt to force the Doctor to give up the TARDIS key. Together with Susan and Barbara, he found the resistance fighters of Destination and stopped their leader, Tanna, from using nuclear energy by distracting her with talks of science. He and Barbara then received a call apparently from the Doctor to come back to the TARDIS; when they got here, the Master was waiting for them. He hypnotised them and got them to join him in the TARDIS, promising to take them home. However, Ian and Barbara managed to overcome the hypnosis by focusing on each other, allowing them to subdue the Master and use the fast return switch to return to the Doctor and Susan. (AUDIO: The Destination Wars)
Upon leaving Destination, the TARDIS landed in 1888 New York City where Ian was almost immediately shot and Susan kidnapped. The bullet only grazed Ian, but Barbara insisted on him recuperating in the hospital before realising that the Great White Hurricane was approaching. After Ian, with a mild concussion, was released from the hospital, he and Barbara helped Rosalita home only for her son Joseph to have been taken away by her husband Henry. Following him to the train station, they found the tracks frozen over, Ian forcing an opportunist to use his ladder to rescue the people for free. After Rosalita had been reunited with her family, Ian and Barbara returned to the TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Great White Hurricane)
The Doctor attempted to use a temporal slingshot to return to 1963 only to wind up on the planet Ashtallah, home of the Ashtallans, an immortal race with prodigious healing abilities. After witnessing their cells quickly healing Barbara, the group conversed with the Ashtallans, Ian telling Brenna about love before a mysterious plague began killing the aliens. As Ian investigated, he found Sharlan to be the culprit, using a sample of Barbara's blood to kill their people, falling out of a window in his fear to distance himself from them, being found by Susan. Sharlan was eventually convinced to stand down her crusade with Ashthallan cells being used to heal Ian. As the group flew away from the planet, the Doctor wondered what effect Ashtallan biology would have on Ian and Barbara, wondering if they would ever age. (AUDIO: The Invention of Death)
When the TARDIS landed in 19th century Japan before it was opened to Westerners, Ian and Susan managed to escape the forces of Takagi Mamoru, being rescued by the Red Samurai. Eventually reuniting with the Doctor and Barbara, the group found themselves in a battle between Mamoru's samurais and the Emperor's forces. As Mamoru's defeat, Susan retrieve the TARDIS, allowing the group to leave. (AUDIO: The Barbarians and the Samurai)
Soon afterwards, the TARDIS landed in Tyre, where they, Ian in particular, won the favour of Princess Elissa and the ire of King Pygmalion. As Pygmalion was to bless his new ship, Ian was nearly killed before he was rescued by Elissa and brought aboard the ship as they sailed away from Tyre, fighting off Elissa's flirtations. Arriving at the site of the future Carthage, Ian nearly found himself in Elissa's company forever before the Doctor caught up with them and painted him and his friends as emissaries of the gods. After defeating Pygmalion's fleet, the TARDIS crew took off again, Ian finding that he'd inspired Aeneas, before the ship was drawn to a temporally unstable planet. (AUDIO: The Phoenicians)
As the ship hurled out of control, Susan suggested drawing power from the TARDIS force field, being supported by an echo from a fading future version of herself, allowing the engines to break free. (AUDIO: Tick-Tock World)
During a "night" in the TARDIS, the Doctor and Susan showed Ian and Barbara around the TARDIS before Susan showed her teachers some sketches she'd made of them. (COMIC: In-Between Times) Ian later took a personal tour of the TARDIS, marvelling at the size of the interior. When the ship later landed on an unnamed planet, the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara found a path of skulls laid to honour the dead. (COMIC: The Path of Skulls)
