I just found out Maggie Stables died.
. Peaceful and in her sleep, which is a good way to go, of course. But Evelyn Smythe, whom she played on the Big Finish audio adventures, was such a great character. As Colin Baker says
, she was the definite Sixth Doctor Companion; she redefined him. And their audible chemistry was just delightful.
Perhaps because she was the first Companion who was introduced
as an older person, Evelyn dealing with her mortality - not the chance she could be killed during an adventure, but the normal human fragility of her aging body - was a red thread through many of her adventures. A bit like Laura Roslin on BSG who gets introduced in the scene in which she gets her terminal diagnosis, and whose survival beyond the end of the show would have felt like cheating, Big Finish didn't just tease out this with Evelyn. And because the audio adventures don't have to happen in a linear fashion, we got Evelyn's goodbyes - to her
Doctor, the sixth one, in Thicker than Water
, and to the seventh one in A Death in the Family
- without this meaning the end of Evelyn; there were adventures starring her made after this which simply preceded those goodbyes in chronological fashion. And Maggie Stables never sounded weary or routine-esque. I recently heard two adventures which paired her and the Doctor with Victorian trickster Thomas Brewster, and Evelyn sounded as vibrantly compelling as ever. Even when, in a spacesuit, she faced possible death (again) and still loved the wonder of the moment.
I'm so glad Big Finish cast Maggie Stables as this wonderful character. We could say goodbye to Evelyn, knowing it was au revoir really because of that non-linearity of adventures. Not anymore, and yet, those goodbyes feel a bit comforting now. I think I'll listen to them again.