Welcome back, Melanie Bush!


Actress Bonnie Langford returns to Doctor Who this coming weekend for the much-anticipated first instalment of the two-part finale, titled The Legend of Ruby Sunday.

The BBC series sees Mel Bush back in her role at UNIT, which we first got a peep of back during the 60th anniversary special The Giggle.

Now, Mel – who originally appeared in Doctor Who from 1986 to 1987 – has a whole new mission that sees her world collide with her beloved friend The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) once again.

The official synopsis teases: "The Doctor and UNIT investigate Ruby's past. But as the Time Window reveals horrifying secrets from Christmas Eve, the mysterious Triad Technology unleash the greatest evil of all."

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Speaking exclusively to Radio Times, Langford discussed Mel’s return ahead of the much-anticipated two-part finale.

Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, Bonnie Langford as Mel and Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who. The Doctor is shaking Susan's hand.
Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, Bonnie Langford as Mel and Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who. James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Langford revealed: "Mel now has been basically spying in another job to gain information about an organisation that UNIT is quite worried about. And then the Doctor arrives because, you know, he's heard about things as well.

"And it all then literally cranks up very quickly. So Mel is able to, having infiltrated this area, offer up all that information and support and basically takes the Doctor on a Vespa. I know (laughs), it’s camp as hell – it is brilliant!

"And, and so basically she then is locked into this whole story of how to resolve what seems to be this mystery of stuff that's going on.

"Mel will go to the end of the Earth for the Doctor. She knows his history and also his love for the planet, the universe and everything involved is so genuine – it's so authentic – and she's just thrilled to be beside him again."

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Discussing how her character Mel has changed since her stint in the classic series, Langford noted the classic character’s maturation in multiple ways.

Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor stands beside Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush, he is wearing a black leather jacket and white t-shirt and she has a red jacket on, for Doctor Who.
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa, left) and Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford, right) are reunited. BBC/James Pardon

"Well she's grown up, she's been around, she's seen a lot," commented Lanford, "and I think she's very happy to be part of UNIT. Very happy to be there.

"She's able to contribute and be in a team of like-minded people who not only have the same or, you know, immense technical skills, but also have the same work ethic, and also have the same dedication to doing the best they can with the planet and the universe and knowing all that past backstory, but being able to bring it to something that is really helpful and hopefully, life-enhancing to the world.

"She's a lot calmer. She’s a lot more resilient and resourceful and I think she's a lot more independent."

When pressed if she prefers playing this iteration of the character, the star said: "Absolutely, 100%. Yeah."

Will Mel continue to have a role beyond this epic two-part finale, whether in the main series or a much-rumoured spin-off? It remains to be seen.

Sylvester McCoy in his Doctor Who costume with his arm around companion Bonnie Langford
Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford in 1987. Chris Ridley/Radio Times

Langford remained coy: "I can't tell you. At this point, I can't tell you whether she survives. Does anybody survive?"

Regardless, the beloved actress is feeling a wave of appreciation for getting to be part of the franchise once more.

On getting to return to the Whoniverse, Langford said: "It's absolutely brilliant. It's great to be there. I feel like I'm sort of part of the gang again. I’m very, very lucky to be part of a great job. I'm feeling quite blessed, really."

Doctor Who continues Saturdays on BBC One and iPlayer.


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