A genius scientist, Nyssa assisted the Doctor in their fourth incarnation before joining him, Adric and Tegan as a travelling companion after becoming the last of her kind. Following Adric's death, a period of time alone with the Doctor and travelling alongside Brewster, Hannah, Marc and Turlough, Nyssa left the TARDIS to assist in the curing of those with Lazar's disease.
Nyssa assisted those harmed by the Time War and rejoined the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough before remaining in E-Space. She was eventually able to return and entered into a relationship with Tegan on Earth.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 Encounter with the Fourth Doctor
- 1.3 First travels in the TARDIS
- 1.4 Life after leaving
- 1.5 Later adventures in the TARDIS
- 1.6 Later life
- 1.7 Undated events
- 2 Alternate timelines
- 3 Personality
- 4 Appearance
- 5 Behind the scenes
Nyssa was born on Traken (AUDIO: Primeval) as the daughter of Tremas, a consul, and his wife. (TV: The Keeper of Traken) Both of her grandfathers had died by the time she was born (AUDIO: The Toy) and her mother died when she was young. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster)
Having grown up in the harmony of the Traken Union, Nyssa was shielded from the horrors of the universe. (AUDIO: 1001 Nights) She was brought up to be altruistic and to always put others before herself, a rule that she abided by. (AUDIO: The Entropy Plague) As Trakenite nobility, Nyssa learnt the manners and behaviours expected of her, including dance, which she considered herself quite good at, (TV: Black Orchid) whilst the servants' children were able to share rooms and play in the grounds. (AUDIO: The Toy) Due to her father's position, Nyssa spent most of her time amongst older people and was starved of company of her own age. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken)
Tremas entered into a romantic relationship with Kassia (TV: The Keeper of Traken) and would play her a piece of Trakenite music when she was feeling low. Nyssa remembered the piece fondly. (AUDIO: The Entropy Composition) She had a number of teddy bears, namely a talking one called Big Bear who "guarded" her when she slept. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
Nyssa inherited her father's love of science. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken) She was a genius, with bioelectronics (TV: Castrovalva) and cybernetics as her strong points. (TV: Four to Doomsday) However, she knew very little about telebiogenesis. (TV: Castrovalva) She enjoyed tending a grove (AUDIO: Masquerade) and was once stung by a Lime Grove Wasp. (AUDIO: The Mutant Phase) She was able to let loose during the Autumn Festival, when her people hung paper lanterns on all the trees in the garden and carried all the fruits in, followed by singing and a food fight which included the consuls. It was undignified, but Nyssa loved it. (AUDIO: Spare Parts)
Encounter with the Fourth Doctor
Nyssa attended Tremas and Kassia's wedding, after which she met the Fourth Doctor and Adric. Unbeknownst to her, the Decayed Master planned to exploit the tremendous power of the Keepership, which her father was to inherit, by manipulating Kassia. Nyssa helped the Doctor and Adric prevent the Master from gaining the power of the Source, but was unable to prevent him from killing Kassia.
Afterwards, Nyssa and Tremas bid farewell to the Doctor and Adric. Nyssa told her father that he had to put everything back together again following the Master's actions, but did not witness her father being killed and taken over by the decayed Time Lord, (TV: The Keeper of Traken) although she did think she heard a distant echo of mocking laughter. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken) She sent a message to the TARDIS telling the Doctor of the Master's escape and Tremas's disappearance. (PROSE: Logopolis)
First travels in the TARDIS
Joining the Doctor
After the Trakens' message had been received by the Doctor, Nyssa met the Watcher who took her to Logopolis to find the Master, as she wished to know what he had done to her father. She was reunited with the Doctor and Adric and met Tegan Jovanka before the Master enslaved her mind and used her in his complex plan to conquer N-Space. The Doctor was able to break the Master's control over her and she learnt that he had killed and taken over her father's body.
