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.




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




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.




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.





Trevor Baxter 1932-2017Bookmark and Share

Monday, 17 July 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The actor and playwright Trevor Baxter has died, aged 84.

Graduating from RADA in 1961, Baxter appeared in a variety of shows since his debut in the 1950s, chalking up credits in a number of well-known series such as Adam Adamant Lives!, Z Cars, Thriller, The New Avengers, George and Mildred, Rumpole of the Bailey, and in later years roles such as Lanyon in Jack The Ripper, Gordon Naylor in The Politician's Wife, and Dr Albrigtsen in Maelstrom. On the big screen, he appeared in films including Nutcracker, Parting Shots, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj.

However, for Doctor Who fans it is the pairing up with Christopher Benjamin to play Professor George Litefoot alongside Henry Gordon Jago that he will be remembered for. Created for the 1977 fourth Doctor tale The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the partnership proved popular and memorable, and though rumours of a spin-off television series never came to fruition at the time, the duo found new life through Big Finish with their own series of audio adventures. (You can read the Big Finish tribute here).

Louise Jameson played Leela alongside Baxter in The Talons of Weng-Chiang and today paid tribute to the actor.
Unbelievably sad to learn that marvellous TrevorBaxter has left the building.He has been in my life since 1976.Witty and vibrant to the end.
Off-screen, Baxter appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was also an accomplished playwright, with plays such as Edith Grove, The Undertaking, Ripping Them Off and Through A Glass Darkly. In 2003 he adapted Oscar Wilde's A Portrait of Dorian Gray for the stage, and in 2005 Wilde's short story Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.

Trevor Baxter, 18 Nov 1932 - 16 Jul 2017




Brian Cant 1933-2017Bookmark and Share

Monday, 19 June 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Actor and Children's presenter Brian Cant has died at the age of 83.

Brian Cant appeared in two Doctor Who stories. In 1965 he played Kert Gantry, a Space Security Agent, in the first episode of The Dalek's Master Plan. He returned to the series in 1968 playing Chairman Tensa in two episodes of The Dominators

However for most people in the United Kingdom Brian Cant will be lovingly remembered for his work on children's television.

He was working for a BBC Schools drama on The Romans in 1964 when he heard that the BBC was holding auditions for presenters on a new programme aimed at pre-school kids, Play School, due to launch on the new station BBC Two. His audition involved getting into a cardboard box and pretending to row out to sea. He joined the in its third week and stayed for twenty-one years.

His work on Play School led him to be selected as the voice on three Gordon Murray puppet series: Camberwick Green in 1966, Trumpton in 1967, and Chigley in 1969.

In 1971 the BBC launched a spin-off from Play School, Play Away, aimed at older children, featuring songs and jokes and airing on Saturday afternoons, with Cant as the main presenter alongside actors such as Toni Arthur, Derek Griffiths, Floella Benjamin, Johnny Ball, Carol Chell, Jeremy Irons, and Tony Robinson.

In 2007 Cant topped a poll of presenters with the best-loved voices in children’s TV.

The actor had been living with Parkinson’s disease in recent years and died at Denville Hall, a retirement home often used by those in the entertainment industry.

A family statement said:
It is with great sadness that we, his family, have to announce that Brian Cant has died aged 83 at Denville Hall. He lived courageously with Parkinson’s disease for a long time. Brian was best known and well loved for his children’s programmes Play School and Play Away and was honoured by Bafta in 2010. Donations would be most appreciated to Denville Hall and the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.
Cant's Play School co-presenter Derek Griffiths paid tribute on Twitter, posting a reunion picture of the team. And former Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson also tweeted: "Brian Cant was my mentor and friend on Play Away. We wrote and performed together for two years. Always patient, courteous and funny P-L-A-Y R-I-P."

Brian Cant was married twice, and had five children, including the actor Richard Cant who appeared in Blink.




Peter Sallis 1921-2017Bookmark and Share

Monday, 5 June 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The actor Peter Sallis has died at the age of 96.

Peter Sallis was best known for playing Norman Clegg in the long-running BBC Sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, a part he played from the series debut in 1973 until the final story in 2010, appearing in every one of the 295 episodes. In later life, he was famous as the voice of Wallace, the eccentric inventor in the Aardman Animations series of films.

Sallis appeared in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Ice Warriors, playing Penley, the rebel scientist who helped the Second Doctor defeat the Martian menace. He was due to return to the series in 1983 to play Striker in the fifth Doctor story Enlightenment but when industrial action delayed filming he was no longer available and Keith Barron took the role.

Peter Sallis was born on 1 February 1921 in Twickenham, Middlesex, England. After attending Minchenden Grammar School in North London, Sallis went to work in a bank. After the outbreak of World War II he joined the RAF. He failed to get into aircrew because he had a serum albumin disorder and he was told he might black out at high altitudes. He became a wireless mechanic instead and went on to teach radio procedures at RAF Cranwell.

