Keith Barron 1934-2017Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The actor Keith Barron has died at the age of 83.

Keith Barron played the character Striker, one of the Eternals in the 1983 Fifth Doctor story Enlightenment. He is best known for playing David Pearce in the 1980s Yorkshire Television sitcom Duty-Free.

Kethe Baron was born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire in 1934. His career started at the Sheffield Repertory Theatre, where he also met his wife, Mary a stage designer.

His television career began in the early 1960's when he played a number of small roles before playing Detective Sergeant Swift in the Granada TV series The Odd Man and its spin-off It's Dark Outside.

His main break came in 1965 when he took the title role in two Wednesday plays, written by Dennis Potter, Stand Up, Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton, which detailed the character's journey from his childhood in a small mining community to winning a scholarship for Oxford and eventually becoming an MP.

In 1967 he played Jim Dixon in BBC Two's The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim, a comedy set in the swinging student world in London. He appeared in Jackanory, A Family at War, Love Story and No Strings. In 1974 we made a memorable appearance in Upstairs Downstairs as Gregory Wilmot, a love interest for Jean Marsh's Rose.

Many other roles followed and in 1979 he played Tim Hart in Telford's Change alongside Peter Barkworth. The same year he appeared in the ITV drama Prince Regent as Whig statesman Charles James Fox.

In 1983 he was asked at short notice to take on his one Doctor Who role, as Striker in Enlightenment. The role was originally to be played by Peter Sallis, who had to drop out when industrial action delayed production.

He played the Narator in West Country Tales and Daniel Ford in Leaving, before taking on the role that he is probably best known for, playing David Pearce in Duty Free.

Other roles included parts in Haggard, Take Me Home, Take Me Home, Room at the Bottom, Late Expectations, The Good Guys, All Night Long, Take Me, NCS Manhunt, Where the Heart Is, Dead Man Weds, The Chase, Law & Order: UK, DCI Banks and Casualty. He had a regular role in the soap Coronation Street playing George Trench.

Barron is survived by his wife, Mary, to whom he was married for 58 years, and his son, Jamie, also an actor.




Scott Fredericks 1943-2017Bookmark and Share

Friday, 10 November 2017 - Reported by Patrick J Furlong
The Irish actor Scott Fredericks has died at the age of 74

Scott Fredericks appeared in two Doctor Who stories. In 1972 he played Boaz in the third Doctor story Day of the Daleks, returning to the series in 1977 to play Maximillian Stael in the fourth Doctor story Image of the Fendahl .He also played Carnell in the Blakes 7 episode Weapon.

Scott Fredericks was born in Sligo, Ireland in 1943. He moved to London to train as an actor after gaining a scholarship to RADA.   His first television role was in an episode of Crossroads in 1964. He featured in episodes of Triangle, Z-Cars, Dad’s Army, Dixon of Dock Green among other one-off programs. His final acting role was as Kenneth Wrigley in the 2008 series Rock Rivals.

He returned to the role of Carnell in the Kaldor City series of audios after the character reappeared in Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who Past Doctor Novel Corpse Marker. .

Fredericks was interviewed for issue 307 of Doctor Who Magazine
My first Doctor Who story was "Day of the Daleks", in which I played a character called Boaz and had a lot of scenes with Anna Barry and Jimmy Winston. I also had a few scenes with Jon Pertwee. There was this joke fight I did with him, which he choreographed. He'd convinced the director that he knew all about fighting as he'd been some sort of commando, but it ended up looking quite comical. My kids, though, loved it. All the things I've ever done, and that's their favourite!
In 1980, Fredericks received the J.J. Finnegan Evening Herald Award nomination for his solo stage show, Yeats Remembers. In 1992, became a contract Radio Drama director with RTE and represented the station at the 1997 Prix Italia Awards.

Scott Fredericks died on Monday after a long illness. He is survived by his his two sons Mark and Paul and their mother Mary




Dudley Simpson 1922-2017Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 5 November 2017 - Reported by Marcus
One of the most prolific contributors to Doctor Who, Composer Dudley Simpson has died at the age of 95.

