Michael Ferguson 1937-2021Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Michael Ferguson (Credit: Chuck Foster)

The Director Michael Ferguson has died at the age of  84.

 

Michael Ferguson directed 21 episodes of Doctor Who, working on the series since its beginning in 1963 through to the 1970s. He later went on to work on EastEnders, responsible for a revival in the fortunes of the Soap. 

Michael Ferguson was born in South London in June 1937. After training as an actor at Lamda he worked with Theatre Centre, a touring company visiting schools. 

He joined the BBC in 1963 working in Television as an Assistant Floor Manager, the person responsible for keeping control of the Studio Floor and assisting the director.

The first programme Ferguson found himself working on was a brand new Science Fiction series called Doctor Who. He was engaged for the second story now known as The Daleks. As the AFM he was responsible for waving the Dalek sucker seen at the end of Episode One, The Dead Planet, and thus became the first person in history to play a Dalek.

Ferguson soon was promoted to Director, working on the popular soap Compact. It was as a Director he returned to Doctor Who in 1966, directing The War Machines, as a story that involved location filming around Fitzrovia in London. 

In 1969 he was given a chance to direct the Second Doctor in the six-part story, The Seeds of Death. one of the first stories to be released on BBC Video. 

He directed two stories with the Third Doctor, The seven-part Ambassadors of Death in 1970, and the four-part Claws of Axos the following year. 

As well as Doctor Who he directed many classic BBC programmes such as Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Colditz, Flambards, The Sandbaggers and The Glory Boys

By the late 1980s Ferguson was working as a producer on the ITV series The Bill. It was his success in revamping the police series that let the head of BBC ongoing drama, Peter Cregeen, offer him the position of Executive Producer on EastEnders.

The soap had been declining in popularity after its initial success, but the changes Ferguson made revived its fortunes. He introduced new characters, such as the Mitchell brothers and new storylines which caught the public imagination. 

After two years he moved onto Casualty, before returning to ITV and The Bill.

After retiring in 2003  he taught screen acting at the Actors Centre in London.

Michael Ferguson died on 4 October 2021. He is survived by his second wife Jana Shelden and his daughter with his first wife Tracy. 

 





Tony Selby 1938-2021Bookmark and Share

Monday, 6 September 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Tony Selby (Credit: Chuck Foster)

The actor Tony Selby has died at the age of 83.

Tony Selby had a long and illustrious career spanning more than 70 years and appearing on Stage, on Television and in Films. 

He played the role of Sabalom Glitz in three Doctor Who stories. In 1986 he appeared alongside sixth Doctor Colin Baker in the first section of the Trial of a Timelord season, The Mysterious Planet. The character returned for the conclusion to the season in The Ultimate Foe

The following year he returned to the series, this time appearing with Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy in Dragonfire

 

Born in London in 1938, Selby trained at the famous Italia Conti Stage School.  One of his first TV appearances was in the TV play Mencius Was a Bad Boy appearing as Pig at the age of 13. Over the next 70 years he would be a constant presence on TV with appearances in programmes such as Compact, No Hiding Place, The Wednesday Play,  Shine a Light, Z Cars, Catweazle, Ace of Wands, Minder, Crown Court, The Good Life, Moody and Pegg, Jack of Diamonds, Hideaway, Mulberry, Love Hurts, The Detectives, The Bill and Dream Team.

One of his most memorable roles was as Corporal Marsh in the ITV sitcom Get Some In! about life in National Service. He appeared in EastEnders playing Clive Mitchell. 

On the stage, he appeared in the original production of Edward Bond's controversial play Saved at the Royal Court Theatre.

Film work included roles in Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall and Alfie as well as an uncredited role in Superman


Tony Selby's death was announced by his management LCM Limited. In a statement, they said

With great sadness, we announce that actor Tony Selby passed away peacefully in London yesterday.

In a career spanning 70 years in theatre, film and TV, Tony was highly respected and loved by family, friends and colleagues.

His renowned sense of humour will be missed by us all.

