Wendy Williams 1934-2019Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 11 December 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The actress Wendy Williams has died at the age of 84.

Wendy Williams played Vira in the highly acclaimed 1975 story The Ark In Space. Her performance as the revived human, struggling to adjust to the reality of the Wrin invasion. was a tour de force, developing real chemistry with the newly regenerated Fourth Doctor played by Tom Baker.

Wendy Williams was born in Cheam in Surrey, just south of London. Her first television appearance was in the 1954 play A Party for Christmas.

Over the next forty years, she became a regular on British Television, appearing in many popular series. Her first main role was as Lady Lizzie Eustace in the 1959 series The Eustace Diamonds. she played Frances Graham in Knight Errant Limited and Margaret Hale in North and South. Roles followed in The Further Adventures of the Musketeers, Thirty-Minute Theatre, The Regiment, Crossroads, Z-Cars, Dominic, When the Boat Comes In and Angels.

In 1976 she played Barbara in the Terry Nation series Survivors and later appeared in Poldark as Lady Basset. in 1981 she joined the cast of Tenko as Vicky Armstrong. The following year she played Lady Brandon in the Barry Letts production of Beau Geste.

Wendy Williams was married to Doctor Who director Hugh David until his death in 1987.




Terrance Dicks 1935-2019Bookmark and Share

Monday, 2 September 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Terrance DicksOne of Doctor Who's most influential writers Terrance Dicks has died at the age of 84.

Terrance Dicks's contribution to Doctor Who was immense. He wrote forty-five episodes of the series between 1969 and 1983 and was script editor from 1969 until 1975, steering the programme through one of its most successful periods, helping to cast both the third and fourth Doctors.

For a whole generation of fans, he was the man who brought the series to life through his Target novelisations. In the days before DVD's and Videos, the only way of reliving old episodes was through the Target books. Over 60 were written by Dicks and they enabled fans to experience stories shown years before many were born.

Terrance Dicks was born in East London shortly before the second world war. He studied English at the University of Cambridge before serving for two years in the British Army. On his discharge, he won his first writing job working as an advertising copywriter before writing radio play scripts for the BBC.

It was his friend and mentor Malcolm Hulke who got him his first job in television, helping with the scripting on the first series if the ITV adventure series The Avengers. He would later return the favour by commissioning scripts from Hulke for Doctor Who.

His work on Doctor Who began in 1968 as assistant script editor, rewriting much of the Brian Hayes story The Seeds of Death. Promotion followed and he was charged with writing out the second Doctor with the epic 10 part series The War Games.

In 1970 a new producer Barry Letts was appointed and thus began one of the highest regarded partnerships in the whole series run. Together they guided the series for five years, one of its most successful periods. Both men left the series at the same time as Jon Pertwee but not before casting the unknown Tom Baker as Doctor number 4.

His commitment to the series didn't end with the third Doctor. He wrote several more stories including The Brain of Morbius, Horror of Fang Rock and State of Decay. In 1983 he penned the 20th-anniversary story The Five Doctor's, the last script he completed for the television series.

He wrote two Doctor Who plays, Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday in 1974 and Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure in 1989.

Away from Doctor Who he co-created the short-lived BBC science-fiction TV series Moonbase 3 and wrote for the ATV science-fiction series Space: 1999. He served once more as script editor to producer Barry Letts on the BBC's Sunday Classics strand, before succeeding Letts as the producer overseeing productions such as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Vanity Fair.

Tributes to Dicks have been paid from many associated with Doctor Who including current showrunner Chris Chibnall
The lights of Doctor Who are dimmer tonight, with the passing of Terrance Dicks. He was one of the greatest contributors to Doctor Who’s history, on screen and off. As writer and script editor, he was responsible for some of the show’s greatest moments and iconic creations. As the most prolific and brilliant adaptor of Doctor Who stories into Target novels, he was responsible for a range of books that taught a generation of children, myself included, how pleasurable and accessible and thrilling reading could be. Doctor Who was lucky to have his talents. He will always be a legend of the show. Everyone working on Doctor Who sends his family and friends our love and condolences at this difficult time.




Glyn Houston 1925-2019Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 4 July 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The actor Glyn Houston has died at the age of 93.

Glyn Houston appeared in two Doctor Who stories. In 1976 he played Professor Watson, the director of the Nunton Experimental Complex, in the Fourth Doctor story The Hand of Fear.

In he came up against the fifth Doctor playing Colonel Wolsey in the 1984 story The Awakening.

Glyn Houston had over 200 television credits dating back to the 1950s, appearing in some of the most loved programmes in British TV history.

Houston was born in Rhondda, in the Welsh Valleys, and brought up by his Widowed Grandmother, after his Mother died young and his Father disappeared.

He served in the Royal Signal Regiment during World War II and was briefly a stand-up comedian performing to soldiers. He made his first film appearance playing a barrow boy in The Blue Lamp in 1950. In the 1970s he played Lord Peter Wimsey's valet Bunter opposite Ian Carmichael in the teleplays of several of Dorothy Sayers tales. He played Ronald Judge in The Sherman Plays and Bernard Ingham in Thatcher: The Final Days.

