Friday, July 18, 2014

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Magnus Greel (Michael Spice)
unmasked (and all melty)!
Six episodes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six)
First broadcast Feb 26 to Apr 2 1977
Average audience for serial: 10.35m

CAST

Tom Baker (The Doctor) Born Jan 20 1934
Doctor Who credits
Played: The Doctor in Robot, The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons, Planet of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, The Android Invasion, The Brain of Morbius, The Seeds of Doom, The Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear, The Deadly Assassin, The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Horror of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, Image of the Fendahl, The Sun Makers, Underworld, The Invasion of Time, The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll, The Armageddon Factor, Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death, The Creature from the Pit, Nightmare of Eden, The Horns of Nimon, Shada (unbroadcast), The Leisure Hive, Meglos, Full Circle, State of Decay, Warriors' Gate, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis (1974-81). Return appearances in The Five Doctors (1983, archive footage), Dimensions in Time (1993), The Day of the Doctor (2013, as The Curator - but I think we all know who he was really!).
Tom also played the Doctor in the 1975 audio story Doctor Who and the Pescatons, and in several BBC and Big Finish audios since 2009.
Played: Meglos in Meglos (1980)
Career highlights
Tom's career began with a 1968 adaptation of The Winter's Tale, followed by roles in George and the Dragon (1968), Z Cars (1968), Softly Softly (1970), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), The Mutations (1974), Piccadilly Circus (1977), Late Night Story (1978), The Book Tower (1979-81), The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (1980), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982, as Sherlock Holmes), Jemima Shore Investigates (1983), Remington Steele (1984), Blackadder II (1986), Roland Rat: The Series (1986), The Kenny Everett Television Show (1986), The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986), The Silver Chair (1990), Selling Hitler (1991), The Law Lord (1992), Cluedo (1992), Backtime (1998), Max Bear (2000), Dungeons and Dragons (2000), Fun at the Funeral Parlour (2001), Strange (2003), Fort Boyard (2003), Swiss Toni (2003), The Magic Roundabout (2005), Agatha Christie's Marple (2007), The Beeps (2007-08) and The Genie in the Bottle (2010). Tom has also had regular roles as Prof Geoffrey Hoyt in Medics (1992-95), Professor Wyvern in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (2000-01) and Donald MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen (2004-05). He is probably most famous in his latter career for providing the eccentric narration for sketch series Little Britain between 2003-08.
Facts
Tom left home at 15 to become a monk with the Brothers of Ploermel on Jersey, but abandoned this profession at the age of 21 in favour of National Service. In 1971 Tom was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for his portrayal of Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra (he was beaten by Ben Johnson and Desi Arnaz Jr). In December 1980 he married actress Lalla Ward (who had been companion Romana in Doctor Who since 1979), but the marriage ended 18 months later. He married third wife Sue Jerrard in 1986, previously an assistant editor on Doctor Who. Tom's old drinking buddies in the 1960s and 70s included artist Francis Bacon at the infamous Colony Room. Tom has several links to popular music - appearing on Technocat's single Only Human (1995), and providing a monologue on Witness to a Murder (Part Two) by Mansun (1998 - his Doctor and the TARDIS also appeared on the cover of the band's album Six). Pop band The Human League released a song entitled Tom Baker in 1980. In 1999 Tom published a short fairytale novel called The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, which has since been adapted for the stage. Tom's distinctive vocals can also be heard at various tourist attractions in the UK, such as the London Dungeon, Natural History Museum and Alton Towers' Nemesis ride. In 2006 Tom recorded 11,593 phrases so his voice could be used for BT's text messaging service to raise money for homeless charity Shelter - as a result record producer Mark Murphy created a single of Tom "singing" You Really Got Me by the Kinks.

Louise Jameson (Leela) Born Apr 20 1951
Doctor Who credits
Played: Leela in The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Horror of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, Image of the Fendahl, The Sun Makers, Underworld, The Invasion of Time (1977-78). Return appearance in Dimensions in Time (1993)
Career highlights
Louise made her screen debut in a 1971 adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays, and then took roles in Cider with Rosie (1971), Disciple of Death (1972), Emmerdale Farm (1973), Space: 1999 (1975), The Peddler (1976), Dominic (1976), The Gentle Touch (1984), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13¾ (1985), The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1987), Molly (1994), Wycliffe (1995), The Upper Hand (1996), River City (2008), Doc Martin (2011), Holby City (2012) and The Tractate Middoth (2013). She has had a number of regular roles over the years, including Dr Anne Reynolds in The Omega Factor (1979), Blanche Simmons in Tenko (1981-82), Susan Young in Bergerac (1985-90), Janet in Rides (1992-93) and Rosa Di Marco in soap EastEnders (1998-2000).
Facts
Louise was persuaded to become an actress when she was working as a prison visitor and met Leslie Grantham, then serving 12 years for manslaughter but later to become famous as EastEnders' Den Watts (and who was also in Resurrection of the Daleks in 1984).

