Andrew Burt 1945 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Andrew Burt has died at the age of 73

Andrew Burt played Valgard, one of the Vanir, in the 1983 fifth Doctor story Terminus.

Born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, he trained at Rose Bruford College of Drama.

He was a regular on television throughout the 1970's, 80's and 90's. One of his first TV roles was in 1972, playing Jack Sugden in the new TV soap Emmerdale Farm. He played Captain FitzRoy in the TV drama The Voyage of Charles Darwin.

In 1979 he took the title role in The Legend of King Arthur alongside former Doctor Who companion Maureen O'Brien playing Morgan le Fay. Another folk hero came his way when he starred in Gulliver in Lilliput alongside Elisabeth Sladen. He played Ven Jarvik in a 1980 episode of Blake's 7.

Regular roles in Mystery!: Campion, Angels, Bergerac, The Bill and Oscar Charlie followed. He was the voice of Radio Norwich for both series of I'm Alan Partridge, appearing in one episode as Alan's old Headmaster.

In recent years Burt worked as a counsellor for people with stress-related illnesses.




George A Cooper 1926 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 25 November 2018 - Reported by Marcus
The actor George A Cooper has died at the age of 93.

George A Cooper was known to a whole generation of children for playing the caretaker, Mr Grifiths, in the children's drama Grange Hill, appearing in 103 episodes between 1985 and 1992. He appeared in Doctor Who in 1966, playing Cherub in the First Doctor story The Smugglers.

George Alphonsus Cooper was born in Leeds in 1925. After training as an electrical engineer and architect he was called up for National Service, working for the Royal Artillery in India. During that period he became interested in performing and on his discharge joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in Manchester. To avoid confusion with American actor George Cooper he used his middle initial in his stage name.

His first appearance on television was in 1946. Over the next fifty years, he was a regular on the screen developing a career out of portraying slightly bumbling authoritarian characters. In 1964 he won a recurring role in ITV's Coronation Street playing businessman Willie Piggott who famously tried to bribe Ken Barlow to give his son Brian a pass on his tech exam.

He had regular roles in Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green. In 1960 he appeared in the West End play Billy Liar playing the father of the title character, later reprising the role in the 1973 television series. He appeared in comedies such as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Sykes and Mind Your Language.

In 1985 he took on the role of no-nonsense caretaker Eric Griffiths in the incredibly successful children's drama Grange Hill, playing the role for seven years and earning a place in the hearts of a generation of children.

His last TV appearance was in a 1995 episode of Casualty.

George A Cooper died at a nursing home in Hampshire last Friday. He is survived by his son Adam.




The Doctors: Villains!Bookmark and Share

Friday, 9 November 2018 - Reported by Marcus
The Doctors: Villains! (Credit: Koch Media UK)
Koch Media UK has released the latest in its series of interviews with the stars of Doctor Who - The Doctors: Villains!

This is described as the definitive set of interviews with a group of actors who brought the villains in Doctor Who to life and sent you “behind the sofa”!

This special release contains five in-depth interviews with Ian Collier (Omega - Arc of Infinity), Bernard Archard (Marcus Scarman - Pyramids of Mars), David Gooderson (Davros - Destiny of the Daleks), Peter Miles (Nyder - Genesis of the Daleks), Julian Glover (Scaroth - City of Death), plus a fascinating tribute to Roger Delgado (The Master) by the cast and production staff he worked with.

For all Doctor Who fans, this 2-disc special collector’s edition is 5 hours of pure nostalgia, which will give you a whole new insight into the making of Doctor Who.

With an introduction by Nicholas Briggs and Producer/Director Keith Barnfather. The DVD is out on region free 2-disc now.

Order on Amazon




Wheel In Space - Animated Mini EpisodeBookmark and Share

Monday, 5 November 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Credit: BBCA new animated sequence from the 1968 Doctor Who story, The Wheel In Space, is to get its debut at the British Film Institute's Southbank Centre this December.

The 10-minute sequence is from Episode 1 of the six-part story. The episode has been missing from the BBC archives since it was junked in the early 1970's. Only two of the six episodes from the story still exist in the archives.

This newly announced mini-episode is produced by Charles Norton, who produced the animated versions of Power of the Daleks and Shada. It is directed by Anne Marie Walsh who will introduce the BFI Southbank screening and will be included on a future BBC DVD.

The screening is part of the annual Missing Believed Wiped event at the BFI, marking its 25th Anniversary this year. The screening, Session One on 15 December, will also feature previously lost episodes of Vince Hill at The Talk of the Town.

