She was an Australian air stewardess trainee who wandered into the Doctor's TARDIS seeking help when she mistook it for a genuine police box. She quickly became embroiled in the events surrounding the Doctor's regeneration and found herself a somewhat unwilling passenger of the Fifth Doctor, as he failed to successfully return her to her proper time and place. Tegan was one of the few companions to have parted company with the Doctor and then return for a significant number of adventures.
She was joined in her travels at various times by Adric, Nyssa, Marc, Turlough, Kamelion and, briefly, the Brigadier. She played the Game of Rassilon in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, where she also met the First, Second and Third Doctors, along with Susan Foreman and Sarah Jane Smith.
Tegan's relatively long tenure of service onboard the TARDIS belied an ambivalence about travel with the Doctor. Even through her final glimpse of the TARDIS, she vacillated between wanting to stay and wanting to go.
She was one of the few human companions of the Doctor to be able to pilot the TARDIS; although she was only successful once and this was by pressing random buttons on the console.
Tegan was born in the city of Brisbane on 22 September 1960 (AUDIO: The Gathering) to William, (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) and Joy Jovanka. (PROSE: Qualia) Her maternal grandfather was Andrew Verney. (TV: The Awakening)
She had brothers, (PROSE: Qualia) at least one of whom was younger than her. She also had an uncle and aunt, Richard and Felicity, who was her mother's sister-in-law. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) Tegan had Serbian paternal grandparents who originally lived in Yugoslavia. They emigrated from Yugoslavia to Australia, (PROSE: Cold Fusion) though had apparently moved back to Yugoslavia some time before the death of Tegan's father. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) Tegan's maternal aunt was Vanessa, (PROSE: Qualia) and her cousin was Colin Frazer. (TV: Arc of Infinity) She had cousins who worked in blast-mining in Australia. (AUDIO: The Contingency Club)
She lived on a cattle farm when she was young (AUDIO: Psychodrome) and spent time in Caloundra, north of Brisbane. (PROSE: The King of Terror) As a child, her mother took her to a corroboree, which gave her a recurring nightmare of strange white figures coming out of the dark. (AUDIO: Psychodrome)
She went to high school with Mike Bretherton, who lived next door to her in Brisbane. They were taught physics and chemistry by Miss Anderson. In 1975, when she was fifteen, she broke her toe during track and gym and Mike carried her books home for her. (AUDIO: Hexagora)
Tegan attended college. (AUDIO: The Lady of Mercia) As she wanted to see the world and broaden her horizons, she studied foreign languages and Aboriginal culture. She spent most summers travelling abroad, visiting Hong Kong in 1979. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)
During the early 1980s, her father owned a sheep farm near Brisbane. (AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane) He died in 1981. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) That year, she moved to London to pursue a career as an air stewardess. (TV: Logopolis)
Her mother was still alive in 2006. On 22 September of that year, she telephoned her daughter to wish her a happy forty-sixth birthday. She wanted to pay Tegan a visit so they could celebrate together, but Tegan claimed she was too busy with work to fit her mother into her plans. She told her she was going to have a few drinks with her friends from work instead. (AUDIO: The Gathering)
Travels with the Doctor
Getting to Heathrow
On 28 February 1981, Tegan's aunt Vanessa drove her to Heathrow Airport for her first day as an air stewardess. The car broke down in the London Borough of Barnet. Seeing what she thought was a police box, Tegan tried to call for help to fix her aunt's flat tyre. Instead, she entered the huge interior of the Doctor's TARDIS. Astounded by the console room, whose true dimensions were belied by its exterior, like others before her, she ventured into its depths. The Fourth Doctor and Adric, not knowing she was on board, dematerialised for Logopolis to have the Logopolitans perform the complex calculations to restore functionality to the TARDIS's chameleon circuit.