John Bennett (Li H'sen Chang) May 8 1928 to Apr 11 2005
Doctor Who credits
Played: General Finch in Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974)
Played: Li H'sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Career highlights
John's career began in Diplomatic Passport (1954), then The Wild Duck (1957), The Challenge (1960), The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse (1962), Richard the Lionheart (1962), Front Page Story (1965), The Forsyte Saga (1967), Strange Report (1969), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), The Edwardians (1973), The House in Nightmare Park (1973), Hitler: The Last 10 Days (1973),  I, Claudius (1976), Watership Down (1978), Blake's 7 (1979), The Cleopatras (1983), Boon (1987), Saracen (1989), Mulberry (1992-93), Jake and the Fatman (1992), Cadfael (1994), Priest (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), Charlotte Gray (2001), The Pianist (2002), Minority Report (2002), New Tricks (2004), Rome (2005) and Waking the Dead (2005).
Facts
He was married to Caroline Mortimer, whose parents were playwright John Mortimer (and creator of Rumpole of the Bailey) and writer Penelope Mortimer.

Michael Spice (Magnus Greel) May 20 1931 to Nov 2 1983
Doctor Who credits
Played: Voice of Morbius in The Brain of Morbius (1976)
Played: Magnus Greel in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Career highlights
Michael also appeared in Hamlet (1961), Cross-Roads (1964), A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), Edward II (1970), Advent of Steam (1971), The Pallisers (1974), The Brothers (1976), Blake's 7 (1979) and Number 10 (1983).
Facts
Michael worked extensively on radio as an accomplished voice actor. If you've ever wondered what he actually looked like, here's a screencap of him in The Pallisers.

Christopher Benjamin (Jago) Born Dec 27 1934
Doctor Who credits
Played: Sir Keith Gold in Inferno (1970)
Played: Henry Gordon Jago in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Played: Colonel Hugh Curbishley in The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008)
Career highlights
Prolific character actor Christopher first appeared in Suspense (1962), and then popped up in The Man in Room 17 (1965), Orlando (1966), The Forsyte Saga (1967), Late Night Horror (1968), Ring of Bright Water (1969), Ace of Wands (1970), Jason King (1971), The Strauss Family (1972), Baffled! (1973), Father Brown (1974), Poldark (1975-76, as Sir Hugh Bodrugan), When the Boat Comes In (1976), Rooms (1977), Dick Turpin (1979-80, as Sir John Glutton), Shoestring (1980), Chintz (1981), Holding the Fort (1980/82, as Colonel Aubrey Sanderson), It Takes a Worried Man (1981/83, as the Old Man), Minder (1984), Dempsey and Makepeace (1986), The Diary of Anne Frank (1987), Young Charlie Chaplin (1989), Anything More Would Be Greedy (1989), Campion (1990), Maigret (1992), The Tomorrow People (1994), Hard Times (1994), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Treasure Island (1999), Judge John Deed (2003/06, as Steve Gaydon), Angel (2007), The Merry Wives of Windsor (2011) and The Legend of Tarzan (2016).
Facts
Christopher reprised the role of Jago in 2009 for Big Finish audios and has been playing him alongside Trevor Baxter as Litefoot ever since.

Trevor Baxter (Professor Litefoot) Nov 18 1932 to Jul 16 2017
Career highlights
Trevor made his earliest screen appearance in The Cruise of the Toytown Belle (1950), followed by roles in Harpers West One (1961), Taxi! (1963), The White Rabbit (1967), So It Goes (1973), Spy Trap (1975), The New Avengers (1976), The Barchester Chronicles (1982), Maelstrom (1985), Jack the Ripper (1988), Selling Hitler (1991), Cold Comfort Farm (1995), Parting Shots (1998), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), My Family (2006) and Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj (2006).
Facts
Trevor reprised the role of Litefoot in 2009 for Big Finish audios and played him alongside Christopher Benjamin as Jago until his death. Trevor was also a playwright.

