The Companion Departures - #29 - Leela
While Mel’s departure may have been the most nonsensical and unmotivated departure in the series history, Leela’s must go down as the most out-of-character. The character never showed a hint of being interested in romance or showing any romantic feelings - not just throughout her one and a half seasons, but even during her final story, The Invasion of Time. They had 6 episodes in that story to build up a rapport between Leela and the character of Andred but failed to do so - mainly because producer Graham Williams (also the co-writer of this story) was so convinced that Louise Jameson would stay that he didn’t bother to properly write her out until the last minute when he realized that Jameson wasn’t bluffing and/or wasn’t going to changer her mind about leaving. After the two characters barely shared any screen time during the first five epsiodes, there are one or two scenes of Leela and Andred showing concern for each other in episode 6 during the course of the action and the next thing you know Leela is suddenly in love with Andred and has decided to leave the TARDIS.
Louise Jameson claims at the time asked for her character to be killed off rather than married off in such an unconvincing fashion. But even if marrying her off was the way to go (for the sake of a happier ending), they could at least have her fall in love with one of the Shebogans, as that might not have been so bad. The Shebogans, moreso than the Time Lord Guards in the Citadel, were clearly more Leela’s “type” of people and Leela sharing a romantic bond with one of them would have been more plausible. What we were left with was, sadly, not remotely convincing to anyone and a poor out-of-character departure for such a great character.
Posted by Luca on Wednesday, March 18 at 8:36 pm