 





Jackie Lane 1941-2021Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 June 2021 - Reported by Marcus

The actress and agent Jackie Lane has died at the age of 79

Jackie Lane appeared in 19 episodes of Doctor Who in the 1960s playing Dodo Chaplet a companion of the First Doctor William Hartnell.

Jackie Lane was born in Manchester, England.  After training as an actress she had small parts in soap operas. Compact and Coronation Street

In 1963 her agent put her forward to play the character of Susan in the new tea-time science fiction programme Doctor Who. Lane however withdrew from consideration on learning she would be expected to sign a year-long contract should she win the role. 

Three years later, with Doctor Who a huge success, the actress was offered the role of Dodo by producer John Wiles. Arriving at the end of The Massacre, the character travelled with the Doctor and his companion Steven, played by Peter Purves across four stories, The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker, The Gunfighters and The Savages.

Lane told Doctor Who Magazine about her time on the series

It was very friendly, although for Bill Hartnell has put up with a lot of cast changes over a short space of time. It was really beginning to get to him. We got on very well, although I wouldn't say I ever really knew him that well. 

Lane's contract expired after four months and it was not renewed by the new producer Innes Lloyd. The character disappeared from the series, without a goodbye, during the story The War Machines

Innes had definite plans for the series, which neither Steven nor Dodo fitted. I think I would have liked a dramatic ending. My farewell was a bit of an anti-climax. Still, I got my revenge. I now run a voice-over agency and Innes Lloyd once asked me to find him work. I reminded him that he had once sacked me from Doctor Who and said a very firm no. 

Soon after Lane left Doctor Who she retired from acting. She spent some time as a diplomatic Secretary working for the Australian Government and as an antique dealer before returning to the world of show business, this time as a theatrical agent.  In this role, she represented Tom Baker

A very shy woman, Jackie Lane was always reluctant to involve herself in Doctor Who fandom. She gave very few interviews about her time on the show but did make an appearance at the time of Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary.

Jackie Lane's death was announced by Fantom Films earlier today. 

 

 





Damaris Hayman 1929-2021Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 3 June 2021 - Reported by Marcus

The actress Damaris Hayman, famous for playing Olive Hawthorne, the gloriously eccentric white witch of Devils End, has died at the age of 91.

 

Damaris Hayman had a long career in British Film and Television, playing mostly well to do, slightly eccentric, ladies. She made her TV debut in 1953 as Eliza in The Story of the Treasure Seekers

Her film debut came a year later in The Belles of St Trinian's, the first in the comedy series set in a Girls school. It was a world Hayman knew well having been educated at the exclusive  Cheltenham Ladies' College. Later moves included The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Many supporting roles on TV  included apperances in series such as The Citadel, Citizen James, Somerset Maugham Hour, Crossroads, Steptoe and Son, Z Cars, The Dickie Henderson Show, Beggar My Neighbour, Armchair Theatre, Ours Is a Nice House, The Onedin Line, The Morecambe & Wise Show, The Witches' Brew, The Small World of Samuel Tweet, The Dick Emery Show, The Basil Brush Show and One Foot in the Grave.

 

It was in 1971 she took on the role that endeared her to Doctor Who fans when she played Miss Hawthorne in the acclaimed Third Doctor story The Daemons. It was a perfectly pitched performance and one she was very proud of.  Her chemistry with Jon Pertwee and the cast helped ensure the story is one of the best-loved in the Doctor Who Universe 

In 2017 she returned to the character to appear in The White Witch of Devil's End, a spin-off story based on the character released by Koch Media.

Damaris Hayman died today, a couple of weeks short of her 92nd birthday. 

 





Frank Cox 1940-2021Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 29 April 2021 - Reported by Marcus
Frank Cox

The TV Director Frank Cox has died at the age of 80.

 

Frank Cox worked on two early stories of Doctor Who.

In 1964 at the age of 23, he became Doctor Who's fourth Director, taking charge for the episode The Brink of Disaster, the second part of The Edge of Destruction, and an episode that involved just the four main cast members. 

He returned to the series later that year looking after the final two episodes of The Sensorites, Kidnap and A Desperate Venture. 