Chris Gannon (Casey) Aug 8 1931 to Apr 19 1983
Career highlights
Chris debuted in Scotland Yard (1960), then Softly Softly (1966), The Informer (1967), My Partner the Ghost (1969), The Liver Birds (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Dad's Army (1972), Jack the Ripper (1973), Six Days of Justice (1975), The Sexplorer (1975), Pennies from Heaven (1978), Room Service (1979), The Day of the Triffids (1981) and Armchair Thriller: The Chelsea Murders (1981).

Deep Roy (Mr Sin) Born Dec 1 1957
Doctor Who credits
Played: Mr Sin in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Played: Possikar delegate in The Trial of a Time Lord (1986, uncredited)
Career highlights
Born in Kenya as Mohinder Purba, Deep made his screen debut in The New Avengers in 1976, but his 4ft 4in height has given him plenty of high profile roles in subsequent productions, including The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976, in which they mistakenly credited him as Roy Deep!), The Man from SEX (1979), Blake's 7 (1978/79/80), Flash Gordon (1980), The Dark Crystal (1982), Return of the Jedi (1983, as Droopy McCool), The NeverEnding Story (1984), Return to Oz (1985), Rising Storm (1989), Shatterbrain (1991), Freaked (1993), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The X Files (2001), Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, as all 165 Oompa-Loompas, for which he was paid $1m), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Paranormal Movie (2013). He has also played the role of Keenser in the films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013).
Facts
Deep was actually 4ft 1in until his parents paid out thousands for corrective surgery to make him taller. As well as playing Jabba's musical friend Droopy McCool in the Star Wars universe, Deep also occasionally operated R2-D2, stood in for Yoda when walking in distance shots, and also played an Ewok on Endor. He is one of only two actors (along with Simon Pegg) to appear in all three of the Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.

David McKail (Sergeant Kyle) Born Mar 13 1938
Career highlights
David's debut came with Death of a Gladiator in 1963, followed by roles in Life at the Top (1965), Z Cars (1967), The Vortex (1969), The Brothers (1973), Hawkeye, the Pathfinder (1973), Poldark (1977), 1990 (1978), Ladykillers (1980), Murder Not Proven? (1984), Oliver Twist (1985), The Charmer (1987), City Lights (1988), Take the High Road (1989-90), Waiting for God (1991), The Crow Road (1996), The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (1999), Brotherly Love (2000), Black Books (2002), Hawking (2004), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). David also enjoyed a recurring role as Dr McKenzie in 20 episodes of A Touch of Frost (1992-2008).
Facts
He also writes plays under the aliases of John Mohr or Frederic Mohr.

Conrad Asquith (PC Quick) Born Feb 10 1945
Career highlights
Conrad's other work includes Village Hall (1975), The Legend of Robin Hood (1975, as Little John), The Professionals (1980), Sky Bandits (1986), Robin Hood (1991), Being Human (1994), Black Beauty (1994) and The Hollow Crown (2012).
Facts
Conrad has reprised his role as PC (now Sergeant) Quick in Big Finish's Jago and Litefoot audios, starting in 2010.

Alan Butler (Buller)
Career highlights
Alan's few other credits include Blake's 7 (1978) and Secret Army (1979).
Facts
It is believed Alan has passed away as a fan approached his agent for an autograph in July 2015 and was told he was deceased.

Patsy Smart (Ghoul) Aug 14 1918 to Feb 6 1996 (barbiturate poisoning)
Career highlights
Prolific Patsy's earliest role was as the uncredited mother in The Mailbag Robbery (1957), then William Tell (1959), Sons and Lovers (1960), The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), Danger Man (1961), Hugh and I (1962), Benny Hill (1962), Hancock (1963), Bat Out of Hell (1966), The Prisoner (1967), The Avengers (1969), Paul Temple (1970), Wives and Daughters (1971), Tightrope (1972), Spy Trap (1972), Reg Varney (1973), Steptoe and Son (1973), The Dick Emery Show (1974), Carry On Laughing! (1975), One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975), And Mother Makes Five (1976), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Blake's 7 (1978), Tess (1979), Only When I Laugh (1979), The Wildcats of St Trinian's (1980), The Elephant Man (1980), The Two Ronnies (1980), Open All Hours (1981), Emmerdale Farm (1982), Electric Dreams (1984), Filthy Rich & Catflap (1987), King and Castle (1988), Alexei Sayle's Stuff (1988) and The Return of Shelley (1990). Patsy also had regular roles as Miss Roberts in Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-73), Aunt Mable in Rentaghost (1983-84) and Nora Dingle in Terry and June (1983/85).
Facts
Patsy's brother was TV producer, writer and director Ralph Smart, who was responsible for, among many other programmes, Danger Man (1960-61). In Upstairs, Downstairs when her character returns from surviving the sinking of the Titanic, Patsy used her anguish at the death of her daughter from cancer to tackle the emotion of the scene.

