Jack Watling, father of actress Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield) and Doctor Who guest actor (as Professor Jack Travers in "The Abominable Snowmen" and "The Web of Fear") died on May 22. Watling, a long-serving actor in British film and television, had been battling cancer. A family spokesman has asked that any condolence letters to Debbie Watling and their family be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and that they will be passed on as soon as possible.
Norman Kay, opera composer, critic and music director -- and composer of Doctor Who scores during the William Hartnell era -- died on May 12 at age 76. The obituary is at www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,60-203018,00.html. (Thanks to Matthew Kilburn)
Tom Baker's brand new-look website recently relaunched. You can visit it at www.tom-baker.com. There's a fairly active message board, a fan area, merchandise and more.
Douglas Adams, former screenwriter for and script editor of Doctor Who and the author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, one of the most prominent and best-loved science fiction satires in modern literature, died on Friday, May 11 of an apparent heart attack after collapsing at a gym near his home in Santa Barbara, California. The man who brought the very familiar concepts of "42" as the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything, the Infinite Improbability Drive, Milliways and Earth's status as mostly harmless, "was not ill," Elizabeth Gibson, a family friend, told the Associated Press. "This was completely unexpected." Adams' most famous creation began as a BBC radio series in 1978; twelve episodes were produced with the irascible Arthur Dent, ex-president Zaphod Beeblebrox and aloof Ford Prefect. The radio series later was adapted to television as well as into a novel, which sold 14 million copies around the world; four additional sequels were written by Adams -- "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," "Life, The Universe and Everything" (which had started off as a concept for a Doctor Who proposal, "Doctor Who and the Krikketmen"), "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" and "Mostly Harmless" -- as well as a best-selling Infocom text adventure for the computer in the 1980's and a plethora of media tie-ins. Earlier, Adams had penned the Doctor Who story "The Pirate Planet" starring Tom Baker which had opened doors for him at the BBC; he later joined the series as its script editor during the 17th season and wrote the screenplays for "Shada," the untransmitted story from the tail end of that season, as well as "City of Death," arguably one of the most popular stories of the entire run of the series (and also, according to viewing figures, its highest-rated ever.) Geoffrey Perkins, the BBC's head of comedy, told the Associated Press that Adams was "absolutely one of the most creative geniuses to ever work in radio comedy... He probably wrote one of the greatest radio comedy series ever, certainly the most imaginative." Adams was born in Cambridge, England in 1952 and worked both on many high-profile and long-forgotten serials. He followed "Hitchhikers" and his stint on Doctor Who with "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and "The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul" featuring new characters (though parts of the stories were borrowed from his earlier Who stories); a book about endangered species, "Last Chance to See"; and with John Lloyd, the alternative dictionary "The Meaning of Liff". Adams also founded a multimedia company called Digital Village, for which he created a computer game, "Starship Titanic". Adams had been working on and off for several years on a "Hitchhikers" feature with director Jay Roach ("Austin Powers") and was a fervent supporter of the Macintosh computer, as he had become a spokesperson in later years. He is survived by his wife, lawyer Jane Belson, and six year old daughter Polly. Science fiction fans across the world -- including this editor, a huge fan of his works -- mourn his passing.
Sophie Aldred is opening her own website at www.sophiealdred.com - it's nothing but a title page now, but will feature all sorts of things in the months to come including the pilot trailer for "Death Comes to Time".