She was a civilian member of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. An accomplished scientist, Liz assisted the Doctor while there. This often involved her winding up in the same life-threatening situations as the Doctor. She also encountered and had some adventures with the Fourth (PROSE: Down to Earth) and the Fifth Doctor. (PROSE: Flashpoint)
Some time after leaving UNIT, Liz was headhunted to set up the Preternatural Research Bureau to investigate anything out of the ordinary, where she worked for more than two decades.
Early life Edit
Liz was born to Reuben and Dame Emily Shaw. (HOMEVID: Ghosts of Winterborne, AUDIO: The Last Post) According to one account, she was born in 1943 in Stoke-on-Trent. (PROSE: The Devil Goblins from Neptune) According to another, however, she was only in her mid-twenties when she joined UNIT. (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth) Although Dame Emily encouraged both Liz and her sister Lucy to pursue careers in the arts, Liz was far more interested in science. She also had an uncle called Bernard. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
As a child, Liz was afraid of graveyards and hated the rusty watering cans, stand pipes and the smell of decayed flowers. Near her grandmother's grave was a fallen door that she imagined was a poor man's grave. She imagined that if she got too close the door would fall into the hole and she would either see what was in there or fall in herself. (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne)
Liz studied at the University of Cambridge. She chose Newnham College over Girton College due to a lack of interest in cycling. She was a prude with little taste for fashion, preferring the remit of science. During Freshers' Week, she took an instant dislike to Jean Baisemore, but the two became close friends. Jean's influence led to her becoming more outgoing and developing a keener and more modern sense of style.
She and Jean would often sit at the window of the Copper Kettle and speak ill-favourably about tourists sitting on the walls on King's Parade. She lived with her mother during her undergraduate degree but lived with Jean at Elm View Cottage whilst completing her second degree. (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth) She was also friends with fellow scientist Anne Travers (PROSE: Mind of Stone, The Enfolded Time) and was research fellows with Teri Billington. (AUDIO: The Sentinels of the New Dawn)
Liz became a foremost authority on meteorites and earnt degrees in Medicine, Physics and a dozen other subjects. (TV: Spearhead from Space) She could speak French to at least a reasonable degree of proficiency. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death, AUDIO: Binary) Following her graduation, she remained at Cambridge leading research programmes. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
Interactions with UNIT Edit
Career at UNITEdit
In the 1970s, Liz was invited to UNIT headquarters in London by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who was aware of her extensive knowledge and wanted her to serve as the organisation's scientific advisor. Before Liz had even joined, she knew in some ways that she would not be staying as it was not what she had imagined herself doing upon graduating. However, she decided to stay upon meeting the Doctor, who made her less sceptical to the idea of aliens. The two worked together to defeat the Nestene Consciousness and its Autons, which Liz did using the Doctor's machine. (TV: Spearhead from Space, AUDIO: The Blue Tooth)
Liz joined the Doctor and the Brigadier at the Wenley Moor nuclear research facility, where the Silurians had been drawing power from the facility. After a young Silurian released an epidemic into England, the Doctor and Liz rushed to find a cure, while Liz gave the formula away to be mass produced. After this plan was stopped, the Silurians tried destroying Earth's van Allen Belt using their molecular disperser, so that the sun's radiation would burn the humans to death while allowing the cold-blooded Silurians to survive. Under the Doctor's instructions, Liz overloaded the Silurians' disperser and the facility's reactor. As the Silurians retreated to put themselves back into hibernation, the Doctor and Liz watched as the Brigadier ordered the Silurian base blown up and the entrance permanently sealed off. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
She was asked by UNIT to investigate an alien computer after a couple of scientists disappeared whilst working on it. They asked her to look at the computer and she had to hack into one on an alien spaceship with the Doctor's help. She was initially helped by James Foster before he disappeared and then by Childs. She was transported into the computer to help fix it. (AUDIO: Binary)