Tony Then (Lee) Jun 16 1944 to Dec 16 1995
Career highlights
Singapore-born Tony's earliest work was in The Swordsman (1974), followed by The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, as the grey-haired Trannie), The New Avengers (1977) and Gangsters (1978).
Facts
Records tell that Tony, who was also a musician and dancer, died in the communicable disease centre in Singapore, and that his ashes were scattered outside the Singapore Dance Theatre, which he co-founded. Looking at the principal communicable diseases that the CDC treats, it might be assumed that Tony died of HIV/ Aids.

John Wu (Coolie)
This is John's only known credit.

Judith Lloyd (Teresa) Born Mar 7 1950
Career highlights
Judith's only other credits comprise The Liver Birds (1975), Galaxy's Last Tape (1977), The Gentle Touch (1980), Happy Since I Met You (1981), The Year of the Bodyguard (1982) and Traffik (1989).
Facts
Judith's husband was actor Christopher Malcolm (often recognised as Saffy's father Justin in sitcom Absolutely Fabulous). One of their children is the playwright and screenwriter Morgan Malcolm.

Vaune Craig-Raymond (Cleaner) Born May 22 1954
Career highlights
Vaune's other work includes Sinister Street (1969), Further Up Pompeii! (1975) and Fathers and Families (1977).
Facts
Vaune later became an editor for Production and Casting Report, started by her father Peter in 1968.

Penny Lister (Singer)
Career highlights
Penny's only other TV credit was a 1959 episode of Nick of the River. However, it is known that Penny was a member of the all-female backing vocalist group The Ladybirds, which entertained audiences on series such as Top of the Pops (1966-78), The Reg Varney Revue (1972), Twiggy (1975), Mike Yarwood In Persons (1978), The Tommy Cooper Hour (1978), The Ken Dodd Laughter Show (1979) and particularly The Benny Hill Show (1968-91). The Ladybirds, in various permutations, provided backing vocals on albums for Marc Bolan, Sandie Shaw and Rolf Harris.

Vincent Wong (Ho) Feb 4 1928 to Mar 13 2015
Doctor Who credits
Played: Chinese delegate in Day of the Daleks (1972, uncredited)
Played: Ho in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Played: Chinese captain in Enlightenment (1983, uncredited)
Career highlights
Vincent's prolific career stems from a role in 1958's Yesterday's Enemy, followed by work in he Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), The Terror of the Tongs (1961), Monty Python's Flying Circus (1970, as Mr Kamikaze), The Sweeney (1975), The New Avengers (1977), Silver Dream Racer (1980), The Chinese Detective (1981), Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), Privates on Parade (1983), Duty Free (1984), Tenko (1984), Mind Your Language (1986), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Ping Pong (1987), Noble House (1988), Batman (1989), One Foot in the Grave (1992), Bramwell (1996), Kiss of the Dragon (2001), Die Another Day (2002), Batman Begins (2005) and Blood Ties (2006).

