As a shape-changing android, Kamelion was used by the Master before the Doctor invited him aboard the TARDIS to travel with him, Tegan and Turlough. Proving to be something of a liability due to his weakness to influence by external forces, he eventually decided to remain in his room and experience the Doctor's travels remotely.
Falling under control of the Master once more, Kamelion was left in agony and begged the Doctor to destroy him, a request that the Doctor obliged.
According to one account, Kamelion was one of a number of androids created by the Kamille on Mekalion as servants through which they could experience the physical world. He was sent to Xeriphas as part of an invasion force to wipe out the Xeraphin, but entered a dormant state after the command signal from Mekalion stopped transmitting. (AUDIO: The Kamelion Empire)
According to another account, the Kamelions were created by the Gelsandorans (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure) as weapons of war during their invasion of Xeriphas. After the Gelsandorans left the planet, Kamelion, not knowing why his masters had left him, shut down his consciousness. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus)
Travels in the TARDIS
Meeting the Doctor
The Master found Kamelion in his dormant state and took him aboard his TARDIS where he proved instrumental in the Time Lord's escape. The Master took him to 1215 England where he had him impersonate John of England, planning to pervert history by preventing the signing of Magna Carta. The Fifth Doctor arrived and freed Kamelion from the Master's control, inviting him to travel with him in the TARDIS alongside Tegan Jovanka and Vislor Turlough. Tegan expressed that she was uncomfortable with him travelling alongside them but was outvoted by the Doctor and Turlough, who were both fine with Kamelion being on board the TARDIS. (TV: The King's Demons)
As a companion
En route from Gallifrey to the Eye of Orion, Kamelion detected an oncoming collision and raised the TARDIS alarm. A phoenix arrived in the console room and overpowered Kamelion before it was tricked into leaving. (PROSE: The Bird of Fire) He later fell under the control of the Mara from Tegan's subconsciousness. (PROSE: Mark of the Medusa)
In 10,764, Kamelion became controlled by Maximillian Arrestis. However, he used the opportunity of Arrestis ordering him to turn into something to threaten his enemies to transform into a Sculti, a race with a bio-electric field capable of shutting down the human brain. This killed Arrestis and made Kamelion decide to remain in the TARDIS, believing himself to be untrustworthy. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus)
Kamelion patched himself into the TARDIS information files by means of the telepathic circuits, meaning that he had permanent access to the TARDIS information system. For a time he appeared to have been possessed by the criminal Nustanu, but this was later established to just be the result of Tegan's paranoia causing him to assume the appearance of what she subconsciously 'needed'. He then fell under the control of the Guardian of the Spring until the others were able to bring him back. (AUDIO: Devil in the Mist) During a visit to a mine in Abertysswg, Kamelion succumbed to the grief of a widow and transformed into her husband and son after being present at their deaths, nearly killing the daughter of the mine-owner as 'an eye for an eye'. (AUDIO: Black Thursday) In York, he went missing and disguised himself as a human, falling under the influence of an aspiring invader, the Hostess, before receiving a signal from Mekalion. (AUDIO: Power Game)
After receiving a signal, the Doctor took Kamelion home where he became a weapon of war as he was taken over by Chaos, one of the four aspects of the Kameil, stealing the TARDIS and threatening to kill his companions. He eventually came to his senses and planned to deactivate himself, but the Doctor instead offered to convert a storeroom into a Zero Room where he would be safe and isolated, to which Kamelion agreed. He asked that his companions forget about him so that he could focus on preparing his own mental defences. (AUDIO: The Kamelion Empire)
Remaining in the TARDIS
Kamelion was visited in his room by Tegan, who wanted to show Turlough what the Fourth Doctor had looked like. His attempt to transform resulted in him overloading due to the stress of accessing his companions' subjective experiences and impressions. The Fifth Doctor provided him with a casket to shield him from data that he could not properly process. (PROSE: Qualia)
On the Isle of Mona, Kamelion made a rare trip outside the safety of the TARDIS. (PROSE: The Fall of the Druids) He spoke with the Doctor and Tegan in a TARDIS corridor when they visited Little Hodcombe. (PROSE: The Awakening)
Turlough attempted to talk with Kamelion about his current feelings of dissatisfaction with his life, but Kamelion was unable to help as he lacked proper psychological insight. When the TARDIS materialised on the Moon in 1878, although Turlough suggested that Kamelion accompany them for additional protection, he was initially confined to the TARDIS by a force field preserving an atmosphere at the lunar park which disrupted his operating systems. He later left the TARDIS and saved the Doctor from dying of asphyxiation as the force field began to collapse after the death of the Warden. He also helped the Doctor and Turlough salvage weapons to use against the Vrall, and subsequently appeared to Queen Victoria as the apparent spirit of Prince Albert to advise her to abandon the British space program. (PROSE: Imperial Moon)
Wired up to the data core, Kamelion received a Trion distress call and redirected the TARDIS to its source in Lanzarote. A later attempt to establish contact with its source, actually the Master, led Turlough to overload the console to try to disable him. He was unsuccessful, however, with the Master's consciousness taking almost complete control of the android.
Drawing from Peri Brown's subconscious, the Master used Kamelion's shapeshifting abilities to take on the form of Howard Foster, claiming to have wandered into the police box after seeing her and Turlough entering it; this short-lived deception allowed him to get close to the control console, whereupon the Master piloted the ship to Sarn. There, continuing to control Kamelion's body, the Master used him to try and use the Numismaton Gas of the Trions' sacred flame to restore his real body to its full size.
