A member of the Space Security Service, Sara had already helped foil an attempted Dalek invasion of Earth prior to meeting the Doctor. However, she killed her own brother on the orders of the Guardian of the Solar System Mavic Chen, who she later turned against, having learned that he had sided with the Daleks. She joined the Doctor and Steven Taylor in their travels and helped them keep an emm of taranium from the Daleks. Whilst they were successful in defeating the Daleks, it was at the expense of Sara's life.
Sara was born to Merrick Kingdom in the 40th century. She had a sister named Lena Kingdom, (AUDIO: The House of Kingdom) and two brothers named David Kingdom and Bret Vyon. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, AUDIO: The Destroyers)
According to another account, Sara joined the Service soon after her twenty-first birthday (PROSE: Top Secret) when she was chosen by Colonel Marc Forest and Compuvac as an agent in charge of the Space Security Service's field operations. (PROSE: The Outlaw Planet) To join the organisation, she had to sacrifice her capacity to have children. (AUDIO: An Ordinary life) Both of her brothers also later joined. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, AUDIO: The Destroyers)
For her first mission, Sara was sent to divert the plans of the Golden Dalek from Earth to Barzilla by spreading news of its gold mines amongst Dalek spies. She was successful and the Dalek forces were annihilated, an achievement for which she was praised. (PROSE: The Outlaw Planet) Early in her career, she was sent on a mission with fellow SSS agents Jason Corey, Mark Seven and her brother David, who was kidnapped by the Daleks. (AUDIO: The Destroyers)
Sara was sent to Vara to rescue the kidnapped Professor Lomberg and thus keep the secret of the formula of a new metal from the Daleks, who could use it for a new outer casing which would make them unstoppable. She sneaked into the Dalek slave camps, found the professor and helped him give the Daleks the wrong formula, causing an explosion and foiling the Daleks' plans. (COMIC: Sara Kingdom: Space Security Agent)
Charged with investigating the leak of confidential information jeopardising the security of Earth strategic bases, Sara discovered that the upgraded Golden Emperor was able to read thoughts through radio waves. She used Earth's scientists as bait whilst human forces attacked and wiped out the Dalek Fleet, thus foiling the short-lived Dalek invasion. (COMIC: The Brain Tappers) Mark Seven wrote a file about the mission which Mavic Chen consulted when he and Bret Vyon unexpectedly met a future version of Sara in 3999, when she was supposed to be stationed on Venus. As a result of her older self's actions, Sara received a surprise promotion and was re-assigned to Earth. (AUDIO: The Guardian of the Solar System)
Travels in the TARDIS
Meeting the Doctor
A year later, in 4000, Chen told Sara that Bret was a traitor and was sent to stop him, the First Doctor and Steven Taylor. She shot and killed her brother but was prevented from killing the other two when the three of them were accidentally transferred to Mira by cellular transportation. There, she learnt that her unquestioning obedience had not only led her to unjustly kill her brother but had prevented him from warning Earth of a Dalek plot.
