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Though it originated in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe and still takes place in the Whoniverse, the Bernice Summerfield line spun off into its own continuity over a decade ago.

The character of Professor Bernice Summerfield, interstellar archaeologist, was created by Paul Cornell (he of "Human Nature / The Family of Blood") in 1992. She was a companion to the Seventh and Eighth Doctors. When Virgin New Adventures lost their license to release Doctor Who novels, they relaunched their line (now called just "New Adventures") around Benny's solo career.

In addition to the New Adventures, Bernice has been the star of her own Big Finish Doctor Who spinoff, which begins its season 12 (yes--twelve) in 2011. It is one of the Expanded Universe's most successful spinoffs.

Big Finish Bernice Summerfield page is here.

Tropes

  • Action Girl / Action Mom
  • Acting for Two: Often. Prominently in The Mirror Effect, but also the clones (and robots!) in Glory Days, The Grel Escape and The Final Ammendment.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist... in space!
  • All Just a Dream: The Masquerade Of Death.
  • Aloof Big Brother: A bit. Braxiatel is kind of this to the Doctor, although it never really comes up in the Big Finish series, due to Writing Around Trademarks.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Very common, and also the subject of Benny's doctoral dissertation.
  • And I Must Scream: all too often. The fate of the Monoids in The Kingdom Of the Blind, for one, & the nature of the hyperdrive in A Tub Full Of Cats for another.
  • Artifact Collection Agency: the Braxiatel Collection
  • Bottle Fairy
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: "Professor Bernice Summerfield and the..."
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Beverly
  • Comically Missing the Point: Brax: 'And that's another thing you're misremembering! I spent the last cosmic cycle as a rock, not under one!'
  • Continuity Nod: 'You know, Braxiatel...that thing in your head...it's still there.'
  • Creator Cameo: Being audio, there've been quite a few. Director Gary Russell in The Crystal Of Cantus, writer Joseph Lidster in The Summer Of Love, writer Mathew Sweet in Diet Of Worms and writer Scott Handcock as Plato(!) in The Oracle Of Delphi.
  • Crossover: Frequently. Benny's sometime boss, Braxiatel, is the same character that appears in Gallifrey; Ace occasionally visits; and Iris Wildthyme has popped up a time or two.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Peter. Braxiatel manipulates him into killing Jason due to this.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A couple of characters, notably Miss Jones (repeatedly!) and Maggie.
    • The Jason Clones.
  • Everybody Is Single: Thanks, in part, to Executive Meddling. Benny marrying Jason really was going to be her happy ending and departure from the New Adventures. Then the editors lost their license to Doctor Who, and decided to re-launch it around Benny. Since she'd have to be single for romantic subplots, Benny and Jason's marriage was deep-sixed.
  • Face Heel Turn: Robyn, in Resurrecting The Past.
  • Fantastic Racism: During the Fifth Axis occupation especially.
  • Final Solution: Hass's extermination of the Mim.
  • Future Imperfect: Benny catches people out on their knowledge of history, and is not infrequently caught out herself. (She thought Star Trek was a documentary.)
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Benny's son, Peter; a case of Human Mom, Nonhuman Dad.
  • Ink Suit Actor: Actress Lisa Bowerman has been the voice of Benny since the first audio dramas featuring the character were produced in 1998. She coincidentally resembled the artistic rendering of Benny dating back to the character's first appearance on the cover of the novel Love and War in 1992. As Bowerman became more identified in the role, artistic renderings of Benny began to resemble her more. The 2010 CGI animated short Dead and Buried based Benny's appearance on that of Bowerman (with elements from earlier renderings tossed in). Beginning with the September 2011 release Epoch, Big Finish begins using straight photographs of Bowerman for the cover art.
  • Kid From the Future: Return of the Living Dad
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo
  • Manipulative Bastard: Braxiatel, from The Crystal of Cantus onwards.
    • Earlier than that, surely. He's been like that since at least The Mirror Effect.
  • Musical Episode: The Worst Thing In The World, said "worst thing" being Bernice Summerfield singing an obnoxiously cheerful, obnoxiously catchy musical number to save the day.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The People. They're made up of several races, none of which are human beings.
  • Not as You Know Them: Chris Cwej, although not as much as in Faction Paradox stories.
  • Out with a Bang: The Greatest Shop in the Galaxy
  • Opposite Sex Clone: Maggie to Braxiatel.
  • Pantomime: Oh No It Isn't!, both pantomime and deconstruction of pantomime.
    • The same goes for The Masquerade Of Death.
  • Petting Zoo People: And how. Benny's babydaddy is a wolf/ape alien, one of her close friends is an enormous sentient hamster, and another is a squid-headed humanoid.
  • Put on a Bus: Parasiel, at the end of Collected Works. Also several of the minor characters.
  • Robot Buddy: Joseph
  • Single Biome Planet: The water planet Maximediras. It's also a complete hole.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Benny and Jason
  • Snark Knight: Benny
  • Space Opera
  • Spaceship Girl: The Secret of Cassandra
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Just War
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Hass's threat to nuke Braxiatel
  • The Time Traveller's Dilemma: Return of the Living Dad
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: As its name suggests, Timeless Passages.
  • Veganopia: Benny's home society ate engineered meats only. Benny views food derived from an actual animal with vague distaste.
  • Vichy Earth: the Braxiatel Collection, during its occupation by the Fifth Axis.
  • Wham! Episode: Several:
    • Where Angels Fear... The planet Dellah gets invaded by the Gods. Everyone evacuates. Clarence dies, and Emile becomes possessed by a demon.
    • The Mirror Effect: Everyone tries to kill each other. And Brax is revealed to be a really evil bastard.
    • Life During Wartime: The Collection is invaded. By Benny's dad. And the Daleks.
    • The Wake. Just, The Wake.
    • Resurrecting The Past: Braxiatel's plans come together. Robyn tries to kill Bernice, but Hass kills Robyn first and accidentally starts a trans-temporal war.
    • Escaping The Future: Everybody dies. But that's okay, because all of history (and established continuity) is completely rewritten.
  • What Could Have Been: Bernice Summerfield And The Drop Dead Divas as written by Jim Mortimore. Part jungle trek, part documentary, complete Mind Screw, with healthy doses of reincarnation, pigmies, Dyson Rings, Budhists Future Me Scares Me and intergalactic wars.
  • Writing Around Trademarks
    • Not so much this as keeping distance from the parent series - Daleks and Cybermen can appear, but nobody goes any further than occasional accidental references to the 'Doct...' before stopping themselves.
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