Introductions in fiction are always much easier to manage than endings. Tour Honchos have been doggedly making our way through ‘Bergerac’ for most of the last year, and even mentioned it previously here when a unusually strong confluence of Doctor Who luminaries appeared in an episode.
Louise Jameson was a series regular from Series 4-7 playing Bergerac’s occasional girlfriend Susan Young, and she played the part with an earnest resolve that never lapsed into cloying or anything less than intelligent. The relationship portrayed in the show eventually ran its course and in the first episode of Series 8, her character was killed off in the episode ‘A True Detective.’
It was a heckuva way to go.
In the classic series endings for companions varied all over the place, and so much depended on whether the exit was planned or merely a contract which wasn’t renewed and, in story terms, were unnecessarily abrupt. Ian and Barbara got a great send-off in the otherwise silly story The Chase, even Steven had a logical departure in The Savages. And in the seventies, Jo and Sarah Jane left with amazing final moments in The Green Death and The Hand of Fear respectively.
People remember how you leave a ‘room’ much more than how you enter it.
All of which means there were companions who very much got the short end of the stick. Poor ol’ Dodo disappeared halfway through The War Machines when Jackie Lane’s contract expired, and had only a line of dialogue to explain it away. Liz ‘went back to Cambridge’ without a final scene (Caroline John was pregnant as it happens). But we dare say no actor had quite as odd a leaving as Louise Jameson, who had a completely un-motivated relationship with the Gallifreyan Guard Andred head-scratchingly tacked on to the very end of episode six of The Invasion of Time.
Big Finish had some work to do ret-conning that away, which it should be added they do very well.
At least Jameson, and Leela, had an ending–however preposterous. There were so many series during the great Silver Age of American television in the 60’s who had long-running characters leave a show …
… and were never spoken of again.