Session 2, later the same day will feature an interview with Philip Morris, the man responsible for returning a number of missing Doctor Who episodes to the archives. Among the clips and shows featured in this session are appearances from Morecambe and Wise and the earliest surviving episode from the first series of The Basil Brush Show.

Tickets for both Missing Believed Wiped sessions on 15 December go on sale to BFI members on 6 November and the general public from 13 November, with joint ticket option available for both sessions.




Derrick Sherwin 1936 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Monday, 29 October 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Former Doctor Who producer Derrick Sherwin, the man responsible for creating UNIT, has died at the age of 82.

Derrick Sherwin worked on Doctor Who in many capacities, writing scripts, producing the series for the transition between the second and third Doctor, and even appearing in one scene, playing a Car Park Attendant in the 1970 story Spearhead from Space. His most lasting legacy was creating the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce or UNIT for the 1968 story The Invasion. UNIT, helmed by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, was an essential component for the Third Doctor's tenure, with its influence reaching as far as the Twelfth Doctor.

Sherwin was born in 1936 in the Buckinghamshire town of High Wycombe, just west of London. His early work was in the theatre, but he quickly moved into television appearing in the 1958 show Duty Bound. Over the next ten years, he had a steady series of small roles appearing in dramas such as Here Lies Miss Sabry, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, United! and Armchair Theatre.

His first contact with Doctor Who came when he joined as Assistant Script Editor to help the incumbent Peter Bryant who was preparing to take over as producer. It was a baptism of fire as he was immediately charged with rescuing a number of scripts which were not ready for production. He told Doctor Who Magazine.
It was just before Christmas, and I was landed with a great pile of scripts that had to go into production immediately after the holiday break. The director had sent them back and said he wouldn’t do them. Pat Troughton had thrown a wobbly – they really were appalling! That set the pattern for the first three months. It was a real baptism of fire.
He took over as Script Editor for the 1968 story The Dominators and later that year had the chance to write his own story from scratch. The result was The Invasion, the Cybermen story that set up the pattern for the series for much of the next five years. Sherwin felt the series had become too fantastical, with different monsters every week. He wanted to give the series a more grounded approach and saw as his inspiration the 1950's Quatermass stories. To help achieve that he took a character created for the story The Web of Fear, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, promoted him to Brigadier, and created UNIT around him.
I sat down and wrote a couple of pages about this special task force, specifically with members from all nations, which had been set up to investigate funny things happening in space or the possibility of UFO’s or whatever. It was basically an army intelligence unit with special powers and, on some occasions, special weapons.
Sherwin took over of producer for the last Patrick Troughton story, The War Games and was responsible for casting the third Doctor Jon Pertwee and overseeing the series move from Black and White to Colour. He left the series after Spearhead in Space

He moved onto produce the series Paul Temple and later The Man Outside and Perils of Pendragon

In the 1980's, when Doctor Who was under threat of cancellation from the BBC he offered to buy the franchise from the BBC and produce it independently.
I wrote to Michael Grade and said ‘Look, obviously the BBC can’t afford to do this and doesn’t know where to go with it, so I will take it off your hands, produce it independently, finance it independently, and sell it back to you as a package’. He turned me down, saying that he’d got plans for the series. Then, when Grade left, I wrote to Peter Cregeen about it. So I offered to buy ‘Doctor Who’ out twice!
Derrick Sherwin died on the 17th October after a long illness.




Zienia Merton 1945 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 16 September 2018 - Reported by Marcus
The actress Zienia Merton has died at the age of 72.

Zienia Merton appeared in the 1964 Doctor Who story Marco Polo playing the Chinese girl Ping-Cho.

45 years later she appeared in the Sarah Jane Adventures playing the registrar who married Sarah Jane to Peter Dalton, played by Nigel Havers.

She is best remembered for playing Sandra Benes in the 1970's Gerry Anderson series Space: 1999.

Zienia Merton was born in Burma. Her mother was Burmese, and her father half-English, half-French.

Early television appearances included parts in The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Jason King. She played Christina in the 1971 Dennis Potter TV adaptation of Casanova with Frank Finlay.

Later appearances included Grange Hill, Return of the Saint, Bergerac, Angels, Tenko, Dempsey & Makepeace, Lovejoy, Doctors, Casualty, EastEnders, The Bill and Coronation Street.