Whilst the Doctor, Tegan and the Master went to Earth in the latter's TARDIS, Nyssa and Adric remained in the Doctor's TARDIS on Logopolis. The Watcher helped Adric pilot the TARDIS and take them to Earth. However, during the journey, Nyssa witnessed the apparent destruction of the entire Traken Union thanks to an entropy wave, leading her to believe that she was the last of her kind. She witnessed the Doctor's regeneration into his fifth incarnation, (TV: Logopolis) after which she helped get him back to the TARDIS. (TV: Castrovalva)
With Adric and Tegan
Nyssa helped the Doctor get to the Zero Room, which she accidentally jettisoned in order to save the TARDIS from being destroyed in Event One. Arriving at Castrovalva for the Doctor's benefit, Nyssa found it was a secondary trap by the Master to get rid of the Doctor by using Adric to make block transfer computations. However, they managed to escape Castrovalva with Adric and the Doctor stabilised. (TV: Castrovalva)
Upon leaving Castrovalva, the TARDIS materialised in the Psychodrome, which created four competing kingdoms based on each of the travellers' individual perceptions of one another and their own backgrounds. Nyssa's perception proved to be the most dangerous due to her trauma causing her to associate the Doctor with the Master, resulting in the creation of King Magus. They were able to leave after acknowledging their flaws and shortcomings and affirm that they accepted one another despite them. (AUDIO: Psychodrome)
Nyssa met Chris Cwej and learnt from him of survivors of the Traken Union living on Serenity. With him, she went to a space station and discovered fusion devices. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) On an Urbankan ship, Nyssa was taken by the android inhabitants to become one of their own, but she was rescued by the Doctor and Bigon. Later, she fainted from stress (TV: Four to Doomsday) and slept in the TARDIS for four days thanks to the Doctor's delta wave augmenter. (TV: Kinda)
In 1666, Nyssa built a sonic booster with some help from Adric, which she used to destroy a Terileptil android. (TV: The Visitation) The Doctor took his friends to Gallius Ultima to learn more astronomy. She watched the autopsy of the crew of the previous expedition to the Larger Magellanic Cloud and saw Rovus starting his attack. When the Star Men fully invaded she was sent to their universe. (AUDIO: The Star Men) Later they visited London, 1864 at a strange club. Escaping Edward with Adric, she encountered Marjorie Stonegood who helped them leave via tube tunnels. They discovered an underground bathhouse on their way back to the surface. Looking into the baths, Nyssa found out that they contained growing Edwards. (AUDIO: The Contingency Club) Trying to find Tegan and Adric when they disappeared from the console room, the Doctor and Nyssa traced them to Zaltys. Gevaudan detected Nyssa's psychic abilities and used them to amplify his own. (AUDIO: Zaltys) She pretended to be an assassin's assistant to avoid being imprisoned and executed. She later helped to protect Miranda from the Scorpion. (AUDIO: Kingdom of Lies) She searched through a set of catacombs with Adric where they were attacked by a mysterious force. The Doctor transported her to another time to make her safe but she was transported to 1738 where she was taken care of by Matthew Doyle, who fell in love with her. She was trialled as a witch, but the Doctor managed to save her before she was drowned. (AUDIO: Ghost Walk) Nyssa found Argentia very decadent and didn't like it. She was tasked in finding what species of snake attacked Galgo. (AUDIO: Serpent in the Silver Mask)
On one occasion, the Doctor, Nyssa, Adric and Tegan spent Christmas with the renegade Time Lady Iris Wildthyme aboard the TARDIS. (AUDIO: Excelis Dawns) Nyssa encountered the Dar Traders who told her that she should be dead, later revising that to say that she had a strange connection with death due to being a Traken. On the Traders' ship, they showed her a mysterious box that contained an assassin, who stabbed her when they went to a planet to find the Doctor. (AUDIO: The Darkening Eye)
Due to a communication node disguised as a toy, Nyssa had recurring nightmares of her father on Traken. The telepathic call led her to a room where she saw a vision of the First Doctor and the Master on Gallifrey, the Doctor later telling her that the node had been locked away so that it could not be used to track himself and Susan. (AUDIO: The Toy) Working with Adric, Nyssa attempted to fly the TARDIS, which resulted in the ship materialising on Fleming's Island, the TARDIS falling off a cliff after the four left. Nyssa found herself briefly overwhelmed by the psychic presence of the I Predator, which they later managed to trap. (AUDIO: Iterations of I)
