Sunday, 21 July 2013

David Spenser 1934-2013

The actor David Spenser has died at the age of 79.

Spenser appeared in six episodes of Doctor Who, playing the young Tibetan Monk Thonmi, who helped the Second Doctor fight the Great Intelligence in the 1967 story The Abominable Snowmen.

Born in British Ceylon, Spenser began his acting career at the age of 11, working for BBC Radio on Children's Hour. He became a household name in the 1940s when author Richmal Crompton cast him as William Brown in the first radio adaptation of her series of short stories Just William. As a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company, he went on to play some of the great Shakespearean and other classical roles on radio, including Romeo to Judi Dench's Juliet.

Spenser moved into television in 1950 and appeared in many well-known productions, including playing Hurree Jamset Ram Singh in Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School and Saint Mark in the 1960 production of Paul of Tarsus, which starred Patrick Troughton as Saint Paul. He played the Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice, with Maggie Smith and Frank Finlay. Other roles included parts in Dixon of Dock Green, Play for Today and Z Cars.

In 1987 he formed Saffron Productions Ltd with his long-term partner Victor Pemberton, making a number of documentary films, including Gwen, A Juliet Remembered and Benny Hill: Clown Imperial for the BBC.

Spenser died yesterday in Spain.