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Percy Shelley

You may wish to consult Shelley for other, similarly-named pages.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English Romantic poet and playwright during the early 19th century.


He was born in 1792. (PROSE: Managra)

Percy abandoned a wife and a child for Mary Shelley, in 1814, when Mary was 16. (AUDIO: Mary's Story) Mary regarded him as her soulmate. (AUDIO: Army of Death) They called each other "husband" and "wife" for several months or years before they were officially married; at the time, Percy had an affair with Claire Clairmont, Mary's half-sister. Percy and Claire found it amusing that Mary knew about their affair. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

In June 1816, Percy was spending time with Mary, Claire Lord Byron and John Polidori at Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. (AUDIO: Mary's Story, TV: The Haunting of Villa Diodati) They were still referring to each other as husband and wife despite not being married yet, and were staying in a chalet named Maison Chapuis, located on the shores of the lake. Percy would often retire to the chalet to write. (TV: The Haunting of Villa Diodati)

While out walking, Percy spotted the Cyberium in the lake. When he fished it out of the water, it melted in his hand and entered his bloodstream. Upon returning to Villa Diodati, the Cyberium tried to hide itself by making Shelley invisible to everyone else and even utilized a perception filter to keep from being discovered. Meanwhile, Shelley acted as its guardian. At the same time, the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions were visiting Villa Diodati, while Ashad had invaded the house in search of the Cyberium. It recited one of Percy's poems to Mary Shelley, saying "He cherisheth the snakes that gnaw his heart and he raises up the tyrant whose delight is in his woe." This startled Mary, who gasped and wondered how the Cyberman knew Percy's words.

When the Doctor was finally able to locate Percy, she had him tell her what happened. She noticed that the Cyberium was burning through his mind and would destroy him if it stayed in him much longer. The Cyberman demanded that the group surrendered the Cyberium, but in order to be extracted, the Cyberium had to leave willingly. The Doctor proceeded to use an old Time Lord trick to show Shelley his future death, which tricked the Cyberium into leaving his body. (TV: The Haunting of Villa Diodati)

At Villa Diodati, Shelley's group encountered the Eighth Doctor, who introduced himself as Dr Frankenstein. When the Doctor 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". The experience later inspired Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)

Percy's circle of friends, known to Faction Paradox as the "Shelley Cabal", (PROSE: The Book of the War) included John Polidori and the Romantic poet Lord Byron. (PROSE: The Book of the War, AUDIO: Mary's Story) Together, the group attacked several of the Star Chamber's political puppets and popularised stories of vampirism and unspeakable science influenced by the Chamber's knowledge of the Homeworld and the war against the Yssgaroth. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

Percy often took laudanum. (AUDIO: Mary's Story) In between writing poetry and drinking, Percy liked to read impenetrable scientific journals. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)

In 1819, (PROSE: The Book of the War, AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre) Shelley released the work The Mask of Anarchy, (PROSE: The Book of the War) inspired by the Peterloo Massacre. (AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre) Several lines of the poem, including the name Dvora, had first appeared to Shelley while sleep in Italy, though he later changed them to mention his political enemy Castlereagh. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

In 1821 or 1822, the Mal'akh attacked the Shelley Cabal in Pisa. Several months later, in 1822, the Mal'akh attacked them again near Massa, and the Shelley Cabal was split up; Shelley and two friends were chased out to sea (PROSE: The Book of the War) in his schooner off the coast of Italy, (PROSE: Managra) and three bodies washed up on shore several miles apart. While the corpses of his two friends were identifiable, his body was missing its face and arms, recognisable only by his clothing and the copy John Keats' Lamia in the pocket.

In a ceremony led by Lord Byron, the three bodies were burned on the beach between Massa and Viareggio, though Shelley's heart appeared to be resistant to the flame. (PROSE: The Book of the War)


When facing the Spy Master and the CyberMasters on Gallifrey, the Thirteenth Doctor mentioned Percy Shelley, saying that she started this with Shelley and the Cyberium, and now she had to finish it. (TV: The Timeless Children)


The Fifth Doctor once expressed a desire to meet Shelley. (AUDIO: Castle of Fear) He quoted several lines from The Mask of Anarchy to Nyssa and Tegan. (AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre)

Charley once compared the Eighth Doctor to Shelley. (AUDIO: Letting Go)

Michael Brookhaven produced the film Percy Shelley's Prince of Blood in 1993. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

A Reprise of Shelley lived in Europa. (PROSE: Managra)

Behind the scenes[]

  • In the real world, Percy and Mary Shelley were married on 30 December 1816.
  • The poem quoted by Ashad is lines from the stanza "The Fairy" from Shelley's large poetic work "Queen Mab".
  • Percy's death, showed to him by the Thirteenth Doctor, took place on July 8, 1822, where he drowned when his sailing ship went down in a sudden storm.
  • When showing the destroyed Citadel to the Thirteenth Doctor in the TV episode The Timeless Children, the Spy Master gloats, "Look upon my work, Doctor, and despair." This is a reference to "Ozymandias", a sonnet by Percy Shelley.
  • He was played by Lee Cornes in the Blackadder the Third episode "Ink and Incapability".