A later attempt to use the fast return switch to get Ian and Barbara home, resulted in the group's return to Skaro, fifty cycles after their last visit. Brought to the Thal City, Ian was shown some of their inventions by Tryana before he, the Doctor, and Tryana returned to the Dalek City to find the missing Susan and Jyden, Tryana's own son. Finding that power still thrummed in the city, the group descended where they reunited with the children and met the Dalek Supreme who claimed to want peace. Remaining to validate this claim, the Doctor found a secret tunnel that led to the Thal City. While he and Tryana were taken prisoner, Ian managed to escape through the tunnel, witnessing two Dalek drones take control of an ionising tower. Reuniting with his friends, Ian rallied the Thals against the Daleks once again, playing the part of a prisoner to free the Doctor who reprogrammed the ionising towers to destroy the Daleks before the group left Skaro again. (AUDIO: Return to Skaro)
The TARDIS then landed in Ekaterinburg, shortly before the Russian Civil War, where Ian and the Doctor were quickly taken prisoner, befriending Makerenkov, a fellow prisoner. Returning to the house of the royals, Makerenkov revealed himself to be an assassin. When the Doctor caught up with them, Nicholas II revealed that he had come to terms with death and encouraged them to flee. Running back to the TARDIS, the Doctor confided his recent doubts in Ian before the TARDIS unexpectedly lost power. (AUDIO: Last of the Romanovs)
With Susan's help, the Doctor managed to restore enough power to the ship to force it to self-repair which necessitated an emergency landing. The travellers found themsleves on a dystopian future Earth where they were taken prisoner and forced to submit to a genetic scan to prove they were human. At the Doctor's order, Ian caused a distraction to allow the Doctor to program a false reading into the machine, allowing Susan to pass as human. The genetic drift of humanity however was so much that Ian and Barbara did not read as human either, sent to work in the mines with the gestalt being Brooskin. When Ian tried to escape, he wound up exposing himself to the vacuum of space with Brooskin informing the humans that they were not on Earth but on Urth, a space habitat smaller than London. Following Susan currying the favor of the settlement's rulers, she managed to free her friends before representatives from the remainder of the human race arrived. Convinced that the problems would sort themselves out very shortly, the travellers made for the TARDIS and left. (AUDIO: For the Glory of Urth)
When the Doctor was convinced that the ship had been fully repaired, the group found themselves in London 1601. When they attempted to visit the Globe Theatre, they instead found a volatile political climate before they met Judith Shakespeare who introduced them to William Shakespeare and hosted them for dinner. After Susan and Judith had bonded over being treated like children and escaped the house, Ian went after them only to be injured and drawn into Lady Penelope Rich's plot to dethrone Elizabeth I. After this had resulted in Shakespeare's arrest, Ian posed as the Robert Devereaux, injured during a peaceful protest gone awry, before Queen Elizabeth returned and brought the conflict to a swift end. When the time came to leave, Susan, Barbara and Ian expressed a desire to stay and see a play before an outside source activated the TARDIS and sent it flying away from England. (AUDIO: The Hollow Crown)
When they landed in Alexandria and stayed for a while, he became employed as a customs official. He encountered Hypatia who wanted the books on the ship he impounded. He found Hypatia interesting. He found thanks to Hypatia a book that looked like something from his own time, it was a Mim reconnaissance mission. (AUDIO: The Library of Alexandria)
He was intrigued by a play he saw in Seville about Elizabeth I and her sentencing of Mary Queen of Scots. He wanted to save the people who were in a house that the Spanish Inquisition burnt done as the church thought they were stealing from the church. He tried to stop Esteban Aribi from being arrested but was arrested himself. After he was rescued by Barbara and Susan, he went with Esteban to deliver a message to Francis Drake. (AUDIO: The Flames of Cadiz)
They later landed in a flotilla of ships on the planet Hydra where they were captured by Amyra Kaan and Pan Vexel for being stowaways. Whilst helping a rescue mission he discovered that the invaders on the planet were the Voord. He was tasked in interrogating Nebrin. He joined a landing party to help fight off the Voord in the capital of this world. When he and Susan found the TARDIS he forced Susan to pilot it away from the hands of the Voord. He was later imprisoned and forced to work as a slave. He was later rescued by Amyra and taken to the Doctor. Ian then helped the Doctor destroy the Voord machine. (AUDIO: Domain of the Voord)