Dudley Simpson worked on at least 290 episodes of Doctor Who, writing the score to over 60 stories. His music provided the soundtrack to the majority of the adventures of the first four Doctors as well as contributing some of the most iconic TV Theme tunes, writing the title music for Blake's 7 and The Tomorrow People.

Dudley Simpson was born in Australia on the 4th October 1922. He served in World War II before studying orchestration and composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He worked for the Borovansky Ballet Company, the predecessor to the Australian Ballet, before moving to the UK, where after a season as guest conductor at Covent Garden, he became Principal Conductor of the Royal Opera House orchestra for three years.

He first wrote music for television in 1961, working on a BBC drama called Jack's Horrible Luck, directed by Gerard Glaister. It was his work on the drama Moonstrike which brought him to the attention of Doctor Who's Associate producer Mervyn Pinfield, who recruited him to write the music for the First Doctor story Planet of Giants.

Over the next 15 years, he would contribute more to Doctor Who than almost any other person. His role call is incredible. Following Planet of Giants he wrote the score to The Crusade; The Chase; The Celestial Toymaker; The Underwater Menace; The Evil of the Daleks; The Ice Warriors; Fury From the Deep; The Seeds of Death; The Space Pirates; The War Games; Spearhead From Space; The Ambassadors of Death; Terror of the Autons; The Mind of Evil; The Claws of Axos; Colony In Space; The Dæmons; Day of the Daleks; The Curse of Peladon; The Three Doctors; Carnival Of Monsters; Frontier In Space; Planet of the Daleks; The Green Death; The Time Warrior; Invasion of the Dinosaurs; The Monster of Peladon; Planet of the Spiders; Robot; The Ark In Space; The Sontaran Experiment; Genesis of the Daleks; Planet of Evil; Pyramids of Mars; The Android Invasion; The Brain of Morbius; The Masque of Mandragora; The Hand Of Fear; The Deadly Assassin; The Face of Evil; The Robots of Death; The Talons of Weng-Chiang; Horror of Fang Rock; The Invisible Enemy; Image of the Fendahl; The Sun Makers; Underworld; The Invasion of Time; The Ribos Operation; The Pirate Planet; The Stones of Blood; The Androids of Tara; The Power of Kroll; The Armageddon Factor; Destiny of the Daleks; City of Death; The Creature from the Pit; Nightmare of Eden; and The Horns of Nimon.

His one appearance in the series came in 1977 when he played the Conductor in Episode 4 of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

Simpson's last commission for the series would be for the lost story, Shada. With the advent of a new producer, John Nathan Turner, who wanted a fresh sound for the programme, his services were dispensed with.

Dudley Simpson's work on Doctor Who brought him to the attention of other TV producers and in the 1970's his talent could be heard providing the soundtrack to many much-loved series. He wrote the music to The Brothers, the 1972 drama that dominated the ratings on Sunday evenings and introduced Colin Baker to the country. He wrote the theme to The Tomorrow People, the ITV Science Fiction series for children. And he wrote the spectacular theme to Terry Nation's Blake's 7 and provided incidental music for 50 out of the 52 episodes made.

Other series included Moonbase 3, The Ascent of Man, Target, A Little Princess, Paul Temple, Lorna Doone, Kidnapped, Curtain of Fear, Triton, The Man Outside, A Pin to See the Peepshow, Microbes and Men, Madame Bovary, North & South, Katy, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Legend of King Arthur, Stalky & Co, Dombey & Son, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Diary of Anne Frank, Super Gran and several plays in the BBC Television Shakespeare series.

Dudley Simpson retired in the 1990's and returned to his native Australia. He returned to the UK in 2013 to help celebrate Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary

Dudley Simpson died on Saturday 4th November in Australia.





Paddy Russell 1928-2017Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 2 November 2017 - Reported by Marcus

One of the great pioneering Television Directors of her generation, Paddy Russell, has died at the age of 89.

Patricia Russell, known to all as Paddy, had a long and distinguished career as one of the first female Directors in British television. She trained as an actor attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Before long she realised that she was more at home behind the scenes moving to become a stage manager.