Other appearances include Better Days, Inspector Morse, Keep It in the Family, Minder, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, The Sea Wolves, Breakaway, Shoestring, A Horseman Riding By, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Target, The XYY Man, Robin's Nest, Are You Being Served? , Beasts, Five Red Herrings, The Nine Tailors, Dixon of Dock Green, Sporting Scenes, Reg Varney, Jackanory, Clouds of Witness, Z Cars, Softly, Softly: Task Force.

Glyn Houston was the younger brother of film star Donald Houston and was a close friend of fellow Welsh actors Richard Burton and Stanley Baker. In 2009 he was presented with the BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award.

His friend and biographer Dean Powell announced his death with deep regret.
He was kind, generous and an incredibly funny man who was a pleasure to know for over twenty years.

He enjoyed his career and was proud of his achievements and although I think he genuinely wanted to be a comic more than an actor, his vast quantity of work will remain a great legacy to the man and his natural talent.

Glyn enjoyed life, his family and his hobbies and didn’t let work get in the way of that. He always had time to speak to you, showed a genuine interest in other people’s lives.

Although he left the South Wales valleys seven decades ago, he had all of the great qualities of a working-class Welshman at heart.




The Faceless Ones - New Animated ReleaseBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 4 June 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Faceless Ones (Credit: BBC Studios)
BBC Studios has announced that The Faceless Ones will be the next animated Doctor Who release.

The release follows the success of The Power of the Daleks, Shada and The Macra Terror. The Faceless Ones will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and as an exclusive steelbook next year.

The Faceless Ones is the mostly missing eighth serial of the fourth season in Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from April to May 1967. Starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, the story concerns a race of identity-stealing aliens known as the Chameleons.

The story is the last to feature Michael Craze as Ben and Anneke Wills as Polly.

Only two of the six episodes are held in the BBC film archives with snippets of footage and still images existing from the other four. Off-air recordings of the soundtrack also still exist, making the animation of a complete serial possible once again.

The six new animated episodes are being made in full colour and high definition and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2020. The DVD/Blu-ray release will also include surviving archive material from the original 1967 production.

The Faceless Ones is available for preorder as Blu-Ray, DVD and Steelbook.





Paul Darrow 1941-2019Bookmark and Share

Monday, 3 June 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Paul Darrow
The actor Paul Darrow has died at the age of 78.

Paul Darrow is best known for playing freedom fighter Kerr Avon in the Terry Nation series Blake's 7. He appeared in two Doctor Who stories, Doctor Who And The Silurians in 1970 and Timelash in 1985.

Paul Darrow was born in Surrey. After leaving school he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His first professional performances were with the Bristol Old Vic.

In the 1960's he made his television debut in the series The Odd Man. A regular role in Emergency-Ward 10 followed, where he met his future wife Janet Lees-Price.

He appeared in Coronation Street, The Newcomers, The Flaxton Boys, Murder Must Advertise, Within These Walls and The Legend of Robin Hood where he played the Sheriff of Nottingham. In 1970 he had his first role in Doctor Who playing Captain Hawkins a UNIT officer helping the Third Doctor fight the Silurians.

The role for which he will always be remembered was as Kerr Avon, the amoral computer genius who was thrown together with the idealistic Roj Blake and found himself a freedom fighter taking on the corrupt Federation. Such was his presence in the role that Avon soon developed into the major character in the series, When actor Gareth Thomas left, Darrow's character assumed command. He appeared in all but the first episode, with the series finishing in dramatic style with Darrow's face being the last image seen on screen.

He returned to Doctor Who in 1985 playing Malin Tekker, a controversial performance with Darrow playing the part in the manner of Richard III.

He continued working with long-running roles in Emmerdale and Law & Order: UK, but in late 2014, he suffered an aortic aneurysm. Over the next few months, health complications meant he lost both of his legs.

Speaking to the BBC, Darrow’s friend and Personal Assistant Maureen Marrs, said:
Over three decades I have been Paul’s confidante and have had the immense privilege of being part of his life. A star has gone out today; the world will be a darker place without him.
Paul Darrow died early on the morning of the 3rd June after a short ilness.




Classic DVD titles to be re-released by BBC Shop in USABookmark and Share

Sunday, 2 June 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A number of DVD titles that have been unavailable in the United States are to have "made-on-demand" re-releases via the BBC Shop.

The first batch of five titles consist of The Time Meddler, The Krotons, The Three Doctors (special edition), Planet Of The Spiders and The Sun Makers, and are released on the 25th June:

The Time Meddler (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The Krotons (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The Three Doctors Special Edition (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) Planet Of The Spiders (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The Sun Makers (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop)

The next batch of five follow a couple of weeks later on 9th July, consisting of The Invasion of Time, Frontios, The Mark Of The Rani, The Happiness Patrol and The TV Movie special edition:

The Invasion Of Time (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) Frontios (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The Mark Of The Rani (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The Happiness Patrol (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop) The TV Movie Special Edition (R1 DVD) (Credit: BBC Shop)

The titles can be pre-ordered now via the BBC Shop by clicking on their relative image above.

Note: all titles are DVD R1 (North America).

With Thanks To: Christopher Graewin




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.