An accomplished scientist, Liz became a civilian member of UNIT and an assistant to the Doctor before deciding to return to the University of Cambridge. She met and had further adventures with the Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctors and was headhunted to set up the P.R.o.B.e., an M.o.D. department which she headed.
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)
Education at Cambridge Edit
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 doctorates in Chemistry and Medicine, honorary doctorates in Metaphysics and Humanities and assorted qualifications in Economics, History and Latin. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice) She also had a degree in Physics (TV: Spearhead from Space) and 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)
Career at UNIT Edit
Meeting the Doctor Edit
In the 1970s, Liz was invited by Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart to UNIT headquarters in London and offered the job as their scientific advisor. She was initially sceptical of the organisation and had not planned on working in security, but changed her mind upon meeting the Third Doctor. She helped him defeat the Nestene Consciousness and its Autons, using a machine to kill them. (TV: Spearhead from Space, AUDIO: The Blue Tooth) During the adventure, she met with her mother, who was disappointed that she was not the sole scientific advisor. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
Assisting the Doctor Edit
After the Nestene invasion, Liz examined the Auton leftovers. (PROSE: Caught in the Web) She and the Doctor investigated the Extractor, which attempted to take her mind and left her with amnesia, (PROSE: The Mind Extractors) and visited Grestonspey in Scotland, which they learnt was being drained of power by the Zeld. (PROSE: The Ghouls of Grestonspey) Liz was again taken over for a time, by a sentient virus, (PROSE: Invaders Invisible) witnessed an alien attack at Sayle College (PROSE: The Dark Planet) and was attacked by a cave insect whilst exploring a cavern. (PROSE: Caverns of Horror)
Liz often said that all the Doctor needed was "someone to pass him his test tubes and tell him how brilliant he was". (TV: Terror of the Autons) They were both taken prisoner by the Valerons when they entered their sub-atomic universe using a sub-space radio and were abruptly returned to the lab when the Brigadier switched off the radio, unaware of their adventure. (PROSE: A Universe Called Fred) They examined sentient iron (COMIC: The Metal Eaters) and investigated reports of a crashed Voord ship in Stegmoor. (AUDIO: Beachhead)
At the Wenley Moor nuclear research facility, Liz, the Doctor and the Brigadier investigated the Silurians. Liz and the Doctor rushed to find a cure to a Silurian virus that Morka released into England, after which Liz gave the formula away to be mass-produced. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians) She wrote to her mother to tell her about the cure and that she had found letters sent to Charles Lawrence and Edward Masters that told them of their upcoming deaths. (AUDIO: The Last Post) She overloaded the Silurians' molecular disperser on the Doctor's instructions to save the van Allen Belt and watched with the Doctor as the Brigadier blew up the Silurians' base. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
Liz joined the Doctor and the Brigadier in investigating Milton Bradbury and saved the life of an Eriscent. (PROSE: The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back) She worked out that the Mim was disguised as Sergeant Robin Marshall and finally entered the TARDIS, where she met another Time Lord. (AUDIO: Shadow of the Past) She worked on Recovery 7 and was kidnapped by General Carrington's men and forced to use her skills to monitor the life signs of the alien ambassadors and work on a communication device with the Doctor. The pair were rescued when the Doctor sent an S.O.S. to UNIT (TV: The Ambassadors of Death) and Liz discovered that Professor Taltalian and Sir James Quinlan also received letters about their deaths. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
Although she had planned to spend Christmas at Cambridge, she ended up staying in at UNIT HQ where the Doctor showed her sunrise from orbit using the Time-Space Visualiser and apologised that she was not used to her full potential. (PROSE: UNIT Christmas Parties: First Christmas) Six months after joining UNIT, she went looking for the Doctor in Cardle Muir in the Scottish Highlands after he went missing. (AUDIO: A Home From Home) When her mother received a letter just as Lawrence, Masters, Taltalian and Sir James had, Liz convinced the Doctor to look into it and save her. She investigated the Deathwatch and found the Apocalypse Clock, from which she read the causes of the Doctor's future regenerations. (AUDIO: The Last Post)
Liz investigated the Inferno Project with UNIT and looked after the Doctor when he returned form the Inferno Earth. (TV: Inferno) She was, however, sceptical of his claims that he had been to a parallel universe (PROSE: Still Lives) and tried to help him repair the TARDIS. (PROSE: The Eye of the Giant) The two looked into the Carpanthans' city, taking a diving bell to the ocean floor where they were arrested for the destruction of their city and sentenced to death before the Doctor could convince them otherwise. (COMIC: The Fishmen of Carpantha) She stowed away in the Monk's TARDIS when he left with the Doctor and managed to guilt-trip him into saving the Doctor from his trap and taking them back home. Before leaving, she stole some parts from his TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Blame Game)
Liz made an enemy of Caroline Brown, who swore vengeance upon her and planned to one day kill her. (PROSE: The Science of Magic) One of the Doctor's attempts to fix the TARDIS sent Liz back in time to 1539 where she lived as a doctor at the country house of the Duke of Norfolk and was known as Lady Shaw. When she could not cure Henry VIII's hiccups, she was sentenced to death but was saved by the Doctor. (PROSE: Hiccup in Time)
