Jo Payton 002
Jo Payton
Aliases: Josella Payton; Josella Playton; Jo Playton; Josella Payton-Masen
Continuity: The Day of the Triffids
Notability: Supporting character
Gender: Female
Race: Human
Location: Sussex, England
(formerly London)
Known relatives: Bill Masen (husband); Susan (adoptive daughter); David (son); Alice (niece); Unnamed father (deceased)
Status: Alive
Born: 1958 (approx) (mini-series version) [1]
First: Day of the Triffids: 1.2
Actor: Emma Relph
Joely Richardson

Jo Payton is a character who first appeared in John Wyndham's 1951 novel, The Day of the Triffids. The character was identified by the name "Jo Playton" in the story. The character was reimagined under the surname "Payton" in the 1981 BBC mini-series adaptation of The Day of the Triffids where she was played by actress Emma Relph. In the 2009 two-part The Day of the Triffids mini-series, the role of Jo Payton was played by Joely Richardson.

Biography Edit

Josella Payton grew up in an affluent family and lived at 3 Heathside in northwest London. As an adult she moved out on her own, but returned to her family estate to look after her father following the death of her mother. [2] A year later, a mysterious comet passed across the sky just outside of Earth's atmopshere, permanently blinding any who gazed upon it. Fortunately for Jo, she was sleeping off a hangover and awakened some time after the comet had passed. As such, she was one of the few in London who managed to maintain their ability to see. Others in her household were not so lucky however. Both her father and her family maid, Anna were struck blind.

Jo went out to get some help, but was forced to stop when her car ran out of fuel. She took note of the throngs of panicking blind people wandering in and about the streets. One particular man pretended to befriend Jo, asking for her to help guide him across the street. As soon as the opportunity presented itself however, the man attacked Jo, binding her to him with a length of rope, forcing her to act as his eyes. Jo tried to escape, but the crazed, bearded man overpowered her. A man named Bill Masen appeared, beat the older man down and set Jo free. Realizing that Masen had maintained his sight as well, the two decided to stick together until they could sort through the city-wide hysteria.

Bill helped Jo refuel her car and they returned to her family's house. When they arrived, they discovered that the property was crawling with Triffids - giant, carnivorous plants. Her father and housekeeper had both been killed by the aggressive plants and Jo and Bill were forced to flee. [3]

Driving back towards the center of the city, a group of panicking, blind pedestrians attacked them, forcing them to abandon Jo's car. They ran down the street and acquired a second vehicle and drove it to an abandoned high-rise apartment building. They were able to enjoy a momentary respite from the chaos, but the depravity of the situation began to weigh heavily on Jo's mind. She took comfort in Bill's presence and gradually began to fall in love with him.

The following day, Jo and Bill went to the University of London where a radical named Jack Coker was staging a protest, demanding that the military presence provide the blind citizenry with food and shelter. Jo and Bill bypassed the intense crowd and made their way inside. They met a man named Michael Beadley, who was the self-appointed spokesman of a community of survivors who were preparing to make an exodus from the city. They both attended a meeting, hosted by Beagley, wherein his colleagues and he outlined their strategy and the laws that would govern the new society they hoped to create. [4]

Jo and Bill were separated when Jack Coker and his cronies raided the university, kidnapping several sighted people, including Bill, and forcing them to work for him. Jo remained with Beagley's group for a short while and they left London soon after. She traveled with the group for a time, but split apart from them after a visit to Tynsham Manor. Jo went on her own and traveled to Sussex where she came to live with the Brent family. Both Mary and Dennis Brent were blind and they were expecting their first child, so Jo volunteered to stay and help them out. Before long however, she reunited with Bill and invited him (as well as a sighted orphan girl named Susan) to stay with them. [5]

Bill and Jo resumed their love affair and were eventually married. Soon after, they gave birth to their own son, David, and raised him alongside the Brent's child, Alice. The family lived in relative harmony at the farmhouse over the next six years. Times were still tough however and they had to fortify the property against Triffid attacks. They set up an electric fence, which was powered by a gas-powered generator.

In the Spring, Jack Coker came to the farmhouse to visit him. Bill and he had long since reconciled with one another and they both considered Jack a close friend. Jack told them about a massive colony he worked at on the Isle of Wight. He said that the island was virtually free of Triffids and he offered them a place to stay. Jo and Bill considered the option, but Jo wanted to spend at least one more summer at the farmhouse before leaving.

The decision to stay however, was taken out of her hands when a military commander named Torrence arrived with a squad of soldiers at the farmhouse. He manipulated the Masens and the Brents into providing quarters for them and told them that he was forcing them to turn their home into a refugee camp. None of them had any intention of becoming puppets of the military, so they all sneaked out of the farmhouse in the early morning hours and drove off. They eventually arrived at the Isle of Wight and became a part of Jack Coker's community. [6]

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The character did not appear in the 1962 film The Day of the Triffids. Taking Payton's place was a character named Christine Durrant.
  • Although credited as appearing in episode 1 of The Day of the Triffids, Jo actually doesn't make her first appearance until episode 2.

Appearances Edit

Episode Title Airdate
1x2 Part Two September 11th, 1981
1x3 Part Three September 12th, 1981
1x5 Part Five September 14th, 1981
1x6 Part Six September 15th, 1981

See also Edit

References Edit