In the 1950's Television was crying out for theatre staff to work in the new medium and Russell was recruited as a production assistant, working with the famed director Rudolph Cartier. Acting as the director's eyes and ears on the studio floor, Russell worked on some of the most innovative and pioneering dramas of the day including the Quatermass science-fiction serials as well as the 1954 adaptation of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four starring Peter Cushing.

In 1963 she became a director herself, directing many episodes of the soap opera Compact. Over the next twenty years, she worked on many of the best known classic television series.

Her first encounter with Doctor Who came in 1966 when she became the first female Director to work on the show. She helmed the First Doctor story The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. One advantage the newish Director had when faced with the notoriously irascible William Hartnell was the fact that for the majority of the story he was not playing The Doctor, but another character, The Abbot of Amboise. She told Doctor Who Magazine
Bill was actually the Doctor only in the first and last episodes. Other than that he was the Abbot of Amboise. Therefore I had the natural advantage with Bill, with whom I got on very well, in terms of saying ‘The Doctor’s showing’ if I didn’t like what he was doing. That worked like a charm, because the Doctor couldn’t show.
It was eight years later that Russell returned to the show working on the six-part Jon Pertwee story Invasion of the Dinosaurs. It was a story fraught with technical difficulties in the attempt to bring dinosaurs to London using the primitive methods available in the early 1970's. While not always successful it was a story Russell was very proud of.
In a way, I still think ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ was the best one I did. It was the hardest to do – a complete beast and I suppose I accepted it for the challenge. The biggest difficulty was deserted London which we got around by going out at five one Sunday morning.
Two more stories followed, both staring the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. In 1975 she directed the fan favourite Pyramids of Mars, followed in 1977 by the Horror of Fang Rock. She had a prickly relationship with the lead actor whom she found increasingly difficult to work with.
Tom Baker was easy to deal with at first, but the part went to his head completely. By the time I did ‘Horror of Fang Rock’, he was desperately difficult to work with. I remember one particular scene which involved Tom coming very fast through a doorway, followed by Louise. I’d set it up for the cameraman to stay with Tom but he couldn’t and wouldn’t come in normally. We did four takes, but the cameraman simply couldn’t hold him So, in the end, I said ‘Fine’ and told the cameraman to stay with Louise instead.
During her long career Paddy Russell also worked on The Newcomers, Little Women, Fathers and Sons, The Moonstone, My Old Man, Z Cars, Within These Walls, 3-2-1 and Emmerdale

Paddy Russell died earlier this week.





Trevor Martin 1930-2017Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 7 October 2017 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Trevor Martin, the first actor to play The Doctor on stage, has died at the age of 87.

Trevor Martin first appeared in Doctor Who in 1969, playing a Time Lord in the final Second Doctor story The War Games.

However, he is best remembered for playing The Doctor in a stage play based on the series, Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday, which ran in London's Adelphi Theatre for four weeks at the end of 1974.

The play, by Terrance Dicks, was set just after the regeneration of the Third Doctor, with Martin playing an alternate version of the Fourth Doctor, who made his TV debut in the form of Tom Baker, during the run of the play.

The Doctor's companions were played by Wendy Padbury and James Matthews. In 2008 the play was adapted for Audio by Big Finish with Martin once more taking the lead role.

Away from Doctor Who Trevor Martin was a regular face on British Television, first appearing in the play Tomorrow Mr. Tompion! And About Time Too! in 1958. Appearances followed in Three Golden Nobles, Orlando, Jackanory, The Tragedy of King Richard II, Z Cars, Armchair Thriller, Inspector Morse, Coronation Street and The Bill.

An interview with Trevor Martin is due to be released on October 16th as part of the Myth Makers series.




The Doctor's Affect and The Doctor's Effects now available for online purchaseBookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 September 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Doctor's Effect (Credit: Simon Meade/Steve Cambden)The Doctor's Effects (Credit: Simon Meade/Steve Cambden)
Two unofficial books about the visual effects work of twentieth century Doctor Who, previously only available to a mainly UK fanbase and via various offline avenues, have now been made available to purchase worldwide online.

The books were written by Steve Cambden, who worked on the show as one of K9's operators. The first, The Doctor's Affect (1999), chronicles how he achieved his dream as a teenager to work on the series, with in-depth accounts of the recording of Destiny of the Daleks, Nightmare of Eden, The Horns of Nimon, Shada, Meglos, Full Circle and State of Decay, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs and a comprehensive account of K9’s creation.