Lovett Bickford 1942 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Friday, 14 September 2018 - Reported by Marcus

Director Lovett Bickford has died at the age of 76.

Lovet Bickford directed the 1980 Doctor Who story The Leisure Hive, the first story of Tom Baker's final season of the series. The story marked a new beginning for the series with the appointment of a new producer John Nathan Turner.

The production was notoriously fraught with difficulties, with the leading man proving difficult to direct and the production going substantially over budget. As a result, Bickford never worked on the series again.

Bickford had previously worked on Doctor Who in the 1960's in the role of Assistant Floor manager.

Other directorial credits include The History of Mr. Polly, Angels, Z-Cars, The Enigma Files and Emmerdale

Lovett Bickford died on 29th July 2018, aged 76. A service of thanksgiving will be held on Monday 1st October, at St Mary's Church, Battersea.




Peter Benson 1943 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 9 September 2018 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Peter Benson has died at the age of 75.

Peter Benson played Bor, one of the Vani, in the 1983 fifth Doctor story Terminus.

Benson was best known for playing Bernie Scripps in the ITV series Heartbeat, appearing in all 18 series from 1992 to 2010.

He played Henry VI for the BBC 1983 production of the Shakespeare trilogy detailing the life of the King and played his successor King Henry VII in the first series of the comedy Blackadder. He appeared in the ITV soap opera Albion Market and the Drama on the life of Pope Alexander VI, The Borgias

Other parts include roles in The Bill, Coronation Street,

Peter Benson was born on June 13, 1943. He died on September 6, 2018




Jacqueline Pearce 1943-2018Bookmark and Share

Monday, 3 September 2018 - Reported by Marcus

The actress Jacqueline Pearce, best known for her role as the main villain, Servalan, in the science fiction series Blakes 7, has died at the age of 74.

Born in Woking in the south of England, Jacqueline Pearce trained at the British stage school RADA and at Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio in Los Angeles.

Her TV career began in the 1960's with regular roles in the ITV Play of the Week as well as appearances in shows such as The Avengers and Armchair Theatre

She starred in two Hammer horror films, The Plague of the Zombies and The Reptile, filmed simultaneously in 1966. Other film roles include Sky West and Crooked, Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River and How to Get Ahead in Advertising.

Roles in the 1970's included Rosa Dartle in David Copperfield, Claudia Haswell in Couples, and Anna Rupius in Vienna 1900. But it was in 1978 that she was cast in the role for which she would be ever known.

Servalan was the Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation in Blakes 7, the TV drama devised by Dalek creator Terry Nation. The character was only expected to appear in one episode of the saga, but Pearce's electrifying performance ensured the character would survive far longer than the title character, appearing in all four series.

A cold, calculating, ruthless sociopath Servalan's main aim was to destroy the crew of the Liberator and the relish with which Pearce played the character ensured she would remain a fan favourite for the series duration.

Her Doctor Who appearance came in 1985, playing Chessene of the Franzine Grig in the Colin Baker story The Two Doctors. She later appeared in Audio productions for Big Finish.

In 1991 she played Miss Pendragon in the Russell T. Davies series Dark Season.

She also appeared in series such as Casualty, Doctors, Daniel Deronda and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Jacqueline Pearce relocated to South Africa for several years, initially to care for orphaned monkeys. Her autobiography, From Byfleet to the Bush, was published in 2012.

Alliance Agents who worked with the actress paid tribute.
Everyone at Alliance Agents are devastated to learn of the passing of our wonderful friend and client Jacqueline Pearce. Jacs was a glorious eccentric who enriched our lives during the time we knew her. She did everything "her way" and you never dared to stand in her way. She loved meeting her Blake's 7 fans and we are glad that we managed to give her a few convention appearances when she returned to the UK from Africa. We'll miss you Jacs. xxx
Jacqueline Pearce died at her home in Lancashire, shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer.




Janet Hargreaves 1937–2018Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 16 August 2018 - Reported by Marcus

The actress Janet Hargreaves has died at the age of 81.

Janet Hargreaves appeared in three episodes of the 1988 Doctor Who story, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, playing Mum.

She is best known for her performance in the long running soap, Crossroads, where she played Rosemary Hunter from 1971-1980. The series at the time attracted up to 18 million viewers in its late afternoon timeslot.

Hargreaves graduated from RADA in 1956, achieving a productive stage career appearing in Elgar and Alice, Habeas Corpus and a well-regarded performance in the Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap.