Deciding to help the Doctor and Steven, she travelled to Kembel with them and saw for herself that Chen had allied himself with the Daleks. Replacing the emm of taranium with a fake, the three left in the TARDIS with the power source to keep it away from Chen. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
On the run
Sara's first adventures in the TARDIS were to Liverpool on Christmas Day, 1965 and Hollywood in 1921. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan) Whilst celebrating Christmas aboard the TARDIS, they smashed into an experimental space-time vessel and, after Natalie Lang attempted to pilot the TARDIS, Sara was knocked unconscious and experienced a delusion in which she was at Bret's birthday party. She knew that it was fake but was unable to resist. (AUDIO: The Anachronauts) After the crew awoke, the TARDIS kept landing on various Christmases, which they found to be due to a boy named Robert. They took him to Mars where he died in Sara's arms. (AUDIO: The Little Drummer Boy)
In 3999, she met Bret and destroyed the Great Clock after it attacked her mind, unwittingly causing the power crisis that led Chen to make his deal with the Daleks. She also brought about her own promotion and posting to Earth. (AUDIO: The Guardian of the Solar System) She helped rescue miners on an asteroid with a sentient silver sea (AUDIO: The Drowned World) and visited a house in Ely where she left a copy of her mind to save the Doctor, Steven and the TARDIS. (AUDIO: Home Truths) They also visited 1916 where they found that the Battle of the Somme was a month overdue and time was compensating for those who were meant to be dead. (AUDIO: Men of War)
Sara and Steven lived a normal life in 1950s London for two weeks after the Doctor fell into a coma thanks to an anemone changeling and disappeared. They befriended Joseph Roberts, whose niece Audrey Newman helped Sara adjust to living in the past, and she attempted unsuccessfully to get a job at a police station after Steven was fired from the docks. She looked after Audrey's daughter, Josetta, and protected her from changelings, who she managed to kill. Before leaving, she promised that she would not let Steven forget what had happened there despite his memory loss. (AUDIO: An Ordinary Life)
Instead of landing on Kembel as the Doctor intended, the TARDIS landed in the Sulgrave Asteroid Belt where they encountered the Sontarans and a group of SSS agents whom Sara knew from future knowledge would not survive. She helped them fight the Sontarans and was tortured by Slite to get the Doctor to open the TARDIS. Once the Sontarans were defeated, the travellers left in the TARDIS, which detected an unidentified time machine following them, leading them to return once more to the struggle against the Daleks. (AUDIO: The Sontarans)
The TARDIS landed on Tigus alongside the other time machine, which they found to belong to the Monk. The Monk followed them to Egypt and took Sara and Steven as prisoners to Chen and the Daleks, who handed them over to the Doctor in return for the taranium. Having stolen the Monk's directional unit, they went after the Daleks to reclaim the taranium. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
Returning to Kembel, the Doctor stole the Time Destructor and planned to detonate it to finally stop the Daleks. He ordered his companions back to the TARDIS for their own protection but, Sara, unaware of the nature of the plan but concerned that it might fail, followed him and was caught in its field. Whilst the Doctor was able to survive due to his being a Time Lord, Sara rapidly aged and died, crumbling into dust as the Doctor and Steven watched. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
At some point, Sara was abducted by Adam Mitchell as part his plan to get revenge on the Doctor, in collaboration with the Master. She was placed in stasis alongside the Doctors' multiple other companions, before being released by the Doctors first eleven numbered incarnations with the help of Frobisher. (COMIC: The Choice, Endgame)
Sara's death, in addition to that of Bret and Katarina, caused Steven to confront the Doctor about the violence that seemed to follow him and, after Anne Chaplet's death, he almost left the TARDIS. (TV: The Massacre)
To her family and the Space Security Service, Sara’s death remained a mystery. Inspired by her aunt, Sara’s niece, Anya Kingdom, also joined the Space Security Service. (AUDIO: The House of Kingdom) She became a companion of the Fourth Doctor (AUDIO: The Sinestran Kill) and the Tenth Doctor. (AUDIO: Buying Time) The Lost eventually revealed to Anya that Sara had killed her uncle Bret and that the Doctor had been involved in both their deaths. (AUDIO: The Lost)
In his seventh incarnation, on the ruined planet Adeki, the Doctor thought that he had found Sara among others of his companions alive again and desperate to leave in the TARDIS. He learnt that one of a race of shape-shifting Gwanzulum had used his sentiment in order to manipulate him into helping it escape the dead world. (COMIC: Planet of the Dead)
Later, while in a Hell-like world composed of the Seventh Doctor's mind, Ace met an eerie, ghost-like recreation of Sara along with other companions of his who had died because of him. Ace did not recognise her. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation)
On the Space Security Service Station 7, the Eleventh Doctor told Tranter that he had worked with Sara and Bret, prompting the station commander to comment that he had impressive credentials and must have started fighting the Daleks at a very young age. (COMIC: The Only Good Dalek)
The copy of Sara's mind left behind in the house in Ely lived on into an age of Earth's history in which advanced technology had become almost non-existent, telling stories to visitors and granting wishes. When she met Robert, she granted his wish to save the life of his daughter in return for him staying in the house for life. (AUDIO: Home Truths, The Drowned World) His daughter joined them.