Sallis started as an amateur actor during his four years with the RAF when one of his students offered him the lead in an amateur production. His success in the role caused him to resolve to become an actor after the war, and so he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, making his first professional appearance on the London stage in 1946.

He appeared in many British films in the 1950's and 60's such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Doctor in Love, The Curse of the Werewolf, The V.I.P.s, Charlie Bubbles, Scream and Scream Again, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Wuthering Heights, The Incredible Sarah and The Day of the Triffids.

His first notable television role was as Samuel Pepys in the 14 part BBC serial of the same name in 1958. Other roles followed including an episode of The Persuaders and the BBC comedy series The Culture Vultures

In 1973 Sallis was cast in a one-off pilot for Comedy Playhouse entitled The Last of the Summer Wine, as the unobtrusive lover of a quiet life, Norman Clegg. The pilot was successful and the BBC commissioned a series, and it became the world's longest running comedy series, and the role he was best known for.

In the 1980's he started to get a reputation for voice work and in 1989 he first voiced the character of Wallace in the short film A Grand Day Out. The film won a BAFTA award and was followed by the Oscar-winning films The Wrong Trousers in 1993 and A Close Shave in 1995.

Sallis was awarded the OBE in the 2007 Birthday Honours for services to Drama

Sallis died peacefully, with his family by his side, at the Denville Hall nursing home in Northwood, London, on 2 June 2017. He is survived by his son Crispian and two grandchildren.




Eric Pringle 1935-2017Bookmark and Share

Monday, 22 May 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The writer Eric Pringle has died at the age of 82.

Eric Pringle wrote one story for Doctor Who, the 1984 Fifth Doctor story The Awakening. The story was the only two parter to feature in Peter Davison's final season. It introduced the character of the Malus.

Eric Pringle was born in Morpeth, Northumberland. He wrote for the 1972 television series Pretenders and for the drama series based on a magazine's agony column writer Kate. In 1974 he wrote an episode of The Carnforth Practice.

In 1975 he was commissioned by then-Doctor Who script editor Robert Holmes to write a story The Angurth, for the programme's thirteenth season. This story was eventually abandoned but did eventually lead to the commissioning of The Awakening in 1981. The story was originally planned as a four-part story called War Game, but was cut down to two episodes when producer John Nathan-Turner decided the plot could not carry four episodes.

Pringle's later work concentrated on Radio with adaptations of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and J. B. Priestley's The Good Companions. In 2001 his BBC Radio 4 play Hymus Paradisi, about the life of composer Herbert Howells, won a Sony Award.

Pringle wrote the children's novel Big George and its two sequels Big George and the Seventh Knight and Big George and the Winter King.




Geoffrey Bayldon 1923-2017Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 11 May 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The actor Geoffrey Bayldon has died at the age of 93

Geoffrey Bayldon was best known for his portrayal of Catweazle, the eccentric 11th-century wizard who was the star of the LWT children's series produced in the early 1970's, as well as playing the Crowman in the Jon Pertwee series Worzel Gummidge.

Bayldon was considered for the role of the Doctor twice. First when the series was commissioned in 1963. He turned the offer down, worried about playing such an old character and not wanting to commit to the then unknown series. When Hartnell left the role in 1966, Bayldon was again the frame to play The Doctor, but once more decided against joining the programme. It was not until 1979 that he eventually did appear in the series when he played Organon the astrologer in the Tom Baker story The Creature from the Pit

He would eventually voice the Doctor in the Big Finish Doctor Who Unbound stories Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels.

Bayldon was born in Leeds in 1923. He joined the Royal Air Force and had a period studying architecture, before fulfilling his dream of becoming an actor, training at the Old Vic Theatre School. He was a regular face on British television from 1950's onwards appearing in Sword of Freedom, The Case of the Frightened Lady, An Age of Kings, The Victorians, The Massingham Affair, The Woman in White, Z Cars and The Adventures of Robin Hood where he played Count de Severne.

In 1970 he accepted the role of Catweazle, first appearing on Sundays afternoons in February 1970. It was a role that would endear him to a generation of children. The character, an eccentric medieval wizard trapped in the 20th century, amused and delighted both adults and children alike. In 2010 Bayldon spoke about the role.
Geoffrey Bayldon as Catweazle (Credit: LWT)It was a new idea, at the time of boring kitchen-sink drama. Everything was serious, working-class, and the idea of magic didn't even occur, let alone humour.

With the two together I thought the world would be mine!
In 1979 he entertained another generation of kids when he took the role of The Crowman in the Southern TV adaptation of Worzel Gummidge and in 1995 played Magic Grandad, an eccentric who took his grandchildren back in time to see historical events, a concept similar to the original premise of Doctor Who.

He remained a well-known character actor working well into his eighties, with appearances in Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, All Creatures Great and Small, Blott on the Landscape, Juliet Bravo, Devenish, Fort Boyard, Casualty, Heartbeat, Waking the Dead, My Family and New Tricks.

Geoffrey Bayldon died on 10th May 2017. His partner Alan Rowe died in 2000.