Liz was later called with the Doctor to investigate a crashed spaceship in the Pennines. She tried to work out where the ship came from. When they got back from the North she helped to investigate the ship, testing the material it was made from. The Doctor started to act weird after seeing the contents of the ship and Liz started to be concerned, especially when the Mim started to invade. She discovered that the Mim had impersonated the Doctor and that's why he was acting weird. Entering the TARDIS she discovered an unconscious Doctor and helped him back to health. It was in the TARDIS where she met another Time Lord when the Doctor asked for their help. (AUDIO: Shadow of the Past)
Liz found herself chased down the road by a group of men working for General Carrington who forced her to pull over and run for her life until she tripped up on a pier and nearly fell to her death. She was saved by the men who wanted to kidnap her, and then put to work for her skills as a scientist to monitor the life signs of alien ambassadors who had been captured to use as living weapons. Liz was also made to help Carrington and his men learn to communicate with the aliens, soon accompanied by the Doctor after Reegan arranged for his capture by gassing him after he finished a trip into space. However, after he and Liz had finished work on an improved communication device, the Doctor discretely used it to send an S.O.S. signal to UNIT, which allowed the Brigadier to conduct a raid on the secret base and rescue them. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death)
She often had dinner with her mother and discussed her work with UNIT. The first occurrence was during the Nestene invasion where a set of civil servants were dying and they had letters foretelling their deaths. She later wrote to her mother after the Silurian incident after she found a letter in Dr Lawrence's coat telling him when he was going to die. Emily later told her that the people who were receiving these letters were on her committee. Whilst dealing with the Mars Probe 7 issue she found another letter amongst Bruno Taltalian's things. She managed to persuade the Doctor when her mother got one of the letters. After the Doctor saved her mother but went into a coma she investigated the committee that her mother was on, and found them all in stasis fields. She later found the apocalypse clock, the machine that was sending the letters, in a bunker under Whitechapel and told it that it was the cause of the end of the world. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
On Inferno Earth, the Doctor met a parallel version of Liz who had joined the military instead of becoming a scientist, even if her interest was there, Section Leader Elizabeth Shaw who interrogated him but later helped him. This version of Liz probably died, along with most of the rest of the other Earth in volcanic explosions. (TV: Inferno)
Whilst the Doctor was in one of his moods Liz went to see her old friend Jean Baisemore, discovering that she had gone missing. The Doctor arrived to investigate the disappearance of a set of scientists of which Jean was one. She was infected with a cyber-conversion fluid when she went to a dentist. On discovering a Cybermat, the Doctor and Liz encountered a Cyberman ship under Jean's house. This experience caused Liz to decide to leave the Doctor. (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth)
While the Doctor was working on a circuit from his TARDIS, the Monk arrived, offering to free the Doctor from his exile by taking him to 52nd century Shan Shen to get a vortex manipulator. When the Doctor and the Monk left, Liz stowed on board. The Time lords stopped them, damaging the Monk's TARDIS and causing a psychic shock that made Liz scream, letting the Doctor and the Monk know she was there. They then found out they were on a Delphon ship. The Monk revealed this was a trap and tried to trap the Doctor in the centre of the forming Earth. Liz managed to guilt-trip him into saving the Doctor and taking them back home, but not before stealing some parts from the Monk's TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Blame Game)
Liz received anonymous messages in the post about treachery in C19, the liaison between UNIT, the UN and the British government, which also said that she would be assisted by a journalist from Amsterdam called Jana Kristan. She received a call from what she assumed was Jana, but was actually an agent of the C19 splinter group after Jana had been murdered. Liz and "Jana" met in a café, where the anonymous man gave them a final letter containing a map leading to L'Ithe in the Channel Islands, which was linked to "something dangerous" going on in the North of England. After heading to L'Ithe, Jana killed a Silurian and the tribe's leader Chukk. In the Silurian shelter under the island, Liz spotted the Doctor and ran towards him, but Jana shot at her before the Silurians killed Jana with their third eyes. The Silurian-Sea Devil hybrid Baal D'jo helped Liz heal from her wounds.
