|Susan Josephine (Susie Jo) Parker|
|Home era:||20th century|
|Travelled with:||David Segal Doctor|
|First appearance:||The Brown Death|
|Last appearance:||The Un-Men|
|Portrayed by:||Karen Walters-Tyler|
Long red hair, built like an hour-glass, and can make a Catholic priest sweat, Susie Jo Parker is a journalist for the Daily Tribune on assignment in America to do a story on corporate pollution. She is unable to speak due to an accident years earlier when she drank some acidic water and burned her vocal chords.
One of the bravest experiments Doctor Who ever took on, this preceded such landmark works such as Children of a Lesser God by a couple of years.
The idea behind a companion who could not speak in an audio drama was simple logistics. They could use the character regardless of whether the actress was available or not. So why have an actress at all, then? Because there were times when Susie Jo did speak. Once, a doppelganger took her place in The Gideon Conspiracy, but apparently she did not do her homework very well and did not know than an accident had robbed Susie Jo of her voice. Her cover was blown when the Doctor and Kevin heard Susie Jo start asking questions. In her final appearance in The Un-Men, Susie Jo’s voice was restored by the Northerners after they kidnapped her and Comdr. Triyad.
Susie Jo was the first of three redheads in a row the series had which prompted many to wonder whether the production team had a fancy for that colour. In truth, it was all a coincidence, though it was a fact that Doug Phillips was married to a redhead and he did have a hand in casting two of the three redhead girls in the show.
Audience reaction was at first mixed toward Susie Jo. Many felt it would be unbelievable for someone else to have to “interpret” what the companion was saying, but feelings mellowed after a while as people got used to the idea of a speechless companion in an audio drama. By the time Karen left the show, it was as if a fond friend was leaving. In the end, the experiment was judged a success.