Nyssa encountered the Neomorph Cybermen aboard Briggs's freighter in 2526, later witnessing the freighter's destruction with Adric aboard. (TV: Earthshock) She asked the Doctor if the TARDIS could go back and save him, but the Doctor refused. Whilst working through their grief, the TARDIS crew was embroiled in an adventure which sent a Concorde back through time. After they returned the airliner to 1980s Heathrow Airport, the Doctor and Nyssa left without Tegan. (TV: Time-Flight)
Alone with the Doctor
After leaving Tegan at Heathrow, (TV: Time-Flight) Nyssa and the Doctor travelled together on their own, although Nyssa remained in the TARDIS for one adventure whilst she mourned Adric. (PROSE: Long Term) She began to think about asking the Doctor to take her to Traken prior to its destruction. (PROSE: Empire of Death)
Nyssa and the Doctor visited 1945 Maine, (PROSE: Tip of the Tongue) Monitoring Base XL-7, (PROSE: Lonely Days) 1980s Wales, (PROSE: Past Reckoning) Lethe (PROSE: The Parliament of Rats) and Carnon Manor, where Nyssa cried for the first time since Traken. (PROSE: The Eternity Contract) At some point, they met P. G. Wodehouse. (AUDIO: Autumn)
An attempt by Nyssa to repair the TARDIS's chameleon circuit resulted in the craft turning into a whale, which the pair then had to recover. (AUDIO: The Deep) They visited Alaska, where they stopped the Permians from Earth's prehistory spreading over the planet and wiping out humanity. (AUDIO: The Land of the Dead)
Nyssa was transported to Switzerland by the Doctor’s Spillager detector, where she became embroiled in poltergeist activity at a boarding school. When the Doctor arrived, she reluctantly helped him investigate and they discovered Spillager scouts using the pupils’ psychic abilities to open a gateway for an invasion. Nyssa was forced to use her nascent telepathic powers to close the gateway. (AUDIO: Winter for the Adept) Unbeknownst to her, her growing abilities were due to Kwundaar's manipulations. (AUDIO: Primeval)
Whilst Nyssa was repairing the TARDIS, it was thrown into a time corridor to the 22nd century where she met the Daleks for the first time. (AUDIO: The Mutant Phase) Later, the Doctor took Nyssa to ancient Traken due to an illness which they discovered to have been caused by Kwundaar, who planned to use Nyssa to gain control of the Source. (AUDIO: Primeval) She also helped the Doctor defeat Cardinal Zero. (AUDIO: Spring)
The TARDIS landed on Mondas where Nyssa witnessed the birth of the Cybermen. She attempted to persuade the Doctor to prevent the rise of the Cyber-race in order to save Adric and left believing that they had at least done some good. (AUDIO: Spare Parts) She was interrogated on Veln, unaware that the TARDIS had caused the disaster that resulted in the Velns' predicament, (AUDIO: Creatures of Beauty) and was locked in the Tower of London after the Doctor gave her incorrect currency to pay their tavern bill. (AUDIO: Summer)
On a devastated planet, Nyssa was deceived by the Doctor into believing that he would remain and she would have to be the Doctor. (PROSE: Confabula) She helped defeat the Xyz (PROSE: Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life) and Morian (AUDIO: The Game) but failed to beat a duplicate of Ian Bird, prompting the Doctor to suggest a holiday. (PROSE: The 57th)
Nyssa was reminded of how much she missed her family whilst on Saturn, which reminded her of her home planet. (PROSE: Saturn) She saw a vision of her father in 12th century Lebanon as the result of an unexplained phenomenon (PROSE: The Church of Saint Sebastian) and contemplated living on Earth after falling in love with Andrew Harper, the first man that she ever kissed, in 21st century Stockbridge. Although she ended their brief relationship, she left for him the manuscript of a novel she had tried her hand at writing. (AUDIO: Autumn)
For a short while, Nyssa undertook a solo expedition to 13th century Rhodes whilst the Doctor visited Stockbridge in the 20th century. During that time, she communicated with the Doctor across time and space through a pocket interocitor. Due to the Daleks' manipulation of time and space, she and a knight called Mulberry were transported to the middle of the American Civil War. Following her rescue by the Doctor, (AUDIO: Renaissance of the Daleks) the pair visited Vortis where they helped the Menoptera against the Zarbi. (AUDIO: Return to the Web Planet)
Due to a temporal accident, Nyssa and the Doctor were separated, with Nyssa being stranded in 1867 London. She was kidnapped from 107 Baker Street by Thomas Brewster, who later stole her TARDIS key and flew away in the TARDIS, (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster) leaving Nyssa and the Doctor stranded on Earth for five months.
