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




Doctor Who Actors Honoured by QueenBookmark and Share

Saturday, 17 June 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Several Doctor Who alumni have been mentioned in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.


Veteran actress and comedienne June Whitfield has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

June Whitfield played Minnie Hooper, active member of the Sliver Cloak, in the 2010 Doctor Who story The End of Time.

She is one of the UK's best loved actresses having first come to the attention of the public in the 1950's in a succession of Radio comedys. In 1968, June Whitfield and Terry Scott began their long television partnership which peaked with roles as husband and wife in Happy Ever After followed by Terry and June . Since 1992, Whitfield has appeared in Jennifer Saunders's sitcom Absolutely Fabulous playing Edina Monsoon's mother. In recent years she has played a regular character in Last of the Summer Wine as well as a recurring character in The Green Green Grass.

The actress Sarah Lancashire has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire or OBE.

Sarah Lancashire appeared in the 2008 story Partners in Crime where she played Miss Foster,, employed by the Adiposian First Family to breed a new generation after their breeding planet was lost.

Lancashire first came to public attention appearing in the long running soap Coronation Street. Other roles include parts in costume dramas such as Oliver Twist, Lark Rise to Candleford and the BBC1 crime thriller Happy Valley, for which she recieved the 2017 British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.

Actor David Walliams has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

David Walliams played Gibbis in the 2011 story The God Complex.

Walliams is best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the BBC One sketch show Little Britain. Since 2012 he has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. Walliams is also a writer of children's books. To date he has sold more than 12.5 million copies and his books have been translated into 46 languages.

Walliams, who has raised a considerable ammount of money fnor Sport's Relief, recieved the award for services to charity and the Arts.

Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire or MBE.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw plated Tish Jones, sister of Martha, in Series Three of Doctor Who.

Mbatha-Raw played a supporting role in the Tom Hanks comedy Larry Crowne, and had starring roles on the short-lived television series Undercovers and Touch. She appeared in the British period drama Belle and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights.

In 2015 she played the title role in Jessica Swale's play Nell Gwynn, winning a nomination for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress.
The awards are presented by HM Queen Elizabeth on the recomendation of the British Prime Minister Theresa May.




Neil Fingleton 1980-2017Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 26 February 2017 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Neil Fingleton has died at the age of 36

Neil Fingleton played the Fisher King in the 2015 Doctor Who stories Under the Lake and Before The Flood

In 2007 Fingleton was awarded the Guinness World Record as the tallest British-born man and the tallest man in the European Union, standing at 7 ft 6in or 2.33m.

Neil Fingleton was born in Durham in 1980. An outstanding basketball player, he spent 8 years in education in the United States, winning a sporting scholarship and studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In 2004 he made his professional debut as a basketball player for the now defunct Boston Frenzy. He later played professionally in China, Italy, Greece, England and for the spanish teams Club Baloncesto Ilarcuris and Ciudad Real.

In 2007 injury forced him to abandon his sporting career and he took up acting. He appeared in the film 47 Ronin alongside Keanu Reeves, and played the giant Mag the Mighty in the TV series Game of Thrones. He appeared in the 2015 film Jupiter Ascending, the Fox Studios film X-Men: First Class and in the Marvel Entertainment film Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Neil Fingleton died on Saturday after suffering a heart attack.




Delia Derbyshire DayBookmark and Share

Friday, 10 February 2017 - Reported by Marcus
A project to mark the 80th Anniversary year of Doctor Who legend and Electronic Music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, has won support from The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Delia Derbyshire Day has been awarded £42,600 ($53,000) to help organise a programme of activities and events to celebrate 80 years since the birth of the woman who realised the original Doctor Who Theme music, composed by Ron Grainer.

