Used by the Master to impersonate King John, he was later taken aboard the TARDIS by the Fifth Doctor. This continued until his destruction after he had again fallen under the influence of the Master.
However, this was not the end for him. He gained and lost a new host body, had a child with the Doctor's TARDIS and used his mental link with the Doctor to allow the Master to trap the Doctor within a dreamscape.
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 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)
According to one account, the Kamelions were created by the Gelsandorans (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure) as weapons of war during their invasion of the planet Xeriphas before leaving. Not knowing why they left, Kamelion shut down his consciousness. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus)
According to another account, the Kamelions were created by the Kamille as servants to experience physical interaction through following the loss of their physical form. They were also sent to other planets such as Xeriphas as ambassadors. These "ambassadors" would typically disguise themselves as the native peoples of the planet they are sent to, where they would work their way into a position of power, bringing the planet under the rule of the Kamelion Empire with natives being none the wiser. After taking power, the Kamelion ambassadors would bring about peace an harmony to these planets under their rule. In situations where the ambassadors were unable to take over a planet through peaceful means, they would either subjugate them through force or exterminate the native population. Kamelion himself was sent to Xeriphas to give the natives an ultimatum: either let the Kamelion Empire rule over them, or Kamelion would lead an invasion force on Xeriphas. (AUDIO: The Kamelion Empire)
When the Master became trapped on Xeriphas, (TV: Time-Flight) he discovered Kamelion had been left behind by previous invaders. He used the android to impersonate many beings across the cosmos, all the while causing Kamelion to develop a conscience. In his next encounter with the Fifth Doctor, he was using Kamelion to impersonate King John, in order to pervert history by preventing the signing of Magna Carta. (TV: The King's Demons)
Travels with the Fifth Doctor
Although Kamelion was eager to explore his own free will, he soon realised that his pre-programmed loyalty was too powerful to ignore, resulting in him falling under the control of the criminal psychopath Maximillian Arrestis while the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough investigating strange goings on at a time-travelling restaurant in the far future. However, Kamelion was able to assist the Doctor despite being officially under Arrestis's control when he was ordered to turn into something dangerous to threaten Arrestis’s enemies; Kamelion obeyed the order by transforming into a Sculti - a race that generated a bio-electric field capable of shutting down the human brain - but neglected to inform Arrestis that the same field could also shut down the energy weapons that Arrestis was using. This allowed the Doctor to gain the upper hand in the subsequent confrontation and send Arrestis - who had been rescued from the moment of his own death - back to the point in time where he’d come from. Despite the fact that he had prevented any serious damage being done, this adventure prompted Kamelion to resolve to remain inside the TARDIS from then on, his use as a weapon by Arrestis to kill someone proving to himself that he couldn't be trusted. (PROSE: The Crystal Bucephalus)
Kamelion subsequently spent most of his time in his room in the TARDIS, consisting of a chair with a link to the TARDIS's databanks, allowing him to 'listen' to the ship reflect on its adventures. However, after meeting the Doctor's first three incarnations (TV: The Five Doctors), Tegan tried to use Kamelion to show Turlough what the Doctor had looked like when she first met him. Unfortunately, this resulted in Kamelion overloading as he tried to access Tegan and Turlough’s subjective experiences and impressions, prompting The Doctor to provide him with a casket to shield him from data he couldn’t process properly (PROSE: Qualia).
Despite this, Kamelion did leave his room during a trip to the Moon with a Victorian lunar expedition in 1878, his assistance proving crucial to the resolution of the crisis. Initially confined to the TARDIS by a force field preserving an atmosphere on a lunar park that disrupted his operating systems, Kamelion later left the park and rescued the Doctor as he was dying of asphyxiation on the surface as the force field began to lose power following the death of the park's Warden. Later, he helped the Doctor and Turlough salvage weapons from the park to use against the ruthless Vrall, and posed as the spirit of the deceased Prince Albert to convince Queen Victoria to abandon the space program. (PROSE: Imperial Moon)
Kamelion fell under the Master's remote influence in Lanzarote and assumed the shape of Peri's stepfather, Howard Foster, after picking up on her thoughts. When the Master gained complete control over him, Kamelion assumed the form of the Master. The Master intended to use Kamelion to reverse an accident with his TCE that had shrunk him and his lab. The Doctor and Peri tried to return Kamelion to his own control and his robotic form, pitting their will against the Master's. When the Master was restored to his normal size, Kamelion was in agony over his possession and persuaded the Doctor to kill him to prevent any further possession. His final earthly words were: "Destroy me... please..." (TV: Planet of Fire)
A little of Kamelion's personality survived as a result of his interfacing with the TARDIS. When the ship arrived on Gelsandor, the natives gave him a new body, only for him to sacrifice himself to save the Fifth Doctor and Peri. (PROSE: The Ultimate Treasure)
As the Fifth Doctor lay dying from spectrox toxaemia, enough of Kamelion's mental link to him existed to allow the Master to use Kamelion to trap the Doctor in a dreamscape within his own mind, slowly destroying his will to regenerate. In this trap, Kamelion took the form of Anima, the Doctor's wife and the mother of his children. Thanks to the encouragement of Nyssa and her husband Lasarti, who were also mentally linked with him, the Doctor was able to see through the illusion. Freed from the Master's control once again, the psychically linked aspect of Kamelion in the Doctor's mind was able to join Nyssa and the Doctor's other companions from across space and time to free him from the trap so he could regenerate. (AUDIO: Winter)
Later, Kamelion and the TARDIS had a child together, which was raised by the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown. It developed into a double of Peri and took her place on Earth while the real Peri travelled with the Doctor. (PROSE: The Reproductive Cycle)
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.
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 part one of The Awakening, 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 on the series, and as he had never made fully documented operating notes, this made operation of the prop considerably difficult. An in-universe explanation for this was provided in The Crystal Bucephalus, set immediately after 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.
- 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 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.
- Even Robert Holmes, the writer of The Caves of Androzani, which features an illusory Kamelion, died in 1986.