He found Russia interesting when he met Grigori Rasputin. He helped Grigori to find medicine to help the Doctor when he collapsed. He discovered an alien machine that could show the future. (AUDIO: The Wanderer)
Leaving Susan behind
After defeating the Daleks for a second time in the 22nd century, Ian was saddened to lose Susan, who fell in love and remained to lead Dalek resistance, which left only him, the Doctor and Barbara aboard the TARDIS. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
Ian came to believe that locking Susan out of the TARDIS was the bravest thing that he ever saw the Doctor do. Soon after leaving Susan the Doctor landed in the Orkney Isles in 1956. After they left the TARDIS, it vanished with the Doctor in it. They started to explore the island where they were saved from drowning by Janet McKay. (AUDIO: The Revenants)
After Susan left, Ian and Barbara considered leaving the Doctor's side when the TARDIS landed in the 1950s, and they spent three months attempting to adjust to a new life. But in the end, they rejoined the Doctor. (PROSE: Set in Stone)
During a visit to 19th century Afghanistan, at the time of the First Afghan War, Ian endured the most painful experience of his life when he was kidnapped by the brutal Gilzia chieftain, Gul Zaheer, who delighted in playing twisted games of torture. Imprisoned for a month, Ian befriended a fellow British prisoner, Symonds and struck up a bond with him, a bond so strong that when Symonds was killed by Gul, Ian didn't hesitate in killing Gul by throwing him into a pit. The trauma he faced in the previous months changed Ian forever, and he was haunted at the fact that he was capable of cold-blooded murder when pushed too far. (PROSE: Mire and Clay)
Approaching the Doctor in the TARDIS, Ian and Barbara were shocked to discover that the Doctor was paralysed. Using a telepathic helmet, Ian was able to learn that the Daleks were behind this. He was able to find the source of the situation, the nerve machine being controlled by the Daleks and the Doctor was freed from their control. (COMIC: Dr. Who and the Nerve Machine)
Travels with the Doctor, Barbara and Vicki
After landing in the caves of the planet Dido, the murderer Bennett tried trapping the Doctor and Ian inside with a rockfall to hide his guilt of the murder of the people on board the crash landed ship the UK-201, separating them from Barbara. After finding another way outside and following the death of Bennett, the Doctor, Ian and Barbara agreed to invite the orphaned Vicki on board the TARDIS. (TV: The Rescue)
The travellers stayed in a villa in Assisium near Rome for several weeks in the year 64. Ian and Barbara were taken as slaves by the slave traders Sevcheria and Didius, with Ian being sold as a galley slave. Ian's galley sank in a storm and he was saved by his slave friend Delos by bringing him to shore, while they subsequently made their way to Rome. In Rome, Ian and Delos were recaptured and were made to fight each other to the death as gladiators, but the two escaped again, and found that Barbara had been sold into the Emperor Nero's palace. With the help of Tavius, Ian and Delos sneaked into the palace to rescue Barbara, and Ian and Barbara returned to the villa before the Doctor and Vicki returned from their own adventures in Rome. (TV: The Romans)
They were next dragged down to the planet Vortis. When Ian and the Doctor went out to investigate, they were captured by Zarbi. Ian managed to escape the Zarbi with the help of a Menoptera named Vrestin. However, Ian and Vrestin fell underground and met the Optera, who were going to sacrifice them until Ian convinced them that Vrestin was a god. Ian then convinced the Optera leader, Hetra, to lead an expedition to find the Animus. When they found the Animus, it was destroyed by Barbara, and the four travellers left again in the TARDIS. (TV: The Web Planet)
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Vicki and Jospa had to escape from laser fire after rescuing some slaves. He went with the Doctor and Jospa to explore the jungle of the Arunde homeworld. He thought that the planet they were on was mostly sulphur. He was later chased by rhinos but then climbed into the trees. He fell into a bog and sunk into it. Sharna communed with him and he was going through his memories. Sharna got him to follow her in the melding of minds. She rescued him from the bog. He saw that Vicki had been poisoned and wanted to help her. He told the Doctor that Vicki had gone after Jospa to bargain for her friends lives. (AUDIO: The Fifth Traveller)