Highlights planned for the year include
  • 5 May 2017
  • Derbyshire's 80th Birthday – launch of a new website, short film about the Delia Derbyshire Archive and “Deliaphonic Soundbank” (an interactive web platform) public engagement activity
  • 10 June 2017
  • A Delia Derbyshire Day 2017 MCR at Band on the Wall – electronic music-making workshops for families and evening music/arts event, archive sharing, expert panel discussion/Q&A with special guests, live music/visual art performances.
  • 5 Aug 2017
  • DD Day touring event at Full Of Noises (FON) Festival in Barrow-in-Furness – participatory workshops for families and evening cultural heritage event with archive sharing, panel discussion/Q&A, live music/visual art performances.
  • Sept-Nov 2017
  • 8 week education project in 2 primary schools in Manchester including production of a short film about the Delia Derbyshire Archive by the young participants.
  • 5 Dec 2017
  • Delia Derbyshire Day and Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) symposium event at Anthony Burgess Foundation 6-9pm (time TBC) – with guest speakers, archive sharing and open forum discussion.
Project partners include the Delia Derbyshire Estate, John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, One Education Music, Full of Noises Festival, Digital Women’s Archive North and Band on the Wall.

Nathan Lee, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West said
We’re delighted to support this project to shine a light, not only the pioneering impact of Delia Derbyshire’s work, but also on this significant and fascinating part of John Rylands Library. Thanks to National Lottery players, Delia Derbyshire Day can share the musical roots of electronic music to a new generation.
You can follow Delia Derbyshire Day on their website or on twitter.




An Evening In with Peter CapaldiBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 January 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2 (Credit: BBC)Peter Capaldi will be a guest on BBC Radio 2's Jo Whiley show tomorrow evening (30 Jan) at 8:00pm (GMT), "picking his favourite tracks and filling us in on all the latest news from the Doctor Who set.".

In addition, Tuesday's show will be dedicated to music that has appeared in Doctor Who, including groups such as The Beatles, The Streets and The Chordettes.

Both shows will be available to listen to worldwide via the BBC iPlayer.


David Tennant appeared on the show to chat about his experiences of being the Doctor back in November 2013, during the show's 50th Anniversary celebrations.




Sir John Hurt 1940-2017Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 28 January 2017 - Reported by Marcus
The actor John Hurt has died at the age of 77.

John Hurt, the man who played the missing regeneration of the Doctor, the War Doctor, was one of the most respected actors of his generation. Over a 50 year career, he played some of the most memorable characters in British Film and television, dominating the profession with his rich voice entrancing audiences. His career earnt him two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe Award, as well as four BAFTA Awards.

John Hurt was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on 22nd January 1940. He trained at the Grimsby Art School, before winning a scholarship allowing him to study at Saint Martin's School of Art in London. In 1960, he won a scholarship to RADA, where he trained for two years.

His first film was The Wild and the Willing but he made his mark in Fred Zinnemann's A Man for All Seasons playing Richard Rich. His portrayal of Timothy Evans, in 10 Rillington Place, the true story of an innocent man hanged for murder, earnt him his first BAFTA nomination.

He won a BAFTA playing Quentin Crisp in the TV play The Naked Civil Servant, produced by ex-Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert, a role he would reprise in the 2009 film An Englishman in New York. He won further plaudits in the 1976 series I Claudius playing the psychotic Roman emperor Caligula.

In 1978 he won his first Acadamy nomination for Midnight Express, losing out to Christopher Walken, but for which he won a Golden Globe and a second BAFTA. His unique voice graced the animated films Watership Down and Lord of the Rings. In 1980 he played John Merrick in The Elephant Man earning him his second Acadamy nomination. The same year he came to a gruesome end as Kane in Alien, and four years later he played Winston Smith in the film adaptation of the Orwell classic set in that year Nineteen Eighty-Four.

He had roles in the Harry Potter films and the Merlin TV series and played the MP Alan Clark in The Alan Clark Diaries. Hurt recently starred in Oscar-nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy's widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas.

In 2013, at the age of 73 he made his debut in Doctor Who, playing The War Doctor, a character invented by show-runner Steven Moffat to fill the gap in the series 50th Anniversary story, The Day of the Doctor, when it became apparent that Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston did not wish to take part.

