Zohra Sehgal was the longest lived actress ever to appear in Doctor Who, appearing alongside the first Doctor William Hartnell in two stories. She played Sheyrah in the second episode of the 1965 story The Crusade, as well as having a small role playing an attendant in three episodes of the 1964 story Marco Polo.
Zohra Sehgal was born in 1912, in Saharanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, the third of seven children. After attending Queen Mary's Girls College in Lahore she decided to pursue a career as a performer.
Her first role for British television was in a BBC adaptation of a Kipling story, The Rescue of Pluffles. She anchored 26 episodes of BBC TV series, Padosi (Neighbours), made in 1976–77. She was signed by Merchant Ivory Productions appeareing in The Courtesans of Bombay directed by James Ivory in 1982. This paved the way for the role of Lady Chatterjee in the television adaptation The Jewel in the Crown in 1984. She went on to appear in Tandoori Nights, My Beautiful Laundrette, Bhaji on the Beach, The Mystic Masseur, Bend It Like Beckham, Cheeni Kum and others.
The actress received the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, in 2010.
Speaking on her 102nd Birthday Sehgal spoke of the future.
I am preparing myself for death. When I go to sleep, I try to keep myself smiling. So that when I die, I have a smile on my lips. I want an electric cremation. I don't want any poems or fuss after that. And for heaven's sake, don't bring back my ashes. Flush them down the toilet if the crematorium refuses to keep them. If they tell you that I am dead, I want you to give a big laugh.Zohra Sehgal died at a hospital in Delhi on Thursday afternoon following a cardiac arrest.