 

Doctor Who was one of the first programmes Cox worked on following completion of the BBC Directors training course. He went on to direct programmes such as The Revenue Men,  Mogul, Warship, Sutherland's Law, Softly Softly: Task Force, EastEnders and High Road

He also worked as a producer on many series throughout the 1980s and 90s

The last programme he directed was Taggart for STV

Frank Cox was married to the actress Bridget Turner, who played Alice Cassini in the 2007 story Gridlock. She died in 2014

 





Mark Eden 1928 - 2021Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Mark Eden has died at the age of 92.

Mark Eden played the title character in the 1964 Doctor Who story Marco Polo. The seven-part story, completely missing from the BBC archives, was the first in which the Doctor met a famous figure from history. The character of Marco Polo, the famous Venician explorer, narrated the story which saw the TARDIS crew join the caravan of the adventurer as it travelled through the Gobi desert to Cathay and the court of Kublai Khan.

Mark Eden had a career of over 50 years in British Television with his first credited role in  1958 in the Sci-Fi story Quatermass And The Pit.

Eden decided to become an actor after falling in love with Shakespeare while a teenager. However, his career was delayed after contracting a serious illness in his twenties.

I contracted tuberculosis, spent two years in a sanatorium, worked on the fairgrounds, got married… in fact, I was almost 30 by the time I joined Everyman Theatre Group in Ramsgate,

The East Kent Times gave me a rave review for my first play and that was all the encouragement I needed.

He is best known in the UK for playing the villain Alan Bradley in the soap Coronation Street. He appeared for eight years leaving after his character was killed by a tram in Blackpool, in one of the most memorable scenes in Coronation Street history. The episode was watched by 21.4 million viewers. Eden later unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where the scene was filmed.

He appeared in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, as well as the TV show The Avengers  In The Prisoner he played Number 100 and had a role in The Newcomers. Other roles included parts in Z-Cars, Clouds of Witness, Murder Must Advertise, The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, London Belongs to Me, Poldark, The Detective and Crown Court.

One of his last roles was playing BBC Executive Donald Baverstock in the 2013 docu-drama about the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time

The actor, who had been living with Alzheimer's disease died early on New Year's Day. He is survived by his third wife the actress Sue Nicholls, his daughter Polly, his stepson Saul and grand-daughter Emma.





In Memoriam - 2020Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2021 - Reported by Marcus
As 2020 draws to a close, Toby Hadoke has released his annual look back at those from the Doctor Who universe who we lost over the past twelve months.
 




Philip Martin 1938-2020Bookmark and Share

Monday, 28 December 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Philip Martin (Credit: BBC Studios)

The writer Philip Martin has died at the age of 82.

Philip Martin was an acclaimed television writer who worked in British television for over forty years.

He contributed two scripts for Doctor Who, both during the era of the sixth Doctor.

His first was Vengeance on Varos in 1985. The script dealt with a world where torture and executions were broadcast live to peoples homes. Martin created the character of Sil for the story, played admirably by Nabil Shaban.

Sil proved so popular the character returned for Martin's second script for the series, Mindwarp in 1986. Part of the Trial of a Timelord series, the script also dealt with the departure of Peri, played by Nicola Bryant, from the series.

A third script, Mission to Magnus was never filmed when the show was put on hiatus in 1985. It was later novelised by Martin in 1990 and recorded by Big Finish. 

Philip Martin was born in Liverpool in the North West of England. His early work included scripts for Z-Cars. A play for today set in Birmingham's underworld was developed into a series, Gangsters

Later work includes Tandoori Nights, Star Cops, Virtual Murder and several episodes of Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

In 2019 Martin revisited the character of Sil to much acclaim in an independent broadcast television series from Reeltime Pictures Ltd., Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor.

 

 





Jeremy Bulloch 1945-2020Bookmark and Share

Friday, 18 December 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Jeremy Bulloch (Credit: Robert Workman)

The actor Jeremy Bulloch has died at the age of 75.

Jeremy Bulloch appeared in seven episodes of Doctor Who. 

