Jane Baker has diedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 - Reported by Marcus
The classic series writer Jane Baker has died.

Jane Baker, along with her husband and writing partner Pip, was one of the best known writers from the mid 80's era of Doctor Who, writing eleven episodes for the series. Together they created the Rani, a female Time Lord scientist who was brought to life so vividly by the late Kate O'Mara, as well a creating the companion Mel.

Pip and Jane Baker began writing together in the 1960's working on the films The Painted Smile, The Break, The Night of the Big Heat and Captain Nemo and the Underwater City. On Television they worked on the children's thriller Circus as well as episodes of Z-Cars and Space 1999.

In 1985 they were commissioned by producer John Nathan Turner to write for the first full series of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, producing the story Mark of the Rani. The story was well received and the couple returned the following year to pen Terror of the Vervoids the third segment of the Trial of a Time Lord Season, envisaged as a whodunnit in space.

Later that year the couple were called into rescue the series following the departure of the then Script editor Eric Saward, following a disagreement with Nathan Turner. Saward had withdrawn his script for the final episode of the season leaving the Bakers to come up with an alternative ending, without access to anything already written, and without creating anything which needed a new set to be built. They had just three days to come up with a script capable of concluding a season they had very little part in conceiving. Jane Baker later described to Doctor Who Magazine the period as challenging rather than exciting, but rated the script produced as one of her favourites.

After the transmission of the season, Phi and Jane Baker found themselves defending their scripts on the BBC's feedback programme Open Air, facing criticism from some fans including future script writer Chris Chibnall. It was an experience Jane found perplexing. "We were presented with four young men, who seemed to say on the one hand it was to complicated and on the other it was too simple".

The Bakers returned to Doctor Who at the start of the next season, introducing the seventh Doctor in Time and the Rani, a script which brought back their most enduring creation The Rani.

In the early 1990's they created the children's programme Watt on Earth which ran for 24 episodes on BBC One.

Tributes to Jane Baker have been led by Colin Baker, who posted on twitter
So very very sad to learn that Jane Baker of Pip and Jane fame - Doctor Who writers from my era - has died. My thoughts are with Pip.




Michael Kerrigan 1952 - 2014Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 4 September 2014 - Reported by Marcus
The director Michael Kerrigan has died at the age of 61

Michael Kerrigan directed the 1989 Doctor Who story Battlefield

Although this was his only encounter with Doctor Who itself, in 2008 he directed four episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Day of the Clown and Secrets of the Stars, becoming one of a select group who have worked on both the original and the new franchises of Doctor Who.

He had a wide range of credits on British television, working on a number of well known dramas, including Coronation Street, Captain Mack, The Basil Brush Show, The Famous Five, The Courtroom, The Bill, Mr. Majeika, Knights of God, Henry's Leg, No 73 and The Baker Street Boys.




Bill Kerr 1922-2014Bookmark and Share

Friday, 29 August 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Australian actor Bill Kerr, has died at the age of 92.

Bill Kerr played Giles Kent in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Enemy of the World. Five missing episodes were recovered last year bringing a new appreciation to a story, the vast majority of which had not been seen since its initial transmission.

Kerr was born in Cape Town in June 1922, born into an Australian showbiz family while they were on tour in South Africa. His stage role began at just a few weeks old when he played a babe in arms during the tour.

He grew up in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Australia, where he became a radio and vaudeville star. His first major role was in one of Australia's first talking films, The Silence of Dean Maitland.

In 1947 he moved to the UK where he appeared in the BBC radio series Variety Bandbox. In the 1950's he won the role which would make him famous across the UK, that of the Australian lodger in the BBC radio comedy series Hancock's Half Hour, staying with the show for six years. In the theatre he played the Devil in the original West End production of Damn Yankees, directed by Bob Fosse. He worked with Spike Milligan appearing in the stage play The Bed-Sitting Room. In 1972 he co-starred with Anthony Newley in the long-running Newley/Bricusse musical, The Good Old Bad Old Days.

His film appearances include The Dam Busters and The Wrong Arm of the Law. Other TV work included Citizen James, Compact, Dixon of Dock Green and Adam Adamant Lives!.

He returned to Australia in the 1979 where he appeared in the Peter Weir films Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously. He had a number of roles in Australian TV shows such as Minty, Snowy, Sons and Daughters and Anzacs as well as appearing on stage in musicals such as My Fair Lady.

In January 2011 Kerr received the 2011 Walk of Honour in his home town of Wagga Wagga. He died at his home in Perth at the age of 92.

(with thanks to Dallas Jones)




Ray Lonnen 1940-2014Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 12 July 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Photo: Ray Lonnen/TwitterThe actor Ray Lonnen has died at the age of 74.

Ray Lonnen played Gardiner, an officer aboard the Earth battle cruiser, in the 1973 Doctor Who story Frontier in Space.

Away from Doctor Who he appeared in many British television dramas over the years, including The Bill, Midsomer Murders, Crossroads, Budgie the Little Helicopter, Rich Tea and Sympathy, Harry's Game, Z Cars, Coronation Street and Jackanory.

The actor died on Friday after a three year long fight with Cancer

He was married to the actress Tara Ward, who announced his death on twitter.