The second, The Doctor’s Effects, features interviews with many of the visual effects and design legends who worked on Doctor Who throughout the 'classic era', covering over a hundred productions including stories such as The Daleks, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Sea Devils, Genesis of the Daleks, Terror of the Zygons, The Awakening and The Trial of a Timelord. The book includes many previously unseen photographs and includes interviews with Bernard Wilkie, Jack Kine, John Friedlander, Ian Scoones, Mat Irvine and Ray Cusick.


Behind te scenes on Destiny of the Daleks (Credit: Simon Meade/Steve Cambden)The online initiative has been organised by Steve's long-term friend Simon Meade, of The Ark in Space Facebook group and Twitter feed:
Having been a friend of Steve’s for nearly 50 years, and gone through many of those wonderful 70’s Doctor Who fan moments with him, such as meeting actors and production crew, visiting the Longleat and Blackpool exhibitions, and attending the very first DWAS convention in 1977, I’m delighted to see that his two books can now be read by a worldwide audience!

On his Sevenzero.net website, Alex Storer has, for several years now, kindly been sharing information about Steve and his books, and over the coming weeks we’ll be updating the site with more information and readers comments.

Both books are informative and enjoyable reading for Doctor Who fans, especially if you adored the classic years, when so many talented and creative men and people, working with miniscule budgets and often ridiculous time constraints, made television magic that enthralled and captivated so many young hearts and minds.

Full details about the books - which will be personally signed - and how to purchase them can be found via the sevenzero.net website.


Competition

To be in with a chance to win the two books, signed by the author, simply answer the following question:
Name the visual effects assistant who introduced Steve to the world of Doctor Who production.
Please send your answers along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-effects@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Affirmative!". The competition is open worldwide, closing date 8th October 2017. Only one entry per household will be accepted.


Details, images and competition with thanks to Simon Meade




Bessie Comes to BeaulieuBookmark and Share

Friday, 22 September 2017 - Reported by Marcus
BessieBessie, the vintage car first used by the Third Doctor, has gone on show at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire.

The car joins other exhibits in the On Screen Cars exhibition, alongside Mr Bean's Mini, Del Boy's Reliant Van, James Bond's Jaguar XKR, Harry Potter's Ford Anglia and Elvis Presley's Cadillac.

Bessie made her debut in the 1970 story Doctor Who And The Silurians. She became the main form of transport for the Third Doctor during his exile on Earth. At the start of Season 11 the Doctor replaced Bessie with a new creation, The Whomobile owned and designed by Jon Pertwee himself. However, she returned for the debut of Tom Baker in Robot at the end of 1974.

Bessie was back with the Third Doctor for the 20th Anniversary story, The Five Doctors in 1983, before making her last main appearance alongside the Seventh Doctor in Battlefield . A final appearance came in 1993 with the Children in Need episode Dimensions in Time.

Although she looks older, Bessie is actually a 1954 Ford Popular 103E. The car has been fitted with a fibreglass tourer body made by Siva Engineering of Dorset. The four-seater Siva Edwardian body was available in kit form from 1969 until the mid-1970s, allowing any keen DIY mechanic to transform their second-hand Ford 7Y 8hp, Anglia or Popular into a replica of a much older machine and re-live the good old days of motoring.

The National Motor Museum is based on the Beaulieu Estate, home of Montagu family, located in The New Forest National Park, situated on England's south coast. Entrance to On Screen Cars is included in a general admission ticket to Beaulieu, which also includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles, the new-look World of Top Gear, the ancestral Montagu home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the grounds and gardens.




Who Talk Release Two New Classic CommentariesBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 September 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The Claws of Axos (Credit: Fantom)Adventures in Time (Credit: Fantom)Fantom have released two new commentaries in their Who Talk series, providing new insights into classic episodes of Doctor Who.

The first release is called Adventures in Time, and is a collection of Hartnell themed historical stories including episodes from The Aztecs, The Romans and The Crusade. It features Maureen O'Brien, who played Vicki alongside the First Doctor, who is joined by William Russell, Julian Glover, Petra Markham, George Little, Kay Patrick, Ian Cullen, Clive Doig, Brian Hodgson, all once again under the watchful eye of Toby Hadoke.