After the Doctor was returned to the British mainland with the kidnapped boy Marc Marshall, the still-injured Liz was kept prisoner and worked with Baal and his sister Sula on a means of curing the illness that led to the hybrids' shortened lifespans. After UNIT had stopped the C19 rogue agents' plans to take over the world, Liz returned to UNIT HQ and agreed to take part in diplomatic relations between humanity and the Silurian tribe and to continue to find a cure for the hybrids' condition. Liz resigned from UNIT and returned to Cambridge. She had a tearful goodbye with the Doctor, feeling inadequate to him and grieving over Marc's death at the C19 Vault. He made it appear that he didn't care, bringing out the true feelings of who she was at heart after she had only conducted herself around him as a work-minded colleague. The Doctor respected her decision to resign and was touched by her inner compassion, happy that he had finally seen "the real Liz" underneath the scientist. She quietly gave him a fond farewell while he played with a caterpillar, unable to say a proper goodbye to his face without being overcome with emotion. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice)
According to one account, Liz's departure after the C19 incident coincided with Mike Yates being promoted from sergeant to captain and joining UNIT full-time. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice) Another account stated that Yates was promoted from lieutenant to captain at a point when Liz no longer worked with the Doctor and UNIT, and when Yates was stationed in Scotland. (AUDIO: Vengeance of the Stones)
One account suggested that she did not return to Cambridge but instead went to work for CERN, a then-new secret organisation. (PROSE: Country of the Blind) According to another account, when the Doctor asked if she returned to Cambridge University, Liz responded, "Indeed." (COMIC: In With the Tide)
Continued association Edit
Liz occasionally returned to help UNIT and the Doctor (PROSE: The Devil Goblins from Neptune) and even invited the Doctor to a lecture. (COMIC: Change of Mind) On one occasion, however, when the Doctor had gone away to Peladon, and the Brigadier needed her assistance, she had gone away on a lecture tour. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy)
About a year after leaving UNIT, Liz was working at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics under Teri Billington. She grew concerned with Billington's experiments into time dilation and informed the Doctor, who insisted on visiting. The two were transported to 2014 and thwarted the Sentinels of the New Dawn before returning and disassembling the particle accelerator. Although she told Billington that she had done so out of concern for the implications of time travel, Billington believed that it was professional jealousy and never spoke to her again.
Regretting not having properly said goodbye to the Doctor after leaving UNIT, Liz gave the Doctor a proper goodbye. The events had reassured her that she had made the right choice in moving on and leaving UNIT. (AUDIO: The Sentinels of the New Dawn)
Liz was invited by Michael to assist him in investigating Stahlman's ooze, an invitation that she accepted. The two entered into a romantic relationship and became engaged. However, Michael became a Primord thanks to a small tear in a glove, with Liz keeping Michael a secret while increasingly determined to find a cure. However, during her research she became infected herself, but retained her intellect and human appearance as she set out to release the Primords on a large scale, while convincing General Sharp that she actually agreed with his plans to weaponise the Primords.
Some time later, Liz invited the Doctor and Jo Grant to Cambridge, where she infected the Doctor and had him assist her with the ooze. However, the Doctor was able to resist the infection long enough to warn the Brigadier and Jo what had happened, allowing them to rescue the Doctor and cool him down long enough for him to devise a cure. Liz was returned to normal, along with most of the other Primords, but Michael was killed defending Liz from the outraged General Sharp. (AUDIO: Primord)
A few years after leaving UNIT, Liz gave a short interview to the investigative journalist James Stevens. Stevens found her a "difficult" subject. She warned him against prying too deeply into UNIT affairs. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
In 1974, Liz was summoned back to UNIT when Earth was being flooded. While dealing with this crisis, she discovered the Brigadier was acting strangely, giving orders to reassign UNIT troops "in a haphazard, unpredictable manner". She summoned the Doctor and his companion, Sarah Jane Smith, to help. When the Brigadier ordered the Tower of London to be sealed off and flooded, Liz finally decided he was unfit for duty and gave him a checkup. The Doctor deduced that the Brigadier had been possessed by a Remoraxian, a species that wanted to flood the world to allow them to colonise. The Doctor built a de-remorator to remove the Remoraxian from the Brigadier.
The Doctor, Sarah Jane, Liz and the Brigadier went to the nearby UNIT seabase along with Agent Paul of the CIA. There, the Remoraxian Prime was orchestrating its plot to flood the world. When the Remoraxian Prime sent the Doctor and the Brigadier to the bottom of the sea, Sarah and Liz saved them from drowning.