The Doctor used Block Transfer Computation in attempt to bring back the TARDIS but instead ended up changing time and saving Adric, who died once more after helping Brewster pilot the TARDIS back to 1868. The Doctor invited Brewster to join himself and Nyssa in the TARDIS, an offer that he accepted. (AUDIO: The Boy That Time Forgot)
The TARDIS began to malfunction due to Brewster having sold some of its parts, including the conceptual geometer which led to the TARDIS's internal dimensions to start collapsing. However, the team were able to recover it. (AUDIO: Time Reef) They later visited 2008 per Brewster's request, where he elected to stay with Connie Winter rather than continue travelling with Nyssa and the Doctor. (AUDIO: A Perfect World)
Continued adventures alone
Nyssa and the Doctor visited London during Christmas 1539, where they had to ensure Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, (PROSE: God Send Me Well to Keep) saved Earth by obtaining an album capable of enslaving the human race from Alan Collins (PROSE: Tweaker) and visited the SS Hermes. (PROSE: Curiosity)
Not wanting to visit Stockbridge in the 21st century due to her relationship with Andrew Harper, Nyssa had the Doctor take her to Stockbridge in 1899 instead to celebrate Christmas. From there, they travelled to 1199 where they defeated the Rutan Host. (AUDIO: Castle of Fear) They returned to Stockbridge where they defeated the Lord and Lady of the Manor, possible future versions of the two travellers. She also met Maxwell Edison while there. (AUDIO: The Eternal Summer) Visiting the village again in the 45th century, they fought the Daleks once more. (AUDIO: Plague of the Daleks)
On 1665 Earth, Nyssa tricked the Speera into becoming the "human mean" before also taking on characteristics of herself and the Doctor, resulting in fatal anomalies which killed them. (AUDIO: The Demons of Red Lodge) They encountered the Entropy Sirens on Concordum, (AUDIO: The Entropy Composition) visited Folly (AUDIO: Doing Time) and worked on Doctor Demonic's Tales of Terror, with Nyssa posing as a European actress. (AUDIO: Special Features)
The Entity had Nyssa and the Doctor attempt to pass its test, but they failed. (AUDIO: Seven to One) They also visited the Miaxa's prison, (AUDIO: My Brother's Keeper) 1892 Norwood, where Nyssa was infected by Interplanetarian, (AUDIO: The Interplanetarian) Fabula (AUDIO: Smuggling Tales) and a country where she was forced to tell stories of her adventures to a sultan. (AUDIO: 1001 Nights)
In an alternate 1963, Nyssa helped the Doctor defeat Lenny Kruger, who had been using the Common Men to gain power. (AUDIO: 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men) On 23 November of that year, Nyssa and the Doctor visited Bob Dovie, whose parents' corpses Nyssa found shrunk by the Decayed Master. (AUDIO: The Light at the End)
Nyssa and the Doctor landed on Traxana's moon, where Nyssa was kidnapped by the Cell-Spiders. She met Theebe and learnt that the spiders had been made by the Daleks for their war against the Movellans. Nyssa and the Doctor were both captured by the Daleks (AUDIO: Alien Heart) and taken to Mojox, but they quickly managed to escape. Unbeknownst to her the Daleks created a duplicate of her. (AUDIO: Dalek Soul) They later visited Snittlegarth in 1357. (AUDIO: The Second Oldest Question)
Visiting the hunting grounds of Nathaniel Whitlock in 1911 Suffolk, Nyssa and the Doctor met Hannah Bartholemew and became aware of the presence of Vartas on the planet. Nyssa stood guard whilst the Doctor and Silver Crow entered the Ghost Dance to trap Vaatus once again and later departed with him in the TARDIS, (AUDIO: Moonflesh) unaware that Hannah had stowed away on board.
The TARDIS landed on an Arrit tomb ship where Nyssa, the Doctor and Hannah defeated the Arrit-Ko. Although the Doctor set the coordinates to return Hannah home following the adventure, he said that that would most likely be the last place that the TARDIS would land. Thus, Hannah was accepted as a companion. (AUDIO: Tomb Ship)
On SORDIDE Delta, Nyssa was trapped in a virtual reality where the Doctor was her guardian and Hannah was her 18th century tutor. Hannah was able to save both Nyssa and the Doctor but lost all of her emotions in the process, prompting her to leave the TARDIS and remain on the space station to help the survivors. (AUDIO: Masquerade)
When Nyssa and the Doctor were taken to Gallifrey, Nyssa forcefully stood up to the High Council in an attempt to save him from being executed to prevent Omega's escape from the anti-matter universe. She and the Doctor escaped Gallifrey and travelled to 1983 Amsterdam where they bumped into Tegan, who helped them to stop Omega from returning. Tegan joined the TARDIS crew once more (TV: Arc of Infinity) and went with them to the Rijksmuseum where they discovered that Rembrandt had drawn functional spacecraft. This led to the team learning of and defeating the Nix. (AUDIO: The Waters of Amsterdam) After Nyssa and Tegan spent some time together holidaying in Amsterdam, the Doctor returned for them.