Eventually, Robert's daughter left to explore the world and Robert took Sara's place as the entity inhabiting the house, giving Sara human form as an older woman. She attempted to leave Ely but was unable to, telling Robert one last story about how she had destroyed the Great Clock in exchange for the means to leave. Robert drew the TARDIS to the house and gave Sara the choice of joining the Doctor in a later incarnation or remaining on Earth. (AUDIO: The Guardian of the Solar System)
This version of Sara was abducted by Borusa using a Time Scoop and taken to an alternative version of the Death Zone on Gallifrey, where she met the Fifth Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Polly Wright and Nyssa and was reunited with an older Steven. She once again battled both the Daleks and the Sontarans. (AUDIO: The Five Companions)
Sara was independent and ruthless in her mission to do what she believed was right, even if that meant showing no concern to bystanders. (COMIC: Space Security Agent; PROSE: The Outlaw Planet) She served Mavic Chen blindly and obediently, going so far to kill her own brother because she was told to. When her belief in Chen and the righteousness of her actions was shattered, (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan) she felt intensely guilty about killing Bret. (AUDIO: The Anachronauts, Home Truths, etc.)
Travelling with the Doctor changed Sara and she turned her formidable skill and intellect towards doing good. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, etc.) She quickly became friends with Steven during their travels. Whilst he believed and hoped that their relationship might have developed further, Sara did not share his feelings and thought of him only as a good friend. She enjoyed living a normal life with Steven in the 1950s, although she was appalled by the sexism and racism that was rife at the time. (AUDIO: The Anachronauts)
Sara had dark hair, which she wore shoulder-length and curled inwards, an elfin face and cold blue-grey eyes. Although she was attractive, Mavic Chen believed that it was the beauty "of ice or steel". She did not often smile. She wore the SSS uniform; a black catsuit which accentuated her perfect figure. (PROSE: Mission to the Unknown)
Behind the scenes
- In two recent interviews about her involvement with the character, Marsh has firmly and consistently maintained that Sara was not actually a companion. (DOC: From Kingdom to Queen, BFX: The Drowned World) Despite this, over time she has come to be regarded as one in official BBC listings, reference works, and most recently by her inclusion in The Companion Chronicles and The Early Adventures series. The earliest occurrence being her brief appearance in archival footage of companions for Resurrection of the Daleks. Novelist John Peel established Sara as having spent at least six months travelling with the Doctor in the continuity of the Target novelisations. Sara was not the last character whose status is controversial, and she was joined by numerous "one-off" companions featured in the 1996 TV movie and post-2005 specials.
- The DVD documentary Girls! Girls! Girls! - The 1960s (included on the 2008 release of The Rescue/The Romans) indicates that the character of Sara Kingdom was inspired by the character of Catherine Gale on The Avengers (coincidentally, a series created by one of the originators of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman). Marsh's physical similarity to Diana Rigg has led some to erroneously state that the inspiration was another Avengers character, Emma Peel, but Rigg had not yet made her first appearance on the series when the serial was in production.
- Terry Nation planned to feature Sara Kingdom in an American spin-off series. Had it gone into production, the series would have concentrated on an anti-Dalek task force. Some of the concepts which would have featured in the show appeared in The Dalek Outer Space Book (in which she was featured in a short story and two comic strips). Sara appeared in the pilot script written by Nation, entitled The Destroyers. When plans for the spin-off fell through, Nation adapted his ideas and characters for The Daleks' Master Plan.
- Jean Marsh had earlier appeared in Doctor Who, playing King Richard's sister Joanna in The Crusade. She returned to the programme in the 1989 story Battlefield, playing Morgaine, coincidentally alongside Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Courtney had played Bret Vyon in The Daleks' Master Plan).
- Despite the character's brief tenure, there have been some spin-off works including her. John Peel, who novelised The Daleks' Master Plan for Target Books, intentionally introduced a gap of several months in his adaptation into which such stories could be inserted. Most recently, Jean Marsh has reprised the character for Big Finish Productions' The Companion Chronicles and The Early Adventures audio adventures, as well as a brief appearance in The Light at the End. These stories take place between instalments of The Daleks' Master Plan and reveal that Sara has survived as an apparition, allowing an older version to appear in The Five Companions.