The American government authorised the nuclear bombing of Great Britain to stop the threat; the Doctor was given 29 minutes to negotiate with the Remoraxians. After the Brigadier persuaded the Remoraxian Prime that the Americans would follow through with the attack, the Remoraxians left Earth, ending the storms, and Agent Paul called off the bombing.
As the Doctor's travelling companion Edit
Generally, Liz was the Third Doctor's laboratory assistant rather than his travelling companion. She joined him at a time when the Doctor was just beginning his exile on Earth. Initially she expressed disbelief that the TARDIS was capable of flight when she first met the Doctor and remained incredulous for some time thereafter. (TV: Spearhead from Space, Inferno) To the extent that when she travelled with him, it was in Bessie or by other, more conventional means. She did however have a trip in the Monk's TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Blame Game)
However, she later travelled in the TARDIS with the Doctor and her successor, Jo Grant, after the Doctor regained his knowledge of time travel. (PROSE: The Wages of Sin) At one point, she travelled with the Fourth Doctor, who had deliberately sought her out to apologise for not saying goodbye to her properly. (PROSE: Down to Earth)
Three years and eight months after Liz and the Doctor's visit to 2014, Teri Billington suffered a stroke. Liz succeeded her as chair of the Council for Mathematical Sciences. (AUDIO: The Sentinels of the New Dawn)
Post-Cambridge and P.R.o.B.e. Edit
Liz was still working at Cambridge when she was headhunted to set up a special division of the Ministry of Defence apart from the police to investigate anything out of the ordinary. She agreed and formed the Preternatural Research Bureau, also known as P.R.o.B.e. (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne) However, P.R.o.B.e was not what she had been promised. The organisation was based in a single cramped office at Ashley House, was grossly underfunded and Liz was only given an assistant, Louise Bayliss, with whom she did the work of twenty. Liz remarked that work was usually "comatose or just plain dead". Through P.R.o.B.e. she became acquainted with government employee Patsy Haggard.
In August 1994, Liz became aware of a number of murders involving strange noises and temperature drops which all occurred around the Hawthorne clinic. Liz believed that some sort of energy was at work. However, she had to fight with Patsy to keep Scotland Yard from taking over and potentially risking P.R.o.B.e.'s already limited funding. Liz investigated and discovered Colin Dove's plan to unleash otherworldly evil during the perihelion using Patient Zero and Peter Russell. The plan was thwarted after Patient Zero jumped in front of a possessed Russell's knife to save Liz. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative)
Liz's father died in 1995, resulting in her taking some time off as compassionate leave. During this time, Sir Richard Stevenson was replaced as minister by Brian Rutherford who was far less supportive of P.R.o.B.e. and had Louise transferred elsewhere, which Liz was unaware of until she returned to duty. She was left the only member of P.R.o.B.e. and was told that she had to prove that the organisation was indispensable.
Patsy told D.I. Burke to consult Liz on the murder of Whittaker and his dog because of a ritualistic symbol. Liz investigated Winterborne School and got a confession to the murders of Whittaker, Luke Pendrell and Barbara Taploe from Gavin Purcell before realising that he was covering for his nephew, Christian, who claimed to be possessed by Isaac Greatorex and kidnapped Andrew Powell. Liz tracked them down and saved Andrew, but Christian disappeared after leaping into the motorway. Patsy's report meant that Rutherford kept P.R.o.B.e. in operation and D.I. Burke applied for a transfer to the organisation. (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne)
Some time later, Patsy assigned Colonel Ackroyd and his troops to assist Liz in solving the deaths of a number of people whose organs were mysteriously absent without any signs of removal. Liz investigated BEAGLE and found that Emerson was one of the BEAGLE creatures thought destroyed in 1975. She and Ackroyd shot the creature in self-defence. Rutherford was found to have had connections to the project and was forced to step down as minister to Liz and Patsy's delight. (HOMEVID: Unnatural Selection) He was replaced by Patsy.
As part of a practical joke pulled by the police, Liz spent two weeks investigating supposed poltergeist activity.