The second release is another classic from the Pertwee era, The Claws of Axos. Producer Paul W T Ballard explained why the story was chosen.
The Claws of Axos might not have been the most obvious of choices to go for, but there were quite a few voices missing from the original commentary, recorded over a decade ago!

It was great to get the serial's director Michael Ferguson, script editor Terrance Dicks, co-writer Bob Baker and Axos himself Bernard Holley to commentate on the serial for the first time. We were also thrilled to welcome back Katy Manning and Richard Franklin.
A special edition bundle featuring both The Claws of Axos and Adventures in Time is available. Each set will come with the cover signed by an actor from each release, and Adventures in Time contains a disc featuring exclusive additional commentaries on The Crusade and The Time Meddler.

These CDs are limited and exclusively available via whotalk.co.uk

Both sets are now available, you can purchase them directly from Who Talk at a discounted price of £10.99 each (RRP £12.99) or via download priced £9.99. The special edition bundle will be available exclusively via this website priced £39.99.

Please note: These commentaries contain no BBC copyrighted elements and do not feature any audio from the episodes themselves.




Victor Pemberton 1931-2017Bookmark and Share

Monday, 14 August 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Actor and writer and inventor of the Sonic Screwdriver Victor Pemberton has died at the age of 85

Victor Pemberton was one of a select group of people to have both written for and appeared in Doctor Who.

In 1967, while trying to get writing work, he was earning money playing bit parts including that of a scientist in the Second Doctor story The Moonbase. But his real love was writing and when his friend Peter Bryant took over as the series Story Editor he was brought in as Bryant's assistant. He script-edited The Tomb of the Cybermen for Bryant, writing the poignant scene between the Doctor and Victoria where the Doctor explains how their lives are different.

Pemberton returned to freelance writing to pen Fury from the Deep, which saw the departure of the character Victoria from the series. It also saw the introduction of an iconic object that would forever be associated with the Doctor, The Sonic Screwdriver.

Fury from the Deep was Pemberton's only contribution to the TV series, but one of which he was very proud.
The cost of mounting Fury was astonishing, for budgets for filming in those days was miniscule, and when you think that a helicopter had to be used, and fake foam sprayed onto the sea, no wonder I got a few glares from the production crew! However, the late Hugh David did tell me that the scale of it was a challenge that he greatly enjoyed, and, as far as I’m concerned, he met that challenge superbly. But the great joy of getting Fury onto the screen was working with dear old Pat Troughton, who was already a friend, together with Debbie Watling, who had the best scream in the business, and Fraser Hines, who was the best practical joker!
In 1976 Pemberton wrote the audio adventure Doctor Who and the Pescatons, initially released as an LP and cassette and starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. He wrote the Target novelisations of both Fury from the Deep and The Pescatons.

Victor Pemberton was born in London in 1931. His first job was as a mail delivery boy for a timber magazine in Fleet Street, followed by a short spell in the publicity and printing department of 20th Century Fox. Two years National service in the Royal Air Force followed, where he set up an entertainment system for the troops. His father brought him his first typewriter after he expressed a desire to be a writer.

His first drama scripts were for BBC Radio. In 1961 he wrote The Gold Watch, a play based on the extraordinary circumstances of his father’s retirement. Many other scripts followed, including The Slide, a seven episode science-fiction serial about an earthquake in the south of England, which starred Roger Delgardo and Maurice Denham. TV followed in 1965 with a script for a children's series on ITV called Send Foster. After Doctor Who he contributed to series such as Timeslip, Ace of Wands, The Adventures of Black Beauty and Within These Walls. In 1993 he invented the character of the Lighthouse Keeper for the UP version of the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock

In 1987 he formed Saffron Productions Ltd making a number of documentary films, including Gwen, A Juliet Remembered and Benny Hill: Clown Imperial for the BBC. In 1990, Headline Book Publications asked him to write a novelisation of his BBC Drama radio series, Our Family. He went onto write fifteen novels.