The TARDIS crew discovered they had an accidental passenger in the form of Tegan. However, returning her to her rightful time and place was a secondary concern for the time being. The Doctor grew aware the Master was trying to create instability in the universe by manipulating Logopolis. Tegan became embroiled in the Doctor's cause once she learned the Master had killed her aunt using his Tissue Compression Eliminator. Standing on a crumbling Logopolis with the Doctor, she became one of the few companions to travel in the Master's TARDIS. The trio journeyed to Earth's Pharos Project to stop the rampant entropy the Master had unleashed upon the universe when he disrupted the calculations of the mathematicians of Logopolis, causing the CVEs to disappear. Once there, she witnessed the Doctor's fall from the Project's radio telescope and his consequent regeneration. (TV: Logopolis)
Tegan did not abandon the Doctor, even though she was ostensibly in her proper time and place. Perhaps seeing she would face a charge for criminal trespass, she threw her lot in with Nyssa, Adric and the newly regenerated Doctor. She and Nyssa were critical to stabilising the Doctor's difficult regeneration. She became a temporary TARDIS pilot (albeit receiving unknowing help from the Master) and saved it from being destroyed when it tried to travel past the Event One horizon. Her success was tempered by the Master's manipulation of the outcomes. (TV: Castrovalva)
She was annoyed when they had landed on Scientifica instead of at Heathrow. She moaned at the temperature on the planet. The Doctor asked her to book some rooms in the local hotel. She met Chris Cwej in the bar and got annoyed at his fake Australian accent. She pretended to be Chris' wife to find out more. She was arrested for treason. The Doctor accidentally rescued her. She joined him on a journey north. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)
On the planet Deva Loka, Tegan accidentally fell asleep at "the place of shared dreams", allowing the Mara to take over her body after torturing her with nightmares. She was freed from the Mara when it possessed Aris, a mute Kinda male. While the Mara was being destroyed by forcing it to look at its reflection, Tegan looked at the Mara, apparently allowing a small portion of it to escape deep into her subconscious. (TV: Kinda)
She later displayed at least a basic appreciation for cricket. She also displayed a talent for dancing the Charleston, which she had learned for a school play, as an accidental guest at Cranleigh Hall with the Doctor, Adric and Nyssa on 11 June 1925. She strove to prove the Doctor innocent of the murder of one the mansion's staff, which was committed by George Cranleigh, the deranged and hidden son of Lady Madge Cranleigh. (TV: Black Orchid)
Arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1982, Tegan, the Doctor and Nyssa were still mourning the recent loss of Adric, Tegan taking it especially hard. They once again thwarted the Master, after which the Doctor and Nyssa dematerialised in the TARDIS without Tegan. She ran out of the airport too late to catch them and was upset at being left behind. (TV: Time-Flight)
Reuniting with the Doctor
Tegan's time as an air stewardess was ultimately short-lived as she was sacked within her first year after assaulting an unruly passenger mid-flight. It was during this time that she caught the attention of Kylex-12, an android who had been wandering the earth for 300 years in hopes of finding means of time travel for his mistress, Teldek. Introducing himself to Tegan as Kyle, his scanners were able to tell that she was a time traveller and decided that following her would be his best chance of discovering her means of time travel. Over the next two months, Kyle found himself falling in love with Tegan as the two of them began dating each other, using his mind scanner to accommodate her needs and desires. Eventually, however, Tegan grew tired of Kyle's over-attentive ways and broke up with him right as he was preparing to propose to her. (AUDIO: The Waters of Amsterdam)
Tegan went to Amsterdam in January 1983 on a trip to visit her cousin, Colin Frazer, only to find that he had disappeared. She ended up captured by Omega, a rogue Time Lord whom the Doctor had previously defeated during his third incarnation. Omega had kidnapped her cousin to use as bait to lure her there. Tegan was used as leverage by Omega to have the Doctor stay alive so his genetic template could be used to create a new body for Omega out of positive matter. Once the process was done and began to fail, Tegan reunited with the Doctor and watched him seemingly destroy Omega before he could revert to anti-matter and destroy Earth. (TV: Arc of Infinity)
After Omega's defeat, Tegan discovered that Kyle had followed her to Amsterdam in an attempt to win her affections once more. After Tegan rebuffed him again, Kyle directed her and the Doctor to a Rembrandt exhibit at the art museum showcasing his drawings of spaceships. While at the museum, the Nix—beings of pure water who sought to punish Teldek for the destruction of her homeworld—pursued Kyle as well as the Doctor and his companions in an attempt to stop Kyle from travelling back to his mistress in the 17th century. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful as Kyle travelled with the Doctor and his companions back to the 17th century to investigate the anachronistic Rembrandt drawings. During their adventure, Kyle eventually revealed his true identity and intentions to Tegan, but conceded that he was really in love with her all along. Although his feelings for Tegan were unreciprocated, he ultimately turned on Teldek, helping the Doctor thwart her plans to mould humanity into a technologically advanced race by the late 20th century so that she could use their space fleet to take revenge on the Nix. In the end, Kyle accepted that Tegan did not love him back and decided to continue his existence in hope of finding someone who could love him in return. (AUDIO: The Waters of Amsterdam)