His first appearance was in 1965 when he played alongside First Doctor William Hartnell in the story The Space Museum. Bulloch played Tor, one of the  Xeron rebels.

He returned to the series in 1973 playing Hal the archer in the Third Doctor story The Time Warrior

Jeremy Bulloch was best known in science fiction circles for playing bounty hunter Boba Fett in the Star Wars franchise appearing in the films The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Bulloch has a long career in film and television, first appearing at the age of 12 in a breakfast cereal commercial. As a child actor, he had many appearances in early television productions including roles in Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School and The Chequered Flag as well as the films Carry on Teacher and Spare the Rod

In the 1960's he appeared with Cliff Richard in the fun-filled musical Summer Holiday. and had a regular role in the soap opera Compact. Other roles included parts in George & Mildred, The Professionals, Agony, Jenny's War, Robin Hood, Casualty, The Bill and Starhyke. He appeared in the James Bond film Octopussy. 

In recent years he has been a regular at Star Wars conventions. 

Jeremy Bulloch died in hospital on Thursday from health complications following his many years living with Parkinson’s disease”, according to his agent.

He is survived by his wife, three sons and 10 grandchildren. 





Geoffrey Palmer 1927-2020Bookmark and Share

Friday, 6 November 2020 - Reported by Marcus

The actor Geoffrey Palmer has died at the age of 93

 

Geoffrey Palmer was best known for his appearances in sitcoms including Butterflies, As Time Goes By and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin,

Palmer appeared in 5 episodes of Doctor Who. His first appearance was opposite the third Doctor in the 1970 story Doctor Who And The Silurians. He played Edward Masters, the  Permanent Under-Secretary to the Minister of Science who became infected with the Silurian virus and brought it to London. 

Two years later he appeared in the story The Mutants playing The Administrator who was assassinated on the instructions of The Marshal

His last appearance came over 30 years later in Voyage of the Damned, becoming one of a few select actors to have appeared in both the original and the revived series. He played Captain Hardaker, the captain of the space cruise liner Titanic. 

 

Geoffrey Palmer was born in London. After his National Service, he briefly studied Shipping Management at Streatham Technical College. He worked as an accountant before his girlfriend persuaded him to join the local amateur dramatics society. Eventually, he became assistant stage manager at Croydon's Grand Theatrespending several years touring.

In the 1950's he started appearing on television where he would be a fixture for the next forty years. Early appearances included a recurring role in The Army Game alongside first Doctor William Hartnell.  He played a property agent in the acclaimed Kitchen sick drama Cathy Come Home.

A major break came when he appeared in John Osborne's West of Suez at the Royal Court with Ralph Richardson. He acted in several major productions at the Royal Court and for the National Theatre Company and was directed by Laurence Olivier in J. B. Priestley's Eden End. He found the play and the experience tedious preferring the more immediate medium of television. 

 Roles in the sixties included Family Solicitor, Garry Halliday, Bootsie and Snudge, The Avengers, Emergency-Ward 10, Z Cars, George and the Dragon, Softly Softly: Task Force, The Expert and Out of the Unknown

In the 1970's he became famous for his many roles in sitcoms. His two most famous being the hapless brother-in-law of Reggie Perrin in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, and the long-suffering Ben Parkinson in Carla Lane's Butterflies. He had a memorable appearance in the Fawlty Towers episode The Kipper and the Corpse, playing the Doctor determined to have his breakfast despite a body being found in the hotel. 

Roles in the 1980s included parts in Hot Metal, Executive Stress, The Kenny Everett Television Show and Look at the State We're In!

For over a decade he played Lionel Hardcastle opposite Judi Dench in the sitcom As Time Goes By

He continued acting well into his eighties, playing the Head Geographer in the 2014 film Paddington. He is due to appear in the forthcoming Roald Dahl film An Unquiet Life, as Dahl’s Repton headmaster Geoffrey Fisher.

He was made an OBE in 2004 for services to drama.

He is survived by his wife Sally Green, with whom he had a daughter Harriet, and a son, Charles, who has directed six episodes of Doctor Who.