Whilst the Doctor was in one of his moods, Liz went to see Jean Baisemore and found that she was missing. She asked the Doctor to help her find her, as well as a number of other scientists who had gone missing. They discovered that she had been infected with a cyber-conversion fluid and that she had become a Cyberman, hiding in a Cyber-ship beneath her house. The experience made Liz decide that she would leave UNIT. (AUDIO: The Blue Tooth)
Liz was tasked with investigating an alien computer following the disappearance of the scientists who had worked on it. She hacked into it with the Doctor's help and was transported inside, where the computer used the forms of James Foster and Childs to convince her to destroy it. Because she had a different perspective on things than the others at UNIT, she decided to stay just a little longer. (AUDIO: Binary)
By the time Liz had left UNIT, she had compiled a record of mysterious events in the UK spanning fifty years. (AUDIO: The Hidden Realm) She was hypnotised by the Master into divulging everything she knew about the Doctor, including about the Nestene Consciousness and the Silurians. He wiped her mind of the interrogation and she later decided that she would resign from UNIT and return to Cambridge. (PROSE: Reconnaissance)
According to one account, following a difficult situation stemming from anonymous letters about treachery in C19 that she received, Liz took part in diplomatic relations between humanity and a Silurian tribe and agreed to continue to find a cure for the hybrids' condition. However, she resigned from UNIT to return to Cambridge. She mourned for Marc Marshall and said a tearful farewell to the Doctor, who pretended that he did not care, bringing out the true feelings of who she was at heart when she usually acted as a work-minded colleague around him. He was unable to say a proper goodbye to her face without being overcome with emotion. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice)
According to another account, she decided to leave UNIT after receiving an offer from the Queen Mary University of London to work at CERN. When the Doctor reacted condescendingly, she slipped away without saying goodbye. (PROSE: Country of the Blind)
Continued association Edit
Shortly after leaving UNIT, Liz was approached by the Doctor who gave her a message pod from a future in which she formed the Power Elite. She chose to avert that timeline. (PROSE: Prisoners of the Sun) As Bernard Trainor's conference was to take place at Cambridge, Liz acted as UNIT's liaison and was reunited with the Doctor at a party thrown by a friend. She helped him against the Waro. (PROSE: The Devil Goblins from Neptune)
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)
Liz invited the Doctor to a conference in Paris on psychic phenomenon but their plane's engine unexpectedly exploded. A psychic young woman was able to keep it in flight using her powers until they landed. Liz confronted Hardin, whom she knew to be the girl's professor, and made him explain his experiments which involved making psychic assassins for sale. (COMIC: Change of Mind)
The Doctor and Jo visited Liz in Cambridge after he gained control of his TARDIS. He offered to take Liz on an adventure and she chose Siberia in 1908 to witness the Tunguska Event. They instead landed in 1916 St Petersburg. (PROSE: The Wages of Sin) According to another account, her first adventure in the TARDIS was with the Fourth Doctor, who returned to her to apologise for not saying a proper farewell. (PROSE: Down to Earth) On one occasion, when the Doctor and Jo were on Peladon and the Brigadier needed Liz's assistance, she had gone away on a lecture tour. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy)
Liz was summoned back to UNIT when Earth was being flooded. She called for the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith to help when she found that the Brigadier was acting strangely and unpredictably, later finding that he had been possessed by a Remoraxian. She and Sarah helped to defeat the Remoraxian Prime, after which she, Sarah and the Brigadier were kidnapped by Adam Mitchell. (COMIC: In With the Tide) They were later saved. (COMIC: Endgame)
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)
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) According to her mother, in 1977, Liz was working for the British Rocket Group when they had plans to put a base on the Moon. (AUDIO: The Cloisters of Terror)
Working with 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)
In the 1990s, Liz answered an advert in Time Out which called for anybody who knew the meaning of the word "TARDIS". She met with Jo, Sarah, Tegan Jovanka and Ace in London. (PROSE: Girls' Night In) In or after 1997, (PROSE: The Dying Days) Liz went to a Christmas party with Mike Yates at the Brigadier's house. (PROSE: Faithful Friends: Part 3)
In 1999, Liz was called on by UNIT to study a bust of Nero with unusual properties. Unbeknownst to her, her assistant Dr Jonas Smythe was actually the Fifth Doctor. Following Claudio Terrizzi's death, Liz was driven home and found a note in her pocket telling her to tell the Brigadier that the Doctor said "hi". She wondered what the Doctor had had to do with the situation. (PROSE: Flashpoint)
Later life Edit
Death on the Moon Edit
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)
Living in the 21st century Edit
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.
Following the mission's completion, Patsy decided to leave the Ministry of Defence and move to Spain, asking Liz to go with her. She smiled in response. (HOMEVID: When to Die) She left P.R.o.B.e. (PROSE: The Door We Forgot) and Giles was put in charge in her absence, (WC: Shadows of Doubt) although he felt that he was unable to step out from "Dr Haggard"'s shadow. (PROSE: The Door We Forgot)
Liz attended Sarah Jane Smith's memorial on a "bright, cold spring day", where she 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)
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)
Looking back on her time as a student, Liz described herself as 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" on-screen 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.
- Caroline John wore a blonde wig for The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno, and wore a darker coloured wig for the part of Section Leader Elizabeth Shaw.[source needed]