The Doctor took Nyssa and Tegan to Florana where they found that the High Priest was a Dalek. Nyssa was temporarily brainwashed by the Elite academy to follow their philosophy, but the Doctor reversed the conditioning and they defeated the Dalek. (AUDIO: The Elite) The day after leaving Amsterdam, the team visited Akoshemon's moon where they fought the Dark, who influenced Nyssa for a time. (PROSE: Fear of the Dark) To recover after Florana, the trio spent a few days in Brisbane, later encountering the Hexagora. (AUDIO: Hexagora)
Nyssa, the Doctor and Tegan visited Sirius after the TARDIS's temporal scanner picked up a message during one of Nyssa's experiments. (AUDIO: The Children of Seth) She remained in the TARDIS whilst the Doctor and Tegan explored Aronassus 49 (PROSE: Danger Down Below) but helped them defeat Vi'Al, (PROSE: The God Machine) Voorvolika, (PROSE: The Armageddon Chrysalis) Carnak, (PROSE: The Haven) the Dren (PROSE: The Penalty) and, in 1982, the Master. (PROSE: Night Flight to Nowhere)
The trio visited the Necropolitan to view a memorial to Adric and ended up solving a murder. (PROSE: Wake) They saved the universe from potential destruction by a cyclotron (PROSE: Lackaday Express) and, after Nyssa was kidnapped, the Doctor had Ann Cranleigh pretend to be her to foil a plot. (PROSE: The Sands of Time) She found herself transformed into a feral monster for a time thanks to anti-matter on Morestra. (PROSE: Zeta Major) On an Earth colony, neither Nyssa nor the Doctor were as affected by Anna as Tegan was due to their not being human. (PROSE: Soul Mate)
On F-four, Nyssa and the Doctor carried out biological tests, causing Tegan to feel left out. Nyssa's work was invaluable to the colonists. (PROSE: No Exit) They met Flavius Theodoric in 493 Ravenna (PROSE: Goths and Robbers) and both Nyssa and Tegan were chased by Endovorms disguised as stone lions in Trafalgar Square in 1843. (AUDIO: The Lions of Trafalgar) Nyssa found herself a part of The King of the Dead in 1982 (AUDIO: The King of the Dead) and helped solve a murder in Mistpuddle. (AUDIO: The Mistpuddle Murders)
The TARDIS team encountered dinosaurs and a number of other creatures in the Sahara Desert, (PROSE: Great Snakes!) the TARDIS, (PROSE: Crocs!, 'Gators, Caimans and Gavials, The Great Irish Elk, Horses Through the Ages) Siberia, (PROSE: Woolly Mammoth) Kenya, (PROSE: Elephant Hunt, Face to Face with Early Man, On Safari, Elephant Dance) Los Angeles during the Ice Age, (PROSE: Sabre-toothed Tiger, The Great Irish Elk) Loch Ness (PROSE: The Loch Ness Monster) and Dorset, where they witnessed Mary Anning's discovery of the Ichthyosaurus. (PROSE: Amazing Fossil Fish)
The Doctor took Nyssa and Tegan to 63 BC Cumae so that he might meet Cicero. The three travellers were put through a series of tests by Tartarus, along with Cicero and his slave Marc, to identify a leader for the Zorth. Whilst in Tartarus's world, Nyssa invited Marc to join them in the TARDIS, an offer that he accepted. (AUDIO: Tartarus)
On Proxima in the 30th century, Nyssa helped defeat Professor Kalu. (AUDIO: Interstitial) In 19th century Ireland, Nyssa was influenced by the Spae Wife and led a carnival, hoping to get access to the TARDIS. Tegan reminded Nyssa of who she was in order to remove the Spae Wife's influence. (AUDIO: Feast of Fear)
Landing on Samotis, the TARDIS crew were drafted into the race. (AUDIO: Warzone) Nyssa cared for Marc in the TARDIS after he was partially cyber-converted and was, with the Doctor, able to hack the mainframe and reverse all mental programming, restoring each Cyberman's memories and restoring Marc. Afterwards, the Doctor left his companions on Callanna with a great deal of money, feeling guilty over Marc's conversion. (AUDIO: Conversion)
Nyssa enjoyed the tranquillity of Callanna and did not share Tegan's worries about the planet's relaxing effects. She, Tegan and Marc worked with Steppa Westma Cotter-Thatch Slitheen to stop Bella and Grumma, after which the Doctor returned for them, telling them that they needed to talk. (AUDIO: Madquake)
Travelling with just the Doctor and Tegan once more, Nyssa visited Prague where they helped Szlth'TOK and Abloran reach a settlement. (PROSE: Men of the Earth) Influenced by the Mara, Tegan then caused the TARDIS to materialise on Manussa, where Nyssa and the Doctor released her from the Mara's power. (TV: Snakedance)
Shortly after, the trio visited 1993 Tasmania where Nyssa was bitten by a vampire. (PROSE: Goth Opera) They were later summoned to Gallifrey to investigate a vampire cult. When the vampire Hemal infected Tegan, he forced the Doctor and Nyssa to take him to Earth, however Nyssa subtlety adjusted the time of their landing, resulting in him being destroyed by daylight upon opening the doors, freeing Tegan. (COMIC: Blood Invocation)