Travelling by choice
On Manussa, the remnants of the Mara which had possessed her gave Tegan prophetic dreams about the cave whence the jewel drew power. Despite the Doctor's efforts to help her suppress the monster, Tegan submitted to its will again and helped it feed on the negative emotions of those at a ceremony recalling the creature's first defeat. The Doctor performed the "snakedance" and found the "still point" within himself, destroying the Mara for good, for he had no negative emotions for it to feed on. Tegan was permanently freed from its possession. (TV: Snakedance)
Back on Earth, Tegan met two different versions of the retired Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. He was teaching at a public school whose student population included the mysterious Turlough. She displayed a talent for character assessment when she immediately warmed to the former, while distrusting the latter. When she mistook Mawdryn for the Doctor, going through a bad regeneration, Tegan ended up infected with his virus, which caused her to age backwards when the real Doctor tried to remove her from Mawdryn's spaceship in the TARDIS. Tegan was saved when the two versions of the Brigadier met, releasing enough energy to power Mawdryn's machine, cure her and Nyssa, and allow Mawdryn and his fellow mutants to die. Turlough joined the TARDIS crew, something Tegan was not pleased about. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)
Thanks to Turlough's sabotaging of the TARDIS, Tegan and the others ended up on a spaceship filled with victims suffering from Lazar's disease. While the Doctor sought out the controls to prevent the ship from causing another Big Bang that would end the universe, she and Turlough were sent to find Nyssa, who had been infected and taken away for treatment. Nyssa's decision to stay on Terminus to care for the victims of Lazar's disease affected Tegan emotionally. (TV: Terminus)
Tegan dealt with the unwanted attentions of the Eternal Marriner, (PROSE: Enlightenment) a being who didn't love her so much as want to live vicariously through her emotions. During the same adventure, she saw Turlough turn from evil and reject the Black Guardian. This caused her to warm up to Turlough, if just a little. (TV: Enlightenment)
Two days later Tegan, Turlough and the Doctor arrived on Helheim where they were reunited with Nyssa but it had been fifty years for her. Tegan discovered that Nyssa had cured Lazar's disease. Upon discovering that they had apparently died on the research base, she was determined to alter the future so that this didn't happen. To do this she warned the crew in the past but this led to the circumstances of what she saw. She went with the Doctor to Bragg's but saw that he had gone mad. She realised that the memories they had seen in the future were faked. After the Doctor failed to take Nyssa home she joined them again on the TARDIS. (AUDIO: Cobwebs)
The Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa then arrived on Chodor in the 28th century, where they found a society which was obsessed with cleanliness, and lived under the menace of the Takers. After discovering the truth behind the origins to the corrupt society, the TARDIS crew returned to the TARDIS, but discovered that Tegan was still possessed by the Mara. (AUDIO: The Whispering Forest)
The Doctor took Tegan and Turlough to the Eye of Orion to relax. However, she soon was pulled into helping the Doctor and his first three selves complete the Game of Rassilon, as part of a plan by the corrupt Lord President Borusa. Here, Tegan again met the Brigadier, along with Susan Foreman and Sarah Jane Smith. After the Doctor was made Lord President in Borusa's place, Tegan was surprised the Doctor wanted to run from the Time Lords. (TV: The Five Doctors)
After receiving damage from Sentinel Six, the Doctor landed the TARDIS inside Sea Base 4 in the year 2084, at a time where two power blocs were on the brink of nuclear war. When the Doctor and Tegan were trapped in an airlock with the Myrka, Turlough forced Nilson to open the bulkhead door and ensure their safety. Tegan was taken hostage by the enemy human agent Nilson, but the Doctor blinded him with an ultraviolet converter, saving Tegan. When the Doctor released hexachromite gas into the base to stop the Silurians and Sea Devils from attacking, he asked Tegan and Turlough to give the Silurians oxygen. The Doctor stopped the Silurians from starting a nuclear war between the two human power blocs, but was unable to save any of the humans or reptilian life forms inside the base. (TV: Warriors of the Deep)
Eventually, the carnage of the early phase of the Dalek civil war proved too much for Tegan to bear. She bid an emotional and accusatory farewell to the Doctor and Turlough in London in 1984 and ran off before the Doctor could respond. Even so, she ran back in time to see the TARDIS dematerialise, calling out her goodbyes. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks)
