Erimem was voiced by Caroline Morris
Erimemushinteperem, or Erimem for short, was an uncrowned Pharaoh from ancient Egypt who, after travelling in the TARDIS with the Fifth Doctor and Peri, stayed behind to rule the planet Peladon by becoming engaged to King Pelleas.
She developed a deep bond with Peri that the two likened to sisterhood. In the relationship, Peri often played the role of the “older” sister, since Erimem was only 17 or younger when she started travelling with the Doctor. (Blood and Hope) Peri often served as a kind of bridge between Erimem’s ancient past and the more modern world inhabited by the Doctor. Nevertheless, Erimem was strong-willed and often showed a wisdom that belied her youth, and a grasp of universal truths that made up for her inexperience with technology.
Erimem was born in 1419 BC to Pharaoh Amenhotep II of Egypt.
Her mother was Rubak, one of his sixty concubines. (The Eye of the Scorpion) Her father, who was predeceased by her three elder brothers, died when she was seventeen. She was groomed as the next Pharaoh. She was raised in near isolation, treated more like a god than a person. (No Place Like Home)
There was controversy about the throne passing to a woman. It was in the midst of this intrigue that the Fifth Doctor and Peri Brown arrived in Thebes in circa 1400 BC. The Doctor knew that historical records showed Amenhotep was succeeded by Thutmose IV. He feared Erimem would die in a revolution to prevent her becoming Pharaoh. However, Erimem survived. Realising she was not destined to rule Egypt, she decided to leave — perhaps for Greece — to study. The Doctor offered her a chance to learn far further afield. (The Eye of the Scorpion) He initially intended for her to learn at the Braxiatel Collection, but the TARDIS diverted them to 17th century France (The Church and the Crown) and then other destinations. Her departure was so abrupt that she was not able to say goodbye to her mother, something she regretted. (No Place Like Home)
At some point in her travels, she and Peri visited Prelax, where they went to a costume party against the Doctor’s wishes.
The Doctor decided to give Erimem a tour of his TARDIS. At this time, a mutated rovie decided to take control of the TARDIS and tried to get them lost or killed. When the Doctor and Erimem finally found the Rovie, they did not take him seriously because he was a rodent. They provoked him with mouse-based insults, which caused him to leave his protective force field. Erimem smashed Rovie’s machine and set Antranak on him. (No Place Like Home)
Throughout her travels with the Doctor and Peri, Erimen sought out causes and crusades into which to throw herself. For instance, she applied herself with Arius at the Council of Nicaea in 325. (The Council of Nicaea)
At some point, she, Peri and the Doctor arrived at an exhibition displaying hieroglyphics depicting her own life. An archaeologist, Carra, although unaware of her true identity, assured Erimem that the world would know her story. (The Coming of the Queen)
In order to spare the lives of the Doctor and Peri, she became engaged to Dracula in Ungro-Wallachia in 1462, and remained committed to the matrimony until he released her from it following his military defeat. (Son of the Dragon)
It was the Doctor who got to see many of her desires first hand in an induced fantasy world created by the plants of YT45. In this fantasy, she was the ruler of “New Cairo”, an amalgam of many of the worlds she had visited with the Doctor and her original home in Egypt. (The Mind’s Eye)
The Doctor, Peri and Erimem answered a distress call from the Ice Warrior prince and ambassador, Zixlyr in the 41st century. Zixlyr had blown up an explosive within his ship to smuggle a Xanthoid volataliser onto Peladon after his sister, the previous ambassador to Peladon, Alixlyr, had disappeared; he claimed he had been attacked by Arcturans and knew that if he entered Peladon through more conventional means, the volataliser would have been detected. As the ship began to fall towards Peladon, part of the ship’s hull broke off, leaving the TARDIS around Peladon’s orbit and making escape impossible. The Doctor, Peri and Erimem helped Zixlyr safely crashland the ship as it entered Peladon’s atmosphere, crashing it into a forest. Zixlyr and Peri went to the citadel of Peladon, while Erimem took care of the Doctor as he recovered.
An Aggedor, the daughter of the late Aggedor the Doctor had encountered in his third incarnation began approaching the Doctor and Erimem. The Doctor used Erimem’s signet ring to hypnotise and tame her.