Aboard the HMS Aquitaine, Nyssa was separated from her travelling companions and was the first to discover that there were people aboard other than the robot Hargreaves. (AUDIO: Aquitaine) They visited Manchester again, in 1819, at the time of the Peterloo Massacre. Nyssa attended the protest with Cathy Roberts and witnessed her son Peter's death, which enraged her. (AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre)
With Tegan and Turlough
Nyssa mistook Mawdryn for the Doctor, believing that he had gone through a gruesome regeneration and was infected by his disease. The Doctor nearly gave up his remaining lives to save her and Tegan, but Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart's Blinovitch Limitation Effect allowed for another cure to be found. Vislor Turlough joined Nyssa, the Doctor and Tegan, who were all unaware that he was an agent of the Black Guardian. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)
Just after Turlough joined them, the TARDIS team arrived in the Gardens of the Dead where the companions had to work together to save the Doctor. Nyssa told Turlough about how her father had been taken over by an evil being. (AUDIO: Gardens of the Dead)
Nyssa and the others met Ophiuchus in the Cloisters of the Capitol and, with Tegan, convinced the Doctor to save him rather than let him die, saying that he was not a monster like the Master. After Ophiuchus regenerated into a woman, the Doctor explained Time Lord gender to Nyssa. (COMIC: Ophiuchus)
After the TARDIS attached itself to Terminus, Nyssa found herself lost on the leper ship and infected with Lazar's disease. She left a trail of her own clothes so that the Doctor might be able to find her and was eventually taken prisoner and cured by the Garm. Knowing that she could synthesise the Hydromel, Nyssa chose to stay aboard Terminus in order to help the Garm and cure those with Lazar's disease.
Life after leaving
Some time after leaving the Doctor, Nyssa was transported to the Death Zone where she met Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom and Polly Jackson and was reunited with the Fifth Doctor, who had already travelled with her older self in his personal timeline. (AUDIO: The Five Companions)
Nyssa eventually left Terminus and settled down as an academic in a university. During that period of her life, she encountered the Fourth Doctor again, long before he had first met her on Traken. (PROSE: Asylum) She married Lasarti, a man who studied dreams, and had two children: Neeka (AUDIO: Winter) and Adric, whom she told stories of her travels in the TARDIS. (AUDIO: Prisoners of Fate) She was reunited with the Fifth Doctor once more when she assisted with his regeneration into his next incarnation. (AUDIO: Winter)
During the Time War, Nyssa operated a hospital ship known as the Traken and assisted planets that became caught up in the war. She met a man who called himself Dr Foster and became her assistant, although she came to suspect him of being a Time Lord saboteur. In truth, the saboteur was Dr Isherwood. Dr Foster departed after giving Nyssa a kiss on the cheek, reminding her of how she had said goodbye to the Doctor on Terminus. (AUDIO: A Heart on Both Sides)
Nyssa was able to cure Lazar's disease and set about attempting to find a cure for Richter's Syndrome. She had an android called Loki whose hard drive she once had to erase after it was corrupted by his fear of his own shadow. (AUDIO: Cobwebs)
Later adventures in the TARDIS
Reunion with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough
In 3530, after losing contact with the Helheim facility attempting to cure Richter's Syndrome, Nyssa travelled to the planet with her android Loki. She was reunited with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough, whom she had not seen in fifty years, and joined them on the condition that they take her home to continue her work. She accepted, however, that that might take some time and went to find her old bedroom. (AUDIO: Cobwebs) She had to keep from the Doctor her knowledge of his regeneration into his sixth body. (AUDIO: Heroes of Sontar)
The crew travelled to Chodor in the 28th century, where they encountered the Takers, (AUDIO: The Whispering Forest) and returned to Manussa, this time during the reign of the Manussan Empire, after Tegan confided in Nyssa that she had the mark of the Mara on her arm. (AUDIO: The Cradle of the Snake) She encountered the Sontarans again on Samur, but did not remember previously meeting them in the Death Zone. (AUDIO: Heroes of Sontar)
