Who Talk - March ReleasesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 March 2019 - Reported by Marcus
This month's Who Talk releases feature the legendary Daleks and the reptilian Ice Warriors.

Mars Attacks (Credit: Fantom Films)First up is a new selection of commentaries for stories featuring the Ice Warriors, in the form of Mars Attacks!

Producer Paul W.T. Ballard explains
I literally couldn’t resist the title, even though I’m sure a lot of people will groan. This is the first time we have released a new series commentary track, and we were thrilled to be joined by Adele Lynch and Richard Ashton, who are the most recent Ice Warriors, to have a look at the Peter Capaldi episode The Empress of Mars, little over a year after it was first broadcast.

Such is the way of recording these things, as Adele and Richard were leaving the studio, Wendy Gifford was coming in, and we shot back fifty years to look at the very first appearance of the Martian invaders!
Rounding off the set are commentaries for episodes two and five of The Seeds of Death, with guest star Louise Pajo.

Louise was over on a rare visit from Down Under, so we took the opportunity to grab her for a commentary track. She isn’t featured on any of the BBC releases, and is a very outspoken commentator… especially when it comes to Miss Kelly’s ‘three balls’…!”
Mars Attacks! is moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Wendy Gifford, Louise Pajo, Adele Lynch and Richard Ashton.

Resurrection (Credit: Fantom Films)The second release this month comes in the form of 1980’s Dalek blockbuster Resurrection of the Daleks.

I think Resurrection is one of those stories which has such a vast and dynamic cast, that there was plenty of scope to invite people who hadn’t spoken about it before. Amongst those joining us are Sneh Gupta, who fitted us in on a quick UK trip, and Rula Lenska, who had some choice words to say about her outfit… but I won’t spoil it. I also won’t reveal which contributor wore their Dalek socks especially for the recording!
Mark Strickson makes his Who Talk debut on the special edition of Resurrection.

As is a seemingly a theme with these two releases, Mark was working in the UK and we obviously made him sit through a variety of his episodes on his day off. For this release we get to hear his thoughts on Resurrection and Frontios, and discover which guest star he snuck into the TOTP studio to have a dance to Karma Chameleon with!
Resurrection is moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Rula Lenska, Jim Findley, Sneh Gupta, William Sleigh, Brian Miller, Roger Davenport, Mike Mungarvan and Eric Saward, and the special edition also features Mark Strickson.

Please note: these commentaries contain no BBC copyrighted elements and do not feature audio from the episodes themselves - these are designed to be played alongside the official DVD releases.




John Levene Autobiography ReleasedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Run the Shadows, Walk the Sun (Credit: Fantom Publishing)Fantom Publishing have released the much-anticipated autobiography from John Levene, best known for playing Sgt. Benton in Doctor Who.

He has had a few names during his many lives, but the one for which he is best known is John Levene, the self-taught actor who brought to life the much-loved Benton in Doctor Who. Yet, his journey to our TV screens was hard and frequently painful, and what came afterwards was just as traumatic.

This is the emotional and truthful account of a life that should not have been lived. We follow the pure highs and brutal lows of a working-class Salisbury lad, and his struggle to get away from his origins as an ill, under-educated and misunderstood boy with no genuine prospects in a world in which he did not fit. His journey takes him to places like London’s West End as a private detective; Paris, Spain and Africa where he organised spectacular events. Then crossing the globe to South America to witness the enormous gulf between rich and poor, before moving to Hollywood and daring to dream of success.

Run the Shadows, Walk the Sun demonstrates that your life is not automatically set out for you when you are born. There are opportunities to be grasped if only you have the courage to take them.
The autobiography, written with Michael Seely, is printed in hardback priced £19.99. The book is available exclusively from Fantom Publishing until it's trade release in April.

All website orders will be signed by the author.




Bill Sellars 1925 - 2018Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 19 December 2018 - Reported by Marcus
The television Producer and Director Bill Sellars has died at the age of 93,

Bill Sellars directed the 1966 Doctor Who story The Celestial Toyroom, which saw the creation of the character of the Toymaker.

Sellars joined the BBC in the 1960's working on the drama A for Andromeda as a Production Assistant. Director roles followed on Compact, United and The Newcomers.

The majority of his work for the Corporation was as a Producer, responsible for some of the best loved drama series of the time. He produced 29 episodes of the Sunday night deama The Brothers, giving Colin Baker one of his first major roles. His best loved series was the adaptation of James Herriot novels about the life of a Yorkshire vet, All Creatures Large and Small, starring a young Peter Davison as Tristan Farnon.

All Creatures Great and Small won him two awards nominations, a BAFTA nomination for Best Drama Series in 1979, and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Children's Series in 1990.

Perhaps his biggest misfire was a producer of Triangle, the soap set and shot on a cross channel ferry on its journey across the North sea.

Other series include One by One, Flesh and Blood and The Terracotta Horse.

On retirement he managed The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, Yorkshire, the oldest and most complete Georgian theater in the world.

Bill Sellars died peacefully in his sleep.




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!.