Prior to Crossroads she had a regular role in the soap Compact, playing Clare Farrell and The Doctors, playing Dr. Cheryl Barnes. She later appeared in Follyfoot, The Avengers, and Poirot and played a spy in Danger Man.

She remained active into her 80's continuing to teach and act, and was a regular at Crossroads reunions.

Janet Hargreaves died on Saturday, August 4th.
Thanks to Tim Brown




Alan Bennion 1930-2018Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 July 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Monster of Peladon (Credit: BBC)The actor Alan Bennion has died at the age of 88.

Alan Bennion appeared in 13 episodes of Doctor Who, playing Ice Lords in three serials featuring the Ice Warriors.

He first played Slaar, the leader of the Ice Warriors in the 1969 second Doctor story The Seeds of Death. He returned to the series in 1972 playing Izlyr, the Ice Warrior delegate to Peladon alongside the third Doctor, in The Curse of Peladon. His final appearance as a martian came in 1974 when he played Azaxyr. the leader of the Galactic Federation troops, sent to Peladon in the story The Monster of Peladon

Other television roles included playing The Scorpion in Sexton Blake, the Magistrate in Oliver Twist and Ted Williams in Juliet Bravo. He appeared in A Family at War, Z Cars, The Gentle Touch and Sorry!.




Leslie Grantham 1947-2018Bookmark and Share

Friday, 15 June 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Leslie Grantham (Credit: BBC)The actor Leslie Grantham has died at the age of 71.

Leslie Grantham had a small role in the 1984 story Resurrection of the Daleks playing Kiston, a member of Lytton's mercenary company. He will be best remembered for creating the role of Den Watts in the hugely successful soap opera EastEnders.

Born in Camberwell, south London, after leaving school, Grantham joined the Royal Fusiliers becoming a lance corporal. He was 18 when serving in Germany he bungled a robbery. During a struggle, he shot and killed a taxi driver, Felix Reese. Grantham insisted he did not know the gun was loaded and it had gone off by accident. The jury didn't believe him and convicted him of murder.

The next 11 years were spent in British jails. It was while serving in Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire that he met actress Louise Jameson, who was working as a prison visitor. She encouraged him to take up acting and on his release, he was offered a place at drama school

Leslie Grantham's big break came in 1984 when he was offered the role of the pub landlord in the BBC's new gritty drama, EastEnders, set in the working class area of East London. The director of the show's first episode, Matthew Robinson, had also helmed his appearance in Doctor Who.

His was the first voice heard in the show. The character was immoral, unscrupulous and cruel and it gripped the imagination of the British public. When the character made his daughters schoolgirl friend pregnant he was dubbed Dirty Den by the tabloids.

The Christmas 1986 episode, in which Den handed divorce papers to his wife Angie, was watched by 30 million viewers, half the population of the UK.

Grantham left the series in 1989. Other roles followed but he never achieved the success enjoyed while in EastEnders. He was lured back in 2003 for an 18 month stint.

Grantham has lived in Bulgaria for the last few years. He recently retured to the UK for medical treatment He died on Friday morning

He is survived by his three children, Michael (“Spike”), Jake and Danny




Class Returns in Audio for Big FinishBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 May 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Class (Credit: Big Finish)The Doctor Who spin-off Class, created by Young Adult author Patrick Ness is returning in six new audio plays from Big Finish Productions.

The series, released in August 2018, will feature six new adventures from the world of Coal Hill Academy.

Class was created by the BBC to appeal to the young adult market and initially released in the UK on the BBC Three online platform. However the series struggled to make an impact and when it was later screened on BBC One, it failed to find an audience, getting viewing figures around a third of the timeslot average. After one season the series was cancelled by the BBC.

Big Finish is now reviving the series on audio with six new adventures made in arrangement with BBC Studios.

Set during the television series, the new version features the original cast. Greg Austin plays Charlie Smith, Fady Elsayed plays Ram Singh, Sophie Hopkins plays April MacLean, Vivian Oparah plays Tanya Adeola, Jordan Renzo plays Matteusz Andrzejewski and Katherine Kelly plays Miss Andrea Quill.
Spread over two volumes, the six new adventures find the students of Coal Hill Academy reunited and crossing paths with characters from the Doctor Who universe.
  • 1.1 Gifted by Roy Gill
  • 1.2 Life Experience by Jenny T Colgan
  • 1.3 Tell Me You Love Me by Scott Handcock
  • 2.1 Everyone Loves Reagan by Tim Foley
  • 2.2 Now You Know… by Tim Leng
  • 2.3 In Remembrance by Guy Adams