In 2016 he undertook his Arctic Adventure, traveling alone by car through seven countries of Europe and Scandinavia to reach the Norwegian town of Bodo – in the Arctic Circle, in order to raise money for the charity Help for Heros.

Victor Pemberton's lifetime partner was the actor David Spenser, who died in 2013.

Victor Pemberton Website




Happy Centenary Earl CameronBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 8 August 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Today marks the 100th Birthday of the actor Earl Cameron

Earl Cameron appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet, playing Glyn Williams one of the two astronauts on the Zeus IV.

He becomes the third actor to have appeared in Doctor Who to reach their 100th Birthday. The others being Zohra Sehgal and Olaf Pooley. He is the oldest surviving actor to have appeared in the series.

Cameron was born in Pembroke, Bermuda. He is believed to be the second black actor to have a speaking role in the series' history, following Elroy Josephs apperance in The Smugglers.

Cameron made his first stage experience in 1942 when he talked his way into a West End production of Chu Chin Chow. He went on to act in a number of plays in London, including The Petrified Forest. He has appeared in the films Pool of London, Simba, The Heart Within, Sapphire in which played Dr Robbins; and The Message, the story of the Prophet Muhammad.

Other film appearances have included: Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), No Kidding (1960); Flame in the Streets (1961), Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963), Guns at Batasi (1964), Battle Beneath the Earth (1967), The Sandwich Man (1966) and the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965), in which he played Bond's Caribbean assistant Pinder Romania.

One of Cameron's earliest TV roles was a starring part in the BBC 1960 TV drama The Dark Man, in which he played a West Indian cab driver in the UK. The show examined the reactions and prejudices he faced in his work. His other television work includes Emergency - Ward 10, The Zoo Gang, Crown Court, Jackanory, Dixon of Dock Green, Neverwhere, Waking the Dead, Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel and Pascoe and Lovejoy.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Earl Cameron lives with his wife Barbara in Warwickshire.

Guardian Interview




Hywel Bennett 1944-2017Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 3 August 2017 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Hywel Bennett has died at the age of 73.

Hywel Bennett was best known for playing the title role of Shelley in the ITV comedy series broadcast in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

One of his earliest television appearances was as Rynian, the Aridian in The Death of Time, the second episode of the William Hartnell story The Chase.

Bennett was born in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, in 1944, and grew up in London. He trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first stage appearance was in 1959, playing Ophelia in Hamlet.

In the sixties, he appeared in a number of British films including The Virgin Soldiers based on the novel by Leslie Thomas, The Family Way alongside Hayley Mills and the psychological thriller Twisted Nerve.

In 1979 Bennett won the role he would become famous for, playing James Shelley in the Thames Television sitcom which was watched by up to 18 million viewers. The series ran until 1984. Bennett reprised the character in The Return of Shelley, running for four series from 1988 to 1992.

Other TV roles included parts in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Ricky Tarr, Boon, Frontiers, Neverwhere, Karaoke, Last of the Summer Wine and the Dennis Potter series Karaoke, Cold Lazarus and Pennies from Heaven. He played Peter Baxter in The Bill for five years and in 2003 he played the gangster Jack Dalton in Eastenders. His last known role was as Reggie Conway in The Last Detective in 2007.

In 2007 he retired from acting due to ill health.

Bennett was married to the former television presenter Cathy McGowan from 1970 to 1988 and to Sandra Layne Fulford from 1998. He is survived by his daughter, Emma.




The Doctor Who Audio AnnualBookmark and Share

Saturday, 29 July 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The Doctor Who Audio Annual (Credit: BBC Worldwide)BBC Worldwide is to release The Doctor Who Audio Annual featuring audio versions of vintage tales first seen in the Doctor Who Annuals published in the 1960s through to the 1980s.

The Annual, out in December, features classic adventures, from the first six incarnations of The Doctor, read by stars of the show: Peter Purves (who played companion Steven), Anneke Wills (Polly), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Nicola Bryant (Peri).
For two decades, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, every fan of the Doctor hoped to find The Doctor Who Annual in their Christmas stocking. Larger than life and twice as colourful, the stories within were exuberant — and often charmingly naive — in their take on ‘the children’s own programme which adults adore’.