Life after the Doctor
After leaving the TARDIS for the second time, Tegan apparently continued working as an air stewardess for some time before returning to Brisbane to take over her father's animal-feed company. (AUDIO: The Gathering)
At some point, Tegan 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)
On 22 September 2006, Tegan was briefly reunited with the Fifth Doctor, who discovered that she had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and had at most a year to live. Despite the Doctor's entreaty, Tegan chose to forgo his assistance in treating the tumour. She stated that she wished to remain on Earth, because she was happy with the life that she had. She rekindled her relationship with Michael Tanaka. She had previously ended the relationship because of her tumour. (AUDIO: The Gathering)
Tegan eventually married William Haybourne, who died when they were both elderly. Tegan had by this point come to believe that her time with the Doctor was just her imagination. She came across a version of the Doctor that she didn't recognise. (PROSE: Good Companions)
Tegan was stubborn, loud and direct, once describing herself as "just a mouth on legs." (TV: Earthshock) While she often bickered with her fellow travellers, her intrinsic honesty and morality proved useful. The Doctor once noted that these qualities made her a good coordinator. (TV: Castrovalva) She was also more likely to detect a threat to the Doctor's safety than her fellow companions. (TV: Castrovalva, Mawdryn Undead)
Of her fellow travellers, she was likely closest to Nyssa, whose controlled nature was in many ways the precise opposite of her own. (TV: Castrovalva) She was indignant at the Doctor's apparent unwillingness to save Adric's life (TV: Earthshock) and genuinely saddened when Nyssa left. (TV: Terminus)
On Deva Loka, Tegan argued with Adric after he suggested she was too weak-minded to defy the Mara and that the ensuing chaos was her fault. (TV: Kinda) However, she also showed concern for Adric's well-being when he was captured and tortured by the Master, (TV: Castrovalva) and grieved for him after his death. (TV: Time-Flight)
Although she despised violence, (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks) she would resort to it under extreme circumstances. When the Master threatened the Doctor in March 1215, Tegan immediately threw a knife at him. (TV: The King's Demons) She also killed a Cyberman in 2526. (TV: Earthshock)
The Doctor often encouraged her to find her inner strength with the words, "Brave heart, Tegan". (TV: Earthshock, Enlightenment, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening) Although she told him that she found it annoying and asked him never to say it again, he did so on numerous subsequent occasions. (AUDIO: Psychodrome) He saw her saying the phrase back to him as he regenerated. (TV: The Caves of Androzani) On one occasion, Tegan said, "Brave heart" to encourage Nyssa. (AUDIO: The Star Men) She muttered those words to herself after leaving the TARDIS and watching it dematerialise. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks)
Tegan claimed that the Doctor often gave her "half pained, half patronising" looks and later described him as the most annoying man that she had ever met. (AUDIO: Aquitaine) On one occasion, she derisively referred to the Doctor as a "posho". (AUDIO: The Peterloo Massacre)
The renegade Time Lady Iris Wildthyme met Tegan (as well as Adric and Nyssa) when she spent Christmas in the TARDIS on one occasion during the Doctor's fifth incarnation. Iris came to dislike Tegan, later describing her as "that shrill Australian woman". (AUDIO: Excelis Dawns)
The Doctor once compared Tegan and Turlough to bickering siblings. (AUDIO: Freakshow) On another occasion, Turlough jokingly told Tegan that "stubbornness is one of Australia's greatest exports". (AUDIO: The Emerald Tiger)
Nyssa considered Tegan to be her best friend. (AUDIO: The Emerald Tiger) Tegan held Nyssa in the same esteem. (AUDIO: The Waters of Amsterdam) Tegan considered Nyssa to be "too good for this world", once expressing a desire to be more like her. (AUDIO: Aquitaine)
Two days after she met Adric, Tegan told Nyssa that he "rubbed [her] up the wrong way" and accused him of being condescending and "a male chauvinist". Shortly afterwards, she described the Doctor as an "incompetent lunatic who talks gibberish". (AUDIO: Psychodrome)
Tegan's ex-boyfriend Michael Tanaka told the Fifth Doctor that he believed she was in love with him at one point. The Doctor later asked her about this, but Tegan denied it, laughing at the idea. (AUDIO: The Gathering)
Behind the scenes
- Janet Fielding appears in-character as Tegan with the Sixth Doctor in NOTVALID: A Fix with Sontarans, a story which this wiki does not consider a valid source.
- According to REF: The Doctor: His Lives and Times, Tegan gave a full account of her travels with the Doctor to a mysterious individual by the name of Dr Song.
- Tegan's name was borne from producer John Nathan-Turner suggesting Tegan (after an Australian girl he knew) or Jovanka (after the First Lady of Yugoslavia) as given names to script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. Bidmead mistook "Tegan (Jovanka)" as the full name. (DWM 234)
- The character Tegan was created when Elisabeth Sladen and Louise Jameson could reprise their roles as Sarah Jane Smith and Leela respectively.