Sunday, 11 December 2016

A is for... Avery

The Doctor's first brush with the pirate Captain Henry Avery came when he and his new companions Ben and Polly visited 17th Century Cornwall. Avery's one-time colleague, Captain Pike, was searching for the deceased pirate's lost treasure. This was hidden in a secret vault beneath the church crypt in the village where the Doctor and his companions had arrived. A clue to its whereabouts had been given to the Doctor by the churchwarden, who had once sailed with Avery.
The Doctor would go on to meet Avery himself, when the TARDIS materialised on his ship - The Fancy. The vessel had become becalmed, and the crew were threatened by a Siren - a ghostly female who claimed anyone who had become injured. Avery initially was quite happy to see the Doctor walk the plank, but quickly accepted his help. When shown the TARDIS, he had no problem equating its controls to his own ship. He discovered that his son Toby was a stowaway on board the ship, and that the boy was dying. He had pretended to Toby that he was still a naval officer, but his crew informed the boy that his father was really a notorious pirate. When the Doctor worked out what the Siren really was, and how it operated, he forced Avery to throw all of his treasure overboard. He couldn't bring himself to discard all of it, and this led to Toby and Rory Williams being claimed by the Siren.
The Doctor, Amy and Avery then allowed themselves to be taken in order to be reunited with their lost loved ones. An alien vessel had crashed in a parallel dimension to The Fancy - and the Siren was this vessel's medical hologram.
It was keeping Toby and Rory, as well as the rest of Avery's crew, alive. Once Avery accepted responsibility for his son's care, the Siren deactivated. Were Toby to leave the spacecraft, he would die, so Avery became its new commander. He and his son and crew took off to explore the universe.

When the Doctor later had to call upon old friends to help him retrieve the abducted Amy and her baby from the Silence, Henry and Toby Avery were amongst those who answered the call. They prevented Madam Kovarian escaping from Demons Run.

Played by: Hugh Bonneville. (Toby Avery by Oscar Lloyd). Appearances: Curse of the Black Spot (2011), A Good Man Goes To War (2011). The adventure involving Captain Pike and Avery's treasure is The Smugglers (1966).

  • There is an obvious contradiction between the story of Avery's gold in The Smugglers, and the fate of his treasure in Curse of the Black Spot. How could his treasure be buried in Cornwall, when he threw it overboard before disappearing into a parallel dimension? More than one hoard of booty, presumably? The Hartnell story also implies that Pike's ship - The Black Albatross - was Avery's old ship.
  • The real Henry Avery (or Every, or Evory) was not the nicest of men, having run a slave ship in between his stint in the Royal Navy and his highly successful piracy career. He and his men were also known to torture and rape their captives before killing them. He was only a pirate for a couple of years, prior to his disappearance in 1696. His capture of the Grand Mughal's treasure led to the world's first ever international manhunt. It was rumoured at the time that he changed his name and simply retired - possibly even living out his days in England under the very noses of those who were hunting him. Contrary to events in The Smugglers, his treasure has never been found.

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