Stories include
  • The Sons of Grekk, in which the First Doctor is held prisoner in a brutal, otherworldly society. 
  • The King of Golden Death where the Second Doctor, Polly and Ben have materialised inside an Ancient Egyptian pyramid. 
  • Dark Intruders, with The Third Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier confronting a familiar adversary 
  • Conundrum with the Fourth Doctor, Adric and K9 experiencing warped physics in the corridors of the TARDIS. 
  • The Penalty, where a delirious Fifth Doctor finds old friends and adversaries ganging up on him 
  • The Real Hereward, where the Sixth Doctor and Peri plunge into a dangerous period of British history.
Also included are two vintage essays on the character of the Doctor: Who is Doctor Who? from 1966 and The Phoenix in the TARDIS from 1968.

The Annual can be pre-ordered from Amazon




Tributes Paid to Deborah WatlingBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 July 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Tributes have been paid to actress Deborah Watling, who died yesterday after a short illness.

Watling played Victoria in the 1960's, alongside Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines, who was one of the first to comment. Deborah Watling (Credit: Big Finish)Watling was an active member of the convention circuit and much loved by many other stars of Doctor Who. Nicola Bryant tweeted "I am so sad to hear of the passing of the lovely Deborah Watling.We had so many laughs & heart to heart", while Katy Manning added "So deeply saddened to hear that the wonderful funny talented #DeborahWatling has gone on her awfully big adventure ,oneofthe absolute best"

Deborah Watling's sister is the actress Dilys Watling and her brother the former actor, and current Member of Parliament for Clacton, Gyles Watling, who told PA
She was bubbly, vivacious, with a great sense of humour. We grew up together – she was ahead of me in the acting game. She had a great career. We toured together all over the country and shared digs – we had a wonderful life. She passed away peacefully.
In recent years Watling had returned to the character of Victoria for Big Finish audio productions. Senior Producer David Richardson said
Victoria was one of the Doctor’s loveliest companions from one of the show’s greatest seasons, and Debbie was always a joy to work with at Big Finish and so committed to the work. The Doctor Who universe has lost another of its shining stars.
Deborah Watling is survived by her husband Steve.




Deborah Watling 1948-2017Bookmark and Share

Friday, 21 July 2017 - Reported by Marcus
It is with deep sadness we report the death of Deborah Watling, forever known as the Second Doctor's companion Victoria.

Deborah Watling joined Doctor Who in 1967, just over 50 years ago. She remained with the series for just under a year, playing the Victorian orphan taken into the care of the Doctor.

Alongside Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines, Watling would occupy the Tardis throughout what is now viewed as the classic monster era of the show, featuring Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors and, of course, The Yeti.

Deborah Watling was born on 2nd January 1948. She was born into a theatrical family, her father the actor Jack Watling and her mother the actress Patricia Hicks. It was inevitable that she and her siblings would end up on the stage and by the age of ten, she was appearing in the ITV series The Invisible Man, playing the niece of Peter Brady.

In 1965 she played Alice Liddell in the BBC Wednesday play written by Dennis Potter and based on the life of Lewis Carroll. It was this appearance which led her to be cast as Victoria Waterfield in the final story of Season four, The Evil of the Daleks.

It wasn't initially to be a companion role. The producers were hoping to persuade Pauline Collins, who had appeared in the previous story, to stay on. When Collins declined, the role of ongoing companion was offered to Watling and Victoria joined the TARDIS crew.

It is well known that the team of Troughton, Watling, and Hines got on extremely well with Watling often the butt of the boys jokes. Many of her stories have been wiped since transmission, and the return of two to the archive a few years ago, The Enemy of the World and most of The Web of Fear brought her considerable delight.

She left Doctor Who in April 1968, at the end of Fury from the Deep. Small roles in the films That'll Be the Day and Take Me High followed. On TV she appeared in Rising Damp and The Newcomers and in 1979 she played Norma Baker in the ITV series Danger UXB.

She briefly returned to the character of Victoria in 1993, for the Children In Need skit, Dimensions in Time before recreating Victoria in a number of audio plays for Big Finish.

Deborah Watling was diagnosed with lung cancer six weeks ago and died earlier today.