Tegan Jovanka

Tegan Jovanka

Tegan Jovanka is a fictional character played by Janet Fielding in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. An Australian airline stewardess and a native of Brisbane who was a companion of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, she was a regular in the programme from 1981 to 1984. Tegan was the longest-serving companion in terms of years on the series (3 years, 1 month), although Jamie McCrimmon was in the most episodes and stories.

According to producer John Nathan-Turner, when he was thinking of a name for the character, it was either going to be Tegan, after a friend's niece in Australia, or Jovanka, after Jovanka Broz, the widow of Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, so he wrote both down on a piece of paper. Script editor Christopher H. Bidmead mistakenly believed that Jovanka was the character's last name rather than an alternative, and so christened her Tegan Jovanka.

Character history

Tegan first appears in the Fourth Doctor's last serial, Logopolis. On her way to Heathrow Airport to start her new job with Air Australia, her car suffers a flat tyre. She enters a roadside police box to seek help, not knowing that it is actually the Doctor's disguised TARDIS. She is present when the Fourth Doctor falls from the Pharos Project radio telescope and regenerates into his fifth incarnation, and continues to journey with the Doctor and his other companions.

Tegan is stubborn, loud, and direct, with a no-nonsense manner and not afraid to speak her mind (in Earthshock she describes herself as "just a mouth on legs"). Her time in the TARDIS coincides with that of Adric, Nyssa, Turlough and Kamelion. While she often bickers with them as well as with the Doctor, her strength of character keeps them together and her loyalty to her fellow crewmates is unquestionable. She is close to Nyssa, and is especially saddened at her leaving. The Doctor notes that she is a good coordinator, and often encourages her with the words, "Brave heart, Tegan." She is apparently able to speak one of many Indigenous Australian languages fluently, and shows an ability to use firearms.

According to the Fifth Doctor audio drama The Gathering, she was born on September 22, 1960. However, the canonicity of the spin-off media is open to interpretation.

Despite her strong front, however, her adventures with the Doctor, both thrilling and terrifying, eventually take a psychological toll. She is deeply upset by the death of Adric in Earthshock. After being left behind in Heathrow due to a misunderstanding at the end of Time-Flight she returns to the TARDIS in the subsequent adventure Arc of Infinity. Soon after she is once again possessed by the alien intelligence known as the Mara. Nyssa's departure affects her as well, and she is initially suspicious of Turlough's intentions in joining the Doctor. Eventually, the carnage surrounding the events of Resurrection of the Daleks prove too much and she bids an emotional good-bye to the Doctor and Turlough in 1984 London.

An illusory image of Tegan is seen during the Fifth Doctor's regeneration into the Sixth in The Caves of Androzani (1984).

Tegan is mentioned in the new series in the 2007 Children in Need special episode "Time Crash" by the Tenth Doctor

Other appearances

Fielding reprised the role in a 1985 sketch ("A Fix with Sontarans") for the children's show Jim'll Fix It alongside Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. This sketch suggests Tegan returns to the life of a flight attendant and has also frosted her hair blonde, before being accidentally returned to the TARDIS by the Sixth Doctor.

Tegan's life after journeying with the Doctor is investigated in the Big Finish Productions 2006 audio drama The Gathering. Although she finds it difficult to enter into relationships and is suffering from a terminal illness, she tells the Doctor that she has no regrets about her time with him, and now appreciates her life to the full.

The spin-off fiction suggests that she was briefly married to pop star Johnny Chester (also known as Johnny Chess), the son of the First Doctor's companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. In the spin-off short story "Good Companions" by Peter Anghelides Tegan has suffered a nervous breakdown and convinced herself that her time with the Doctor was a delusion.


According to David Tennant's video diary of filming Doctor Who Series 3, John Barrowman (who plays Captain Jack Harkness in the 21st century series of Doctor Who and its spinoff Torchwood) has a dog named Tegan, named after Jovanka.

List of appearances


Season 18

Audio drama


Virgin Missing Adventures

Short stories



External links

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