Liz returned to Winterborne School after Christian's body was found and Greatorex's grimoire was stolen from a private archive. She surmised that Greatorex was using Andrew to resurrect him using the book, which was made from his skin. Liz teamed up with Gavin Purcell to stop the resurrection, but he ended up possessed and Margaret Wyndham cast a spell that killed him and Greatorex. Liz promised Andrew that the ordeal was over. (HOMEVID: Ghosts of Winterborne)
One account held that in 2003, Liz was part of a UNIT team that investigated an artefact left by the alien Cthalctose on the Moon. As a result, she contracted Agent Yellow and died. (PROSE: Eternity Weeps)
Some time shortly before 2014, Liz was visited at her home by Ed Crowborough of UNIT who interviewed her experience with the Sentinels of the New Dawn. Liz, unaware that he himself was a Sentinel, relayed her story of the averted timeline. (AUDIO: The Sentinels of the New Dawn)
At some point, Liz and Patsy entered into a romantic relationship and moved in together. P.R.o.B.e. was also greatly expanded, being moved from Ashley House to a much larger building in Parliament Square with far superior facilities. Liz was joined by new members such as technology expert Giles and given a storage hold in which she placed Box on a shelf marked "Dr Smith".
In 2014, Liz spent some time in Spain dealing with ghostly activity for a client. Upon her return, she was tasked by Patsy and Defence Secretary Brian Williams with executing Corporal Paul Reynish. She was hesitant but helped, providing a chair and assisting in the search for him after his flight. After he took Josie Williams hostage, Liz convinced him to let her go and to die, which he agreed to. She was assisted in her mission by Box, which Giles had repaired, but it was broken by Reynish's explosive death.
Liz had a granddaughter, Elizabeth Holub. Like her grandmother, Elizabeth was a scientist and worked in Prague experimenting with cold fusion with the aim of providing inexpensive electricity. She worked with the Seventh Doctor in 2050 to prevent an attack on the city, long after Liz's death. (PROSE: Fable Fusion)
Undated events Edit
At some point, Liz was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have her record as a companion of the Doctor taken. Her memories of the visit were subsequently erased and she was sent on her way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
Alternate versions Edit
In another, following the death of that dimensions' version of the Third Doctor, she managed to survive into the early 1990s on an Earth devastated by the victorious Silurians and their virus. (PROSE: Blood Heat)
As a student, Liz was a hardworking prude with little care for things outside of her studies. She considered herself to be an academic and found herself irritated by most things, including big hair and miniskirts. Jean Baisemore's influence led to her becoming more outgoing and social, with the two sharing an interest in fashion and spending time bitching about people in a cafe. She did not like cats or the dentist. (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth)
Liz was a sceptic who claimed to deal with facts, a trait which the Brigadier found could be aggravating. As she had not asked to be brought to UNIT, she initially acted severely and made her discontent known. She was vastly intelligent and learned in a number of different fields, although her intelligence did not make her immune to being tricked by the Doctor, who fooled her into giving him his TARDIS key. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
Liz had auburn (PROSE: The Ambassadors of Death) or reddish-brown hair (PROSE: Inferno) and blue eyes. (TV: Spearhead from Space) She was serious-looking (PROSE: Inferno) and attractive "in a rather severe sort of way". (PROSE: The Ambassadors of Death)
Other information Edit
In the office at Ashley House, Liz had newspaper articles on the Mars Probe 7 rescue, the Inferno Project and air pollution black spots, as well as a photograph of the Brigadier. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative)
Behind the scenes Edit
- Liz Shaw is the first companion following the programme's move to colour, and as of 2019[update] the earliest companion without any missing episodes.
- The reveal in HOMEVID: When to Die that Liz was in a same-sex relationship with Patsy retroactively makes her the first onscreen LGBT companion of the Doctor.
- Despite being a doctor, Liz was consistently referred to as "Miss Shaw" rather than "Dr Shaw" on the programme and in HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative. She was first referred to as "Dr Shaw" onscreen in HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne and is known by both titles throughout the rest of P.R.O.B.E.. She is consistently known as "Dr Shaw" in Big Finish audios, (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth, etc.) as well as "Professor Shaw" in Primord.