Nyssa helped defeat the Trion Rennol his mercenaries and the Morass on Vektris, (AUDIO: Kiss of Death) as well as a Rat King on 1982 Earth which attempted to exploit Nyssa's anger for the Master. She was tempted to help the rats create a non-lethal plague in return for help with curing Richter's Syndrome. (AUDIO: Rat Trap)
Further adventures took Nyssa to the comet Eight slash Q Panenka, (AUDIO: The Jupiter Conjunction) a monkey house in a zoo (AUDIO: The Monkey House) and 51st century Earth where she and Turlough spent a year training in Reykjavik and helped defeat Magnus Greel. (AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane) She also helped defeat Eldrad (AUDIO: Eldrad Must Die) and had an adventure in Mercia. (AUDIO: The Lady of Mercia)
During an adventure in India on 31 December 1926, Nyssa was rejuvenated and had her youth restored, making her look physically similar to how she had during her original adventures in the TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Emerald Tiger) This meant that Adric, whom they came across on Valderon, believed that she was a past version of his mother. Nyssa learnt that twenty-five years had passed since her mission to Helheim and that she was presumed dead, whilst Lasarti was dead and Neeka was in suspended animation after being infected with Richter's Syndrome. She and Adric managed to develop a cure and planned to meet in one month's time to cure Neeka, but Adric never saw her again. (AUDIO: Prisoners of Fate)
E-Space and departure
Shortly after leaving Valderon, the TARDIS was diverted into E-Space when it passed too close to a Charged Vacuum Emboitment. Whilst searching for a way out, the TARDIS landed on Alzarius where Nyssa and Turlough were almost killed by Alzarian spiders. (AUDIO: Mistfall) They then visited the ice world of Isenfel where she was interested in why the society wanted to be in equilibrium. (AUDIO: Equilibrium)
The TARDIS crashed on Apollyon where Nyssa began dying due to entropy. She also had the rejuvenation that she experienced in India removed due to making contact with the Sandmen, returning her to her older appearance. She chose to remain in E-Space in order to power a portal back to N-Space for her friends to use to return home. (AUDIO: The Entropy Plague)
Nyssa lived for at least another decade, spending a number of years treating the sick and teaching others how to do the same before retiring to tend a garden, much as she had on Traken in her youth. Despite the Doctor's concerns about entropy, Nyssa saw a new star emerge in the sky, hinting that there was still new life in E-Space. (AUDIO: The Entropy Plague)
According to one account, Nyssa eventually came to live in 21st century Australia with Tegan. The pair attended Sarah Jane Smith's memorial one spring day where they mingled with other companions and friends of the Doctor's, as well as assisting them in fighting the Jackals of the Backwards Clock to foil the Trickster. Clyde Langer described them as being a couple. (WC: Farewell, Sarah Jane)
At some point, while she was travelling alone with the Fifth Doctor, they visited Bob Dovie at 59A Barnsfield Crescent in Totton, Hampshire on 23 November 1963. There, she and the Fifth Doctor discovered Bob's odd behaviour, including him talking on a phone that was disconnected from the wall. After finding Bob's family killed by the Master using a Tissue Compression Eliminator, Nyssa and the Doctor took Bob into the TARDIS causing the Master's conceptual bomb to explode. This timeline was eventually erased when the Doctors' other selves were able to render the conceptual bomb useless. (AUDIO: The Light at the End)
Nyssa was pleasant, friendly (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken) and selfless, with Tegan remarking that she was "too good for this world" (AUDIO: Aquitaine) and the Fifth Doctor describing her as "terribly nice". (AUDIO: Alien Heart) Her gentle and trusting nature meant that she was not adept at detecting deception, (TV: Mawdryn Undead) but she was skilled at negotiating an effective balance between strong personalities. (TV: Earthshock, AUDIO: The Game) Tegan noted that Nyssa preferred to "care and share." (PROSE: Goth Opera)
Despite her gentleness, Nyssa was willing to use and threaten violence where necessary, destroying on separate occasions a Terileptil android (TV: The Visitation) and a CyberNeomorph (TV: Earthshock) in addition to threatening to shoot Time Lord guards. (TV: Arc of Infinity) She was driven to rage after the death of Cathy Roberts's son in the Peterloo Massacre (AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre) and initially wanted to kill the Master for the murder of her father, although she managed to forgive him. (AUDIO: The King of the Dead) She also argued on occasion with the Doctor, such as when he broke her trust on Valderon. (AUDIO: Prisoners of Fate)