Moffat later told Radio Times
I remember saying to Marcus [Wilson, producer], What if there was an incarnation of the Doctor none of us knew about? And, coincidentally, he was played by the most famous actor in the world? Specifically, someone who might have been cast as the Doctor during the long hiatus. For instance, John Hurt...
Hurt accepted the offer almost immediately, giving him a place in the series history as one of the rare breed of actor to have played The Doctor.
He was quite insistent, saying to me and to others: “So I am properly Doctor Who now. I am a Doctor Who.I can say it?” He loves the fact that he’s Doctor Who. Only having to stay in Cardiff for three weeks, he gets to be Doctor Who.
Hurt would return to the role for Big Finish in 2015

In 2015 Hurt received a knighthood from Her Majesty The Queen for services to drama, to add to the CBE he received in 2004.

John Hurt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 but was later given the all clear. In an interview last year he said he had no fear of death.
I hope I shall have the courage to say, ‘Vroom! Here we go! Let’s become different molecules! I can't say I worry about mortality, but it's impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it. We're all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly.
John Hurt was married four times. He is survived by his wife of 12 years Anwen Rees-Myers, and his two sons Alexander and Nicholas.




Ken Dodd KnightedBookmark and Share

Saturday, 31 December 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Veteran comedian Ken Dodd has been knighted in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

The Liverpool legend is best known for his sixty-year-long career as a music hall style entertainer but has made a few forays into drama, one notable appearance playing the Tollmaster in the 1987 Seventh Doctor story Delta and the Bannermen.

The comedian has been a staple of the British Comedy circuit since the 1950's, and still, at the age of 89, continues to tour the UK with his Happiness Show.

He has had 19 UK Top 40 hits including the song Tears, which topped the UK charts for five weeks in 1965 and remains one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all time.


Also Honoured

The actor Tim Pigott-Smith, who is made an OBE.
Tim Pigott-Smith acted in two Doctor Who stories. He played Captain Harker in the Third Doctor story The Claws of Axos, returning in 1976 in the Fourth Doctor story The Masque of Mandragora, where he played Marco. His most well known Television role was as Ronald Merrick in ITV series The Jewel in the Crown. He has had a long and distinguished Radio and Stage career.


The actress Helen McCrory, who is made an OBE.
Helen McCrory played Rosanna in the Tenth Doctor story The Vampires of Venice. On film she portrayed Cherie Blair the 2006 film The Queen and portrayed Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films. She also plays Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders.


The actor Clive Rowe who is made an MBE.
Clive Rowe played Morvin Van Hoff in the 2007 Christmas special Voyage of the Damned. He is best known for his role as Norman Ellington in BBC Children's drama The Story of Tracy Beaker and has appeared in Disney show The Evermore Chronicles.


The cartoonist Peter Brookes who is made an CBE.
Peter Brookes was the main artist producing covers for the Target range of Doctor Who books in the mid 1970's. His most well know covers include The Green Death and Planet of the Spiders. He has worked for Radio Times, The New Statesman and The Spectator. He has recently worked on a notable series of cartoons known as the "Westminster Academy", which depicted Nick Clegg as a public school fag to a red cheeked David Cameron, who was portrayed as a prefect dressed in a Eton suit. He depicted leader of the opposition Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls as Wallace and Gromit




Delia Derbyshire honoured in CoventryBookmark and Share

Monday, 28 November 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Delia Derbyshire is to be honoured in her hometown of Coventry by having a road named after her.

The creation of Derbyshire Way will pay tribute to the musician, who will forever be remembered for her work in realising the original Doctor Who Theme Music, written in 1963 by Ron Grainer.

Delia Derbyshire is considered one of the most important and influential pioneers of electronic music in the United Kingdom, who inspired acts from The Beatles to The Chemical Brothers. Her contribution to Doctor Who came when she was working for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and was asked to turn Grainer's score into an electronic theme for the new science fiction series. Aided by Dick Mills, Derbyshire created the iconic theme music by creating each note separately by cutting, splicing, speeding up, and slowing down recordings of a single plucked string, white noise, and the output of test-tone oscillators. The notes were then edited together on quarter-inch tape. Mixing was done by starting several tape machines simultaneously and mixing the outputs together.

Derbyshire, who died in 2001, will now give her name to Derbyshire Way, part of a new housing estate in the city of her birth. The recognition follows a campaign led by the Coventry Music Museum, which features a permanent display dedicated to her work.

