You may wish to consult Shelley for other, similarly-named pages.
Mary Shelley (née Godwin) was a 19th century English writer who pioneered what later became known as science fiction, composing the science-based horror story Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, and the future history The Last Man. Shelley's circle of friends included poet Lord Byron and John Polidori, who was one of the first to write about vampires. She was married to Byron's close friend and fellow Romantic poet Percy Shelley.

She was also a companion of the Eighth Doctor.


Mary was born in 1797. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk) Her maiden name was Godwin; (AUDIO: The Witch from the Well) her father, William Godwin, wrote the book Caleb Williams. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

She had a stepsister named Claire Clairmont. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

When Mary was 16, Percy Shelley abandoned his wife and child for her. (AUDIOMary's Story)

Mary had a child. (AUDIO: The Witch from the Well)

In the summer of 1816, (AUDIO: Storm Warning) Mary left her Bishopsgate home in WindsorEngland (AUDIO: The Silver Turk) and travelled to Switzerland, where Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, John Polidori, Claire Clairmont and she stayed at Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva. (AUDIO: Mary's Story) Although Percy and Mary Shelley referred to each other as husband and wife, they were not yet officially married at the time. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

The Eighth Doctor mentioned that he and Professor Chronotis spent time near Lake Geneva with Mary and Byron. (WC: Shada, AUDIO: Shada)

As she would later recount in her foreword to Frankenstein (edition 1831), the incessant rain of this particular summer drew them away from the lake and kept them indoors, at Lord Byron's house, for days. Whilst reading ghost stories together, Byron challenged the group to each write a ghost story of their own. Though Mary's account said that there were only four individuals present, the Eighth Doctor knew this was untrue. The Doctor wished she had been able to tell the real story of what had taken place (AUDIO: Storm Warning) at Villa Diodati. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

In June 1816, at Villa Diodati, the 18-year-old Mary encountered two versions of the Eighth Doctor simultaneously. The older of the two versions introduced himself as Dr Frankenstein. When this older version appeared to have died Percy suggested to make an experiment with lightning on the Doctor's body, modelled after the experiments of signor Galvani on frogs. During the experiment, Percy called himself "the modern Prometheus". This experience, as well as Mary's later travels with the Doctor, must have influenced her science-based horror story Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. After the younger version of the Doctor has helped the older one to recover, Mary left her future husband and their friends and spent years travelling with the younger version of the Doctor. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

From Lake Geneva, the Eighth Doctor took Mary to Vienna on 11 September 1873, where they encountered two Cybermen from Mondas. Mary showed great courage defending her friends from a throng of Marionettenburg puppets with a poker. She also initially took pity on the Cybermen, who were badly damaged and malformed as the result of the crash-landing of their spacecraft. She almost befriended one of them, Gramm, and found a way to partially repair their damage using Galvanic lightning. However, when Gramm threatened to kill her, she managed to thwart its plan to contact Mondas by destroying the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, the only suitable power source for a transmitter. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)

She later visited Lincolnshire in 2011 and in the 1650s, where she encountered some Varaxils who were looking for a human who could channel Odic energy. She also met Aleister Portillon who was obsessed with Lord Byron and had a biography of Mary herself. (AUDIO: The Witch From the Well)

During her travels with the Doctor, Mary met Axons and King Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

Another adventure with Mary involved her believing someone to be her brother until the Doctor had pointed out that it was not. (AUDIO: Neverland)

After her encounter with the Bone Lord, Mary decided to leave the Doctor's company, as she feared his other companion: death. (AUDIO: Army of Death)

Also in 1816, Mary encountered the Tenth Doctor when Zzazik, an alien creature wrapped in bandages, was absorbing bolts of energy. This sight provided Mary with inspiration for a scene in Frankenstein. The Doctor mentioned that she looked familiar, but did not comment further. (COMIC: The Creative Spark)

In 1822, Mary was widowed when her husband Percy drowned after his schooner sank off the coast of Italy. (PROSE: Managra)


The Eighth Doctor had a copy of Shelley's Frankenstein in his TARDIS library, inscribed to him by her, implying that the two remained on good terms after her departure from the TARDIS. The Doctor read the preface aloud and mentioned that what Mary wrote wasn't the entire truth about what happened. (AUDIO: Storm Warning)

The Twelfth Doctor saw Mary, among other companions, when Bernice Summerfield was hit by temporal energy in the Pyramid Eternia. (PROSE: Big Bang Generation)


Mary had hazel eyes, flecked with green. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)

Other information

Behind the scenes

  • A few years after writing Frankenstein, Shelley wrote a little-known science fiction novel called The Last Man, which takes place at the end of the 21st century. In the context of the Whoniverse and the recent revelation that she travelled with the Doctor, it is possible that her writing of this book (and, possibly, of Frankenstein) may have been influenced by her experiences with the Doctor. The prologue of The Last Man even includes a story of the author and her unnamed travelling companion and cites this adventure as the inspiration for the novel.
  • Mary and Percy Shelley got married only on 30 December 1816.
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