Jordan Renzo (Matteusz Andrzejewski), Greg Austin (Charlie Smith) (Credit: Big Finish)Sophie Aldred, Greg Austin. Katherine Kelly (Credit: Big Finish)Vivian Oparah (Tanya Adeola), Fady Elsayed (Ram Singh), Sophie Hopkins (April MacLean) (Credit: Big Finish)Sophie Hopkins (April MacLean), Vivian Oparah (Tanya Adeola), Taj Atwal (Reagan Harper), Fady Elsayed (Ram Singh) (Credit: Big Finish)


The series will also see Seventh Doctor companion Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, return to Coal Hill in an adventure following up her previous skirmish with the Daleks in the Doctor Who television episode, Remembrance of the Daleks.

Director and Producer Scott Handcock says
It’s a real thrill having brought Torchwood back on audio, to do the same all over again with another slice of the Doctor Who universe, and to play in a world created by Patrick Ness. The characters and their relationships are key to the success of a series like Class, and the intimacy of the audio medium allows us to bring that to the fore.

We’ve had a great deal of fun reuniting the original cast for the audio series, telling brand-new stories set within the TV run, whilst tackling a host of alien menaces. Of course I couldn’t resist linking up to the Doctor Who universe, and bringing Ace and the Daleks into the world of Class has been an absolute treat. And for full authenticity, we’re lucky to have series composer Blair Mowat return to the world of Class as well.
Nicholas Briggs, executive producer says
Big Finish has a strong tradition of venturing into all areas of the Doctor Who universe, so it’s great that we’re invading Coal Hill Academy too. We’ve had so many requests from listeners about us producing audio drama based on Class, so this is something we’ve been keen to do for some time. For me, personally, it’s going to be great to bring some good, old fashioned exterminating to the format!
Class is available for pre-order now at £23 on CD or £18 on download from the Big Finish site and will remain at this price until general release when it will be available for £25 on CD or £20 on download.




Doctor Who on TwitchBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 - Reported by Marcus
Social video service Twitch has today announced that over 500 classic episodes of Doctor Who will air worldwide from May 29 to July 23

Twitch is joining forces with BBC Studios for the first-ever digital broadcasting event of the Classic Doctor Who era. Over 500 episodes from 26 seasons dating from the show’s inception in 1963 until the 1980s will air worldwide over a seven-week period. Starting May 29, fans can tune in each week Monday to Friday at 11 am PDT to catch episodes on Twitch.tv/TwitchPresents.

Nick Coulter, Director of Digital Sales and Business Development at BBC Studios says:
We are constantly looking at ways to reach new audiences and make it easier for fans to engage with our most popular shows. Doctor Who, in particular, has a great tradition of pioneering new technologies, from early VHS all the way through to the new digital services of today. Twitch is another great example of this, as a brilliant service with over 15 million active daily users, we are thrilled to be able to offer them the chance to indulge in the Classic Doctor Who series and celebrate its amazing 54 year legacy of excitement and innovation.
Doctor Who is the latest in over a dozen TV shows that have aired on Twitch. Viewers who Subscribe to the TwitchPresents channel will gain access to 14 exclusive emotes themed after each of the first seven doctors.

For Doctor Who fans in the US, UK, and Canada, Twitch is hosting a giveaway each week of the event, including a grand prize trip to London Comic Con in Fall 2018.

As part of the event, leading UK digital content creators The Yogscast are producing a series of shows that will introduce each Doctor. With a cast of Doctor Who screenwriters, experts, fans, and even a former companion, the Yogscast's Turps and resident Doctor Who expert and High Roller's player Matt Toffollo will be discussing why modern audiences should be watching Doctor Who. Each 20-minute episode will provide a brief summary of the stories that are about to be shown, including the actors, monsters, famous phrases or production gaffes to look out for. With first-hand knowledge from former companion Katy Manning (who played Jo Grant the Third Doctor Companion) and writers Bob Baker and Paul Cornell, the shows will give insight into the series alongside the humor and irreverence viewers expect from the Yogscast.

Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch said
“Doctor Who and its clever take on sci-fi exemplifies the type of adjacent content to gaming that has resonated with the Twitch community. By presenting this iconic BBC show in a new interactive format, it is a fun new way to bridge several generations of Doctor Who fans, while building a new generation of them.
For more information on the Doctor Who episodes that will air on Twitch, visit the Twitch blog.

Doctor Who on Twitch