They landed on Platform Five in the skies of the Planet Jobis. Soon after they arrived the Rocket Men and their leader Ashman invaded the station. He managed to disguise himself as one of the Rocket Men in order to find out more of their plans. After Ashman threw Barbara off the station, Ian dived out of the station to save her. (AUDIO: The Rocket Men)
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki travelled to 1868, where they attended a lecture by Thomas Huxley. The four of them travelled into the London Underground to investigate a group of missing students and discovered that the Zarbi had populated themselves in there. Travelling further into the sewers, they found the Animus, who had reformed itself and had moved to Earth to take revenge on the human race. Ian was able to kill it by driving a train into it. The Doctor and his companions prepared to leave, but the Doctor discovered that his companions were missing; having been pulled out of time by Adam Mitchell. (COMIC: Unnatural Selection)
Along with the Doctor's other companions, he was placed in suspended animation (COMIC: The Choice) but was freed soon afterwards to fight the Master's Auton army, being returned to his proper time and place when Adam stood down. (COMIC: Endgame)
Ian revelled in his new life and experiences. When the travellers landed in 12th century Palestine during the Crusades, Ian was knighted Sir Ian of Jaffa by Richard the Lionheart and sent as an emissary to search for Barbara who had been abducted by the Saracens. (TV: The Crusade)
Whilst on Hisk he was in a trance state and believed he was being interrogated by Gerrard. He had to tell him about the Doctor and his travels. He realised that the technology that the locals used in their siestas was the same as his teaching machines. (AUDIO: The Sleeping City)
He was concerned that the Doctor and Vicki were becoming involved when they landed in Sonning Palace. When he met Robert de Wensley he used his title Sir Ian of Jaffa. After he heard that King Henry IV had been attacked Ian became worried for the Doctor's and Barbara's safety and travelled to London with Robert de Wensley. Whilst in London he met Geoffrey Chaucer. He was later imprisoned with the Doctor and Chaucer at Thomas Arundel's whim. (AUDIO: The Doctor's Tale)
Leaving the Doctor
Despite his obvious enjoyment of his travels, Ian never lost sight of his desire to return to his own home and time. When the opportunity arose, Ian and Barbara risked travel in a Dalek time ship to return to 1965 London. When they emerged from the time machine, they were delighted to be back, despite discovering that two years had passed since their departure. (TV: The Chase) Ian and Barbara explained that their two year absence from London had been due to missionary work in Africa, (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) though not many accepted this excuse. (AUDIO: After the Daleks)
At some point, Ian was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have his record as a companion of the Doctor taken. His memories of the visit were subsequently erased and he was sent on his way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
Life after the Doctor
Adventure with the Eleventh Doctor
Sometime later in 1965, Ian and Barbara were pulled into an illusory world, and made to believe they were still at Coal Hill School. They encountered the Eleventh Doctor, who helped them overcome the illusion, though Ian doubted that this was the same man.
Travelling to Cornucopia, the three were attacked by "the Hunters of the Burning Stone", whom Ian attacked from behind after the Doctor distracted them. After Barbara had been kidnapped by Miss Ghost, the creators of the metal the hunters sought, the Prometheans, appeared, revealing that they wanted Ian and Barbara, with the Hunters revealing themselves as the Tribe of Gum, the Prometheans having gifted the tribe their psychic metal just after the TARDIS crew had fled the prehistoric era.
The Hunters then blasted Ian, Patrick and the Doctor with psychic energy. Ian and the Doctor were shown Patrick Lake's memories, the formation of a new division of a space-focused branch of MI6 founded after a repelled Cyberman invasion in the early 21st century. The Doctor, realised that the Prometheans were feeding on Patrick's psychic energy and shut down Patrick's conscious mind only for the Prometheans to then turn their attentions on the Time Lord, Ian helping him overcome his doubts and break free.