She considered Tegan to be her best friend (AUDIO: The Emerald Tiger) and Tegan held her in the same esteem. (AUDIO: The Waters of Amsterdam) However, she also "never quite understood" why so many of the Doctor's friends were human. (AUDIO: The Boy That Time Forgot)
Nyssa generally did not use a surname, referring to herself only as Nyssa. (TV: Castrovalva, Four to Doomsday, etc.) The Doctor introduced her to the Time Lords as "Nyssa of Traken", (TV: Arc of Infinity) a name that she sometimes used herself. (AUDIO: Spare Parts, etc.) Whilst posing as a human actress, she used the name "Nyssa Traken". (AUDIO: Special Features)
Nyssa was a slender (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken) and beautiful (AUDIO: Creatures of Beauty) girl with brown curls, a pale face, serious, round eyes (PROSE: Logopolis) and fine features. (PROSE: Kinda) She had an unearthly quality of remoteness and aristocracy (PROSE: Castrovalva) but she had a hardness in her face that bespoke experience. (PROSE: The Parliament of Rats)
During her earliest travels in the TARDIS, she wore a flowing, gauzy dress (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken) but later started to wear a plum-coloured velvet trouser-suit with elaborately puffed sleeves. (PROSE: Four to Doomsday, Earthshock) She eventually stopped wearing Traken clothes, wearing a blouse with a striped skirt and knee-length shorts on Manussa (TV: Snakedance) and a blue mini-dress until her departure on Terminus. (TV: Terminus) Following Adric's death, she took to wearing a bracelet of Trakenite gold. (PROSE: Goth Opera)
Behind the scenes
- Nyssa was originally meant to have appeared only in The Keeper of Traken as a supporting character. She was, therefore, the sole creation of writer Johnny Byrne, to whom royalties had to be paid when the character was used. Like the Brigadier and K9, she is a rare example of a series regular to whom the BBC does not enjoy sole copyright.
- Peter Davison was known to have preferred Nyssa over any of his other companions. He intervened on several occasions when John Nathan-Turner attempted to write the character out of the series.
- Perhaps in deference to Davison's affection for Nyssa and in part because of Janet Fielding's long reluctance to appear in audio dramas, Big Finish Productions greatly expanded Nyssa's role. They built a network of stories in the televised gap between Tegan's departure in Time-Flight and her return in Arc of Infinity which was very much greater than it had appeared on television. Starting with The Land of the Dead, the Fifth Doctor began a long series of audio adventures with Nyssa as his sole companion. Consequently, Nyssa is one of the most frequently appearing companions in the history of performed Doctor Who stories.
- Like the Fifth Doctor, Adric and Tegan, Nyssa was given a "costume" rather than a basic "look" by producer John Nathan-Turner. Nyssa's original costume narratively originated on Traken. It suggested her highborn status. It consisted of a maroon velvet jacket, a diaphanous, iridescent skirt and multi-pastel, high-heeled shoes. It was accessorised with an ornamental hair comb and a woolly purse. This look persisted through the end of part two of Castrovalva. However, long before this episode was filmed, it was determined the actor needed more practical clothing for the physical demands of her now-co-starring role. She exchanged her skirt for a pair of maroon trousers, lost the purse and began wearing lower-heeled shoes. According to production notes on the DVD release of the preceding story, Logopolis, the second iteration of Nyssa's "royal Traken" look was inspired by a rehearsal in which actress Sarah Sutton wore Nyssa's top, but her own corduroy trousers. She also lost her hair comb. She completely abandoned the "royal Traken" look in Snakedance and changed her look every story thereafter until her departure in Terminus. Famously, her costume for her final story was mostly just the slip she had been wearing under her Mawdryn Undead dress.
- Images of the older version of Nyssa on cover images for the audio arc in which she rejoined the TARDIS crew were based on contemporary photos of Sarah Sutton.
- Discounting the ambiguous status of various UNIT personnel, Nyssa is the first companion to be introduced in one story and established as a companion in another.
- She is the first companion to kiss the Doctor on-screen.