The Doctor used gas control circuitry to give Kamelion a near-fatal "heart attack", which severed the Master's control over him after which Kamelion asked him to destroy him. The Doctor obliged, using the Tissue Compression Eliminator. His final earthly words were: "Destroy me... please..." (TV: Planet of Fire)
As a result of his interfacing with the TARDIS, a little of Kamelion's personality survived within and was given a new body by the Gelsandorans, only for him to sacrifice himself to save the Doctor and Peri. (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure)
Enough of Kamelion's mental link to the Doctor existed for the Master to trap his old enemy in a dreamscape, slowly destroying his will to regenerate. In this trap, Kamelion took the form of Anima before breaking free from the Master's control thanks to Nyssa and Lasarti. He joined Nyssa and the Doctor's other companions in freeing him from the trap so that he could regenerate. (AUDIO: Winter; TV: The Caves of Androzani)
The Sixth Doctor and Peri found that Kamelion and the TARDIS had had a child together, which they raised. It developed into a double of Peri and was left by them on Earth in the real Peri's place whilst she continued with her adventures. (PROSE: The Reproductive Cycle)
Kamelion was created from structure mathematics via Block Transfer Computations, (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus) a complex mass of artificial neurons, controlled by simple concentration and psychokinetics. As such, he was able to change his appearance and form at will. (TV: The King's Demons) He could even apply the same transformative energies to other individuals, as when he appeared to turn people to stone in the guise of Medusa. (PROSE: Mark of the Medusa)
Not only could he masquerade as various humanoids, but Kamelion could actually change his mass via a pseudo-metabolic extension into the fifth dimension, where he stored or drew on mass to suit varied body forms. (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure) At various points, he changed his hands into weapons, and took the forms of a Gubbage Cone with many tendrils and a fifty-foot tall version of his standard body. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus) In spite of his capabilities, however, Kamelion was still susceptible to water damage. (AUDIO: Devil in the Mist)
Kamelion assumed the shapes of John of England, Tegan Jovanka, (TV: The King's Demons) Arrestis, Lassiter, (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus) Albert, (PROSE: Imperial Moon) Howard Foster, the Fifth Doctor, the Master (TV: Planet of Fire) and Red. (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure)
When the Tenth Doctor was trapped in the remnants of the Matrix by Es'Cartrss, he requested that the TARDIS avatar that was assisting him transform into Kamelion to penetrate a force field within the Matrix, as he realised that Es'Cartrss's 'allies' were all his artificial enemies, deducing that robots could pass through the force fields and recalling Kamelion as an example of a non-organic companion. (COMIC: The Forgotten)
Kamelion was among the creatures that Gabby Gonzalez sketched exiting the Pentaquoteque Gallery of Ouloumos in her notebook. However, her notes were notable for being somewhat inaccurate. (COMIC: The Arts in Space)
Behind the scenes
- According to the featurette Kamelion: Metal Man, included on the DVD release of The King's Demons, the robot used for Kamelion was not custom-made for the series, but was a device discovered by producer John Nathan-Turner when he was searching for a possible successor to K9. According to the featurette, script editor Eric Saward and Peter Davison were extremely sceptical that the robot would work as an ongoing companion due to its frequent malfunctions.
- Kamelion's mouth was designed to move in sync with the pre-recorded dialogue by Gerald Flood.
- Kamelion only appeared twice in the series; further appearances were impractical due to the special effects required. A scene involving Kamelion was filmed for The Awakening part one, but was edited out before transmission due to the episode overrunning. As a result, there are no references to Kamelion in any episodes between The King's Demons and Planet of Fire, not even in The Five Doctors, which occurs immediately after the events of Kamelion's debut.
- Kamelion's software designer, Mike Power, was killed in a boating accident not long after the robot was accepted to appear in the series and, as he had never written fully detailed operating instructions, this made operation of the prop considerably difficult. An in-universe explanation for this was provided in The Crystal Bucephalus, set immediately after The King's Demons, where Kamelion's automatic 'loyalty' to strong minds causes him to be used against the Doctor, prompting him to decide to remain in the TARDIS so that he cannot be used against his fellow travellers in future. A similar decision was made by him in The Kamelion Empire, set after three stories in which he proved a liability.
- According to Peter Davison in the Metal Man featurette, any sign of regret shown by him/the Doctor during Kamelion's "death" scene was pure acting. He was in reality gleeful to be done with the troublesome prop.
- A DVD box set containing The King's Demons and Planet of Fire was released under the title Kamelion Tales.
- In their tongue-in-cheek reference book Doctor Who: The Completely Useless Encyclopedia (1996), Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons write that "An examination of Kamelion's history reveals the possible existence of a curse of Poltergeist proportions. Both Terence Dudley and Peter Grimwade, who scripted the robot companion's appearances, have died. So too have Kamelion's human alter-egos, Gerald Flood and Dallas Adams, who played his 'Howard Foster' form for most of Planet of Fire. To say nothing of Kamelion's software designer, Mike Power, who was killed shortly after the decision was taken to include the robot in the series. Eric Pringle should thank his lucky stars that a Kamelion sequence was edited out of The Awakening and Missing Adventure scribe Craig Hinton should start worrying." Hinton – who penned the Missing Adventure The Crystal Bucephalus, which featured Kamelion prominently – later died of a heart attack, at the age of 42, in 2006.