When the Prometheans prepared to use a Neural Extractor to revert humanity to the state of caveman, Ian sparked the Doctor's idea to planet the image of the TARDIS in humanity's collective consciousness before Ian and Barbara managed to convince the Tribe to turn on the Prometheans, both sides destroying themselves. Returned to their own time, Ian and Barbara wed, the Doctor acting as Ian's best man. (COMIC: Hunters of the Burning Stone)
Ian became a science lecturer at a university, and gained a professorship, specialising in astronomy, as well as a wide range of other fields. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) However, despite having left the Doctor behind, he again got "caught up in his world" when he was contacted by UNIT in the 1970s to assist in a temporally related problem. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy)
Ian and Barbara had a son, John Alydon Ganatus Chesterton, who later became a pop singer under the name "Johnny Chess". (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation, PROSE: Byzantium!) The Seventh Doctor's companion Ace was a fan of Johnny Chess. (AUDIO: Maker of Demons)
According to a rumour which Sarah Jane Smith shared with her friends Clyde Langer and Rani Chandra, Barbara and Ian had become professors at the University of Cambridge by the 2010s and reportedly had not aged since the 1960s. (TV: Death of the Doctor) Other sources suggested that Ian and his wife had aged. (PROSE: Untitled, AUDIO: The Five Companions, HOMEVID: Ian Chesterton: An Introduction)
Sometime in the 2010s, an "I. Chesterton" had become the Chairman of the Governors for the Coal Hill Secondary School. (TV: The Day of the Doctor) He was an old friend of the Doctor's and was on his fourth honeymoon with Barbara. (PROSE: The Day of the Doctor)
In their old age, Ian and Barbara mostly kept their stories to themselves, knowing what people were thinking when they found out the truth. Ian occasionally told people about his adventures. (HOMEVID: Ian Chesterton: An Introduction; AUDIO: The Transit of Venus, The Revenants)
Ian and Steven Taylor, among others, were later brought to an alternate Death Zone on Gallifrey. There he met the fifth incarnation of the Doctor, who now looked younger than him. He also met fellow companions Sara Kingdom, Polly Wright and Nyssa for the first time and encountered Daleks and Sontarans. According to this account, Ian Chesterton hadn't met the Doctor since his departure from his first incarnation, nor was he privy to the concept of regeneration. (AUDIO: The Five Companions)
He was brought by Pendolin to the Time Museum. He was shown things from his memories such as Coal Hill School and places from his travels. He had to evade a being who ate memories so Pendolin got him to remember. Pendolin abducted him in order to try and get the Doctor to come to the Museum. (AUDIO: The Time Museum)
Fifty years after he had last seen Susan, Ian was picked up by Veklin and taken to Gallifrey to join his former travelling companion in a diplomatic mission to the Sense Sphere. Travelling into the Interior with Susan, Ian helped her defeat a Dalek-Sensorite parasite, winning the Sensorites as allies for the Time Lords. Though Ian was willing to offer more aid, he was returned to the moment he'd been retrieved from. When Barbara returned home, Ian told her of the adventure he'd just been on. (AUDIO: Sphere of Influence)
Ian and Barbara attended Sarah Jane Smith's memorial on a "bright, cold Spring day", where they discussed Sarah Jane with other guests, and helped fight the Jackals of the Backwards Clock to foil the Trickster's revenge plot. (WC: Farewell, Sarah Jane)
An oak tree was planted at the Coal Hill quad in memory of Ian and Barbara. Surviving two Dalek invasions, it remained to at least the end of the 22nd century when it was found by Susan, who lived in the block of flats which Coal Hill had been converted to over a hundred years prior. Realising that the commemorative plaque had since been replaced more than once, Susan found it did not say when they ultimately died. (AUDIO: All Hands on Deck)
In an alternate version of the events leading to their discovery of the TARDIS imagined by Barbara while affected by a hostile alien intelligence, Barbara confided to Ian that she had been experiencing "episodes". She informed him again after having one while acting as a stand-in for Phys, and despite his concern, he told her that he wouldn't inform the governors. At a later point, they discussed their mutual curiosity about a rather unusual pupil, Susan Foreman, prompting them to follow her to her home address, which Barbara had discovered to be a Junkyard. An old man showed up and questioned the teachers, who explained that they were looking for Susan. Ian mentioned getting the police when the man attacked Ian with a cane. Then Barbara killed the old man with a spear. (PROSE: Nothing at the End of the Lane)