Museum Director Pete Chambers spoke about her legacy
It's fitting as we bid for the City Of Culture 2021, that the bid does not ignore our music heritage, and that people from around the world know Delia was a Coventry legend, a woman who influenced The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Orbital, The Chemical Brothers and even Pink Floyd, indeed, she is considered by many to be the Mother of Progressive Rock.

I firmly believe that if she were alive today, Delia would have triple 'D' status – she would be Dame Delia Derbyshire. Sadly that will never happen, so it's wonderfully fitting that there is something in her native Coventry dedicated to this very special lady. Originally it was to be named Derbyshire Road, but I suggested 'Way' instead to give it a double meaning, as Delia was a genius and strong personality and really did do things in her own way.
The project was supported by councillors Linda Bigham and Gary Ridley who said
Delia Derbyshire produced sounds in the 1960s which were at least twenty years ahead of their time. A true pioneer of electronic music, she achieved this without the modern equipment that producers had in the 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps best known for the theme tune to Doctor Who, Delia will remain a national treasure and this is a fitting tribute to one of Coventry's most celebrated daughters.
Next May, the Coventry Music Museum will host a celebration of what would have been Derbyshire's 80th Birthday.




Moffat: I'm not blocking Torchwood returnBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
John Barrowman has recently spoken about the obstacles preventing Torchwood's return to television.
Speaking at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con Barrowman mentioned Doctor Who's current lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat as the reason Torchwood would not be back, to which Moffat has clarified that he is not one of those obstacles:
You may be aware that John Barrowman has been saying, publicly, that I've been blocking a new series of Torchwood. To be very clear - I haven't blocked it; I wouldn't block it; I wouldn't even be ABLE to block it. I didn't even know a revival had been mooted till I read about it on the Internet. As John perfectly well knows, it's not my show and I could no more prevent it happening that he could cancel Sherlock. I am bewildered, and a little cross, even to be included in this conversation. For the record, I really liked the show (especially the third series) and would be very happy to see more - monsters and mayhem, why not? But the fact is, it has nothing to do with me. Please pass this on to the anxious and the angry - I've had enough hate mail now.

Acknowledgement: Wizard World Chicago Comic Con coverage report via YouTube, courtesy of ChristineDoesCons




Ralf Little Denies Doctor Who RumoursBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Actor Ralf Little has released a video categorically denying he will be taking part in the next series of Doctor Who.

The actor is best known for playing Antony Royle in BBC Comedy The Royle Family . He also played Jonny Keogh in the first six series of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Other roles include the young George Harrison at the Royal Court Theatre, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award and the title character in Billy Liar.

Little voiced the character of Guy Fawkes in the 2011 Doctor Who online game The Gunpowder Plot

Doctor Who is currently in production in Cardiff with Series 10, the 36th in the series history, expected to be screened in the spring of 2017.





Piers Wenger appointed Controller of BBC Drama CommissioningBookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 July 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Piers Wenger (Credit: BBC)Channel 4's Head of Drama Piers Wenger is due to return to the BBC this Autumn as its new Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning. Before joining Channel 4 in 2012, Wenger was Head of Drama for BBC Wales and one of the executive producers of Doctor Who to introduce the third Doctor of the modern series, Matt Smith, alongside fellow executive producers Beth Willis and the (then) new lead writer Steven Moffat.

On his new role, Wenger said:
I have had an unforgettable and brilliant time at Channel 4 and it is with real sadness that I am saying goodbye. But the scope and scale of BBC Drama make this an irresistible challenge and I could not be more excited about joining the talented team there and for the new relationships and creative adventures which lie ahead of me at the BBC.
BBC Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer, Charlotte Moore, said:
Piers is a brilliant creative leader with great taste and a passion for writing. He has a breadth of experience and knowledge of the global industry, as well as a real understanding of audiences. BBC Drama is in exceptional form and I’m thrilled that Piers will continue to build on this and enhance our world-class reputation. I’m really excited by his ideas and vision and I’m looking forward to working with him and leading BBC drama to future success.

Willis, who followed Wenger to Channel 4 as his deputy, will succeed him as Head of Drama at Channel 4 upon her return from maternity leave.




Dame Harriet Jones MPBookmark and Share

Saturday, 11 June 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Penelope WiltonActress Penelope Wilton has been created a Dame in the 2016 Queen's Birthday honours list.

