Doctor Who Season 14 Does Justice To A Forgotten Torchwood Character Killed Too Soon


Doctor Who season 14, episode 6, “Rogue,” features an actor who has starred in another corner of the franchise, although her original role was incredibly brief. While Doctor Who is currently the only live-action property within the franchise, there was a time when spinoffs came relatively thick and fast. The additional TV shows differed in tone and target audience when compared with Doctor Who, but they contributed to the overall continuity all the same. “Rogue” finally allows a specific spinoff actor to return to the franchise after 18 years.

This new member of the Doctor Who season 14 cast also appeared in spinoff show aimed at a mature audience, with the story’s violence and sexual themes making it largely inappropriate for family viewing. The Disney era of Doctor Who would be less likely to commission such a series, but it ran for four seasons between 2006 and 2011. Now, in 2024, a former member of the spinoff’s cast returns to the Doctor Who universe.

Doctor Who Season 14 Makes Up For Torchwood Wasting Indira Varma

Varma briefly played Suzie Costello in Torchwood season 1

Doctor Who’s Bridgerton-inspired episode stars Indira Varma as the Duchess of Pemberton, who turns out to be a member of the shapeshifting Chuldur race. Varma played Suzie Costello in the Torchwood pilot before swiftly being killed off at the end of the episode. Although Varma reprised her role when her character was briefly resurrected in Torchwood season 1, episode 8, “They Keep Killing Suzie,” this was her final appearance as a member of Jack Harkness’ team. “Rogue” has Varma as a main character once again, even if it is just for one more episode.

Suzie and the Duchess share a parallel in that it’s not initially clear they’re villains.

Suzie and the Duchess share a parallel in that it’s not initially clear they’re villains. They could eventually share another connection too, in that their initial exit from the franchise may not be permanent. The Duchess is exiled to another dimension by the Doctor, not killed. As such, Varma’s Doctor Who character could return just as her Torchwood persona did. Varma’s acting talents offer a lot to whatever production she’s in, so it’s great to see the door remain open for her comeback – just as it was in Torchwood as a result of the resurrection gauntlet.

Is Indira Varma’s Duchess Related To Torchwood’s Suzie?

Doctor Who often uses genetic connections to explain a duel casting

The Doctor Who franchise is notorious for reusing actors, but there’s often an explanation given as to why the same face can be found on multiple characters. For instance, Freema Agyeman is most known for playing companion Martha Jones, but Agyeman debuted on the show a season before Martha was introduced. The late Adeola Oshodi was retroactively established as Martha’s cousin once Agyeman was cast as a show regular. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has played three characters in the Doctor Who universe, with their connection also receiving a canon explanation.
The genetic ancestry excuse is a common get-out clause for these kinds of scenarios in Doctor Who. So, while the show may never confirm or deny using this writing technique for Indira Varma’s pair of franchise characters, it’s conceivable that Suzie Costello is an eventual descendant of the Duchess of Pemberton, which would explain their shared face. However, while the Duchess turned out to be an alien, this was only because she stole the form of the original character – who was human. So, Suzie was human, and Doctor Who’s double-casting corrects itself yet again.