Vansellostophossius (Vansell for short) was a Time Lord who served as Coordinator of the Celestial Intervention Agency and was a former classmate of the First Doctor's from the Prydonian Academy. He was a determined person who did his utmost to keep Gallifrey in its position of power, and to maintain the Web of Time.
Prydonian Academy student
Vansell studied to achieve the title of Time Lord at the Prydonian Academy, where he was classmates with the First Doctor and was known to the Doctor by the nickname of "Nosebung". (AUDIO: Neverland) During their time together as students, Vansell, the Doctor, and a group of their Academy classmates attempted to climb Mount Cadon, despite rules against it and halfway up the mountain peak, Vansell broke his leg in three places. The Doctor came to his aid and created a time bubble, using a sonic wrench and two lengths of twine, which accelerated the healing process and repaired his leg within minutes. Despite the swift mending of Vansell's injury, the group never reached the top of the mountain, owing to the hallucinogenic snow on the mountain. (AUDIO: Devil in the Mist)
According to a nightmare by the Fifth Doctor, Vansell belonged to the Deca, a clique of ten young Academy students which included the Doctor, the Master and seven others. Among the Deca, Vansell was an oddity, standing out as a taciturn individual who was the most dedicated to his studies among the ten, and others did not understand why he was involved with the group. Like Ushas and Rallon, Vansell did well for himself and already received his Rassilon Imprimatur and the title of junior Time Lord before their friends. The three were in their final semester at the academy, while the other seven still had two more remaining. Vansell was present with the other Deca members when the group of friends looked over information about the universe beyond Gallifrey that the Doctor had accessed by breaking through the APC Net security. Vansell warned him that the information seemed far too easy to access, as if by intent. He criticized his friend's conceit and questioned why the Doctor believed they could achieve what even Rassilon could not, nearly coming to blows with him over the argument. When the Doctor made plans to leave Gallifrey to find the mysterious Toymakers mentioned in the data he had hacked, Vansell refused to accompany him and denounced the Doctor's willingness to break Gallifrey's laws, declaring that he had no intention of throwing his future away. Among the Deca, only Rallon and Millennia agreed to join the expedition. When Vansell left in anger, Rallon wondered if their friend would betray them, but the Doctor did not believe Vansell capable of it, citing their loyalty to one another.
Later, at the Doctor's public expulsion from the Academy for his crimes following his disastrous excursion in search of the Toymaker in a stolen Type 18 TARDIS that resulted in the losses of Millennia and Rallon, Magnus revealed to him that it was one of their friends who betrayed him to the Celestial Intervention Agency. Vansell, dressed in the black-and-white robes of a CIA recorder and accompanied by three others from the CIA, proceeded to expose himself as the traitor. He revealed that, despite his youth, he had worked for the CIA from the day he first entered the Academy as was tasked with watching the Doctor and so joined his group of friends despite his incongruous personality. Vansell explained that while several members of the Deca had ambitions beyond Gallifrey, the Doctor alone was of interest to the agency because of the potential the CIA saw within him and his genes from the beginning of his existence. Though devastated and angered by Vansell's betrayal, the Doctor remained calm and told him that despite his unprecedented expulsion, he had won a victory over Vansell and declared that unlike Vansell, he understood loyalty and the need to do what he believed was morally right. Unlike Vansell, who merely had a job, the Doctor had friends who would mean far more to him that Vansell's duplicity and maliciousness ever could. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
Work with Celestial Intervention Agency
Following the fallout between Vansell and his Prydonian Academy associates from the Deca, he abandoned his facade of a life at the Academy and continued his service to the Celestial Intervention Agency, ultimately working as a respected Coordinator between the High Council and the CIA, highly respected by some and barely tolerated by others. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties) In this role, he was debatably second in power to the Lord President of Gallifrey. (PROSE: Synthespians™)
At some point during his tenure as Coordinator of the Celestial Intervention Agency Vansell learned that the Nestene Consciousness escaped destruction on Polymos by the Time Lords, from a report given to him and Lord President Niroc by Junior Monitor Caspin. Based on time traces indicating the presence of a Type 40 TARDIS in the 101st century New Earth Republic where the Nestene Consciousness had escaped to, he believed the Sixth Doctor had set the Nestene free. Enraged by the actions of the Renegade Time Lord and fed up with his former friend's frequent interference in his plans, Vansell arranged for the Doctor's trial on Space Station Zenobia and ordered his operatives to appoint an Inquisitor and a Valeyard for the proceedings. (PROSE: Synthespians™)
He accompanied the acting President to the planet Archetryx for the Archetryx Convention — a gathering to discuss the use of time travel capabilities of other races, such as the Monan Host and Andromedans — but he had another motive there, which the Sixth Doctor disliked, of looking and taking any advancements that the other temporal powers had applied to their time machines, and having the CIA adapt them to Gallifreyan TARDISes. During the attack from the Daleks, he helped to defend Archetryx and was surprised that the Vagoyans helped. He escaped with the Lord President, leaving the Doctor, Evelyn Smythe and Lady President Romana II fighting the Daleks when Etra Prime collided. When the Daleks approached Gallifreyan space, disguised as Monan time vessels, he allowed the transduction barrier to be lowered, which enabled the Daleks to invade Gallifrey. He helped the Doctor defeat the Daleks and stop them from destroying the universe with the Apocalypse Element. He was angry that the Doctor erased most of the security system's retina scans and replaced it with only Evelyn's, but he came round when he realised when it meant the Daleks no longer had a reason to kill so many Time Lords. (AUDIO: The Apocalypse Element)
Vansell was there to greet Romana when she returned to Gallifrey after an adventure with the Eighth Doctor. He informed them both that there had been a security breach in the Capitol, caused by Handrel and his attempt to merge Time Lord DNA with that of a vampire. (PROSE: The Time Lord's Story)
Vansell led a Gallifreyan Time Station on an expedition into the world of anti-time to find what he believed to be the body of the Time Lords' revered founder, Rassilon. He was possessed by anti-time energy, and attempted a coup over Madam President Romana. With her help, Vansell overcame the anti-time influence and trapped a group of Neverpeople (along with himself) inside the Time Station's temporal reactors. He and the Neverpeople were vaporised by the temporal energy of the reactors. (AUDIO: Neverland) After Vansell's destruction, he was succeeded as coordinator of the CIA by Narvin. (AUDIO: Weapon of Choice)
In another alternative timeline in which it was standard policy for the Time Lords to sell their temporal technology to the highest bidder and regenerations could be extracted and sold, Vansell was a servant at the House of Heartshaven, the ancestral home of Lady Romana. However, he was secretly in the employ of her son Antonin. (AUDIO: Reborn)
In another alternative timeline in which the Time Lords regularly altered history through the Temporal Intervention Agency, Vansell served as Castellan under Lady President Romana. (AUDIO: Disassembled)
Behind the scenes
- Vansell was the first character created by Big Finish to have been depicted meeting the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and the Eighth Doctors.
- Although Vansell appears extensively in PROSE: Divided Loyalties, it is unclear how much of the dream sequence depicting a version of the Doctor's first encounter with the Toymaker and his expulsion from the Prydonian Academy is based in fact and how much is simply the product of the Fifth Doctor's mind.