Wilton played Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, and sometime Prime Minister, in four episodes of Doctor Who. She is best known for playing Isobel Crawley in the ITV period drama, Downton Abbey and for playing Ann Bryce in the 1980's situation comedy Ever Decreasing Circles.

Wilton has had a long career on the stage and screen receiving six Olivier Award nominations for West End appearances. Her film roles include parts in The French Lieutenant's Woman, Cry Freedom, Iris, Calendar Girls, Shaun of the Dead, Pride and Prejudice, Woody Allen's Match Point and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Wilton is made a Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire in the honours list, which is published today to mark the official 90th birthday of the monarch.

The citation reads
Penelope Wilton is one of Britain’s most popular and sought-after actresses, whose career has spanned acclaimed performances on stage, screen and television. A household name for her comedic performances starting with 1980s sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles, she has subsequently starred in a diverse range of roles in works including Five Days, Half Broken Things and The Passion for television and Calendar Girls and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on film. Her celebrated stage work is varied and she has won numerous awards including Critics Circle Awards for Much Ado About Nothing (1981) and The Deep Blue Sea (1993); an Evening Standard Theatre Award for The Chalk Garden (2008); and a Best Actress Olivier for Taken at Midnight (2015)
Also honoured is actor Brian Blessed who is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the Arts and charity, and Janet Ellis who is made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to charity and broadcasting.

The awards are made by Queen Elizabeth on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.




Bonnie Langford Wins Best Newcomer AwardBookmark and Share

Monday, 30 May 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Bonnie Langford (Credit: 2016 Soap Awards)
Bonnie Langford has been named as Best Newcomer in the 2016 British Soap Awards.

Langford has been playing Carmel Kazemi in the BBC continuing drama EastEnders since May 2015. Although she has been performing for over 45 years, this was her first role in a soap opera, making her elgible for the newcomer award.

Bonnie Langford is best known to Doctor Who fans for playing Melanie Bush alongside the Sixth and Seventh Doctors in 20 episodes of Doctor Who in the 1980's, as well as reprising the role for Big Finish.




Burt Kwouk (1930-2016)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Burt Kwouk (Credit: Chuck Foster)The actor Burt Kwouk has died, aged 85.

Born in Manchester, raised in Hong Kong, and eventually graduating from Bowdoin College in the United States, the internationally travelled Burt Kwouk returned to the United Kingdom in 1954 and was soon an actor in great demand owing to his oriental appearance.

On television he worked on a range of ITC productions including The Avengers, The Saint, The Champions and Danger Man; he was a co-star in The Sentimental Agent, playing Chin Sung in 12 of its 13 episodes. He also provided English narration for both The Water Margin and Monkey. On film his first big break was in Inn Of The Sixth Happiness. He later appeared in two of the Sean Connery run of James Bond, Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice, plus the independent film starring David Niven and Peter Sellers, Casino Royale. However, it was alongside Sellers that Kwouk was to achieve 'immortality', playing the kung-fu servant Cato whose ambushes against Inspector Clouseau became key scenes to look forward to!

In 1982 he took on the role of the Mandarin leader Lin Futo in Four to Doomsday, acting alongside a fresh-faced Time Lord Peter Davison in his first filmed story. He was to later return to Doctor Who as Doctor Hayashi, again alongside Davison, in the Big Finish adventure Loups-Garoux

Other television roles included Major Yamauchi in the prisoner-of-war drama series Tenko, Mr Lee in Howard's Way, Philip Chen in Noble House, and Peter Lo-Ching in The House of Elliot; in film he played Mr Chen in Empire of the Sun, General Lu Soong in Air America and Fu King in I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle. He became a regular on the Harry Hill show between 1997 and 2000, provided voiceovers for Japanese spoof betting show Banzai between 2001 and 2004, and then settled into the role of Entwistle in the BBC's long-running Last of the Summer Wine between 2002 and 2010.

In 2011 he received an OBE for services to drama.


A statement issued by his agent said: "Beloved actor Burt Kwouk has sadly passed peacefully away. The family will be having a private funeral but there will be a memorial at a later date."


Herbert Kwouk, OBE. 18th July 1930 - 24th May 2016