When the TARDIS was drawn to and destroyed on a world where time was in a constant state of flux, Ian, along with Barbara and the Doctor, was devoured by the Xesto, creatures that consumed time and all other possible futures. When a future Susan managed to make contact with her past self, the resulting explosion caused by their violation of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect allowed the future Susan to reach back in time and help the Doctor avert the original crash. (AUDIO: Tick-Tock World)
Ian was fiercely loyal and would stand by any decision made by the rest of his group even if he disagreed with it himself. Like Barbara, Ian was keen to return home, (TV: The Daleks, The Sensorites) prompting him to depart from the Doctor's company at the first chance. (TV: The Chase) He usually put others' interests before his, especially Barbara, whom he always looked after. (TV: The Daleks, The Keys of Marinus) Despite his loyalty, Ian was not against standing up to the Doctor when he felt he was being unreasonable; when the Doctor called him a "tiresome young man", Ian retorted "And you're a stubborn old man!" (TV: "The Forest of Fear")
Being a science teacher, Ian was initially sceptical about the TARDIS' time-travelling capabilities, having believed that time just happened and then it was finished and that you couldn't get "on and off whenever you like in the past or the future". However, he admitted he would be satisfied if he saw the truth for himself. (TV: "The Cave of Skulls")
On a number of occasions, Ian endured the severe test of facing his fears. While searching for Barbara in Palestine, Ian was captured and staked in the desert, daubed with honey to attract ants. (TV: The Crusade) Ian's instinctive fear of ants may have been increased with his experiences on Vortis. (TV: The Web Planet)
Although Ian was essentially a moral character and had stopped the Doctor from killing the caveman Za with a rock on their first adventure, (TV: "The Forest of Fear") he was willing to kill if necessary. Having been forced into hand-to-hand combat, Ian accidentally killed the Aztec warrior Ixta when he fell over the side of a pyramid. (TV: The Aztecs) Ian threatened Lobos, saying that killing him might be enjoyable, though he may have been bluffing. (TV: The Space Museum) Ian developed his skill as a swordsman during his travels. He was also capable at unarmed combat. (TV: The Aztecs, The Crusade; COMIC: Hunters of the Burning Stone) Barbara noted that it was the quiet girls who interested Ian the most. (PROSE: Byzantium!)
He was well-acquainted with music artists who were popular with his students such as John Smith and the Common Men, (TV: "An Unearthly Child") and even danced to "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles. (TV: The Chase)
Ian was fiercely protective of his companions, unhesitatingly standing up to those who would threaten them. Barbara even noted that Ian seemed to carry the burden of their safety on his shoulders. (AUDIO: Tick-Tock World) Such did this define his character that the Master was able to quickly bring Ian under his control by promising to keep Barbara safe. (AUDIO: The Destination Wars)
Ian was handsome (PROSE: The Edge of Destruction), stocky and well-built (PROSE: The Sensorites) with an open and cheery face. (PROSE: Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child) His regular features and neatly-parted black hair gave him an air of honest reliability. (PROSE: The Reign of Terror) At Coal Hill School, he wore the traditional sports jacket and flannel of a schoolmaster. (PROSE: Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child)
Ian continued to wear parts of his Coal Hill attire whilst travelling. (TV: The Daleks) His black and emerald green-striped tie (the school colours) was destroyed when the Doctor tested acidic water with it. (TV: The Web Planet) He wore a pinstripe shirt on one occasion. (TV: The Chase)
After visiting 13th century China, Ian received a Chinese-style gown. (TV: Marco Polo) He continued to wear it on Marinus. (TV: The Keys of Marinus) He also dressed for various historical occasions, including donning a toga with his hair (which almost always remained in its "square", early 1960s styling) combed forward by Barbara (TV: The Romans) and taking the guise of an Aztec warrior, complete with a bird-headed helmet. (TV: The Aztecs)
Behind the scenes
- The roles of Ian and Barbara as, respectively, science and history teachers were part of the series' original plan to alternate between science-fiction and historical stories. Originally, the character was named "Cliff". (DWMSE 7)
- He was originally supposed to return in Mawdryn Undead, but William Russell was unavailable, so his role was re-written for the Brigadier.
- In the late 1990s, William Russell reprised the role of an aged Ian for a series of links in BBC Video's restoration of The Crusade.
- Ian and Barbara are the only regular companions from the "black and white era" to meet a "new series" Doctor, having had an adventure with the Eleventh Doctor in the comic story Hunters of the Burning Stone.
Information from invalid sources
In the charity story An Unearthly Palaver, Ian and Barbara investigated their rude student Panda, back to his "home" in Putney Common with Iris Wildthyme. Upon seeing the conditions Panda was living in, he threatened to call social services.