26 Dec 2012
"Hello, I am the lizard woman from the dawn of time - and this is my wife." Madame Vastra of Doctor Who © BBC
If you watched Doctor Who yesterday evening, you will have witnessed something rather special happening on peak time Xmas telly.
The Christmas special of the popular sci-fi series, which was broadcast to millions of viewers in the UK, the US and Canada on 25th December, featured the reptilian superheroine Madame Vastra and her loyal assistant Jenny, who announced to the world that they are MARRIED.
For those of you who may not yet have seen Madame Vastra in action - she is a swashbuckling lizard-lady who is a friend and occasional aide for the time-travelling Doctor.
She and Jenny have appeared in previous episodes of Doctor Who, and although there have been strong hints that they were a couple, the exact status of their relationship had not been made clear.
The two characters were a huge hit with Doctor Who audiences, and were been brought back by Doctor Who writers due to popular demand.
Yesterday's Christmas special, 'The Snowmen', which was broadcast on Christmas Day at 5.15 pm on BBC1, featured Madame Vastra and Jenny trying to help The Doctor put a stop to the evil Dr Simeon (played by Richard E Grant) and his army of sinister snowmen.
The pair arrive at the house where Doctor Who's (future) new assistant is a governess, and Madame Vastra says: "Hello, I am the lizard woman from the dawn of time - and this is my wife."
Although unfortunately this time they and the Doctor were this time unable to halt Dr Simeon's evil plans, it opens up the series to more appearances from Madame Vastra and Jenny.
The BBC's Doctor Who website has hinted that we'll be seeing more of them too: "We suspect that we’ll be seeing more of this engaging ‘lizard woman from the dawn of time'". Can't wait!
So, what do we know about this fascinating character?
MADAME VASTRA FACTS
Madame Vastra is played by actress Neve McIntosh (see left pic). Looks familiar? She was in lesbian TV drama Lip Service (she played Lauren, an art magazine editor who had an affair with Sadie in series 2).
Madame Vastra is a Silurian, a race of reptile-like humanoids whose home planet is earth. They have been featured in Doctor Who since the 1970s.
The Silurians (Homo reptilia) were Earth's first intelligent inhabitants, cold-blood reptilians with a lifespan of over three centuries who developed a civilisation at least 300 million years before human beings evolved.
Madame Vastra, who has a home in Victorian London with assistant/ wife Jenny, first appeared in Doctor Who in June in 'A Good Man Goes To War'. (Series 6 Episode 7)
She is a brave warrior and accomplished swordswoman.
It's been hinted at that she eats her enemies... after dealing with the notorious Jack the Ripper, she commented that she’d found him ‘stringy but tasty’!
Like many Silurians, Madame Vastra sometimes shows a haughty contempt for humans, but her heart's in the right place.
She, Jenny and another character called Strax have become known as the Paternoster Gang - they are sometimes joined by The Doctor himself.
Let's hope we see a lot more of this fascinating creature and her lady wife in future!