CREW

Robert Holmes (writer and script editor) Apr 2 1926 to May 24 1986 (chronic liver ailment)
Doctor Who credits
Wrote: The Krotons (1968-69), The Space Pirates (1969), Spearhead from Space (1970), Terror of the Autons (1971), Carnival of Monsters (1973), The Time Warrior (1973-74), The Ark in Space (1975), Pyramids of Mars (1975, uncredited), The Brain of Morbius (1976, uncredited), The Deadly Assassin (1976), The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977), The Sun Makers (1977), The Ribos Operation (1978), The Power of Kroll (1978-79), The Caves of Androzani (1984), The Two Doctors (1985), The Trial of a Time Lord (1986)
Script edited: Robot, The Ark in Space (uncredited), The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons, Planet of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, The Android Invasion, The Brain of Morbius, The Seeds of Doom, The Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear, The Deadly Assassin (uncredited), The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang (uncredited), Horror of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, Image of the Fendahl, The Sun Makers (uncredited) (1974-78)
Career highlights
He began writing for TV as early as Knight Errant Limited (1960), and went on to write scripts for Deadline Midnight (1961), Ghost Squad (1962), Emergency Ward 10 (1962-63), Dr Finlay's Casebook (1964-65), Undermind (1965), No Hiding Place (1965-67), Public Eye (1965-68), Mr Rose (1967-68), Doomwatch (1971), Spyder's Web (1972), Dixon of Dock Green (1974), Jukes of Piccadilly (1980), The Nightmare Man (1981), Blake's 7 (1979/81), Into the Labyrinth (1981-82) and Bergerac (1983-87). He was also story editor on Armchair Thriller and Shoestring, both in 1980.
Facts
Robert was the youngest ever commissioned officer in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, serving in Burma. After he left the Army he joined the police, then became a journalist and sports writer - he was the last ever editor of British lifestyle publication John Bull Magazine in 1964. He was originally going to write Doctor Who's 20th anniversary tale in 1983, but when he found the numerous elements he'd been asked to incorporate unworkable, he was replaced by Terrance Dicks. Robert died while writing the final two episodes of The Trial of a Time Lord, and due to tensions in the Doctor Who production office at the time, his original ending for the story had to be changed and written afresh by Pip and Jane Baker. His face was also one of those seen during the Time Lord mind battle in The Brain of Morbius.

David Maloney (director) Dec 14 1933 to Jul 18 2006 (cancer)
Doctor Who credits
Production assistant: The Rescue (1965, uncredited), The Romans (1965, uncredited), The Time Meddler (1965, uncredited), The Myth Makers (1965, uncredited), The Ark (1966, uncredited)
Directed: The Mind Robber (1968), The Krotons (1968-69), The War Games (1969), Frontier in Space (episode 6, 1973, uncredited), Planet of the Daleks (1973), Genesis of the Daleks (1975), Planet of Evil (1975), The Deadly Assassin (1976), The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
Career highlights
David also directed for Ivanhoe (1970), The Last of the Mohicans (1971), Hawkeye, the Pathfinder (1973), Woodstock (1973), Angels (1976), Blake's 7 (1979-80), Juliet Bravo (1982), Maelstrom (1985), Strike It Rich! (1986) and Family Pride (1991), while taking producing duties on Blake's 7 (1978-80), When the Boat Comes In (1981) and The Day of the Triffids (1981).
Facts
David started out as a jobbing repertory actor, as well as working for the Birmingham Mail.

Philip Hinchcliffe (producer) Born Oct 1 1944
Doctor Who credits
Produced: The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons, Planet of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, The Android Invasion, The Brain of Morbius, The Seeds of Doom, The Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear, The Deadly Assassin, The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1975-77)
Career highlights
Doctor Who was one of Philip's first TV jobs, after being script editor on Alexander the Greatest (1971), You're Only Young Twice (1971), The Jensen Code (1973) and The Kids from 47A (1973-74). After leaving Doctor Who, Philip became producer on Target (1977-78), Private Schulz (1981), Nancy Astor (1982), Strangers and Brothers (1984), The Charmer (1987), Bust (1987-88), Friday On My Mind (1992), An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), Seesaw (1998), McCallum (1998), Rebus (2000-01) and Taggart (1999-2001). Philip has also written scripts for Crossroads (1970), Target (1977) and Bust (1987-88), and novelised three Doctor Who stories for Target Books.
Facts
Philip won the 1990 Prix Europa Fiction Prize for And a Nightingale Sang, a film adapted from C P Taylor's play by screenwriter Jack Rosenthal. In 1977 he was nominated for a BAFTA for his work on Doctor Who, and received a further nomination for Private Schulz. There was also an Emmy nomination for Nancy Astor, a mini-series he produced in 1982. His daughter Celina Hinchcliffe is a British TV sports presenter, including for SkySports. His brother-in-law is actor Geoffrey Whitehead. In 2014 Philip returned to the world of Doctor Who by writing two new audio serials for the Fourth Doctor and Leela for Big Finish Productions.

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