Queen Belldonia of the royal house of Peladon discovered them while on a hunt and escorted the Doctor and Erimem back to the citadel.
An explosion set off by the criminal Arktos and his accomplice, Elkin, had ripped apart the floor of the nearby mines, killing the miners inside. Within the wreckage, Erimem discovered a message in Egyptian hieroglyphs warning of the Osirian, Sekhmet, whom the Egyptians worshipped as a god. The Doctor found a secret passageway leading to Sekhmet’s trisilicate tomb, where three of her four blood locks had been broken after she fed on the blood of three royal women, including Alixlyr and the newly-crowned King Pelleas’ predecessor, Queen Elspera, and used the Aggedor to break down the door. Erimem offered her blood to Sekhmet, but had poisoned it with mandrake root that was inside her ring. Zixlyr grabbed onto Sekhmet and set the countdown on his volataliser. Zixlyr sealed the chamber, blowing himself up along with Sekhmet. The Doctor and Erimem escaped, but Erimem was still dying from her poison. Peri used the Time Lord biochemistry in the Doctor’s blood to revive Erimem by performing a “very crude” blood transfusion on her.
King Pelleas proposed to Erimem, and she accepted so that she could run Peladon and show Pelleas how to be a good ruler. According to Erimem, “We’re genuinely fond of each other and who knows? That may blossom into love.” She parted company from Peri and the Doctor, staying behind to rule Peladon. (The Bride of Peladon)
Erimem was intellectually curious and, oddly for a Pharaoh who was said to be a god, mostly irreligious. She generally professed that she did not believe in Egyptian gods, and instead favoured scientific investigation. She was inclined to believe, for instance, some of the very earliest scholarship which asserted that the world was round. Indeed, when she gave up her claim on the Egyptian throne to travel with the Doctor, the original plan was that he would take her to a university of some kind. (The Eye of the Scorpion)
Despite her generally irreligious stance, she did claim to believe in the Egyptian gods in 15th century Wallachia, though this was likely to prove her neutrality in an ongoing war between Christians and Muslims. (Son of the Dragon) Although she wore a signet ring with religious symbology, her only known act of voluntary religious devotion was when she prayed to Osiris on Peladon when she thought the Doctor was near death. (The Bride of Peladon)
She was a natural leader, and quickly found herself in command wherever the TARDIS took her. On her very first journey, she spurred the forces of both Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu against George Villiers’ English troops in 1626. (The Church and the Crown)
She seemed to truly desire to rule or be close to a ruler over a group of people. (Son of the Dragon) Even her subconscious asserted her desire to command, (The Mind’s Eye) although she had a very strong sense of honour and a resistance against tyrannical rule. She believed that a leader had a sacred trust to hear and defend her people. So strongly was she committed to the idea of fairness in public discourse that she was prepared to stop travelling with the Doctor in order to ensure that all sides of an important politico-religious argument were heard at the Christian Council of Nicaea – even though she herself did not believe in that, or any, religion. (The Council of Nicaea) Her desire to help others by being a good leader was the cause of her departure from the Doctor, when ultimately she assented to marry a king of Peladon to help him rule. (The Bride of Peladon)
Her marriage to Pelleas of Peladon had been presaged by several other instances in which she was poised to leave the Doctor and Peri. Her propensity to leave most often came as it did in Nicaea, Ungro-Wallachia and Peladon — out of a desire to help others. However, once, following a disagreeable time in the Himalayas during the time of the British Raj, Erimem wanted to stop travelling with her companions out of fear of the things she was learning about herself. (The Roof of the World, Three’s a Crowd)
BEHIND THE SCENES
Erimem as pictured on Big Finish covers was modelled upon the face of her voice actor, Caroline Morris, who is light-skinned. However, in many — though not all — Doctor Who Magazine illustrated previews she is drawn with darker skin, as her stories depict her. It is of narrative importance that Erimem is dark-skinned in a number of stories, including Blood and Hope, The Church and the Crown and The Council of Nicaea.
In 2011, Iain McLaughlin used his creation in episode eight of Kerides the Thinker, an American series of audio plays created by him and Claire Bartlett. The episode, “Return of the Queen”, was published February 20, 2012. Erimem was played by Christine Mosere instead of Caroline Morris. The reason given, in story, for the different voice was that Erimem was possessing the body of a soothsayer.